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Religion And Politics In Early Civilization

1087 words - 4 pages

The differences between ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Greek civilizations can be seen through their religion and politics. As citied in the first section, we will look at religion and then politics in the second section."When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dace and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that hold your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man." Excerpt from Epic of Gilgamesh. This shows that the gods were pessimistic; they lived forever, but no matter what man did, he would always die."All beasts are content with their pasturage; Trees and plants are flourishing. The birds which fly from their nests, Their wings are (stretched out) in praise to thy ka" ka meaning soul. Excerpt from Hymn to Aton. as seen here, the god gives a ka, our a soul to live beyond death, also Akhenaten, as well as all creatures, praise the gods work. This is viewed as a optimistic religion. Although the worship of Aton was not widely accepted, the views it suggested were similar in all of Egypt.The Greeks have a strange view of religion. It is partially pessimistic, partially optimistic. This can be seen here. "Zeus, and you other gods, grant that this boy of mine may be, like me, pre-eminent in Troy; as strong and brave as I; a mighty king of Ilium{Troy}. May people say, when he comes back from battle, "˜Here is a better man than his father.' Let him bring home the bloodstained armour of the enemy he has killed, and make his mother happy". The prayers to Zeus by Hector from The Iliad shows that the Greeks were war-like (pessimistic) yet still were happy people (optimistic).In comparison, the Mesopotamians were very pessimistic; opposite to them were the Egyptians who were very optimistic, and finally the Greeks who were somewhere in the middle."196. If a man knocked out the eye of an patrician, his eye shall be knocked out. [...] 198. If he has knocked out the eye of a plebeian [...], he shall pay one mina of silver. 199. If he has knocked out the eye of a patricians servant, [...] he shall pay half his value." Excerpt from the Code of Hammurabi. As you can see here the legal system of the ancient Mesopotamians was very strict, although it was lightened for the upperclass(patricians)."I gave to the poor and nourished the orphan, I caused him that was nothing to reach the goal, even as him that was of account.... None hungered in my years, none thirsted in them. Men dwelt in (peace) through that which I wrought;... All that I commanded was as it should be..." Excerpted from Guidelines for The Ruler (Amenemhet I to his son.). As seen in this quote, the pharaoh Amenenhet told his son about his rule, that it was a just and fair rule, yet he still was the ruler. The legal system of Egypt was handed...

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