Short paper 1
During the Bronze Age, what was the role of religion in Mesopotamian and Egyptian society?
In both the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt, religion was embedded in the social and personal life of the people. Therefore, in my opinion, religion gave them a kind of responsibility and rules helped them had a good and correct general mood of society. This was why that period was the beginning of human civilization. This kind of religion helped people control their behavior, let them had a good and strong environment. Although religion had the same effect on Mesopotamia and Egypt in general, there were still had some differences in detail.
The influence of religion on the Mesopotamia people more reflected in when people being alive. The beginning of the world, Mesopotamia believed, was a victory by the gods over the forces of chaos, so they needed help gods to maintain this world. The Mesopotamians believed their kings and queens were descended from the City of Gods, but, unlike the ancient Egyptians, they never believed their kings were real gods. So that king created his laws to ruled his country also this was the first law codes in the history. At this point, I do not think that religion could have a deep impact after they dead.
In addition, ‘Gods and goddesses representing nature and natural events were mainly worshipped by the city-states of Mesopotamia. The gods and goddesses were viewed as the supreme controllers of law, weather, and fertility. God’s wishes and dictates were interpreted and implemented by the priests and kings.’[footnoteRef:1] These priests got power by marrying the priestesses of God. ‘The most worshipped gods were Enlil, the god of storm and earth; Anu, the god of Sky; Ea or Enki, the god of water; Utu, the sun god; Nanna, the moon god and Inanna or Ishtar, the goddess of fertility.’[footnoteRef:2] At some point, because of the fear of war instead of fertility, these gods are regarded as the leader of the military and the protector of the people. At a later stage, God is once again regarded as the guardian of the people who is given the love and prosperity of the people. People respect God but also afraid of God. In Mesopotamia, the power of nature is more confusing and more likely to cause catastrophes such as catastrophic floods. People are subjected to the mercy of God, so the work of man is fulfilling their will and making them happy. Because of they respect gods, so they also respect each other. A woman in that period could rule and have they own business. Their was no men enjoy higher status than women. There is a very health and good social situations. [1: Differencebetween.net, Tapas] [2: Differencebetween.net, Tapas]
Now we can talk about the religion in Egypt. Religion is the core of social life and belief in afterlife and resurrection of the dead were a chief characteristic of religious views of ancient Egyptians. ‘In Egyptian religion, the primary god was Amen (Amon or Amun), king of the gods. Next in importance was Ra (or Re), the sun god. Then came Osiris, god of the Nile and also the god of the kingdom of the dead. His wife, Isis, was the moon goddess and mother of the universe. Their child Horus was the god of the sky; Set, their brother, was the god of chaos and the desert; and Thoth, the god of writing and knowledge.’[footnoteRef:3] The pharaoh of Egypt is considered to be god. Because they believed when pharaoh dead they still can resurrection, so Egyptians built the pyramids and buried their pharaoh “gods” in their own temple, mummified their dead bodies. Therefore, the current pharaoh, as a living god, worked with all of these gods to create maat, or divine order and justice. Because of these divine order and justice, make Egypt became very prosperous. Also, we can see Egyptian connect government with religion. [3: World Religions Reference Library COPYRIGHT 2007 Thomson Gale]
Thus, religion helped Egypt and Mesopotamia prosperity and succeeded in that era. However, I think here the most different point between Egypt and Mesopotamia is that Egypt had a centralized government with one ruler but Mesopotamia had self-controlled city-states. In Mesopotamia, each area was controlled by its own political center, but Egyptians worshipped their ruler as a god. Religion makes those two countries have large populations but also very civilized. I think sometimes have a good belief in your mind is a good thing can help you stay away from some bad things and help to be a good person.