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pre-midterm flash cards


(r. ~2500 BCE) King of Uruk, subject of Epic of Gilgamesh


Gilgamesh's best friend, killed by sickness after taunting goddess Ishtar


Survivor of Mesopotamian Great Flood, granted immortality by the gods. Gives Gilgamesh two chances to become immortal.


Goddess of Fertility. Gilgamesh scorns her and kills her Bull of Heaven, provoking her rage.


Guardian of the cedars. Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill and take his cedars.


Mesopotamian form of writing. All symbols, written on tablets. One of the earliest forms of writing.


Mesopotamian places of worship. Looks like stepped pyramids.

House of Dust

Underworld in Epic of Gilgamesh. Its inhabitants are covered in dust and eat clay.


Earliest Jewish conception of the afterlife. A place of darkness 'removed from the light of God'


Grieving over the death of someone


A group of important Mesopotamian gods


Mesopotamian term for spirit, related in some way to dreams


Mesopotamian name for a dead person who was not buried. The spirit will wander the earth and can seriously harm living people.


A ritual banquet for the deceased

Votive offering

Placing something in a sacred religious place without plans of retrieving it


A philosophical study attempting to prove that god is omnibenevolent (all-loving), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipotent (all-powerful).


Belief that god determines beforehand which people go to heaven or hell


A religion that deals with a dichotomy, such as good vs. evil, yin vs yang, or heaven and hell.


Belief that how a person behaves in life will somehow influence what happens to them after they die

"Stone and Banana"

Indonesian explanation of mortality. 1st Couple was hungry. God gave rock. Still hungry. God gives banana, which they ate. Thats why people are mortal like bananas and not immortal like rocks.

"The Cast Skin"

Other Indonesian explanation of mortality. People used to be able to shed skin and throw in river, being immortal. One day an old woman kept her old skin and put it back on. Since then people have been immortal.


How the gods came to exist.


How the universe came to exist.


How humans came to exist

John Freeman

Saver of humens


Jewish name for the Abrahamic God.

Garden of Eden/Paradise

Place Adam and Eve got thrown out of in all Abrahamic religions.

Valley of Dry Bones

Symbolic resting site of the people of Israel. The LORD brought Ezekiel here and told him that he will revive the bones on Judgment Day.

Eschatological expectation

Believing that an "End Times" or apocalypse will occur.

St. Augustine

(354-430) Defined the modern concepts of purgatory and predestination


The site where Jesus was crucified.


The Muslim holy book


According to Islam, the 'seal', or last of the prophets


An Abrahamic religion which comes from the Middle East.


Islam name for the Abrahamic god

Angels (Islam)

According to Islam, angels are messengers of God. They have no free will, and sometimes test humans at God's command.


Islamic view of the devil. Hubris personified, his only power is to cast evil suggestions into men, women, and jinn

Tower of silence

A circular, raised structure used by Zoroastrians for exposure of the dead.

Sky burial

In Old Tibetan Buddhism, a human corpse was cut into pieces at specific locations and left for birds of prey to eat. This is because the soul has already reincarnated, so its old body is merely an empty shell.


To burn the body of someone deceased


Part of a body of a saint, or another important religious item


A blessing, from God (in Islam), or by people at a ceremony (in Judaism)


A Sufi shrine built over the grave of a revered religious person, often a Sufi saint.

Civil religion

To be a civil religion, a religion must have all of the following: (1) diety, (2) life to come, (3) reward of virtue, punishment of vice, and (4) the exclusion of religious tolerance.

Arlington Nat'l Cemetary

A cemetery in West Virginia where many important American military personnel have been buried


A large stone used to construct a structure or monument, such as Stonehenge.


A single-chamber tomb made out of megaliths.


A large upright-standing stone. A subgroup of megaliths.


A big building built to house a specific dead person. Some people consider it synonymous with 'tomb,' others think the mausoleum surrounds the tomb.


An underground, non-Christian temple or tomb


A large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structured tombs

Pyramid texts

A collection of ancient Egyptian religious texts, possibly the oldest religious texts in the world

Coffin texts

A collection of ancient Egyptian funerary spells written on coffins

Book of the Dead

An ancient Egyptian funerary text. Contained a list of spells to help assist a dead person's journey through the underworld and to the afterlife. A number of these spells were originally Coffin Texts.


