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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Architecture and Religious Beliefs in Ancient Mesopotamia

Architecture and Religious Beliefs
The largest building in most Sumerian cities was a huge mud-brick temple called a ziggurat (ZIH»guh»rat). Some ziggurats stood as tall as a seven-story building. They towered above the houses like skyscrapers. To build such a large building required both ^    planning and teamwork skills.

Builders constructed a ziggurat in layers, each one smaller than the one below. On the top of each ziggurat stood a shrine for the city's special god. Like other ancient people, the Sumerians believed in many gods.

The religious beliefs of the Sumerian people showed the importance of agriculture in their lives. They believed that if they pleased their gods, they would get large harvests in return. Floods and other natural disasters, they thought, were signs that the gods were angry with them. Chief among the gods of Sumer were Enlil, the god of wind, storm, and rain, and Ea, the god of the waters and of wisdom.

In time a ziggurat became more than a shrine for a god. The people in Sumer built smaller buildings around the base of the ziggurat. Some of these buildings had workshops for craftworkers. Other buildings were temples. The ziggurat was the center of activity in each city.

How did religion in Sumer reflect the importance of agriculture?


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