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Monotheism and polytheism – West Asian religion

By |2018-09-23T06:26:07+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

The Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar or Inanna What is polytheism? The earliest people in West Asia were all polytheistic: they all worshipped many gods. From 3000 BC to 539 BC, the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Assyrians and the Babylonians all worshipped pretty much the same set of gods, despite their cultural differences. The most important of these gods was Ea. Ishtar was the most important [...]

Who is Ahura Mazda? Zoroastrianism and West Asian religion

By |2018-06-01T08:20:46+00:00September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

A carving of the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda, from the Louvre museum in Paris Who is Ahura Mazda? About 1500 BC, people in India and Iran worshipped a sky god they called Ahura Mazda. An Indo-European god Ardashir I was the first Sassanian ruler of the Parthian Empire. Here he gets the kingship from [...]

History of religion – sacrifice, holidays

By |2018-04-21T12:09:37+00:00August 23rd, 2017|Religion|

Building at Gobekli Tepe (ca. 9000 BC) People have started a lot of different religions. Some of them are still practiced today; others are not. It is hard even to know what religion is. But let's say religion is any tendency to change your own behavior in accordance with supernatural forces. Most people [...]

Mohammed the Prophet – Early Islamic history

By |2018-04-23T15:29:55+00:00July 25th, 2017|History|

Mohammed praying at the Ka'aba(in an Ottoman book from 1388 AD) Mohammed was born in the Arab trading and pilgrimage city of Mecca, in the Arabian peninsula, between 570 and 580 AD. His parents were part of a family of traders. They were not among the ruling families of Mecca, but they were certainly not poor either. Mohammed himself however grew up poor, [...]

Religion in India – Ancient India

By |2018-05-13T22:11:23+00:00July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Indian religion: Lights of a Diwali celebration What are the main Indian religions? Three major world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam - have been important in India. Hinduism started in India in the Stone Age. Buddhism started in India and spread from India to the rest of Asia. Islam went the other way: it started in West Asia and then [...]

Egyptian religion – Gods of ancient Egypt

By |2018-04-26T11:49:25+00:00June 18th, 2017|Africa, Egypt, Religion|

Egyptian religion: Weighing the souls of the dead Polytheism and Egyptian religion As in the rest of Africa, the people of ancient Egypt were polytheistic throughout the Old Kingdom, the Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom. That means that they believed in many gods. Some of these gods were Ra, Anubis, Seth, Osiris, [...]