Compare and contrast the different religions of the ancient world.

Most religions of the ancient world, like those of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, were polytheistic. They believed phenomena like the creation of the universe, the weather, and falling in love were all results of the actions of gods and goddesses. The names and stories of those gods differed depending on the religion, like how ancient Greeks believed Zeus ruled the gods while ancient Egyptians believed Amun did. Not all religions were polytheistic though, like Hinduism, which is henotheistic.

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Most religions of the ancient world were polytheistic, which means that people believed in many gods. Ancient people believed that these gods fulfilled certain roles in society, but the names and stories of those gods were different between different cultures. For instance, the ancient Egyptian god Amun was believed to be the king of the gods, while the ancient Greeks believed that the god Zeus was the ruler of all gods. Ancient people also believed that the gods controlled processes like the weather and falling in love. For example, ancient Romans believed that the goddess Venus was the goddess of love, while ancient Greeks believed Aphrodite was.

It is important to note that not all ancient religions were strictly polytheistic. For instance, in ancient India people practiced Hinduism, the world’s oldest religion. Hinduism is henotheistic, not polytheistic. This means that believers worship one single god but do not deny the potential existence of other deities who rank below the single god. Hinduism asserts that Brahma, the one god, presents himself through other deities such as Vishnu. Thus, while the religions of the ancient world all explained natural phenomena like creation with deities and referred to multiple deities in their stories, the deities in which they believed were different, and some were explicitly polytheistic while others believed there was one supreme deity.

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