" While Mesopotamian religion had almost completely died out by approximately 400–500 CE after its indigenous adherents had largely become Assyrian Christians, it has still had an influence on the modern world, predominantly because many biblical stories that are today found in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Mandaeism were possibly based upon earlier Mesopotamian myths, in particular that of the creation myth, the Garden of Eden, the flood myth, the Tower of Babel, figures such as Nimrod and Lilith and the Book of Esther. Babylonia was dissolved as an entity during the Parthian Empire, though Assyria endured as a geo-political entity until the 7th century AD Arab Islamic conquest. In the Hindu religion one of the most important things about worship is what is known as darshan, which means “to see”; the worshipper seeing the god and the god seeing the worshipper (Eck 1998, 3). Assyrian kings are attested from the late 25th century BC and dominated northern Mesopotamia and parts of eastern Anatolia and northeast Syria. Mesopotamian religion has historically the oldest body of recorded literature of any religious tradition. Religion - A Big Part of Daily Life. Religion played a role in the rise of the Mesopotamian city-state, and the religion's reliance on the stars to foretell events led to important developments in mathematics. Additionally, certain days required extra sacrifices and ceremonies for certain gods, and every day was sacred to a particular god. :78 The worship of Inanna/Ishtar, which was prevalent in Mesopotamia could involve wild, frenzied dancing and bloody ritual celebrations of social and physical abnormality. The Sumerians were advanced: as well as inventing writing, early forms of mathematics, early wheeled vehicles/chariots, astronomy, astrology, written code of law, organised medicine, advanced agriculture and architecture, and the calendar. This theory of a Babylonian-derived Bible originated from the discovery of a stele in the acropolis of Susa bearing a Babylonian flood myth with many similarities to the flood of Genesis, the Epic of Gilgamesh. Some of these guidelines are found in the second tablet of the Šurpu incantation series. In the fourth millennium BC, the first evidence for what is recognisably Mesopotamian religion can be seen with the invention in Mesopotamia of writing circa 3500 BC. Mesopotamian religion, culture, history and mythology has influenced some forms of music. The earliest record of myth of Adapa is from the 14th century. What is known about Mesopotamian religion comes from archaeological evidence uncovered in the region, particularly numerous literary sources, which are usually written in Sumerian, Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian) or Aramaic using cuneiform script on clay tablets and which describe both mythology and cultic practices. […]. One of their prominent features was a terrifying brightness (melammu) which surrounded them, producing an immediate reaction of awe and reverence among men. Personal names show that each child was considered a gift from divinity. The Mesopotamian pantheon evolved greatly over the course of its history.  In the Epic of Creation, dated to 1200 BC, it explains that the god Marduk killed the mother goddess Tiamat and used half her body to create the earth, and the other half to create both the paradise of šamû and the netherworld of irṣitu. Then, two centuries later in 330 BC the Macedonian Greek emperor Alexander the Great overthrew the Persians and took control of Mesopotamia itself. Besides demons, there were also spirits of the dead, (etimmu) who could also cause mischief. , Every man also had duties to his fellow man which had some religious character, particularly the king's duties to his subjects. but who now served Anu and Enlil cooked meats, These devotees were often from a particular city or city-state that held that deity as its patron deity, for instance the god Enki was often associated with the city of Eridu in Sumer, the god Ashur with Assur and Assyria, Enlil with the Sumerian city of Nippur, Ishtar with the Assyrian city of Arbela, and the god Marduk was associated with Babylon. " Others, like Jean Bottéro, the author of Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia, disagreed, believing that it would be too complicated to divide the religion into many smaller groups, stating that: According to Panbabylonism, a school of thought founded by Hugo Winckler and held in the early 20th century among primarily German Assyriologists, there was a common cultural system extending over the ancient Near East which was overwhelmingly influenced by the Babylonians.  Marriages were often arranged by the parents of the bride and groom; engagements were usually completed through the approval of contracts recorded on clay tablets. Like many nations in Mesopotamian history, Assyria was originally, to a great extent, an oligarchy rather than a monarchy. However, much of the information and knowledge has survived, and great work has been done by historians and scientists, with the help of religious scholars and translators, to re-construct a working knowledge of the religious history, customs, and the role these beliefs played in everyday life in Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, Babylonia, Ebla and Chaldea during this time. The empire fell between 612 BC and 599 BC after a period of severe internal civil war in Assyria which soon spread to Babylonia, leaving Mesopotamia in a state of chaos. One of the remains was a duck-shaped bronze figurine with eyes