Ancient Civilizations Essay Research Paper Essay Question — страница 2

  • Просмотров 228
  • Скачиваний 9
  • Размер файла 17

Heliopolitan cosmogony, Memphite cosmogony, Hermopolitan cosmogony, and the Theban cosmogony. The people of the different regions of Egypt believed these. Each theory had distinct characteristics but all were somewhat similar in their basic idea of creation. The Egyptians felt that they must keep the gods content to keep the order of the universe. They based their religious beliefs and their focus on maintaining and preserving stability. The Egyptians built huge statues of their gods and also preserved stories of them by engraving them into stone walls on pyramids of Egypt to honor them. They had pharaohs, who were the high priests and king or ruler of the communities of Egypt. These pharaohs would be the intermediary between the gods and men. They were treated like a god on

earth and given divine power over the people. It was important for the pharaohs to show they could maintain order in the universe. This was guaranteed by the pharaoh if the people did as he said. Since the pharaohs were so close to the gods the Egyptians felt they should be honored in death. Large pyramids were built to house the dead bodies of the pharaohs. Great sacrifices were made by the Egyptians to please their gods, both food offerings and the hard work of building the pyramids. The Hebrews lived in a harsh climate of barren deserts. The land was not very fertile and so they became nomadic people similar to the Sumerians. There are many differences and many similarities in the relationships between gods and men among the Hebrews compared to Sumerian and Egyptian

mythologies. One major difference is that the Hebrews believed in one god, Yahweh. This is compared with the many gods of both the Sumerians and Egyptians. The fact that the Hebrews had two beliefs about creations is similar to the Egyptians with their four theories. This is different from the Sumerians, they only have one theory of creation (the Akkadian Creation Myth). Both creation myths of the Hebrews start off with a god already present. This is different from the Sumerians and Egyptians telling of the creation of gods and the fact that there is more than one. The first story tells about Yahweh’s creation of the physical world, the animal world and then the creation of man. The second version of the story tells of a kind of wilderness in the beginning that comes to life

when Yahweh causes it to rain. It then goes into a detailed account of the creation of man. The Hebrew’s myths differed from the Sumerians and Egyptians in that they were more time structured and followed a more cyclical process. Yahweh was not a nature god like the many gods of the Sumerians and Egyptians. He creates man to have domination over all the creatures of the earth. This is unlike the myths of the Sumerians and Egyptians. Man was not put on Earth for the sole purpose of serving gods but to be the rulers of the Earth. The Hebrew were very devoted to their god Yahweh. They made food offerings and tried to follow the laws Yahweh set forth to live by (Ten Commandments). However, they realized that their sole purpose of existence was not to serve him. They understood that

there were consequences when the rules Yahweh set forth were broken but realized Yahweh was a forgiving god. He was different from the hot tempered, merciless gods of the Sumerians and the Egyptians. As discussed, the Sumerians had strong relationships with their gods. They perceived the gods as powerful and merciless, however they honored and respected them. They lived solely to please their gods and looked at their situation with pessimism because they were like slaves to their gods. The Egyptians saw their gods as a bit more merciful. This was concluded by them because their gods gave the universe order and did not act from impulse, as was the case with the Sumerian gods. The Hebrews had the closest relationship with their god, seeing him as forgiving and understanding. It is

interesting to observe how geography, religion, and culture can affect the relationship a civilization has with their god/gods. The resulting evolution of the relationship between man and god further shaped the future of these peoples. Genesis, The Holy Bible, Toronto, Canadian Bible Society, 1993 George Hart, Egyptian Myths, Texas, University of Texas Press, 1997 Henrietta McCall, Mesopotamian Myths, Texas, University of Texas Press, 1996 N.K. Sandars, The Epic of Gilgamesh, England, Penguin Books, 1972