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Living with Many Gods

Neil MacGregor focuses on societies with many gods. The Romans incorporated gods from the places they conquered, while a gathering of gods oversaw life in ancient Mesopotamia.

Neil MacGregor's series on the role and expression of beliefs continues with a focus on societies living with many gods.

In the mid-1840s, a Roman earthenware jar was dug from the earth near Felmingham Hall in Norfolk. Inside, excavators found several belief systems, all mixed up together - for buried in the pot was a jumble of gods, deities of different kinds and origins, that tell us what it meant for people in Roman Britain around the year 250 to be living with many gods.

The great ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh includes a narrative with striking similarities to - but important differences from - the story of Noah in the Bible. Here a council of gods is persuaded to unleash a great flood to wipe out humankind.

Producer Paul Kobrak

The series is produced in partnership with the British Museum, with the assistance of Dr Christopher Harding, University of Edinburgh.
Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

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