Ancient Mesopotamia

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Ancient Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates was home to the ancient civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, and Akkad. The Mesopotamian people were predominantly of polytheistic faith; the social construct of gods allowed them to develop meaning and order in their lives. Every aspect of life was dominated by the belief that submitting to the worship of gods would shield them from divine wrath. Cities were endowed with patron gods that were guardians and the duty of the ruler was to act upon their behalf. Ziggurats were built to honor the holiness of the gods and to appease them in hopes of attaining their blessings. The Mesopotamian peoples zealously enslaved their lives to serving the gods through admiration and obedience. However, absent from their faith was any established code of ethics or morality that distinguished righteousness from treachery. The Mesopotamian people knew solely of one purpose to satisfy the gods and the rulers formed codes of laws to affect societies in certain ways under the label deeming it as the will of the gods.
Sumerians and Akkadians both inhabited the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia, sharing a common polytheistic faith in many gods. The Sumerians built ziggurats to respect the gods and openly display their humbleness to them. The massive size of the ziggurats symbolized the closeness to the heavens and a permanent link from the people of the earth to the gods. The gods took human form and shared many human qualities of angriness, happiness, and jealousy. There thinking was based upon myths such as the Epic of Gilgamesh which describes the suffering of a man that is part god seeking immortality and brings back the story of the Flood to his people. Myths like the Epic of Gil...

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...nce as individual beings in front of God, most of all the moral freedom to choose between right and wrong.
The Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians, and Hebrews were people that practiced their own forms of religion, whether it was polytheistic or monotheistic. It can be inferred that monotheism was a step forward in emphasizing ethics and morals from polytheistic faith that lacked an essential individual moral compass. The key value behind monotheism for the Hebrews is in its unity, one God, one world, and one faith. For the Mesopotamian civilizations it was their strong belief in power of nature and that many gods are existent within nature that must be appeased for prosperity in life. Ultimately both religions are not so far apart in the fact that they show man in the perpetual fight against facing the question of his mortality and connection to the higher power.
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