Western Civilization Mesopotamian Religion Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1979 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Western Civilization

Mesopotamian religion is the first to be recorded. Because they had very little knowledge on the universe, Mesopotamians believed that they were surrounded by water, and that the world was born out of that immense body of water. Also, their religious faith was polytheistic, and they sought to explain everything around them by interpreting what they believed to be messages from the gods. Unlike Mesopotamian faith, Judaism is a monotheistic religion, and has no principles of faith that are recognized by all Jews. Also, it has no central religious authority and is considered to be centered on the individual to a larger extent than the other formal religions. However, central authority resides in the sacred writings and traditions that are still closely respected today. Judaism supports the thesis of the oneness of God; traditional Judaism maintains that God established a covenant with the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, and revealed his laws and commandments to them in the form of the Torah. Unlike Judaism, Ancient Egyptian faith was based on a multitude of gods and goddesses. Also, when referring to Egyptian faith, one must take into consideration that there were three stages in its development i.e. from the Old Kingdom through to its decline when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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2. Minoan civilization is the earliest form of early Greek culture spanning from 3000 to 1300 B.C.E., and was named after the mythical king Minos. By contrast, the Mycenaean civilization dates back to 1900-1100 B.C.E. so it is considerably younger than the Minoan. This was the age of the Greek heroes that would represent the basis for the myths of the Ancient Greeks. Archeological evidence have indicated that the Minoan religion was a combination of various practices consisting of the worshipping of the Earth Mother, the Bull, and certain elements that are to be found in present-day Greek religion. The Minoan society was structured according to class hierarchy; however, archeologists have uncovered an interesting fact related to this culture i.e. that they had virtually no weapons or fortifications because the Minoans were farmers and traders as opposed to the Mycenaean culture which was militaristic and aggressive. In fact, the Mycenaean kingdom was a very early confederation made up of small kingdoms that were annexed. Unlike the Mycenaean culture which is regarded as the cornerstone of Greek heritage, Ancient Greeks did not consider the Minoan culture as a significant part of their heritage.

3. Polis is the ancient Greek word for 'city', 'state' and the combination of city and state, the 'city-state'. It has often been said that the polis, as a form of state and society, was the basis of the whole of Greek civilization. The ancient Greek polis was a city-state; when historians talk about city-states, they are referring first and foremost to ancient Greece, and to the cities of north Italy in the Middle Ages. City-states, including those of ancient Greece, have exhibited a series of four common traits: (1) a degree of urbanization unexampled in major states before the Industrial Revolution, which began in the second half of the eighteenth century; (2) an economy based on trade and centered on the city's market; (3) a political decision-making process whereby laws and decrees were not always dictated by a monarch, but were often passed by majority votes after a debate in an assembly, which mostly was a selection from among the better-class citizens; (4) interaction between city-states, which resulted in the rise of leagues of states and federal states (Hansen: 3). From this perspective, the polis was a unique institution which comprised the principles of politics as formulated by Plato and Aristotle, and applied them to the act of government itself. Present-day Western States or America are based on a high degree of urbanization and industrialization, as well as democracy and membership in international alliances and treaties.

4. Slavery was a basic element of Roman society. Slaves were acquired like any other form of property i.e. By inheritance, gift or purchase. Of course, the richer the owner, the more slaves he owned. Also, owning a large number of slaves increased a man's prestige and social status. One of the most common methods of slave acquisition was either during warfare when prisoners were turned into slaves, or as a result of bankruptcy as the citizen in question had the possibility of selling himself into slavery. Moreover, the head of the family had the right to sell any of his children, or even his wife, into slavery. The decline of slavery was one of the reasons that caused the decline of the Roman Empire because the Romans built their entire economy on slavery, so when the number of slaves decreased, manpower also declined hence their economy was deeply affected.

5. The history of what would become the Roman Empire starts in the period of time between 2000 and 1000 B.C.E., when Indo-European immigrants slowly inhabit the Italian Peninsula. During the 8th century B.C.E., the Greek and Etruscan tribes settle in different regions of the peninsula. According to archeological research, Rome was founded by the settlers located in the area south of the Tiber River. By the 6th century B.C.E., Rome will have gained control over most of its surrounding areas. In 509 B.C.E., the Roman monarchy is overthrown and replaced with a republic. For the following two centuries of the Roman Republic, Rome is constantly at war with the other inhabitants of Italy, more precisely the Etruscans and the Greeks. In 265 B.C.E., Rome completes its domination of the entire Italian peninsula and begins its pursuit of a larger empire which is concretized through wars with the other peoples. Although formidable adversaries, the Etruscans were not able to seize power of the Peninsula due to external and internal pressure generated especially by Roman attacks, the threats posed by the Gallic tribes, and internal rivalries which torn the Etruscan cities apart.

6. In the 2nd century B.C.E., Rome continued its expansion into the eastern Mediterranean achieving complete control over it between 230 and 133 B.C.E. Initially, Rome intervened in this region in an attempt to protect itself from possible threats, and to impede the Greek city-states territorial advances. Rome did not annex any territory at first, and treated Greece and Asia Minor as protectorates, but when the stability of the Aegean was again threatened in 179 B.C.E., Rome changed its policy and conquered Macedon. However, the Romans realized that exercising direct rule over the eastern part of the Mediterranean meant vast riches for the Roman state, as well as honor and power for its military leaders. It is safe to conclude that even though Rome initially wanted to protect itself from the Greek threat, its control over Asia Minor was also based on the Roman thirst for geographical expansion, wealth and fame.

7. The Western Roman Empire declined during the 5th century C.E due to weak military capabilities, scarce population and economic problems. However, its legacy was not erased. The Eastern part of the Empire continued and lasted until the middle of the 15th century. The dismantlement of this part of the Empire led to the creation of Western culture because the Mediterranean was a united cultural area. It was dominated by the Church of Rome, and its culture survived through the widespread use of Latin.

8. The five basic tenets of Islam represent the fundamental principles that govern the Muslim faith and people. The first tenet refers to the oneness of Allah, the creator of the universe whose power is infinite and absolute. The belief in angels is related to the first tenet in the sense that angels are seen as intermediaries who obtain the forgiveness of the faithful from Allah. The second tenet states that Muhammad was the last of the great prophets. The third stipulates that the Qur'an is the last of the sacred books i.e. The Torah, Psalms, and the Gospels of Jesus. The fourth tenet refers to life on Earth, and how it much be conducted by humans. Life is seen as a preparation for the eternal life that awaits for the faithful i.e. those who believe in Allah, obey the Qur'an, praise Muhammad and fulfill the five pillars of Islam. The last tenet states that after the Final Judgment, the faithful will go to Heaven whereas the sinners will be sent to eternal Hell. The Arab conquests of territories started after the death of the Prophet Muhammad thanks to his ability to establish a unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula, a polity which would expand far beyond the Peninsula and develop into a vast Muslim Arab Empire. The Arab Empire's main contribution resides in a cultural unity that they imposed through language and religion which still defines the Middle East today. Moreover, alliances were made, trade routes were opened, lands and peoples were welded into a new force which relied on the dynamism of Islam. New discoveries were made in various fields such as mathematics, astronomy, medicine, horticulture and navigation; these discoveries increased… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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