Cuneiform – The first system of writing developed by ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia known as wedge-shaped. The writing was thought to be invented around 3500-3000 BCE. Cuneiform is one of the most significant contributions to the world from Sumerians because it laid down the foundations of writing that we use these days, but also it was important during the Mesopotamian era because it was used to keep records of inventory, history, communication, and the recording of spoken language. This form of writing allowed for the development of of complex societies.Hieroglyphics – A formal writing system used in Ancient Egypt. The writing system had a total of some 1,000 distinct characters. This was discovered in 13th century BCE with the time period of 3200 BC-AD 400. The first hieroglyphics were used to record important information, communication, and recording spoken language. The importance of hieroglyphics just like cuneiform has allowed for development of societies we are familiar with today. Deuteronomism – Deuteronomism got it start around the first millennium BCE. Deuteronomism comes from the book of Deuteronomy tying the meaning the behavior of God. In the ancient Near East people believed that there is one God that is more powerful than the rest of the Gods. In the ancient Near East there was a belief of how someone acted but no right way to be righteous. The importance of the religion was on how someone acted.Zoroastrianism – Zoroastrianism is a monotheistic pre-Islamic religion of ancient Persia founded by Zoroaster, a priest in the 6th century BC. Zoroaster’s belief was that you purified yourself by washing for purity reasons. Zoroaster had one of the most interesting theological ideas, the universe is divided into two formal principles, good and evil. Ahura-Mazda (force of good) versus Angra-Mainyu (force of evil). Ahura-Mazda is made up of Asha which is truth and Angra-Mainyu is made of Drug, the opposite of truth, falsehood.The principle of the religion is to build up more Asha than Drug. When it came time for your passing to the afterlife if you had more Asha than Drug then you would go to heaven. Making people trying to be more good than bad in life. Zoroaster’s teachings spread throughout Persia and his movement of the Zoroastrianism religion. Also its principals are a basis for modern religions today. Buddhism – Buddhism originated in India around the fifth century. The religion was created by Gautama, which lived a life of luxury before seeing three important events that would change him, a starving man, a deceased man, and a sick woman. He gave up his luxurious life to think of a simple principle “why is there suffering.” Buddhism isn’t a religion but a way of life, which is a path down the middle.The way of life had a 1-4-8 magic number. The one stands for the 1 middle way. The 4 stood for the four great truths. The truths which stood for the great suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, the truth of the cessation of suffering, the truth of the path to the cessation of suffering. The 8 for the eightfold path. If the following rules were followed you had a way to escape the reincarnation cycle. The importance of the religion has formed a moral/ethical code for Japanese people today. The religion also had a great impact on the development of Japan. Hinduism – The origin of Hinduism started around 1500 BCE. The religion was based on teachings that the classroom consisting of a teacher, a guru who gave lecture to a small group of students. These gurus taught an idea known as absolute reality. But the religion also taught that Brahman is everything. The goal was to be be free and enlightened and just like Buddhism the religion taught the build up of good karma but also the different ideology of becoming wise. The religion of Hinduism had two basic forces Vishnu (creation), and Shiva (destruction). Neither of them were good or bad. Hinduism also taught the importance of of the universe being a universal idea which it was the same where you went. Just like Buddhism people were trying to escape the horrors of reincarnation. Confucianism – Confucianism is a system of philosophical and ethical foundations founded by Confucius and then developed by Mencius. Confucianism developed in 551-479 BC. Confucius was interested in proper behavior. Confucius had the idea that good humans are born good and bad humans are born bad. Confucius created the seven prospects and believed works as an organism. The idea stood for the principle that everyone had a place and a role in the universe but we need each other and everything in the universe to rely on. But if someone didn’t fall in line by doing completing their assigned tasks in life the universe would act on it. The philosophical idea has had influence in China up to this day. Taoism – Taoism is a religious/philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao, with the roots going as far back to 3rd century BCE. The way of thinking for Taoism is not a certain straight way, but with feelings, no real ideas behind it. The idea impacted and shaped Chinese culture. Both of Taoism and Confucianism were different as one of the was more for creative and the other in linear sequencing, but just like ying and yang having both Taoism and Confucianism was necessary. Plato/Aristotle – Plato was a Greek philosopher around 420 BC and is widely known for his philosophical work and as the father of philosophy, Plato was the pupil of Socrates. Plato believed in polis which was the state for which we should be doing what we are best at in life. Plato’s work started with the ending/conclusions and he would build up upon it. His worked has shaped the way we think of philosophy today especially western philosophy. Aristotle was another greek philosopher around late 300 BCE and is known for his philosophical work and known as Plato’s pupil. Aristotle was known for starting with facts and use these facts to write a conclusion. Aristotle taught many of history’s greats today such as Alexander