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Role of Religion in Greek, Sumerian, and Roman Society Essay

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The role of religion in ancient civilizations was one of primary importance. There was no idea of a separation of church and state. Rather, religious and political authorities were inseparable, with political and royal authority seen as coming directly from the gods. While various ancient civilizations had different religions and different interpretations of how those religions interacted with society, all believed that the supernatural was a part of the everyday life. At times, as in the case of Ancient Egypt, rulers were considered to actually be gods and worshiped as such. Thus, early systems of laws, such as Hebrew laws regarding preparation of food, were extensions of religious belief. This idea that the influence of the supernatural was present in everyday life was also shared by the Greeks. The Ancient Greeks believed the gods mettled in mortals' everyday lives, often appearing as mortal humans or animals to interact with people. The Sumerians likewise believed in every day impact of the gods in life, believing the gods to be vengeful and angry, and the explanation for natural disasters. Ancient Rome also held a belief in the gods as being present in everyday life, with some differences, as we shall see later. In this essay, I will examine how each of these civilization’s religions played roles in their societies.
Sumer, unlike the Egyptians, believed that their leaders were of divine descent but did not believe they were actual gods. Sumerians believed the natural world was comprised of several gods: Nanna suen (Moon God), Utu (Sun God) Nin-khursaga(Earth goddess), Enki(God of Waters) and Enlil(God of Air) (Backman 2013, 16). Natural events were attributed to the gods (Backman 2013, 16). If strong gusts aro...


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...lso greatly appealed to the Romans. Marcus Aurelius who ruled a little over twenty years contributed to this school by writing a book discussing the secretes of Stoicism. The book titled Meditations was “intended as a type of personal guide or reflective exercise, the Meditations touch upon morality, social cares, and self-control, among other themes”(Backman and Axen 2014, 77). Both the Greeks and Romans thought of themselves as superior than other civilizations. This led them to attempt to spread their ways onto the rest of the world, this ambition and drive no doubt contributed to the success of these civilizations.


Works Cited
Backman, Clifford R. The Cultures of the West: A History. New York: Oxford UP, 2013. Print.
Backman, Clifford R., Christine Axen, and Clifford R. Backman. Sources for the Cultures of the West. New York: Oxford UP, 2014. Print.



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