The Egyptian and Mesopotamian View of the Afterlife
The Egyptians’ view of the afterlife contrasts with the Mesopotamian’s view in that the Egyptians believed in the afterlife as a continuation of life on earth and the Mesopotamians believed life after death would be a miserable existence. The geographical location of the two civilizations may have influenced their views on the afterlife. The Egyptians were blessed with fertile land that came regularly, which was thought to be the work of the gods. This led the Egyptians to believe the gods were generous and helpful, which is expressed by the gods’ role in the afterlife as the providers or caretakers for the Egyptians’ souls. This belief is conveyed through the Egyptians reverence of the gods in saying, “Hail, O all ye gods of the House of Soul.” Conversely, the Mesopotamians were plagued with unpredictable, life-threatening floods that led them to believe the gods cared very little for the Mesopotamians, or the gods were trying to harm them, so the Mesopotamian’s afterlife would be miserable. The Mesopotamians wrote,“There is a house where people sit in darkness; dust is their food and clay their meat... They who had stood in the place of gods...now stood like servants,” expressing their fear that life after death would be a time of hardship and servitude. This fear of death was the reason for the Mesopotamian’s interest in immortality, opposed to the Egyptian’s readiness for death. The geographical location of the two early civilizations led to differing beliefs of what happens after death.
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