There is no country, no civilization where religion hasn’t left its visible and beautiful traces. It's Egyptian pyramids and sphinxes storing the former grandeur, Gothic cathedrals of Europe, Armenian monasteries and cross-stones, many kilometers of stunning Indian “images” of American deserts, dainty Chinese painting, amazing Japanese art of ikebana and the shapes of rock gardens and, finally, the significant part of world literature, music, dance, art. Plunging into sacred traditions and legends, strange rituals and customs, you can, together with the Radio Vem, penetrate the arches of the majestic temples, be in the ancient shrines of different nations and under the shadows of sacred trees, find out what religion they practice, what kind of life they live, how they perceive the world and themselves, what and how they
One important element of the picture of the world is present in the views of all nations who practiced Shamanism. This is the World Tree. It is something like the world axis, connecting the upper and lower spheres and preventing “the heaven from falling onto the earth.” The image of the World Tree exists in different religions, but in Shamanism it plays a special role.
There are more than fifty definitions of Shamanism. The differences of opinion are caused by the fact that different researchers consider different facets of Shamanism as most important. However, every time when you say the word “shaman” or “shamanism”, it is clear to all what it is talked about. Shamanism is one of the most ancient forms of religious practice of mankind. The central figure in it is the shaman - a mediator between the human world and the world of spirits.
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In order to unite the gods of different tribes, it was decided to bring the Phrygian Mother Goddess Cybele worshipped in Minor Asia to Rome. Before that, near the town of Pessinos, which was the center of Cybele's worship, a "black stone" had fallen down from heaven. It was announced that it was the heavenly image of the goddess, and it should be erected in the temple of Pergamon city. The Romans took possession of this object of worship, and it travelled on ship to its new residence.
Surprisingly, the Roman-Italic religion was different from the developed religions of Ancient East and West. It had its own perceptions about the universe and complicated notions about gods. For Italic people, the legends of the Italic trinity of heavenly gods Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus, as well as the legend of goddess of fire Vesta, were a heritage from the deep Indo-European past.
Outside the framework of the city and the city religion, there were the oracles, members of special unions of priests who were engaged in divination and instruction on different issues.
The tradition of honouring famous compatriots comes from antiquity. They were considered great heroes after death and departure to the kingdom of Aid. It is in this sense that Homer uses the word "hero." In "Iliad", he describes the funeral games in honour of Patroclus and other commanders of the Achaean forces that fell in the Trojan war.
Eastern influence is more felt in the Hellenes' cosmogony, that is, the theory of the creation of the universe, than in their pantheon. This becomes apparent, first of all, as a result of the comparison of Homer's and Hesiod's two ancient epics, which are separated from each other by 150 years.
The peoples inhabiting the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea worshipped also Hermes. This was an ancient Arcadian divinity that later became one of the Olympian gods. Originally he personified the mighty powers of nature.
The Minoean religion rooted in the Canaanite and Egyptian environment was for a long time like an alien flower on an island in the middle of the sea. But the sensational archaeological excavations conducted in the 20th century in the small volcanic island Fira (Santorini) that is located to the south of the Aegean Sea showed that opinion to be incorrect.
From the 3rd to 2nd millennium BCE, the island of Crete, which is in the Mediterranean Sea, was inseparable from the rich cultures of the Near East. It had with them the same courses of prosperity and fall, and the same changes.
There are many opinions on the origin of Etruscans. The names of several geographical locations on the Apennine Peninsula are considered to be related to the name of Etruscans.
Like other ancient nations, Canaanites considered sacrifices to be the main means for having impact on gods. Sacrifices were regarded as either expressions of gratitude for success, victory, and liberation, or advances for anticipated goods.
Canaan occupied the wide belt stretching from north to south across the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. From the south and east it was confined by steppes and deserts. Nowadays that territory includes Lebanon, Israel, and the western part of Syria.
It is not an easy task to make truthlike suppositions about the religious beliefs of the ancient farmers of Mesopotamia. Judging from the gifts found in the graves of the 7th to 5th millennia BCE, it is possible to conclude that ancient farmers undoubtedly believed in certain forms of life after death.
Researchers judge the religious views of the inhabitants of ancient Mesopotamia not only by preserved cuneiform texts but also by archaeological findings connected with religious practices, that is, by the ruins of temples, graves, and the depictions of religious rituals on stone reliefs and small cylindrical seals.
In the early 20th century, German Jesuit monk and scholar Anton Deimel published in Rome his study entitled "The Babylonian Pantheon." Reading Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian cuneiform tablets, Deimel had revealed the names of Mesopotamian deities, which you'll get acquainted with in our today's broadcast.
The Hellenes, Etruscans, and Romans following them, sailing to the Mediterranean shores of Africa, to the Pyrenean Peninsula, and to the western islands of the Mediterranean Sea, would meet not only retrograde tribes, but also competitors surpassing them in many spheres such as navigation, crafts production, urban planning, and trade.