made from bark which is thought to be dedicated to Nanshe. Similarly, they often acted like humans, requiring food and drink, as well as drinking alcohol and subsequently suffering the effects of drunkenness, but were thought to have a higher degree of perfection than common men. These were led by Nabopolassar of Babylon and Cyaxares of Media and Persia. Myth: How Marduk Became King. But I guess, this religion although not huge, give a small effect to Hinduism. Later in the story though, the god Enlil attempts to control overpopulation of humans through various methods, including famine, drought, and finally, a great flood. Eridu Gensis has a similar plot to that of the Akkadian myth, Atra-Hasis, though it is harder to tell what happens exactly in Eridu Gensis because the tablet upon which it was recorded is badly damaged. Ancient Hittite relief carving from Yazılıkaya, a sanctuary at Hattusa, depicting twelve gods of the underworld, whom the Hittites identified as the Mesopotamian Anunnaki. Duties seem to have been primarily of a cultic and ritual nature, although some prayers express a positive psychological relationship, or a sort of conversion experience in regard to a god. the major difference must have been fire worship and construction of the temples. The rituals, practices and the henotheistic ordering of Mesopotamian religion(s) have a striking resemblance to modern day Hinduism and its photo-variants. […] known about the old Persian polytheism.  They were thought to be countless in number, and were thought to even attack the gods as well. Incense was also burned before the image, because it was thought that the gods enjoyed the smell. , Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic, thereby accepting the existence of many different deities, both male and female, though it was also henotheistic, with certain gods being viewed as superior to others by their specific devotees. The story follows the Sumerian king Gilgamesh, typically regarded as a historical figure, and his good friend, Enkidu through various adventures and quests that eventually lead to Enkidu’s death. It has also inspired various contemporary neo-pagan groups. Rather, Mesopotamian religion was a consi… She made them out of a mixture of clay, flesh, and blood from a slain god. In the second millennium BC, personal gods began to function more on behalf of the common man, with whom he had a close, personal relationship, maintained through prayer and maintenance of his god's statue. , There are no specific written records explaining Mesopotamian religious cosmology that survive today. The religious development of Mesopotamia and Mesopotamian culture in general was not particularly influenced by the movements of the various peoples into and throughout the area, particularly the south. This is largely because Berossus wrote that the Mesopotamians believed the world to last "twelve times twelve sars"; with a sar being 3,600 years, this would indicate that at least some of the Mesopotamians believed that the Earth would only last 518,400 years. , Initially, the pantheon was not ordered, but later Mesopotamian theologians came up with the concept of ranking the deities in order of importance. Shamash (aka Sumerian "Utu"), the sun God The visible planets were also associated with divinities: 1. When they get too be too numerous, loud, or otherwise bothersome, the gods attempt to control the population through plagues, droughts, and most famously, the great flood. These stories tended to focus on a great hero, following their journey through trials or simply important events in their life. The ruler presided over the assembly and carried out its decisions. Other artifacts can also be useful when reconstructing Mesopotamian religion. Mesopotamian religion is thought to have been an influence on subsequent religions throughout the world, including Canaanite, Aramean, and ancient Greek. History of Definitive Guideline. It chronicles the birth of the gods, the world, and man, whose purpose was to serve the gods and lighten their work load. Mesopotamia’s historical existence corresponds to the Bronze Age i. e. roughly between 3rd millennium till 10th century AD. The religion of the Neo-Assyrian Empire centered around the Assyrian king as the king of their lands as well. These works were primarily preserved on stone or clay tablets and were written in cuneiform by scribes.  Sometimes an attempt was made to capture a demon by making an image of it, placing it above the head of a sick person, then destroying the image, which the demon was somehow likely to inhabit. The Sumerians remained largely dominant in this synthesised culture, however, until the rise of the Akkadian Empire under Sargon of Akkad circa 2335 BC, which united all of Mesopotamia under one ruler.. The myth possibly has Assyrian roots, as a fragmented version may have been found in the library of Ashusbanipal, though translations remain unsure. This reflects an interaction and a relationship between the worshipper and the god and is something that has also been adopted by monotheistic religions as well. During this period the Syriac language and Syriac script evolved in Assyria, and were centuries later to be the vehicle for the spread of Syriac Christianity throughout the near east.  In many cases, the various deities were family relations of one another, a trait found in many other polytheistic religions. The Persians maintained and did not interfere in the native culture and religion and Assyria and Babylon continued to exist as entities (although Chaldea and the Chaldeans disappeared), and Assyria was strong enough to launch major rebellions against Persia in 522 and 482 BC.  