Historical Religions

Historical religions of the ancient world shared many of the same patterns with each other even though the cultures may never have had any contact with each other. Such as Prehistoric religion, Ancient Egyptian Religion, Ancient Mesopotamian Religion, Brahmanism, Religion in pre-Islamic ArabiaInca mythology, ancient Greece and Rome and their Hellenistic descendants.


­Religious history begins with the invention of writing about 5,200 years ago (3200 BCE). The prehistory of religion involves the study of religious beliefs that existed prior to the advent of written records.

Göbekli Tepe, Şanlıurfa

Göbekli Tepe, Şanlıurfa The World’s First Temple?

Common concepts in Historical Religions

The religions of the ancient world shared many of the same patterns with each other even though the cultures may never have had any contact with each other.

Mountain of Gods, Nemrut- turkey

Mountain of Gods, Nemrut- turkey

Article about Historical Religions

These are the articles about historical religions in our web site do far.

Historical Religions

Votive Celtic wheels thought to correspond to the cult of Taranis. Thousands of such wheels have been found in sanctuaries in Gallia Belgica, dating from 50 BCE to 50 CE. National Archaeological Museum, France

Celtic Mythology

Celtic Mythology Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure. For Celts in close contact with Ancient Rome, such as the Gauls and Celtiberians, their mythology did not survive the Roman Empire, their...

Ancient Egyptian funerary masks in the Ägyptisches Museum Berlin

Outline of Historical Religions

Outline of Historical Religions Historical religions of the ancient world shared many of the same patterns with each other even though the cultures may never have had any contact with each other. Such as Prehistoric religion, Ancient Egyptian Religion, Ancient Mesopotamian Religion, Brahmanism, Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, Inca mythology, ancient Greece and Rome and their Hellenistic descendants. Religious history begins with...

Dolmen Celtic Artifact Menhir Ireland Poulnabrone


Otherworld The concept of an otherworld in historical Indo-European religion is reconstructed in comparative mythology. Its name is a calque of orbis alius (Latin for “other Earth/world”), a term used by Lucan in his description of the Celtic Otherworld. Comparable religious, mythological or metaphysical concepts, such as a realm of supernatural beings and a realm of the dead, are found in cultures throughout the world. Spirits are thought...

Silbury Hill Avebury Neolithic Hill Megalithic


Druid A druid (Breton: drouiz; Welsh: derwydd; Old Irish: druí; Scottish Gaelic: draoidh) was a member of the high-ranking class in ancient Celtic cultures. Perhaps best remembered as religious leaders, they were also legal authorities, adjudicators, lorekeepers, medical professionals, and political advisors. While the druids are reported to have been literate, they are believed to have been prevented by...

The sun rises over the circular mound of creation as goddesses pour out the primeval waters around it

Egyptian Mythology

Egyptian Mythology Egyptian mythology is the collection of myths from ancient Egypt, which describe the actions of the Egyptian gods as a means of understanding the world around them. The beliefs that these myths express are an important part of ancient Egyptian religion. Myths appear frequently in Egyptian writings and art, particularly in short stories and in religious material such...

A relief image, part of the Babylonian Ishtar gate

Babylonian Religion

Babylonian Religion Babylonian religion is the religious practice of Babylonia. Babylonian mythology was greatly influenced by their Sumerian counterparts, and was written on clay tablets inscribed with the cuneiform script derived from Sumerian cuneiform. The myths were usually either written in Sumerian or Akkadian. Some Babylonian texts were translations into Akkadian from the Sumerian language of earlier...

Side view of the Temple of Garni.

Armenian Mythology

Armenian Mythology Armenian mythology originated in ancient Indo-European traditions, specifically Proto-Armenian, and gradually incorporated Anatolian, Hurro-Urartian, Mesopotamian, Iranian, and Greek beliefs and deities. Formation of Armenian mythology The pantheon of Armenian gods, initially worshipped by Proto-Armenians, inherited their essential elements from the religious beliefs and mythologies of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and peoples of the Armenian Highlands. Historians distinguish a significant body of Indo-European...

Machu Picchu Peru Inca Tourism Machu Picchu

Inca Mythology

Inca Mythology Inca mythology includes many stories and legends that attempt to explain or symbolize Inca beliefs. The Incas tailored their mythology to glorify their own culture and to reinforce the idea that they were a superior people destined to rule others. The Inca civilization flourished in the Andes mountains of South...

Banteay Srei temple's pediment carvings depict Indra mounts on Airavata, Cambodia.

Vedic Mythology

Vedic Mythology Vedic mythology refers to the mythological aspects of the historical Vedic religion and Vedic literature, alluded to in the hymns of the Rigveda. The central myth at the base of Vedic ritual surrounds Indra who, inebriated with Soma, slays the dragon (ahi) Vritra, freeing the rivers, the cows and Dawn. Vedic lore contains numerous elements which are common to...

