Essay on Ancient Greek and Mesopotamian Religions - A Comparison

Essay on Ancient Greek and Mesopotamian Religions - A Comparison

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Ancient Religions      By: MLB               

As civilization has progressed through the ages, many religions have arisen and taken hold around the world, two if the most interesting, being the religious beliefs of the ancient Mesopotamian and the Greeks. These two religions were practiced in different areas and at different times and, therefore, show that religion has played a critical role in every society and civilization. No matter how it is organized or what type of god is worshiped, a society would be nothing without some kind of deity to organize it. In comparing the religious beliefs of the Mesopotamian and the Ancient Greeks religious components highlighted including the style of worship, the temples or places of worship, and the nature of the god or gods.
     Both ancient religions had various ideas how to worship their god or gods. In the Mesopotamian religion, worship was very straight forward and casual. They would give daily offerings of food and drink with sacrifices during special monthly and annual feasts. The most celebrated of these feasts was the New Year’s festival. These worship events were held by the priest and priestesses who also took care of the great wealth believed to be stored in the Mesopotamians temples. The director of the temple cults was the Sheshgallu: and all the sacrifices were performed by the Shangu priests. All other classes of priests dealt with the rest of the lesser rituals. The priestesses varied from the Entu, the consort of god, all the way down to the Temple Harlots (Garber, p204). The Greeks on the other hand, had done most of their worship in private. They also had festivals and rituals, but their worship was much less organized. If any individual wished to pray to a god, or invoke the god’s intervention, he would simply go to one of the shrines or temples to the god of their choice and leave a small gift. These gifts included such offerings such as frankincense, a cake, or even a large sacrifice of animals. There were also dedications of small statuettes or even large painted vases (Webster, p79). Unlike the Mesopotamians there was no class of priests nor any real religion teachings or texts. Also, no large gathering festivals took place; however small groups in recognition of the g...


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...e felt they could not only deal with their problems, but also have a sense of direction. Although the religious practices of these two ancient cultures existed centuries ago, the same curiosity to answer fundamental human questions exists even today. World religions continue to differ in their places of worship, manner of worship, and names and descriptions of their deities, but all religions, from the beginning of time, attempt to make sense of our world and to give purpose to life.


Works Cited

Robinson, Cyril E. Everyday life in Ancient Greece. Apr 8, 1968 Book

Pearson, Anne. Eyewitness Books Ancient Greece. May 1993 Book

Garber, Janet. Serlin. The Concise Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations Franklin
Watts/New York/London 1978 Encyclopedia

Webster, T.B.L. Everyday life in Classical Athens. Jarrold and Sons Ltd 1969

Millard, Anne Ancient Civilization Warwick Press 1983 Online

Walker, Robert J. World Civilizations: A Comparative Study Oxford University Press 1998     Online

Encarta Online Encyclopedia Ancient Greece/Mesopotamia. June 2002 Encyclopedia

Ancient Greece III: Alexander the Conqueror. National Geographic March 2000, 42-75 Magazine

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