Though the full number of gods and goddesses found in Mesopotamia is not known, K. Tallqvist, in his Akkadische Götterepitheta (1938) counted around two thousand four hundred that we now know about, most of which had Sumerian names. As a nation Mesopotamia corresponds to modern day Iraq, Kuwait, northeastern part of Syria, part of southeastern turkey, and some parts of southeastern Iran. This story is used as an explanation for humankind’s mortality, it is associated with the fall of man narrative that is also present in Christianity. The people of Mesopotamia originally consisted of two groups, East Semitic Akkadian speakers (later divided into the Assyrians and Babylonians) and the people of Sumer, who spoke a language isolate. Image Credit: pinterest According to all Mesopotamian religion facts written ever, the goddess Ishtar or Inannawas one of the most prominent deities worshiped by Babylonians as well as Sumerians. Mesopotamian mythology refers to the myths, religious texts, and other literature that comes from the region of ancient Mesopotamia in modern-day West Asia. He was not referred to with the usual Akkadian term for "king", šarrum; that was instead reserved for the city's patron deity Ashur, of whom the ruler was the high priest. , Each Mesopotamian city was home to a deity, and each of the prominent deities was the patron of a city, and all known temples were located in cities, though there may have been shrines in the suburbs. The nuclear dates of the civilization appear to be about 2500–1700 BCE, though the southern sites may have lasted later into the 2nd millennium BCE. The Amorite dynasty was deposed in 1595 BC after attacks from mountain-dwelling people known as the Kassites from the Zagros Mountains, who went on to rule Babylon for over 500 years. Other theories treat the tower as an image of the cosmic mountain where a dying and rising god "lay buried." This was even taken to the point that everything he experienced was considered a reflection of what was happening to his personal god. This disregard for human life emphasizes the hierarchy that existed in the Mesopotamian consciousness, with humans existing as subjects to the will of the gods. ", Mesopotamian temples were originally built to serve as dwelling places for the god, who was thought to reside and hold court on earth for the good of the city and kingdom. everywhere I listened, it was the bearers of crowns, The Gloomy Gods & Goddesses. Be helpful, do good", Ethno-linguistic group(s) indigenous to the, Effect of Assyrian religious beliefs on its political structure, Curtis, John (November 2003). The image was dressed and served banquets twice a day. These peoples were members of various city-states and small kingdoms. In Mesopotamian religion, the city god of Girsu. The Spiritual Life © 2020. everywhere I looked there were royal crowns gathered in heaps, Religion: Mesopotamian people worshiped hundreds of Gods everyday. However, some of the... ... [Trackback] [...] Find More Informations here: slife.org/western-slang-lingo-and-phrases/ [...], ... [Trackback] [...] Read More: slife.org/winston-churchill-quotes/ [...], ... [Trackback] [...] Read More: slife.org/mens-rights-movement/ [...]. The Sumerians regarded their divinities as responsible for all matters pertaining to the natural and social orders.  Assyria and Babylonia later became provinces under the Parthian Empire (Athura and province of Babylonia), Rome (province of Assyria) and Sassanid Empire (province of Asuristan). If you have any suggestions, questions or need help please feel free to contact us. Dictionary of the Ancient Near East published by the British Museum in London has beautifully summarised the Mesopotamian concept of god:-“ The gods of the Ancient Near Eastern peoples, in historical times, were almost without exception anthropomorphic, male or female. The second half of the epic deal with Gilgamesh, distressed about the death of his friend and his own impending mortality, as he searches for immortality. Several lengthy pieces have survived, some of which are considered the oldest stories in the world, and have given historians insight into Mesopotamian ideology and cosmology. ", The ancient Mesopotamians believed in an afterlife that was a land below our world. In March 2020, archaeologists announced the discovery of a 5,000-year-old cultic area filled with more than 300 broken ceremonial ceramic cups, bowls, jars, animal bones and ritual processions dedicated to Ningirsu at the site of Girsu. In her Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamian Religion, Tammi J. Schneider offers readers a compact guide to the historical religions of Tigris and Euphrates regions, covering everything from the beginning of the Bronze Age through the time of Alexander the Great and Darius III. The Achaemenid Empire conquered the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 539 BC, after which the Chaldeans disappeared from history, although Mesopotamian people, culture and religion continued to endure after this. Assyria defeated the Hittites and Mitanni, and its growing power forced the New Kingdom of Egypt to withdraw from the Near East. This brought to an end over 3,000 years of Semitic Mesopotamian dominance of the Near East. These contributions have greatly aided later societies.  