Egyptian god of the underworld


Egyptian god of Sky, War, and Protection. Son of Isis and Osiris.


Egyptian God of Chaos, who killed Osiris. (A different Seth is Adam and Eve's yougest named son)


Goddess of mothers, fertility, and the downtrodden. Sister of Osiris who later found his pieces, resurrected him with magic, married him, and gave birth to Horus.


Ancient Egyptian Sun god. Sometimes merged with Horus.


Egyptian concept of vital essence, it translates to "vital spark". It distinguished the difference between a living and a dead person, and death occurs when it leaves the body.


Egyptian concept of everything that made a human unique, kinda like personality. It was bird-shaped combined with 'ka' to make the soul.


The Egyptian political and religious ruler. When a pharaoh died, he became a god.


Ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Sometimes personified as a goddess.


Any object intended to bring luck or protection to its owner.

Opening of the Mouth

Egyptian burial custom. Involved the symbolic 'opening' of a statue's (or mummy's) mouth so that it could eat and drink in the afterlife.


Jackal -headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife. Displaced by Osiris during the Middle Kingdom.


Preserving human remains. An important part of Ancient Egyptian burial.

Canopic jars

What the Egyptians preserved embalmed remains in. Each organ got its own jar.


Egyptian funerary figurines. Placed in tombs and designed to act as substitutes in case the dead guy was called upon to do manual labor in the afterlife.

Field of Reeds

The heavenly paradise where Osiris ruled after displacing Anubis

Weighing of the Heart

Egyptians believed the gods would compare a dead person's heart to Ma'at, to see if the person acted in accordance with Ma'at. If they had, the person's ba and ka would be united into an akh.


Hindu ritual, usually for honoring one's dead parents. Hire "Brahmanaa" and treat them as if they are your parents: give them lots of food and pinda, wash their feet, and pay them fees.


A round ball made of flour and rice, used in Hindu religious practices


Hindu god of fire and acceptor of sacrifices.


Another term for the Islam devil

Votive tablets

Ancient Greek tablets that were votive offerings


Religions that have only one god


The study of religious doctrines of salvation

Resurrection body

After death, the immaterial body which travels into the afterlife

Jesus Christ

The Christian messiah, believed to be the one who will resurrect his chosen people after the apocalypse

sheep and goats

At Judgment, God will separate the good from the bad, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.


According to the Quran, Judgment Day.


soul/prison. Important concept of philology.


According to Islam, the intermediate state where the soul is transferred through across the boundaries of the mortal realm into a kind of ''cold sleep'' where the soul will rest until the Qiyamma.


In Islam, a saying, act, or tacit approval ascribed to Muhammad

Final Judgment

Christian final judgment by God.


The study of language in written historical sources


Something relating to the regions within Indonesia and Europe


The point where organic matter has reached a point of stability, and will break down no longer.


The smallest scale of existence, subatomic particles or generic small things. Shares patterns with the macrocosm.


The largest scale of existence, universes and the concept of matter. Shares patterns with the microcosm.


Killing something or giving something up to appease gods or other beings of power.


When different species share similar structures. For example, the arm bones of humans, cats, bats, and whales.

linear/cyclic time

Differing opinions of time. With linear, the universe was created and will eventually die. In cyclic, the universe either restarts or rewinds, and continues again.


Religion based off of the teachings of Zarathustra. The creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and evil emanates from a different source and only tries to destroy what Ahura Mazda has created.

Five Collectors/Receptors

Water - blood
Plants - hair
Earth - flesh and bone
Fire - energy
Wind - life breath


According to Zoroastrianism, the first man.


According to the Wemale tribes of Seram, a "coconut girl" who could excrete valuables. The villagers killed her and out of her remains grew the tuberous plants (aka yams) the Seram live off of.

Myth of Er

Story by Plato that ends his Republic. A soldier named Er sees the afterlife and reincarnates. Introduced the idea that moral people are rewarded and immoral people punished after death.


Good source of potassium. Extremely important as a source of food, religious worship, and economic hierarchy for the Wemale people.

