There are two main reasons for this: One could and should ask, with some legitimacy, why female deities are singled out for separate analysis. The answer to this lies, to a large degree, in the history of the discussions on goddesses.
Prehistory[ edit ] Ancient Egypt was at the forefront of domestication, and some of the earliest archeological evidence suggesting animal sacrifice comes from Egypt. The oldest Egyptian burial sites containing animal remains originate from the Badari culture of Upper Egyptwhich flourished between and BC.
At Gatharcheological evidence indicates that the Canaanites imported sacrificial sheep and goats from Egypt rather than selecting from their own livestock. Unlike the Greeks, who had worked out a justification for keeping the best edible parts of the sacrifice for the assembled humans to eat, in these cultures the whole animal was normally placed on the fire by the altar and burned, or sometimes it was buried.
Worship in ancient Greek religion typically consisted of sacrificing domestic animals at the altar with hymn and prayer.
The altar was outside any temple building, and might not be associated with a temple at all. The animal, which should be perfect of its kind, is decorated with garlands and the like, and led in procession to the altar, a girl with a basket on her head containing the concealed knife leading the way.
After various rituals the animal is slaughtered over the altar, as it falls all the women present "must cry out in high, shrill tones".
Its blood is collected and poured over the altar. The temple usually kept the skin, to sell to tanners. That the humans got more use from the sacrifice than the deity had not escaped the Greeks, and is often the subject of humour in Greek comedy. The Greeks liked to believe that the animal was glad to be sacrificed, and interpreted various behaviours as showing this.
Divination by examining parts of the sacrificed animal was much less important than in Roman or Etruscan religionor Near Eastern religions, but was practicedespecially of the liver, and as part of the cult of Apollo.
Generally, the Greeks put more faith in observing the behaviour of birds. The enormous Hellenistic structures of the Altar of Hieron and Pergamon Altar were built for such occasions. Throughout the poems, the use of the ritual is apparent at banquets where meat is served, in times of danger or before some important endeavor to gain the favor of the gods.
Furthermore, throughout the poem, special banquets are held whenever gods indicated their presence by some sign or success in war.
Before setting out for Troy, this type of animal sacrifice is offered. Odysseus offers Zeus a sacrificial ram in vain. Sacrificial rituals played a major role in forming the relationship between humans and the divine.
The pig, on the other hand, was never offered in sacrifice, and apparently the Scythians were loath to keep swine within their lands. The victim stands with its fore-feet tied, and the sacrificing priest stands behind the victim, and by pulling the end of the cord he throws the beast down; and as the victim falls, he calls upon the god to whom he is sacrificing, and then at once throws a noose round its neck, and putting a small stick into it he turns it round and so strangles the animal, without either lighting a fire or making any first offering from the victim or pouring any libation over it: Ancient Rome[ edit ] Denarius issued under Augustus, with a bust of Venus on the obverseand ritual implements on the reverse: October HorseTauromachyTauroboliumand Haruspicy The most potent offering in Ancient Roman religion was animal sacrifice, typically of domesticated animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs.
Each was the best specimen of its kind, cleansed, clad in sacrificial regalia and garlanded; the horns of oxen might be gilded. Sacrifice sought the harmonisation of the earthly and divineso the victim must seem willing to offer its own life on behalf of the community; it must remain calm and be quickly and cleanly dispatched.
Deities of the upper heavens required white, infertile victims of their own sex: Juno a white heifer possibly a white cow ; Jupiter a white, castrated ox bos mas for the annual oath-taking by the consuls. After the sacrifice, a banquet was held; in state cults, the images of honoured deities took pride of place on banqueting couches and by means of the sacrificial fire consumed their proper portion extathe innards.
Animal sacrifice usually took the form of a holocaust or burnt offering, and there was no shared banquet, as "the living cannot share a meal with the dead". Color had a general symbolic value for sacrifices. Demigods and heroes, who belonged to the heavens and the underworld, were sometimes given black-and-white victims.
Robigo or Robigus was given red dogs and libations of red wine at the Robigalia for the protection of crops from blight and red mildew. Divine consideration might be sought to avoid the inconvenient delays of a journey, or encounters with banditry, piracy and shipwreck, with due gratitude to be rendered on safe arrival or return.
All due care would be taken of the animals. If any died or were stolen before the scheduled sacrifice, they would count as already sacrificed, since they had already been consecrated. Normally, if the gods failed to keep their side of the bargain, the offered sacrifice would be withheld.
As a product of Roman sacrifice, the exta and blood are reserved for the gods, while the meat viscera is shared among human beings in a communal meal. The exta of bovine victims were usually stewed in a pot olla or aulawhile those of sheep or pigs were grilled on skewers. Like the Greeks, the Norse seem to have eaten most of the sacrifice; human prisoners were also sometimes sacrificed.THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST AND THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL* W.
F. ALBRIGHT THE JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY I B EFORE we can advantageously compare the religion of Israel with the religions of the ancient Near East, we must.
The art of the ancient Near East exhibits a great variety of forms and styles, reflecting the many peoples, cities, kingdoms, and empires that flourished in the region over thousands of years.
Yet, in the midst of this diversity, there was also consistency and continuity. This book is a history of religious life in the Ancient Near East from the beginnings of agriculture to Alexander the Great's invasion in the s BCE. Daniel C. Snell traces key developments in the history, daily life and religious beliefs of the people of Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Israel and Iran.
In ancient Egypt and India it was considered the residence of the deity, and entrance into the sanctum was prohibited or reserved for priests; in ancient Greece it contained an accessible cult image, but services were held outside the main facade; and in the ancient Near East and in the Mayan and Aztec architecture of ancient Mexico, where the.
The cultures of the great empires of the ancient Near East from Egypt to Mesopotamia influenced Israel's religion, literature, and laws because of Israel's geographic location and political position situation. The religions of the ancient Near East were mostly polytheistic, Polytheism (Though Egypt and Greece were Henotheistic societies) City-state–sponsored religions The dominant religious rituals and beliefs of ancient Egypt merged and developed over time.