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The Fertile Crescent Sumerian Religion

Cosmology and the Pantheon

The type of society that will be living in the Sumerian pantheon is the post-human society. Post-human is a concept that mainly refers to the entity that exists in a state beyond normal human understanding. It originates from the science fields of futurology, fiction, philosophy, and contemporary arts, which bases on addressing the intellectual aspirations of interdisciplinary (Wallace & Raymond 43). The post-human society is a community in an individual’s ascent or an entity that lies in a state that is beyond human understanding. The Fertile Crescent Sumerian religion is a pantheon of the Sumerian civilizations. It is a religion mainly influenced by Mesopotamian mythology, which survives in the anticipated mythologies of the Acadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Hurrians.

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Generally, it was regarded as the first civilized people of Sumer in Mesopotamia, in which they were considered to be literate. They believed their existing divinities to be matters, which consisted of social and natural orders. Concerning the religion’s history, it began before the onset of Kingship in Sumer. The city-states were ruled by priests and other religious leaders (Wallace & Raymond 48). Later, the role was divided among kings after their onset, which changed the Sumerian communities. They constructed simple Sumerian temples which have one room, and other individuals built them on elevated platforms. However, the onset of civilization compelled the priests and other religious leaders to develop the structures into Ziggurats, tall pyramidal structures with sanctuaries at their tops.

Set of Substantive beliefs

The Sumerian religion mainly believed that the entire universe had originated from a series of cosmic births. At first, they consider the primeval waters (Nammu) to have given birth to the sky (An) and the earth (Ki). The sky and earth mated to give birth to a son named Enhil, the key separator of heaven and earth. He claimed that the earth was his domain and had all the powers to dominate it. Humans are believed to have been made by Enki, the son of An and Nammu. Their god was reserved for deities, and those who died went to a commonplace irrespective of their comportment while alive. Sumerians believed that all the dead spirits went to Kur- a cold and dark cavern located underneath the earth- which was ruled by an Ereshkigal (a goddess) who fed the dead souls with dry dust particles (Wallace & Raymond 43). Among the Sumerians, Nergal was the god of death, believed to be the cause of death among all religions. The religious conviction envisioned the entire universe as a closed dome surrounded by primordial saline water from the sea. There was an ocean with freshwater beneath the earth called Apsu, with An as the deity of the dome-shaped turmoil. It was considered that the underground part was an extension of the Ki goddess but advanced later into an essential notion of Kur.

However, the Sumerians were dominated by Akkadians in the 2000s BC, in which they syncretized their gods, completely losing their original collaborations with the natural environment. They inaugurated their gods as living mortals in a feudal community with a class structure that Sumerians specified (Wallace & Raymond 48). As a result, they considered their powerful Inanna and Enki to have received their powers from Enlil, who was the powerful and the chief of all gods. Religion can be viewed as polytheism because they believed in several gods. Society was generally considered post-human because all the gods that were addressed, the inclusion of Enlil, were immortals and were beyond the normal understanding of human beings. They could not be seen, and the Sumerians mainly believed that they existed.

Myths

During their prayers, they stated that the wrath of god might be appeased, implying that Sumerians mainly connected their prayers to the pacification of their gods. During their prayers, no movement was allowed because they settled at one temple to show their gratitude to their gods. Their myths were inherited from one generation through the oral tradition, which proceeded till writing was invented. After the writing invention of the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ was written, they kept their cuneiform as a tool for record-keeping. They worshipped through hymns, which were a form of enchantment using a tool called namsub (Wallace & Raymond 43). The religion was against the eating of pork, just as Muslims were because they considered a pig to be possessed by evil spells. The idea of post-humanism compelled the individuals to believe that their gods were seeing them whenever they prayed and offered their sacrifices. Finally, drought, earthquakes, famine, and other natural disasters were indicators of the wrath of their gods. The mentioned aspects implied that their gods were not happy with them and what they were doing.

Religious Values

The religion had a system of values comprising what the believers were supposed to do and prohibited them from doing. The Sumerians were highly fascinating and influential individuals. They had changed the entire population of Mesopotamia (Wallace & Raymond 60). However, they had some values and beliefs that mainly set them apart from other individuals. They believed that men still required some essential laws to govern them and ensure that they consequently followed the required rules even after death. They stated that only immortals had the power to dwell in Sumerian paradise (Eden); hence, each human was supposed to die. There was no chance of salvation in the religion, which was a key belief that separated them from other religions. They valued meticulous record-keeping, which allowed them to look back at some of the older cases and use the solutions to solve the existing issues in their legal process. Using Wallace’s discussion in his book, the Sumerian religion believes in Human sacrifice in which they drilled pits and threw humans to offer their gifts (Wallace & Raymond 65).

During the sacrifice, no one was supposed to keep their distance because they believed their gods saw them and were interested in their gift. They wore sewed animals’ hides and were prohibited from removing the fleece from their coats. They pierced their ears and wore bracelets and necklaces to ensure that they kept themselves sacred. Women were not allowed to remove their bracelets unless they got married because Sumerians considered in their religion that a married woman was the responsibility of their husband. However, the wealthy individuals wore golden and silver bracelets, which were just a signification of their class differences. There was a group of the poor and the rich; the wealthy merchants were supposed to offer half of their wealth to the temples to please their god, while the poor worked as servants in the temples.

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The ritual that brings the Myths to Life

Ziggurats and the temple ritual are key practices that bring life to the myths discussed in the paper. The temple mainly dominated Sumerian city life in which every specific temple had a particular deity in which the city worshiped and suffered the whims of the god. The myths supported is that a terrible event meant that god had abandoned the temple and could only come back if the believers performed a powerful ritual with a human sacrifice. The temples were constructed with gates where gifts and songs presided in which there was a pool of basins for the traditions involved in purification rituals (Wallace & Raymond 71). Besides, the temple ritual brings to life the myth that the concept of 60 minutes in an hour resulted from the sacred number 60, which was assigned to Anu who was the father of gods. The 60 contained a prototype of all the religious rituals.

Work Cited

Wallace, Anthony F.C., and Raymond D. Fogelson. “Culture and personality.” Biennial Review of Anthropology (1961): 42-78.

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