Saturday, September 14, 2019

Humanities Religion Paper Essay

Throughout the span of this course I have learned what it takes to build a successful empire. There are many tactics that are involved in constructing an empire that is stable, which include an effective irrigation system, having an army, land for crops to grow, a system of government, the development of social classes, a trading system, tools and specialized skills for the making of goods, and a shared standpoint of religious beliefs. The one thing that I found most intriguing is how throughout the period of time every civilization has had some sort of caste system. A caste system is a social structure which separates individuals of a civilization into their inherited social class; it can also prohibit the marriage of two individuals of different caste. In the time we live in now you can still separate people into a variety of different social classes such as: upper class, upper middle-class, middle-class, lower middle-class and poor. But let’s rewind a few thousand years in to one of the earliest known civilizations, the Mesopotamians. The history of Mesopotamians can be separated into two categories, the Sumerian period and the Semitic period. During these periods I see the caste system come into play because Priests were at the top of the chain, they were the ones who controlled religious and economic dealings. The Law Code of Hammurabi, I would also consider to be part of a caste system. Majority of the Law code’s requirements deal with the relationship between a husband and wife, along with the relationship between other members of the family, these are a couple of the passages from the code: 131. If a man accuses his wife and she has not been taken lying with another man, she shall take an oath in the name of god and she shall return to her house (book). 145. If a man takes his wife and she does not present him with children, and he sets his face to take a concubine, that man may take a concubine and bring her into his house (book). Even though these do not directly deal with a certain social standing they do however show the standing of women during this period, and also these laws would apply to anyone in any social class. The Egyptians had their own form of the caste system. Egypt was structured so that there was an upper and lower caste. They had a strongly controlled government ruled by one single ruler, the pharaoh. The pharaoh was regarded as a living god, the equal of any other deity (book). Right below the pharaoh was the priest, whose responsibility was to preserve the tradition of religious beliefs. Pharaohs are at the top of the chain, government officials fall directly below the pharaoh and consist of nobles and priests. Next on the chain below the government officials would be the soldiers, merchants and artisans fell directly under the soldiers, farmers were second to last on the chain and then at the very bottom you find the slaves. During ancient Greece time in the city of Athens, I see a form of the caste system fall into place. Social classes during the ancient Greece period applied strictly to men and women took their social standing from their husbands. Any person born into an Athenian family is considered to be a citizen and part of the upper class during this period. The middle class was comprised with merchants, merchants were any men who were non-citizens and are ineligible to become a citizen. The lower class was any freed slave. A slave could become free only if his/her ransom was paid off by a family member. Again you see the slaves fall at the very bottom of all caste systems. Athenians viewed their slaves as barbarians because most, if not all were from a foreign region. I have also learned that the Romans had a set caste system. In my book it states that the Romans had an extremely hard working middle class that were devoted to their central government. When I was reading this, all I could think about is how my family would be considered middle class and how hard working both my parents are. They are devoted to making sure I am provided with what I need, which is what Augustine wanted for the Romans. Augustine’s social reforms were intended directly at the upper classes and were anticipated to return his people to traditional family values. During the Roman republic citizens were split into two classes the patricians and the plebeians. Patricians also known as aristocrats filled the upper class; they had elite rights to the Roman Senate and magistrates. The lower class was known as the plebeians. The plebeians would elect leaders to represent them and their interests while also protecting the lower class people against states officials who treated them discriminatorily. The Aryans are the true developers of the caste system. They made a separation between nobility and the common people. The caste system of the Aryans divided their society into castes of priesthood, the warriors, the laborers and the serfs. India went through many changes and so did their caste system. The caste system was one the shaping social forces in India, reinforced by many laws concerning marriage, table exclusion, laws of rituals purity and so on (book). I have found the caste system of India the most fascinating so far, I believe it most accurately represents the way we caste individuals now.

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