Sumerian and Early Byzantine Christian Cultures – Art History Essay
The need for religious spaces and devotions has existed through many cultures, especially the Sumerian and Early Byzantine Christian cultures. The White Ziggurat Temple, built in 3000 BC by the Sumerians in the
Mesopotamian regions used the top cella as a place to worship and the Early Christians, more than 3000 years later in Constantinople (Istanbul) created Saint Peters in 400 AD. Both these two buildings contributed to the religious and cultural advancement of these two different societies.
The White Ziggurat contained a cella with an alter at the top that was used by the local leader to pray to their gods. The White Temple was large in magnitude. The effort put into the building of the mud-brick temple show a society putting their beliefs in their ziggurat. The orientation of the Sumerian White Ziggurat was faced toward the east, as was the Early Christian Church: Old Saint Peters. This orientation is shared in many other cultures as the sun rising brings reminisce of a new beginning.
The Early Christian Church, Saint Old Peters is also used for prayer, but rather prayer toward the Christian Trinity. Old Saint Peters also shares a central cella with an alter, just as the White Ziggurat Temple had. The size was large in magnitude, but the longitudinal church was shaped to escape pagan beliefs. The White Ziggurat, unlike Old Saint Peters allowed more than just the local leader, but let in the people of Constantinople.
In summary, the two structures contributed to religious advancement, cultural advancement, and shared the purpose of holding the structures sacred.