the Great and Socrates. Aristotle is important due to the fact that just like Plato he had an influence in philosophy today and other subjects such as biology, physics, poetry and many other subjects. EssayCosmology is the theory of origin and development of the universe. Just like the theory itself, every society had its own theory for the development of the universe. This included the first four foundational civilizations, beginning with the ancient Near East. The development of cuneiform (the first form of writing) started in 3500 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). But before any of the people started developing writing they were hunters and gatherers settled into the area of the ancient Near East. But with hunting and gathering came the process of domesticating, turning wild animals into stay at home pets that we have today. As development of the world came so did the first form of writing. It started in the Sumerian city of Uruk where the emerging of Mesopotamian civilization. The society in Mesopotamia was a hierarchal society and this shown through the Akitu festival. The festival consisted of the king getting slapped by the high priest and the king would swear he was a good righteous king to then be slapped again. If the king cried, this meant there was going to be a good year ahead. The meaning of the Akitu festival was to show that the kings weren’t more important than the gods. Around the same time, the start of Egyptian society created one of the first forms of writings, hieroglyphics. With the start of civilization in the Near East, many ideas and powers came to rise. Just like the hierarchy in Mesopotamia, Egypt had a pharaoh which was the closest being to the god’s. Egyptians viewed the universe as a state. They put the biggest god at the top followed by smaller gods, the king/pharaoh, and then the people. One of the most important people that came into power was Cyrus II. He took over the Median Empire and Lydian Empire then started Achaemenid Empire. Cyras was known for having great tolerance for religions including the Hebrew God YHWH. The start of religion meant that there were many writings including the the Book of Deuteronomy which mentioned the God of Israel, YHWH, multiple times. This also introduced national God theology. For Egyptians this was Ma’at which was a concept of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice, which was the goddess regulating the stars. With the gods, Egyptians believed that this was the function of the universe which was truth, justice, and stability. When practicing their religion one of the rules was that they could not say their God’s name. YHWH is an abbreviation word for the name of their God. As time went on it is speculated that they knew the name of their God but just like anything that isn’t written down it gets forgotten. Both Mesopotamia and Egypt had different ideologies of where one went when they died. Mesopotamians believed that you would pass into the underworld. In Egypt your body would be preserved and be buried with your most valuable possessions. The Near East would work as a state with a hierarchy and this was the belief for running a successful society. The second civilization to come after the ancient near east was India/Iran. The start of the India/Iran or as known at the start as the Harappan/Indus valley civilization started at roughly 2300 BCE. With the start of this civilization it started one of the greatest theological ideologies which included Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Zoroastrianism was one of the first religions developed in 6th century BC in ancient Persia. The religion was taught by Iranian prophet Zoroaster, combining a cosmogonic dualism and eschatological monotheism. Zoroaster had a Eureka which was a belief system dividing the force of good and evil. Ahura-Mazda was the force of good and Angra-Mainyu was the force of evil. Ahura-Mazda was made up of Asha which is truth and Angra-Mainyu was made up of Drug, falsehood. Zoroastrianism is believed to be a breeding ground for most religions practiced worldwide today. The religion had the idea that to do more good would build up karma. A main religion that was created was Buddhism, a way of life developed in South Asia in 6th century BC. It was created by Gautama and was left shocked and in awe by the suffering in the world. Gautama was a rich man but left his luxurious life behind to think. In his journey of deep thought, he found the Middle-way, the four noble truths, and the eightfold path. The path was a way to escape reincarnation. Hinduism was developed in and still practiced widely in South Asia with its development around 500 to 300 BC. Hinduism had the idea where Brahman was everything and everything was Brahman, which was a way to become a better person in life. This was a way to become wiser and acquire good karma. These religions belonged to Indo-Iranian people, sometimes referred to as Arya With Cyrus the Great. As the ruler of the Achaemenid Empire he ruled over Iran at the start of 9th century BC playing an important role as a ruler of Iran. Darius I was the ruler of the Achaemenid Empire after Cyrus II. There were many great emperors and kings that went on to rule but one of most powerful and greatest rulers in history was Alexander the Great with his empire stretching out from Greece to northwestern India. Alexander invaded India in 336 BC. The Indian conquering campaign was the reason for Alexander’s goal to try and conquer the world.