Lecture 2-Religions of Antiquity

Lecture 2-Religions of Antiquity - Religions of Antiquity I...

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Religions of Antiquity I. Mesopotamian religions (3200-900 BCE) a. Environment: Fertile plain between Tigris and Euphrates Rivers i. Unpredictable flooding ii. Not very defensible b. Government and Society i. City states ii. Sumerian Empire iii. Akkadian Empire c. Pantheon of Gods (Patron gods of city-states) i. Anu (sky god) of Uruk ii. Enlil or Bel (wind and flood) of Nippur iii. Nanna or Sin (moon) or Ur iv. Utu or Shamash (sun) of Larsa and Sippar (Larsa destroyed) 1. Shamash also becomes associated with Syria v. Enki or Ea (water and wisdom) of Eridu vi. Ninhursag or Aruru (mother goddess) of Kish vii. Consorts of the gods (Worshipped at same temple, but not same altar) 1. Inanna (Virgin love goddess, daughter of Anu) 2. Nihursag (Mother goddess, but no husband) viii. Ishtar (love/fertility) 1. Probably the most universally worshipped 2. Associated with Venus (planet, not goddess) 3. Tammuz (her lover, the god of spring) 4. Sargon (2276-2221 BCE) a. Warrior god; associated with Akkadian Empire b. First true emperor—Ishtar makes him king ix. Marduk – Ishtar’s rival for worship 1. Chief god of Babylon 2. Worship spreads for political reasons a. Hammurabi’s Code – Laws inspired and given to Hammurabi by Marduk 3. Fights and defeats Taimaz (Chaos) 4. Absorbs many gods a. Even patron gods begin to lose influence 5. Old myths revised to make him more powerful d. View of the gods i. Not the nicest people ii. Appease them! e. Role of priests i. Intermediaries; king was high priest of patron gods ii. Literate iii. Ritual 1. Sacrifices 2. Deal with evil spirits iv. Ziggurat 1. “Stairway to heaven” 2. At the top: chief god’s temple (stores records); inside: schools v. Divination and Astrology 1. Extremely important to understand dreams and omens 2. Read sheep’s liver folds and flaws 3. Leads to developments in astronomy f. Afterlife (Mundane) g. Myths
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Religions of Antiquity i. Gilgamesh (King of Uruk, wants immortality) ii. Utnapishtim (Reward for surviving flood is immortality, but tells Gilgamesh it sucks) II. Egyptian religion a. Environment i. Nile floods are predictable ii. Very defensible b. State formation: 3000 BCE c. Cult of the Pharaohs i. Pharaoh and the Sun God – Pharaoh is incarnate of the sun god 1. Legal system = the will of the Pharaoh ii. Pyramids: Manifestation of the Pharaoh’s status and power d. Gods and Goddesses i. Pantheon ii. Animal-shaped deities 1. Totemism iii. Human and Cosmic 1. Geb and Nut a. Geb is the earth god b. Nut is the sky god 2. Sun gods a. Horus (Falcon) b. Kheprer (Scarab/dung beetle) i. God of all creation c. Amun Re of Thebes (Ra [sky/thunder god] + Amun of Thebes) iv. Creation (Several creation myths) e. Monotheism i. Amon-Hotep IV or Akhenaton (1380-1362 BCE) 1. When he dies, his son, Tut, brings back polytheism ii. Aton (Sun disc god) f. Trinity i. Osiris: Center 1. King of the world, judge of the dead ii. Horus 1. Son of Isis and Osiris 2. Slays Set and retrieves eye of kingship a. The resurrected Osiris bequeaths it to him
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course HIST 2860 taught by Professor May during the Spring '08 term at University of North Georgia- Dahlonega.

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Lecture 2-Religions of Antiquity - Religions of Antiquity I...

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