Lion Gate, Hattusa, Turkey

Hittite Mythology and Religion

Hittite Mythology and Religion Hittite mythology and Hittite religion were the religious beliefs and practices of the Hittites, who created an empire centered in what is now Turkey from c. 1600 BCE to 1180 BCE. Most of the narratives embodying Hittite mythology are lost, and the elements that would give a balanced view of...

Khuzaymat Al-Khuraymat region southwest of the stone, and contains 53 burials spread over nine mountains.

Nabataean Religion

Nabataean Religion The Nabataean religion is the form of Arab polytheism practiced in Nabataea, an ancient Arab nation which was well settled by the third century BCE and lasted until the Roman annexation in 106 CE. The Nabateans were polytheistic and worshipped a wide variety of local gods as well as Baalshamin, Isis, and Greco-Roman gods such as Tyche and Dionysus. They...

Akhenaten, Nefertiti and three daughters beneath the Aten, Berlin


Atenism Atenism, or the “Amarna heresy“, refers to the religious changes associated with the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known under his adopted name, Akhenaten. In the 14th century BC, Atenism was Egypt’s state religion for around 20 years, before subsequent rulers returned to the traditional gods and the...

Ahura Mazda (depiction is on the right, with high crown) presents Ardashir I (left) with the ring of kingship. (Relief at Naqsh-e Rustam, 3rd century CE)

Ancient Iranian Religion

Ancient Iranian Religion Ancient Iranian religion refers to the ancient beliefs and practices of the Iranian peoples before the rise of Zoroastrianism. The Iranian peoples emerged as a separate branch of the Indo-Iranians in the 2nd-millennium BC, during which they came to dominate the Eurasian Steppe and the Iranian Plateau. Their religion is derived from Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, and therefore shares...

Emil Doepler's depiction of the Second Merseburg Charm, 1905. In the charm, gods from continental Germanic mythology heal a horse.

Germanic Paganism

Germanic Paganism Germanic paganism refers to the ethnic religion practiced by the Germanic peoples from the Iron Age until Christianisation during the Middle Ages. It was an essential element of early Germanic culture. From both archaeological remains and literary sources, it is possible to trace a number of common or closely related beliefs amid the Germanic peoples into the...

The hymn 10.85 of the Rigveda includes the Vivaha-sukta (above). Its recitation continues to be a part of Hindu wedding rituals.

Historical Vedic Religion

Historical Vedic Religion The historical Vedic religion (also known as, Brahminism, Vedism or ancient Hinduism) refers to the religious ideas and practices among most Indo-Aryan-speaking peoples of ancient India after about 1500 BCE. These ideas and practices are found in the Vedic texts, and they were one of the major influences that shaped contemporary...

Cave Of The Hermit Graffiti Paleolithic

Paleolithic Religion

Paleolithic Religion Paleolithic religions are a set of spiritual beliefs thought to have appeared during the Paleolithic time period. Paleoanthropologists Andre Leroi-Gourhan and Annette Michelson believe religious behaviour emerged by the Upper Paleolithic, before 30,000 years ago at the latest, but behavioral patterns such as burial rites that one might characterize as religious — or as ancestral to religious...

Ancient Hittite relief carving from Yazılıkaya, a sanctuary at Hattusa, depicting twelve gods of the underworld,[55][failed verification] whom the Hittites identified as the Mesopotamian Anunnaki.

Mesopotamian Mythology

Mesopotamian Mythology Mesopotamian mythology refers to the myths, religious texts, and other literature that comes from the region of ancient Mesopotamia in modern-day West Asia. In particular the societies of Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria, all of which existed shortly after 3000 BCE and were mostly gone by 400 CE. These works...

Mountain of Gods, Nemrut- turkey

Historical Religions

Historical Religions Historical religions of the ancient world shared many of the same patterns with each other even though the cultures may never have had any contact with each other. Such as Prehistoric religion, Ancient Egyptian Religion, Ancient Mesopotamian Religion, Brahmanism, Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia, Inca mythology, ancient Greece and Rome and...

Fire dogs, ating to the 11th to 9th centuries BCE, found in the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland, kept at the Swiss National Museum

Prehistoric Religion

Prehistoric Religion Prehistoric religions are the religious beliefs and practices of prehistoric peoples. The term may cover Paleolithic religion, Mesolithic religion, Neolithic religion and Bronze Age religions. See also: Religions, History of Religion and What is The Origin of Religion? Paleolithic Main article: Paleolithic religion Intentional burial, particularly with grave goods, may be one of...

Trundholm sun chariot pictured, Nordic Bronze Age, c. 1600 BC

Proto-Indo-European Mythology

Proto-Indo-European Mythology Proto-Indo-European mythology is the body of myths and deities associated with the Proto-Indo-Europeans, the hypothetical speakers of the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language. Although the mythological motifs are not directly attested, since Proto-Indo-European-speakers lived In pre-literate societies, they have been reconstructed by scholars of comparative mythology from inherited similarities among Indo-European languages, which...

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