Answer to Question #203920 in History for Opoku Jackson

Question #203920

How did religion influence the writing of history in ancient cultures?

Expert's answer

How did religion influence the writing of history in ancient cultures?

Religion is an organizational system with a set of beliefs and practices rotating around or resulting to a divine spiritual experience. Throughout the ancient times, religion has had a profound influence in the history of many cultures. There are many reasons why religion has played such a prominent role but the most notable is the belief in a divine or spiritual power that can add significance and meaning to people. Every ancient culture written in history practiced some type of religion either Monotheistic or Polytheistic. During ancient times, religion comprised of regular customs and the belief in supernatural creatures that created and sustained the world and its inhabitants. These creatures possessed human characteristics and behaved in a manner that reflected the cultural values- like in Egypt-or sometimes practiced in acts opposite to those values, like in Greece (Bulliet et al., 2008).

Many ancient people, according to the written records, believed in the existence of many gods, with each having a special influence. They believed that no single god could manage to take care of every individual needs. The many gods in the ancient cultures fulfilled their respective functions. Although religion was evident in ancient cultures, the origin of religion cannot be determined with certainty. It is most likely that every culture instituted its own belief in supernatural creatures to help understand their lives and describe natural phenomena. For instance, in Mesopotamia, religious beliefs stated that human beings are co-workers with gods and cooperated with them. In return, the gods would protect them from any forces of chaos. They believed that human beings were created to work with the gods for a mutual benefit. This belief is what led some historians to claim that Mesopotamians were slaves to their gods because they identified themselves as co-workers (Mark, 2018). It is evident that religion was a major part of human condition and played a significant role in peoples’ way of life.

 Furthermore, religion assisted in civilization recorded in historical records. Early civilizations were usually united by religion because more people shared similar beliefs and practices. Individuals that did not know one another could locate a common ground and develop mutual respect and trust. Ancient politics and religion were strongly linked together. The government structure in the ancient times was poorly defined hence, was always prone to be influenced by religion. In some cultures, political leaders were also considered as religious leaders. For instance, in Ancient Egypt, the kings practiced godly kingship, being viewed as representatives or sometimes human embodiments of gods (Andrea & Overfield, 2011). Religion was considered first before any structure of political government in the ancient times. Before the formation of any government, the willpower of the people was considered first. Since the people were highly involved in religion and its beliefs, the government had to follow the people’s faiths and beliefs. This influence of religion led to the development of established governments of that period, which are recorded in the history of ancient Greek civilizations (IvyPanda, 2018).


Andrea, A. J., & Overfield, J. H. (2011). The human record: sources of global history (7th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning.

Bulliet, R. W., Crossley, P. K., Headrick, D. R., Hirsch, S. W., Johnson, L. L., & Northrup, D. A. (2008). The earth and its peoples: a global history (7th ed.). Boston: Cengage Learning.

IvyPanda. (2018). The Influence of Ancient Religion. Retrieved from

Mark, J. (2018). Religion in the Ancient World. World History Encyclopedia. <span style="font-size:12.0pt; line-height:200%;font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;color:windowtext"></span>



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