Early Temple Architechture And Temple Worship From Ancient Near East, Egypt And Greece

1314 words - 5 pages

The cultures of the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece all had one thing in common: religious worship. These cultures built temples to their gods and worshipped them with different customs and traditions. As a whole, they believed that the gods reside above the world of the humans, and to get closer to their gods, built temples on platforms trying to reach them on a physical level. They had elaborate artwork dedicated to the gods in the temples and created votive offerings for the gods. However, the cultures and separate time periods all had their own unique way of designing the temples and the artwork that celebrated them.In the Ancient Near East, rulers and priests directed all communal activities. Here they created city-states, which reflected the local god's central role. The god's temple formed the city's monumental nucleus. A well-preserved temple and early example of Sumerian architecture is the White Temple at Uruk. Its 5000-year-old design is one of mud brick and set upon a ziggurat, which shows the people's desire to provide monumental settings for the worship of their deities. The temples are referred to as "waiting rooms" which is a belief that the deity would come down from the heavens to appear before priests in the cella. Further insight into Near Eastern religious belief comes from statuettes representing mortals in prayer found in various temples. These votive figures purpose was to offer continuous prayers to the gods on their donors' behalf and were laid to wait in the "waiting room" for the gods to appear. The chief deity of the ancient Near East was Anu, the god of the sky and of the city of Uruk. The Ziggurat at Ur is one of the greatest in Mesopotamia and is much larger than the one at Uruk. Here the priests go to pray on top of the mound, which in turn gets them closer to the heavens and the gods. Gudea, of the Neo-Sumerian age, wanted to show his devotion to the gods by making many diorite, statues which were a symbol of his enduring testimony and piety. An impressive wonder from Babylon was the Marduk ziggurat, or the biblical Tower of Babel. There were eight towers in all, each one reaching higher than the next until you reached the last tower where there was an enormous temple. Inside contained a large couch and golden table where you could wait for the god to come to you in person.The Egyptians had their own distinct view on how the world was created that was different from that of their neighbors. They believed that in the beginning there just existed primeval water, Nun, and a mound rose out of the waters and the creator god appeared and brought light to the world. Their belief of the creation was a common theme in the temples of the Egyptians, such as in the Temple of Amen-Re. It had an artificial sacred lake in reference to the primeval waters before creation and the temple represented the mound that rose up out of the waters. Even the columns in the temple make reference to the swamp as they are carved in a...

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