We have read this week about multiple religions and the way they fall into three broad regional categories: Asian, Mediterranean, and Mesoamerican. Much of our evidence for these religions comes from a broad range of historical records that include buildings, images, philosophical texts, songs, myths, and ritual temples. Consider the following images and write a paragraph for each that identifies which religion the object most likely comes from and what the image symbolizes within the larger religion. Feel free to go back to the reading if you need to review individual characteristics.
The idea is to demonstrate how well you understood these religions by correctly identifying the religious tradition to which it corresponds while explaining the significance within that religion. When you are done with the images, please answer the three short questions that follow.
Sample Answer: “I would guess that this image reflects an Asian tradition of religion, either Hinduism or Buddhism. The stone person is sitting in a position that is similar to how the book described Hindu and Buddhist practices. It conveys a sense of self-improvement and inner peace common to these religious ideals. Also, it looks like many gods are behind the main person, so this might reflect the polytheism of Hinduism, maybe Shiva or Vishnu.”
Grade breakdown: 3 points for the religious tradition, 3 points for referencing the book, 3 points for explaining the answer with references to the image, and 1 point for the specific details.
4. What common elements do you see in the Asian religions? What can we learn about the attitudes of these historical peoples concerning the safety or danger in the world around them?
5. What was the Imperial Cult? Do religions outside of Rome use the idea of the Imperial Cults to legitimize their authority? If so, give examples of other global religions that do this and explain the political advantage to an approach that ties religious belief to political power.
6. Why is Roman mythology so similar to Greek mythology?