Exchange ritual

Wemale practice wherein the families of the island would bring their biggest yam and determine their social hierarchy by whoever had the largest


Greek Athenian philosopher. One of the founders of western philosophy

Ancestral mounds (dobu)

Where each Wemale family grew their yams.


Work by Plato. Depicting the death of Socrates, it explores the concept of afterlife and introduces Plato's concept of forms.


Philosophical texts considered to be an early source of Hindu religion


Means 'to flow on,' to perpetually wander, or to pass through states of existence

Three debts

According to Hinduism, each person is born with three debts: (1) Dedicate ones life to the service of God, (2) debt to sages and saints, (3) debt to ancestors


Spirits of departed ancestors, according to Hindus.


"hungry ghosts", usually jealous or greedy people who are now dead. Appear in Buddhist and Hindu texts. Can also refer to souls in general

World of the Fathers

The place good preta get to go, if the living perform the proper rituals.


According to Hindu texts, the river that separates the earth and the infernal world. It is the realm of Yama, the god of death.


A holy city to Hindus, buddhists, and Jains, located in India on the banks of the River Ganges.


A Hindu ritual performed on the 12th day after someone's death. It allows a deceased's preta to enter the world of the ancestors known as pitrloka.

Rite of the Skull

Hindu ritual. After burning a corpse, the skull is cracked open with a long stick, usually of bamboo. It releases the soul from entrapment in the body.


Persons of religious importance. They usually know the sacred rituals and perform them during public religious ceremonies.


Mythological Greek musician. Failed to rescue his wife from hell and was later torn apart by Maenads. Many cults sprang up around the character.

Mysteries or "mystery religions"

religions which would keep their practices and texts secret, told only to initiates. We don't really know what most of them did due to the inherent concept


In religion, a term meaning to visit the underworld.

Tablet of Petelia

Written by Orpheus. Used to hold great religious importance


A different cult that opposed the Orpheics. Liked reaching enlightenment through animalistic methods, such as eating raw meat and blood orgies.


Huge beings which included Zeus' father Chronos. Zeus locked them up and took over with the Olympic gods.


One of the five rivers of Hades. Souls who drank too much from it forgot everything


The opposite of amnesia. It's where you remember something you'd previously forgot. Forewarned philosophers could do it after reincarnating.


Demon. Good or bad supernatural beings between mortals and gods, such as inferior divinities and ghosts of dead heroes.


A receptacle for a dead guy. Greek in origin, famously associated with Egyptians.


A place in a sanctuary where you prepare the bread and wine for the Eucharist (that ceremony where you commemorate Jesus)


According to Athenian tradition, the transport of the coffin to the cemetery


Founder of the Buddhist religion. Considered an enlightened individual rather than a god


In Buddhism, the complete abandonment physical pleasures. The benefit, now cannot feel physical pain or loss, since one has accepted that his body is just a casket that he will shed upon death and reincarnation.


In Buddhism, either an enlightened existence or an enlightened being.

Celestial buddha

Those who gained enlightenment and now dwell in the heavens or various paradises.


The third state of being one can achieve while alive (the others are awake and sleeping).

Highest Yoga Tantra

The best of the four tantras.

Diamond Path

The Diamond Path is a system of Buddhism. It's what uses the tantras.


A circular art system use by Hindu and Buddhist religious art. A quartered circle with a smaller circle in the center, like those handheld "Simon Says" games.

Six Bardos

The six intermediate states between birth and nirvana/reincarnation. Tibetan Buddhism says there are six, and the first one encapsulates birth to death


The Hindu god of death. Buddhism later adopted him also

Bhava Cakra

Symbolic representation of the cycle of life and death that all beings participate in. According to Buddhists, the Buddha himself designed it


To journey to the realms beyond death.

Caring burials

When a dead body is buried and its clear the living showed care for the person dead. There's proof the Neanderthals did this.


A chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place for lots and lots of human skeletal remains. Used when there isn't much space available to bury generations of dead.


The concept of an impersonal force or quality that resides in people. The precursor to the concept of religion, it's popularly interpreted as "the stuff of which magic is formed."

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