Examples of this include not alienating and causing dissension between friends and relatives, setting innocent prisoners free, being truthful, being honest in trade, respecting boundary lines and property rights, and not putting on airs with subordinates. These peoples were not originally one united nation, but members of various different city-states. The Akkadian-speaking Semites are believed to have entered the region at some point between 3500 BC and 3000 BC, with Akkadian names first appearing in the regnal lists of these states c. 29th century BC. It was thought that one of the reasons the gods gave power to the king was to exercise justice and righteousness, described as mēšaru and kettu, literally "straightness, rightness, firmness, truth". Occasionally, the king shared in these meals, and the priests may have had some share in the offerings as well. Read here to learn more about Mesopotamian religion. London: Darling Kindersley Company. Enuma Elis (also spelled Enuma Elish) is a Babylonian creation myth with an unclear composition, though it possibly dates back to the Bronze Age. Various new religious movements in the 20th and 21st centuries have been founded that venerate some of the deities found in ancient Mesopotamian religion, including various strains of neopaganism that have adopted the worship of the historical Mesopotamian gods. Adapa was a Sumerian citizen who was blessed by the god Enki with immeasurable intelligence. Mesopotamia had a Sumerian and a Babylonian version. Gilgamesh and the Tree of Eternal Life. This has prompted one scholar to make the claim that the Mesopotamian's "entire existence was infused by their religiosity, just about everything they have passed on to us can be used as a source of knowledge about their religion.  Generally the reward to mankind is described as success and long life. In the end he fails, but he comes to terms with the fact that he is eventually going to die and returns to his city of Uruk a wiser king. In the mid-third millennium BC, some rulers regarded a particular god or gods as being their personal protector. The Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC) was the most dominant power on earth and the largest empire the world had yet seen between the 10th century BC and the late 7th century BC, with an empire stretching from Cyprus in the west to central Iran in the east, and from the Caucasus in the north to Nubia, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula in the south, facilitating the spread of Mesopotamian culture and religion far and wide under emperors such as Ashurbanipal, Tukulti-Ninurta II, Tiglath-Pileser III, Shalmaneser IV, Sargon II, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. Adapa’s accidental refusal to eat the food of immortality offered to him by the gods is used as an explanation for the fact that humans die. Each Mesopotamian city, whether Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian or Assyrian, had its own patron god or goddess. Since the Hebrews and non-Hebrews lived side by side in Mesopotamia, there may have been some borrowing in language or other minor matters. By historical times they resided in southern Mesopotamia, which was known as Sumer (and much later, Babylonia), and had considerable influence on the Akkadian speakers and their culture. Assyria, having been the dominant power in the region with the Old Assyrian Empire between the 20th and 18th centuries BC before the rise of Hammurabi, once more became a major power with the Middle Assyrian Empire (1391–1050 BC). Nonetheless, evidence suggests that premarital sex was a common, but surreptitious, occurrence. Ancient Assyrian statue currently in the Louvre, possibly representing Gilgamesh. Circa 1750 BC, the Amorite ruler of Babylon, King Hammurabi, conquered much of Mesopotamia, but this empire collapsed after his death, and Babylonia was reduced to the small state it had been upon its founding. In the 3rd century CE another native Mesopotamian religion flourished, Manicheanism, which incorporated elements of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism, as well as local Mesopotamian elements. Wall plaque showing libations by devotees and a naked priest, to a seated god and a temple. Als Exorzismus (latinisiert aus griechisch ἐξορκισμός, exorkismós, das Hinausbeschwören) wird die religiöse Praxis bezeichnet, Dämonen bzw. Religion was central to Mesopotamians as they believed the divine affected every aspect of human life. , One of the most important of these early Mesopotamian deities was the god Enlil, who was originally a Sumerian divinity viewed as a king of the gods and a controller of the world, who was later adopted by the Akkadians. Their personal god received a great deal of their worship time and attention. Gilgamesh Makes A Friend - illustrated PowerPoint for kids. Similarly the Sumerian moon god Nanna became the Akkadian Sîn while the Sumerian sun god Utu became the Akkadian Shamash.  The Assyrian king, while not being a god himself, was acknowledged as the chief servant of the chief god, Ashur. Adad or Ishkur - god of storms, venerated as a supreme power especially in Syria and Lebanon Davis, A. H. (2007). For in one hour your judgment has come.' The concept, also found in the ancient Mesopotamian religions, can be found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam ; a similar concept is also … Stories like these can be found in many different cultures around the world, and often give insight into the values of those societies. "The Achaemenid Period in Northern Iraq" (PDF). The last positively recorded worship of Ashur and other Assyrian gods dates back to the 3rd century AD. 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