Early Temple Architechture and Temple Worship from Ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece

Essay by ttenilleUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2003

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The cultures of the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece all had one thing in common: religious worship. These cultures built temples to their gods and worshipped them with different customs and traditions. As a whole, they believed that the gods reside above the world of the humans, and to get closer to their gods, built temples on platforms trying to reach them on a physical level. They had elaborate artwork dedicated to the gods in the temples and created votive offerings for the gods. However, the cultures and separate time periods all had their own unique way of designing the temples and the artwork that celebrated them.

In the Ancient Near East, rulers and priests directed all communal activities. Here they created city-states, which reflected the local god's central role. The god's temple formed the city's monumental nucleus. A well-preserved temple and early example of Sumerian architecture is the White Temple at Uruk.

Its 5000-year-old design is one of mud brick and set upon a ziggurat, which shows the people's desire to provide monumental settings for the worship of their deities. The temples are referred to as "waiting rooms" which is a belief that the deity would come down from the heavens to appear before priests in the cella. Further insight into Near Eastern religious belief comes from statuettes representing mortals in prayer found in various temples. These votive figures purpose was to offer continuous prayers to the gods on their donors' behalf and were laid to wait in the "waiting room" for the gods to appear. The chief deity of the ancient Near East was Anu, the god of the sky and of the city of Uruk. The Ziggurat at Ur is one of the greatest in Mesopotamia and is much larger than the one at...