***** With the development of the world there were many religions that came with it such as the ancient Indian religion Jainism. Jainism had the belief of building up karma but that everything has a meaning and is alive. All the beliefs came to one simple idea and that is the ideology that the universe works universal. The universe worked the same everywhere and that was the idea of reincarnation and having the good karma. The Indo-Iranian way was that you were born in one class and could not leave another class, this was known as the caste system. This meant if you left your class you would die and be reincarnated into another class. Buddhism believed otherwise, in fact they believed that anyone can achieve enlightenment. But at the end of your life your Asha was taken into account and if you had more Asha than Drug than you would pass into the afterlife. As we have spoken of the start of India/Iran civilization it is only natural to move into a new civilization, ancient China. Ancient Chinese culture/civilization started around 2000 BC with the Xia Dynasty. With the start of the Xia Dynasty one of the most important ideologies came from it, confucianism. Which is system of philosophical and ethical foundations founded by Confucius and then developed by Mencius. There wasn’t a real religion Ancient Chinese culture instead they had the mandate of heaven which gave someone power. But confucianism made up the ground of Chinese civilization with the seven propositions, the idea that our universe worked as an organism with everyone doing their part to keep it alive. It also taught people how to be good and live a proper life. Just like with the start of confucianism philosophy came other Chinese philosophies like Taoism which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao. As with philosophies and religion people wanted to talk to the Gods and ask questions and hoped to get answers. Oracle bones was one of the ways people got these answers. Oracle bones were pieces of ox scapula or turtle plastron which they would write into the bones than intense heat was applied with a metal rod until the bone or shell cracked due to thermal expansion. Confucius came into history 551 BC as he was introduced earlier. He emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. After Confucius came Mencius, another one of the biggest Chinese philosopher from 372. He is regarded as the most famous Confucian after Confucius himself. While Confucius himself did not explicitly focus on the subject of human nature, Mencius asserted the innate goodness of the individual, believing that it was society’s influence its lack of a positive cultivating influence that caused bad moral character. Around the time of Mencius’s prime another Chinese philosopher, Xunzi. Xunzi was another famous Confucian himself from 310 BC. He believed that people were born evil and needed to be rehabilitated to become good. His work was influential in the forming of the official state doctrines of the Han dynasty. Xunzi witnessed the fall of the Zhai dynasty, but as a dynasty falls a new one begins. The start of the last foundational civilization, ancient Greece. The main focus and Chinese belief was that the universe worked as an organism and for it to work everyone had to work together and do their jobs to keep everything running. If someone did not do their job then everything would start falling apart, like the human body. The ancient Greek civilization started in 2000 BC. Greece brought in the biggest philosophers that we know of today, Plato and Aristotle. Plato was a Greek philosopher around 420 BC and is widely known for his philosophical work and as the father of philosophy. His worked has shaped the way we think of philosophy today especially western philosophy. Aristotle was another Greek philosopher around late 300 BCE and is known for his philosophical work and known as Plato’s pupil. Aristotle taught many of history’s greats today such as Alexander the Great and Socrates. Socrates was one of the great thinkers in history and philosophy. With thinking came ideas such as logic and philosophy. Logic was a way to for the arrival of answers. Philosophy is the love of wisdom. Aristotle is another important character due to the fact that just like Plato he had an influence in philosophy today and other subjects such as biology, physics, poetry and many other subjects. As a deduced thinker Plato saw the meaning or conclusion of something and he would try and find the root or the evidence. This showed the meaning of the universe for Greeks. Homer just like Aristotle and Plato was legendary author. He created two of the biggest works in history, the Iliad and Odyssey. Ancient Greece had the term polis, this meant that the cities grew, societies sprouted, and armies began to grow. These cities consisted of a fortified city centre built on an acropolis and controlled surrounding territories of land. But not everything was always safe, there were many wars happening during ancient times. One of these events was the Peloponnesian War. Athens and Sparta, both powerful Greek city-states, had fought as allies in the Greco-Persian Wars between 499 and 449 B.C. As Persia retreated during the war Athens grew more powerful and tensions rose, escalating into nearly three decades of war. Sparta emerged victorious, while the constant fighting left Athens bankrupt, exhausted and low on moral. As wars and historical events went on Herodotus recorded these events in his book “The Persian War.” Thucydides was another historian and a general that recorded 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens. Philip II was king of Ancient Greece and a war general until his assassination in 336 BC where his son Alexander the Great took the throne. He was taught by Aristotle and conquered a lot of the world at the time, but died at the age of 33 due to his liver disease from alcoholism. So, with death people thought of outside forces to cope with it, one of them was physis which is a theological term for nature. The word was used and explained by Plato, Aristotle, and the Odyssey. Instead of relying on god’s Greeks understood the universe is rational. People thought logically and rationally, similar to today’s society. They put the old gods behind and viewed the universe rationally. A lot of these ancient civilizations had their own cosmologies and ways of living life. A lot of the were similar and many were different. As evolution had gone on people have kept on improving and kept on changing.
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