Functions and Purposes of Ziggurats, Pyramids, Temples and Palaces Presented Functions and Purposes of Ziggurats, Pyramids, Temples and Palaces Ziggurats The Ziggurats were mainly built by the Sumerians, Akkadians, Elamites, and Babylonians for local religions. A ziggurat was particularly part of a temple complex, together with other buildings (Anonymous, 2011). The Mesopotamia Ziggurats were particularly not places of public worship or ceremonies, but were believed to be dwelling places for gods; each city had a unique patron god, explaining the existence of various Ziggurats in different cities. Priests were the only ones allowed in the rooms at the base of the Ziggurat; it was believed to be their responsibility to take care of the gods and fulfill their needs as the priests were particularly a very powerful people in the Samaritan society (Anonymous, 2011). Moreover, the Ziggurats performed other different functions. The top of the Ziggurat was an ideal place where priests could escape rising water in lowlands during flooding, the Ziggurat was ideal for security purposes as they were restricted to only priests, and the Ziggurats performed as shrine to offer sacrifices (Anonymous, 2011). In addition to offering security, Ziggurats by being part of the temple complex had dwelling places for priests, and courtyards that added to the extensive temple designs. Their important functions as places where gods stayed was perceived by their inclusion in the temple complexes, implying they were part of the temple, but with slightly different purpose from the temple as they were particularly not accessible to the general public, but to the priests alone. The Ziggurats were located at the base of temple; their purpose was to bring the temple closer to heaven, and to provide access to the temple through numerous steps. The Ziggurats were therefore considered to connect heavens and earth; in Babylon, they were known as “House of the Platform between Heaven and Earth” (Anonymous, 2011). Pyramids The Egyptian pyramids are the most recognized pyramids in the near East, while the Meyer pyramids were much different from the Egyptian pyramids. To most people, the Egyptian pyramids were considered a burial place for ancient pharaohs or kings. However, the complex nature and size of these pyramids proves that pyramids could have been used for other functions as well. The pyramids due to their unique and precise accuracy were a manifestation of the relationship between man and the universe; their celestial and geographical alignments indicate a high degree of mathematical perfection, implying they were not only meant for burying the kings (Praamsma, 2009). Therefore, while debates on the actual usage of these pyramids continues, pyramids unlike the ziggurats, which were temples could be considered to be burial sites and places where heritage of pharaohs could be , judging from the massive sculptural work present in these pyramids. The sharp high point of these pyramids at the top were considered to serve the purpose of taking the Pharaoh’s soul directly into heaven, explaining their large size and height from the ground. Unlike the Ziggurats which were connected with priests and hence were holy places where the gods lived, pyramids especially in Egypt do not have any religious significance (Praamsma, 2009).
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