Virtual Kollage: The religious practices of the ancient Berbers

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The religious practices of the ancient Berbers


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THE RELIGIOUS PRACTICES OF THE ANCIENT BERBERS
Introduction
At the height of the ancient civilization of the ancient Berbers, some striking religious practices could be identified. A few of these ancient religious practices are discussed below.

RELIGIOUS PRACTICES 
Polytheism
One striking aspect of the religion of the ancient Berbers was that it was polytheistic in nature. As a result, objects of worship were manifested in natural phenomenon like the Sun, rivers, mountains, trees and many others. Their form of worship through several natural mediums made their religious practice a polytheistic one.

Deification of kings
Among the ancient Berbers, kings were held in great honour. In so much honour that they were regarded as gods. The reason for this great honour was rooted in the belief that the kings were sanctioned by the gods to rule the people. It was a taboo to disobey the ancient Berber king. They were therefore regarded as deities. A gift from an adherent, presented to the king was as good as having been presented to the gods.

The existence of priests
Another dominant factor of the ancient Berber religion was the place of their priests. The priests were the officials of the shrines. They were priests were the mouth-pieces of the gods. One of the functions of the priests was to maintain the shrines. Another function was to perform the necessary rituals that were required by the gods of the land on behalf of the people.

Animal sacrifice
As part of their religious practice, the ancient Berbers sacrificed animals to their gods. They believed that in order to obtain certain favours from the gods, they needed to make blood sacrifice. For example, in order to obtain victory in an impending battle, some of the Berber tribes could sacrifice a cow to the gods. The Ursifan Berbers, for example, are documented to have sacrificed black cows to their gods to help them become victorious in battles.

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Human sacrifice
Another major religious practice of the ancient Berbers was the sacrificing of human being to their gods. They believed that certain types of favours are almost impossible to obtain from the gods unless a human blood was sacrificed to them. This was considered as an ultimate sacrifice and the gods could never fail them. The Numidian Berbers were identified as those who practiced this ultimate sacrifice. They are recorded to have sacrificed their first-born sons to their objects of worship in exchange for specific favours.

The use of amulets
Also, the ancient Berbers were known for the use of amulets to give them personal protection from evil charms directed at them by evil people in the society. The ancient Berbers believed that a person can be harmed through the use of evil forces of every kind. In order to prevent these evil forces from inflicting any kind of harm on them, they used amulets and talismans to give them protection.


ALSO READ:
The economic organization of the ancient Berber society
The influence of the Arabs on the Berber civilization

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