Religion and beliefs had a huge impact on the ancient world which you can see through Ancient Egypt and China. It was used to guide people throughout their life but also as a form of social control. Both Egypt and China used religious beliefs to determine how to live their lives and also to base their social control systems.
Religion and belief systems had a large influence on Ancient China and Egypt, particularly through values people used to guide their life and actions. For example, in Ancient Egypt according to ‘Ancient History Encyclopedia’ people had to follow ma’at, meaning ‘harmony’ in order to continue to the Afterlife. Religious belief in the Afterlife meant that during day-to-day practices Ancient Egyptians had to behave. Similarly, in Confucianism according to ‘Primal Trek’ Filial Piety charms such as this was found in China. Filial piety is the belief that a child should respect his or her parents, therefore meaning that charms like this would have been regularly worn to represent this. The belief in wanting to go to the afterlife or the belief in the Filial Piety religion was able to influence how people lived their lives daily. The ancient world was influenced by religion, particularly in day-to-day life and actions.
Beliefs and religious beliefs had an effect on Ancient Egypt and China and both affected the social control and governance systems. For example, in Ancient Egypt, as you can see in this carving pharaohs and gods are depicted together. By displaying a close relationship with the gods, Pharaohs were able to justify their actions. Historians have concluded that the High Priests in league with the Pharaoh were believed to be able to receive information from the gods. Due to this, the people of Ancient Egypt followed the Pharaoh as he or she was acting under the instructions of the gods. The people of Ancient Egypt placed all their faith in the gods, therefore the Pharaoh could use the gods in their religion as a form of social control therefore creating political stability. Confucianism in China also acted as a form of social control. For example, as you can see in this photograph taken there are people worshipping Confucius. Confucius had values and beliefs he wanted people to follow which created Confucianism. In Ancient China the Emperor would uphold people these values creating a justice system. By the Emperor enforcing these values, like in Ancient Egypt with the pharaoh, social control was formed. People believed so much in Confucius’ teachings that because the emperor was also using these teachings trust and political stability were formed. Through common belief, the emperor was able to create control within communities by relating to people through religion. The emperor had the same beliefs just in a higher role of power so people listened to them because this gave the emperor control and created social security. In both religions, because everyone believed in the same or similar values, it created a sense of security and control within the community and within the country's leadership. In Ancient Egypt and China Religion influenced systems of governance, therefore, influencing how ancient societies functioned.
Through looking at Ancient Egyptian religion and Confucianism in Ancient China we can see the ancient world was greatly influenced by religion. It affected day-to-day life and actions as also social control and their systems of governance. I hope you learned something about religion in Ancient China and Egypt but I also hope that from this you were encouraged to reflect on how else the ancient world was influenced by religion.