Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia

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The conception of life in ancient Mesopotamia was entirely religious and gods were usually related to or correspond with the elements of nature, sun, moon, earth, etc. The continuation of life depended on the gods who controlled and were operating all its aspects. It was therefore very important to have the favor of the gods.

Mesopotamian religions were fundamentally polytheistic. You can not speak at all of a single religion. What's more, every city worshiped their own gods that they were normally associated with the forces of nature or trades. It may be mentioned as an example of a city god associated with the god Marduk, who was the chief god of Babylon in the time of Hammurabi.

Each god had a temple which was managed by priests and was in the top of the Ziggurat of the city. Only priests and kings had access. In the temple of the god of wealth accumulated and sacrifices and offerings they were offered to the gods. The chief priest the "In" or "Lord" was at once religious leader and head of government of the city to the third millennium BC when it was replaced in government by the "Ensi" or "Lugal" Sumerian which already can be assigned the status of king.

Some of the Mesopotamian gods were:

  • Nanna (moon) in Ur
  • Ningirsu at Lagash
  • Ishtar in Uruk
  • Marduk in Babylon
  • Anu (the sky)
  • Enlil (air)
  • Ki (earth)
  • Ea (sea)
  • Utu (sun)


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