Religions Of Ancient Near East

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Religions of Ancient Near East


Ancient Near East refers to early civilisations in the region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia (modern Iraq and Syria), Persia, Elam and Media (all three in western Iran), Armenia, Anatolia (modern Turkey), Levant (modern Syria , Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus), and Ancient Egypt, starting with the growth of Sumer in 4 th millennium BC before the conquest of the region by Alexander the Great in 4 BC, and covers both the Bronze Age and Iron Age in the region (Heidel, 130). Thus, this term is widely used in Middle Eastern archeology, ancient history and Egyptology. Some may exclude from Egypt, the ancient Near East in the geographic and cultural area. However, because of the intimate participation of Egypt in the region, especially from the 2 nd millennium BC, is a rare exception (Graves, 24). This paper discusses the Religion of the ancient Near East.


Ancient Near East is the cradle of civilisation. This was the first to practice intensive year-round agriculture, it gave the rest of the world the first writing system, invented the potter's wheel, and then by road and the mill wheel, created the first centralised governments, law codes and empires, as well as introducing social stratification, slavery and organised war, and it laid the foundation for the field of astronomy and mathematics (Morenz, 159).

Religion of the ancient Near East were mostly polytheistic, with some early examples of the new henotheism (Atenism, early Judaism). Especially Luwian pantheon exerted a strong influence on ancient Greek religion, and Assyrian-Babylonian religion influenced Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism.

History of the Ancient Near East, covering more than two millennia, from the Bronze Age to early Iron Age, the region now known as the Middle East, around the center of the fertile crescent. There was much cultural contacts, so it is justified to summarise the whole region into one term, but that does not mean, of course, that every historical period and in each region should not be considered individually for detailed description. This paper will attempt to outline the general features of the ancient Near Eastern religions, and refer to the sub-article in the descriptions of depth (Ancient Cosmologies, 50).

Comparing Different Religions of Ancient Near East

Determination of the gods and goddesses in the celestial body of the planet and star, except the Sun and the Moon and appropriation of places all the deities in heaven is in the Assyrian-Babylonian religion. The personification of the two great luminaries Sun and Moon was the first step in deploying this system, and followed this by placing the other deities where Shamash and Sin had taken place (Graves, 26). This process, which culminated in the period after Hammurabic period led to the identification of Venus with Ishtar, Marduk with Jupiter, Mars with Nergal, Mercury with Nabu, and Saturn with Ninurta (Ancient Cosmologies, 52).

The system represents a harmonious combination of two factors, one of the popular origin, others the result of speculation in the schools ...
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