Religion did not begin with compassion. The gods of the ancient Near East were not exactly epitomes of goodness.
In the flood story of the Gilgamesh Epic, the gods destroyed humanity not because they were reacting to unbridled violence and sin, as in the biblical (and quranic) versions, but because humans were making too much noise and disturbing them.
The ancient gods were worshipped but not out of love. They were worshipped out of fear.
The pagan Roman Empire was the most complex and refined civilization that had ever appeared on earth. Its religious practice ensured eternal protection by the gods. Its emperor was appointed by the divinity as ruler of the Roman state. Although the empire flourished for many centuries, its religious system did not. The Roman Empire Christianized under Constantine, and this new reality created a new Christian self-concept: imperial Christianity. The Christianization of the empire proved the triumph of Christianity over all its religious competitors and demonstrated that God loved the church and its mighty kingdom.
This new and improved Roman Empire was called the Byzantine Empire, and its Christian emperor became known as God's regent on earth.
Chan Chan is the world's largest mud city. Lying just outside the town of Trujillo, on Peru's northern coast, Chan Chan's high earthen walls feature pre-Columbian carvings paying tribute to the civilization's many gods.