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How Did Ancient Culture Influence Western Culture

Since the ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians weren’t as scientifically advanced as we are in the modern world they put their faith in “higher powers”. The ancient people did have faith and served many gods. I want to show the many differences in the ancient people thoughts on the creation story and the christianity story. Also how there are many similarities in between the stories which are very interesting. I also want to talk about how things that were started in times such as 7000 BCE have migrated through time and we still see things they were doing in the modern world.

To show just how influential the ancient people were to the development of humankind. With very severe weather episodes such as great floods, sandstorms, and horrific heat, the ancient humans began to turn to what they thought were causing these things which were gods. For example, the god of the weather which was Enlil and the god of heavens and the sky An. The ancient people believed if they worshipped these gods things in nature would turn in the favor such as receiving healthy crops and fair weather. Also according to Ancient humans in this time the sumerian gods created the human race.

The Egyptian creation story starts with Enlil who was like the god of the gods. ”ENLIL, having charge of the earth put the other gods to work digging the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Tired of their condition and at the instigation of one of the gods they burned their tools one night and surrounded ENLIL’s house. ENLIL was alarmed and sent for AN and ENKI. After the striking gods told them that the work was killing them and that they would not continued ENLIL burst into tears and offered his resignation. ENKI then proposed a compromise. They would create man to bear the burden to that the gods would be free.

With the birth goddess, NINTUR, ENKI used the flesh and blood of the strike’s ringleader to fashion clay into 7 male and 7 female embryos in the “house of destiny”. After 9 months humanity was born and put to work. ”(Atrahasis and Human Creation). This is the basics of the creation story which shows how the Tigris and Euphrates rivers came about. Humans were brought to work the lands. This story is a little similar to the Adam and Eve story after Adam ate the fruit, man was condemned to work the land for the rest of its days. The ancient people believed either one of these ways is how they arrived either from enlil or from god.

Often these episodes of bad weather which seemed bad such as the flooding of the nile after it was over actually produced good effects on the land. “The waters of the Nile swelled annually, beginning in August. At their peak in September, they reached nearly twenty feet above their low ebb in April and May, bringing more than one hundred million tons of rich sediment to replenish the banks. ” The people began to take note of the rich soil the flooding of the nile created and began to set up communities near the river’s edge around 5000 B. C.

Although that these floods were very dangerous the people began to prepare for the floods and little by little became familiar with the weather. Also another reason the floods were very influential is because this area was basically desert. The flooding was one of the only sources for water, so they had to take the good with the bad. “Even though they didn’t start farming until around 3500 B. C. the river was influential to other things such as water for flocks, and plant life. The little communities that formed up alongside the river were called nomes and eventually began to expand and until the entire kingdom was under one rule in 3150 BCE. Cultures of the West)

We have seen communities forming around areas of water for hundreds of years now cities such as Charleston and Savannah were settled because of the resources of water. These areas are great for things like soil, plant life and with access to the water it’s easier to move goods from place to place. The early doing of the ancient world had a drastic effect on western civilization from things such as farming and leadership. The early humans showed us which months were for planting, which for harvesting, and which months were not smart to grow.

Also how important natural resources were such as water, trees, and soil. In terms of the leadership they gave us forms of democracy. Also how the leaders took the role to protect the people “given their joint responsiblilty for protecting their people from harm, kings and priests have traditionally worked together”(Cultures of the West) which took care of mental protection. As we see today in countries in the middle east when religious powers collide the city can be in turmoil. So in these early times it was normal the priest and ruler usually governed together creating what is called a facto theocracy.

Also implementing things such as the military to physically protect people from the harm of neighbors. We have adopted all these principles and ways of thinking which we still use thousands of years later. Another comparison which humans have longed adopted from the ancient humans was slavery. Although it wasn’t really a racial things it’s where this started, slaves in these times were usually either prisoners of war or in debt. “The practice may have begun as the offering of a child as collateral for a loan or as a ransom against a promise to repay a debt. Failure to repay resulted in child’s permanent loss of freedom.

Also this may have been a time were slaves weren’t in the fields taking on hard labor. ”(Cultures of the West) Children were some of the first slaves usually would do chore-like work to eventually debts. The Sumerians kept their slaves from backbreaking work of tilling the land and maintaining irrigation canals. Slaves were used instead to help around the house and work yard. Also we have taken away from the first settlements of people abiding by written law and citizens having to pay taxes. ”Written law emerged from an effort to reform society by restricting the rights of the powerful.

Parts of their laws that some countries are still enforcing today are the right to evict tenants and seize their property, exempt widows and orphans from paying taxes, and oblige the government to meet the funeral expenses of the poor. ” You need written law to keep people in check and make sure individual groups or people have too much power. Make sure things are done in a good manner, while making sure all your citizens are protected by the law against these powerful people The ancient Egyptians followed a concept called Ma’at in which was Harmony and stability achieved by justice and right living.

Ma’at in practice, was a kind of moral stasis, an acceptance of the world as it is, a reluctance to change anything for fear that the result might be worse than the reality already experienced. The Ma’at to ancient Egyptians was a way of life or something to try and live by also something very similar to christians to try and live by the ten commandments. ”(Cultures of the West) The concept that people should try and have a moral conscience break these ways of living. Nothing happened if you didn’t live up to these expectations it was just something to strive and be. Ma’at, acceptance of the world’s right ordering, remains the dominant focus and the supreme virtue.

To the extent that Osiris and his council truly judged anyone’s ethical behavior in life, they did so according to the dead soul’s record of sustaining ma’at, which in most cases meant no performing injustice”. Also this is like Christianity where you are dead when you face god but soul is still alive. You are judged on the good and bad you did while you were you alive. The ancient humans have contributed in many ways but the most important to most people is having faith. They had deep souls, gave thanks for small blessings, but kept wary eye open for all manner of the world’s senseless agony.

Among their many extraordinary contributions to western culture was the invention of the conscious search for meaning in life. And that may be their most important contribution of all. ”(Cultures of the West) With probably half of the seven billion in the world believe in some sort of higher power whether they are buddhist, christian, or muslim. The beliefs in different gods and faith were created by these people who had little information but knew it was something out there greater than them.

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