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Religions of the Ancient World

George Rawlinson

 

 

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CHAPTER I.
THE RELIGION OF THE ANCIENT EGYPTIANS.
Polytheism existed in three forms: 1, Synthetic; 2, Analytic; 3, Mixed - Egyptian polytheism of the last named kind - Early classification of the gods - The principal divinities - Ammon - Khem - Kneph - Phthah - Ra - Osiris - Neith or Net - Worship of the sun and moon - Malevolent deities - Local triads - Animal worship - The Apis bulls - Temples and ceremonies - "Belief in a future life Treatment of the dead Egyptian natural theology" - No ground for supposing Egyptians acquainted with the doctrine of the Trinity.

CHAPTER II.
THE RELIGION OF THE ASSYRIANS AND BABYLONIANS.
Assyrians believed in fewer gods, and worshipped the heavenly bodies more than the Egyptians - Had no esoteric religion - An account of their religion is hence a description of their pantheon - Asshur and II or Ra - The first triad, Ann, Bel and Hea or Hoa - The second triad, Sin, Shainas, and Yul - The six goddesses, Anata, Beltis , Dav-kina, Gula, Shala or Tala, and "the Great Lady" - The five astral deities - The
Assyrian Nin - The Babylonian Merodach - Nergal - Ishtar - Nebo - Religious buildings of the Assyrians - Their ritual - Their view of a future life - Their superstitions - Their sacred legends - The Chaldean legend of creation as given by Berosus and the monuments The Chaldean legend of the Deluge - The descent of Ishtar into Hades.

CHAPTER III.
THE RELIGION OF THE ANCIENT IRANIANS.
Early home of the Iranians - The origin of their religion anterior to the birth of Moses Zoroaster, its founder Persia its abiding home - The Zendavesta - Dualism the great characteristic - Ahura-Mazda and Angro-Mainyus - Signification of these names - Attributes of the two deities - Their respective bands of inferior spirits - The Amesha-Spentas - The spirits subordinate to Angro-Mainyus - The symbol of the winged circle Mithra, the genius of light Man created by Ahura-Mazda; bound to obey him, and oppose Angro-Mainyus - The purity of the Iranians - Their industry - Veracity - Views on a future life - Belief in a resurrection of the body not found in earlier parts of Zendavesta - Translation of a Gatha ascribed to Zoroaster - A specimen from the Yasna or Book on Sacrifice - Introduction of Magism, or worship of fire, air, earth, and water - The Magian priesthood - Their strange treatment of the dead - Nature of the late and mixed religion.

CHAPTER IV.
THE RELIGION OF THE EARLY SANSKRITIC INDIANS.
Early Indians polytheistic - Traditions point to an early condition of extreme hardship, in which the belief in one God may have been generally lost - The religious instinct in the Hindoos manufactured deities - Growth of Vedic polytheism - The chief deities, Varuna, Mitra, and Indra Agni, the god of fire Dyaus and the other nature-gods Ushas. - The dawn Surya, the sun Vayu, the wind "Dyaus and Prithivi Soma worshipped as the moon, and also as the genius of a certain plant Indian worship simple in form - Their hymns - Their offerings - Their views on the future life Immortality as hinted at by Vedic poets - Speculations on the deeper problems of human and divine existence - Translation of a Vedic poem.

CHAPTER V.
THE RELIGION OF THE PHOENICIANS AND CARTHAGINIANS.
Our knowledge on this subject has to be gleaned from few and scattered notices - The Phoenician a narrow polytheism - The names of the gods indicate a knowledge of the personality of the Supreme Being - They point to an original monotheism - The female deities mere modes of the male ones - Baal - Ashtoreth - Melkarth - Dagon - Adonis or Taminuz - El - The sun-worship - Shamas - Molech - Baaltis - Sadyk - Eshtnun - The Kabiri - Foreign deities - Licentious rites - Human sacrifice - No images in the temples - Asherahs - General tendency of the worship to lower and debase men.

CHAPTER VI.
THE RELIGION OF THE ETRUSCANS.
Known to us chiefly from references in Greek and Latin writers - Etruscan languages not yet mastered - Religion held a leading place in the thoughts and feelings of the nation - Twofold objects of worship, deities and Lares - Three classes of deities, of heaven, of earth , and of the infernal regions - Chief deities of Heaven - Tina or Tinia - Cupra - Menrva or Menrfa - Usil and Losna - The three elemental gods - The Novensiles - The prominent place assigned to the gods of the infernal regions - Mantus, Mania, and Charun - Attributes of these deities and their attendants - Etruscans sought to learn the will of the gods in three ways: 1, by thunder and lightning; 2, by the flight of birds; and 3, by the inspection of entrails - The priesthood a race of soothsayers - Sacrifices were both animal and human - The true temple was the home, the real object of worship the Lares - Etruscan tombs - The Etruscan a depressing, superstitious, and debasing worship.

CHAPTER VII.
THE RELIGION OF THE ANCIENT GREEKS.
In what sense a worship of Nature - Multitudinous character of the polytheism - Classes of gods - Gradations in rank and power - The six gods of the first order ; Zeus - Poseidon - Apollo - Ares - Hephaestus - Hermes - The six female Olynipic deities: Hera, Athene, Artemis, Aphrodité, Hestia, Demeter - Worship of Dionysus - Leto - Persephone - Characteristics of Greek worship - The festivals - The dark side -
The Furies - Human sacrifice - The "mysteries".

CHAPTER VIII.
THE RELIGION OF THE ANCIENT ROMANS.
The Roman quite distinct from the Greek religion - The twelve Di majores: Jupiter - Juno - Minerva - Mars - Bellona - Vesta - Ceres - Saturnus - Ops - Hercules - Morcurius - Neptrunus - Five groups of subordinate deities - The worship supported by the state - Several  orders of priests - The three chief collegia; I, Salii Palatini; 2, Salii Collini; and 3, Virgines Vestales - The learned corporations: 1, the  Pontifices; 2, the Augurs ; 3, the Fetials ; 4, the Duumviri sacrorum - The public worship of the State - The private worship of the people - Roman religion dull and tame, as compared with the Greek - Doctrines of expiation - Mythological fables foreign to the spirit of the Romans.

CONCLUDING REMARKS.