Ancient Civilizations ISP
Ancient civilizations are fascinating, and two noteworthy aspects of them are art and religion. Although art is not exactly religion, it can contrast well with it. Since the fist civilizations, art has been used to help interpret the Gods, and connect them to society. This has been around for thousands of years and is still utilized in modern day society. Comparing civilizations like Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece demonstrate that the advancement of art and literature changed how the gods were perceived.
Mesopotamia was one of the earliest civilizations in the world and was very long lasting. This was for several reasons; the Mesopotamians were geographically blessed, having resources like wheat, barley, sheep and water. This allowed them to stay in one place and set up a civilization. Since the Mesopotamians didn’t need to dedicate all their people to gather food, some of them could specialize in other areas of work. This resulted in more artwork dedicated towards their Gods. The art mainly consisted of two-dimensional carvings on terracotta, a baked clay substance. Statues were also engineered for the Gods, yet remained fairly simple. They were constructed of basic geometric shapes like cones and cylinders, and were designed from clay. With little detail or defining features on the statues, the level of importance was mainly based on the height of the statue. Asides from the artwork, Mesopotamia also created the first known form of writing, called cuneiform. The writing was etched onto soft clay tablets, in fact the name means, “wedge” in Latin. [endnoteRef:1]Cuneiform was mainly used for keeping daily records and transactions; it was not used for stories and tales of religion as often. Due to writings about religion being less common, the Mesopotamian Gods remained fairly basic, with very general powers. Mesopotamian Gods also portrayed little emotion other than anger and punishment. Mesopotamia wasn’t especially known for having an awesome religion. They believed in Gods but cities and armies were constantly fighting, so the religion was changed and tampered with, over the years. [1: Joshua J. Mark, “Cuneiform,” Ancient History Encyclopedia, last modified April 28, 2011, http://www.ancient.eu /cuneiform/.]
Just East of Mesopotamia was ancient Egypt. Located close to the Nile, the Egyptians prospered. Under the command of Menes, the first Pharaoh of Egypt, the people were unified and progressive, since they were able to predict annual floods. The Egyptians were very dedicated to their religion and spent years working on pyramids and tombs for their pharos’s, in order for them to be blessed in the after life. Advancement of the Egyptian art demonstrated how importantly they viewed their Gods. After Cuneiform was created in Mesopotamia, Egypt developed a system of writing called hieroglyphs. But unlike the Mesopotamia, Egypt had a more of a religious use for it’s writing; often engraving it in monuments ...