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Western civilization. Mesopotamian religion didnt have paintings, which can tell us about their gods. All the mythology consisted of texts: prayers, myths and description of rituals. We can divide Mesopotamian religion into three religions: religion of people, king and priests. The religion played very important role in society. Here are several Sumerian gods: An (the sky), Ki (the Earth), Enlil (later Bel), Enki (Ea).
The gods Anu (god of the sky), Enlil (the redoubtable God of the Earth), Ea (the meek god of the Water) (god Eyed) formed pantheon of the Gods (Rogers, 2003). Marduk (the god of Babylonians), Assur (the god of Assyrians) were worshiped as well. Heavenly bodies were also treated like gods. The son of Enlil Ninurta (Sin) was the god of the Moon. His son, Shamash (Sumerian Utu) was considered the god of the Sun, truth and justice.
The daughter Nigeria Inanna was the goddess of fertility. Normal and his wife Ereshkigal were the kings of the deceased (Rogers, 2003). The belief into afterlife wasnt as popular as it was in Egypt. Nevertheless, the cult of dying and reviving god of flora Tamuzza was quite popular.
The day when Tamuzza was rising from death was celebrated. At the same time Babylonians didnt associated Tamuzza with afterlife as Egyptians did. We can find a lot of myths, legends and epos, which describe eternal life as one of the main ideas. People tried to find eternity and eternal life. Egyptians didnt look for eternal life they already had it, because they believed in afterlife. Mesopotamian's expressed their sorrow very emotionally.
When somebody died, the members of his family teared to pieces their clothes, scratched their faces and breasts and powdered their heads with ashes. Mesopotamian's didnt embalm the deceased. They washed the body, poured odorous oils on it, dressed it into ordinary clothes and buried. They put meals, clothes, jewelry and implements into the grave.
Actually, the grave was a huge underground room made of bricks. Despite the fact that the ancient Egyptians believed in plenty of gods, we can say that the Egyptian religion was monotheistic. We have to understand that numerous descriptions of Egyptian pantheon gods were the numerous faces of the only God. All these gods were the expression of eternal godlike essence. The religion was based on cult of animals. Each Egyptian nom (city-government) had its own sacred animal or a bird: a cat, lion, bull, sheep, falcon, ibis, etc.
Egyptian believed that the souls of deceased were placed into the bodies of sacred birds and animals for over 3 thousand years. Ancient Egyptians believed in afterlife and eternity of soul. They built pyramids, masters and sepulchers in the valleys for souls of deceased people. Egyptians believed that Ka was a spirit of the Universe or a spiritual essence, which was vivifying any creature. The body was aimed for the earth and the soul was aimed for the heavens.
When a person died, his soul soared near mummy. In such a case the soul was called Ka until the soul wasnt transformed into astral spirit and both of them Ka and Ba (the divine spark (Rogers, 2003) ) were united by Osiris with the supreme intelligence to create the eternal spiritual essence. All sepulchers and churches contain a lot of pictures dedicated to eternal afterlife. The Egyptians called such places the places of eternity. The cross with a loop symbolized future life with its three attributes: peace, beatitude and insouciance. When a person died, the Egyptians embalmed the body.
They said that the art of embalming had a divine origin. Egyptians believed that although the body died, the soul continued to live in afterlife world, which was the copy of real world. Ka (the life strength) was returning to the body after death. Relatives had to make everything to guarantee the deceased a good life after death. They considered that in the other case the dead person will come back with the wind (Ann-Antelme, 1998) and his revenge will be horrible. The Book of the deceased was a spell book, which contained spells to protect the deceased from different dangers.
Egyptians also asked the dead person to help them in their life. All these things determined the importance of a cult of deceased. There were also special spells, which helped to a dead person to re-incarnate for a definite period of time. The ancient Egyptians didnt believe that a person can occupy another social position in afterlife.
They believed that Pharaoh will be a Pharaoh and a servant will be a servant. Only the gods were able to re-incarnate by their own will. One of the most interesting beliefs was the importance of name. Egyptians believed that when somebody will erase the name from coffin, it will cause huge troubles to the deceased.
In such a way we can see that Egyptian and Mesopotamian religion had a lot of differences between them. Bibliography: Rogers, P. Aspects of Western Civilization: Vol. I. (Mesopotamian & Egyptian Cultures). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003.
pp. 4 - 29 Ann-Antelme, Ruth. Becoming Osiris: The Ancient Egyptian Death Experience. Inner Traditions Intl. Ltd, 1998
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