Religion in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia played a significant role in developing and organizing the society. Based on the common belief of the world’s divine creation, both civilizations had regular rituals and ceremonies to honor the supernatural beings. In rituals and ceremonies, the cult was expressed as the manifestation of components that symbolized the divine such as the cult images, temples, and shrines. Since religion was an important aspect in the people’s daily lives, it also had an impact on the ruling system in the two civilizations. Even though Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia have similar foundational beliefs about the cult, different cultic practices imply the difference in the structure and the scope of
Mesopotamian and Egyptian religions shared two key similarities: polytheism and priestly authority. The religions in Mesopotamia and
The Egyptians believed that their pharaohs were the reincarnation of the sun god Re, the chief god who held the most power of all of the gods. This was believed because the pharaohs had immense power, governed huge areas of lands, and controlled vast resources such as gold and slaves. The pharaohs also elevated their status by building huge structures to the gods that seemed to transcend their earthly life, such as the pyramids and temples. The pharaohs used ordinary Egyptians to build the pyramids, not slaves, because the Egyptians wanted to please the god king so they would be guaranteed a place in the afterlife. The pharaohs also conquered thousands of square miles of land through military victories which seemed almost impossible for mere mortals. Similarly, the Mesopotamian kings were believed to be the sons of gods. The god the kings were related to depended on the city state’s main god, which was usually Anu. The king was also the chief priest which continued the relationship, keeping them close to the gods. The kings took on massive public works projects as well as military conquests which further cemented this belief. Because of the importance of the gods to these societies, their leaders were raised to a “godly” status as a reflection of their significance and as a result of their many accomplishments, which also gave the people a more tangible connection to the gods.
Did you know that there were over 2,000 gods and goddesses in Ancient Egypt? Some gods had the body of a human and the head of an animal. When I read that, I was shocked! I would’ve never guessed that there would be so many gods in Egypt. In addition, I found the idea of an animal head stuck to a human body disgusting! I just didn’t believe this, so I decided to find out for myself.
Although Egyptians were polytheistic, they worshiped the sun god, Atum or Re, as he was the source of life. This is important because the Egyptian king took the title of “Son of Re”. The king, hence the descendant of the god, was the mother and father of all men without equal. The king akin to the living god, and his rule was law. Despite there being no laws, the words out of the king’s mouth were the law. As a king, he handles the army to protect his possessions and people.
Evolutions of civilizations can occur because of differences in people’s religion, culture, or geographic setting of the settlement. The relationship between the world of the gods and that of men was perceived differently by the Sumerians, Egyptians, and Hebrew ancient civilizations. This is demonstrated by the way each group viewed the process of creation. They had different thoughts on the creation of their gods, the universe and of man. This essay will discuss the relationship between humans and their gods in three different ancient civilizations: Sumerian, Egyptian and Hebrew.
The first category of culture is religion. There were several similarities between the Mesopotamians and Egyptians. The Mesopotamians and Egyptians had their own religion and beliefs. Both were polytheistic, meaning they believed in numerous gods or goddesses instead of one god or goddess. There were also several differences between the Mesopotamian and Egyptians. While the Mesopotamians and Egyptians worshiped thousands of deities, there were four main essential deities for the Mesopotamians: An, Enlil, Enki, and Ninhursaga. An was the god of heaven. Enlil was the god of wind and became the power of energy, force, and authority on the earth. Enki was the god of
Beginning with Mesopotamia, according to McKay Mesopotamia was part of the Fertile Crescent, which was where the first agriculture developed (McKay, 35). Moving from Mesopotamia to the city-state Sumer, many farmers brought with them their farming tools and trade abilities so that they could successfully farm in warmer, more arid climates (McKay, 35). Irrigation was a major part of the process and was needed for them to succeed. As the civilization grew, people built temples in Mesopotamia, where farmers would use them to store food items and animals. To the Mesopotamian people, the belief of Polytheism, which is that of many Gods controlling the earth and world, brought a distinct outlook on life (McKay, 36). Sumerian
Religions played an important role in both Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations. It allowed people to worship Gods who they believed to ensure good lives. However, both civilizations did not use judge morality. Sumerians believed that Gods give them good living condition rather than judge it. Sumerian religion was created from myths and ritual prayers. Sumerians were “literal servants” and obey to the Gods. They offered prayers, gifts to the gods and Gods blessed people with good condition. Gods of Sumerians were Heaven creating of day and night, The Great Above making up of the space between the sky and the earth, and The Great Below where people go after death. Like Sumerian, Egypt religion was also created from myths along with traditions.
Religion was practiced throughout Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Both the Mesopotamians and Egyptians shared polytheistic beliefs. Each god was responsible for an action, but they did not consider the gods to be equal in Mesopotamian society, in order to please the gods, a sacrifice must be made to please them in order to avoid the god’s wrath. The separation of church and state did not exist in both ancient civilizations, pharaohs of Egyptian society was known to be a god on Earth, the incarnation of Horus, the falcon god. The Mesopotamian rulers were known as a representative to the gods. Although they worship to several different gods, they do have differences between the two. The idea of an afterlife, In Mesopotamia didn’t exist but for the Egyptians the idea of an afterlife was of significant importance to them, rituals were held to ensure that the body and soul would be ready for an eternal life after death. The writing systems of both the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians have many similarities. Pictographic writing, which was developed by the
Historian Jean Bottero, who is one of the most knowledgeable individuals on ancient Mesopotamian religion, believes that “their gods were not viewed mystically, who had to be obeyed and feared as opposed to loved and adored.” The city-states of Mesopotamia also had patron gods or goddesses much like the Poleis of the ancient Greek city-states. Each city would adopt a particular god or goddess who they would pray to and offer sacrifices in order to please them. They looked to all the gods with respect as their rulers but their patron god or goddess was of the utmost importance to please. They believed that all fortune, good or bad, stemmed from the deity that watched over their particular city.
There were gods of the sky and storm, gods of the water, and gods of the soil. Although they looked like humans, they differed from their mortal cousins in their greater power, position in the universe, and their immortality. The Mesopotamians believed that their duty was to serve the gods and provide them with offerings of food, clothing, and art. The gods were fed meals, sung songs, and honored with devotion and ritual.
When it comes to politics, things aren't so different. Both Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt connected religion to their Government. Its laws had control over all people. The Mesopotamians and ancient Egyptians would pay their taxes to the government with goods and hard labor.
The culture in both Mesopotamia and Egypt influenced both civilizations. However, Egypt’s culture had a significant and drastic impact on the governmental structure. Egypt was claimed to be a theocracy, so the behavior of residents was caused by the pharaoh who was the source of all law throughout the region and was classified to be a god. This idea ties in adequately with the idea of Egypt being a centralized type of government. Their leaders were worshipped and praised respectfully so whatever the pharaoh decided was seen to be morally correct or important and was to be followed by society. On the other hand, Mesopotamia had a decentralized government that had little to no relationship with
Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Mesopotamian cultures are alike in many ways from the government to religion. Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Mesopotamian had social classes that ideas mapped out onto a pyramid. Both, of course, had people like the Rulers and ministers were at the top. People that were torched and was told what to do like slaves were at the bottom of the pyramid. People that were selling or trading goods were in the middle of the pyramid. As for jobs, both Egyptian and Mesopotamian had soldiers, religious leaders, craftsman’s *people that built weapons and many more things*, farmers and people that write news for them. Religion is something that every culture has. Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Mesopotamian believed in more than