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Compare Contrast Egypt Mesopotamia Essay

Comparison between Mesopotamia and Egypt Essay

Mesopotamia and Egypt were two civilizations that while similar in some ways, also had many differences. Not only did they differ in the geographical layout of the civilization, but also in many aspects of basic life. Although different in many aspects of life, there are also several similarities between the two civilizations.

Mesopotamia was originally focused in the river-valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, but the civilization eventually spread throughout an entire region. The Mesopotamia culture was affected by the erratic and sometimes destructive flooding from the two rivers. In contrast, the Egyptian civilization remained focused on the Nile River and the surrounding deserts. The Egyptian culture viewed the Nile River as a source of unending bounty to be received with thanks, not as a menacing cause of floods.


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Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt moved almost directly from the pre-civilization state to a civilization ruled by a large government without passing through the city-state phase. Because the culture was unified around the Nile river, the authoritarian government in Egypt had fewer problems with its political structure than did Mesopotamia. Because it was considered to b a city-state, Mesopotamian provided the opportunity for councils and other participatory government structures.

Egyptian culture was influenced to some degree by Mesopotamia, Egypt separated from Mesopotamia in many ways other than politics. The Sumerian cuneiform alphabet developed by Mesopotamia was not accepted by the Egyptians; instead, they developed the hieroglyphic alphabet. In both Mesopotamia and Egypt, the system of writing was complex and therefore mainly used by the upper classes. Through the development of the papyrus, the Egyptians were able to reduce the cost of the writing materials and it developed extensive record keeping practices. Egypt, did not however establish the epic literary tradition that was prevalent in Mesopotamia.

Science in the Egyptian civilization was based on mathematics and astronomy, and was less advanced than the science of Mesopotamia. Egypt was first to establish the calendar of the solar year. The Egyptians used a calendar based on the natural cycles and it suggests that they were trying to predict the cycle of Nile flooding. The Egyptians also made important advances in medicine, some of which were passed to the Greeks and then to the Middle Eastern and European civilizations.

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Egypt and Mesopotamia have both similarities and differences, throughout both of these civilizations from back to 3,500 B.C. The political and social structures in these civilizations were different and the same in their own way. The political differences between Egypt and Mesopotamia included hierarchy power, land control, and centralized government. The similarities between both civilizations are social class, male patriarchy, and kings. Egypt and Mesopotamia both had differences of their political and social structures. Egypt had more of authorial government, where one head person was in charge which in this case was the pharaoh, which was the head on Egypt social class, as well as leader of his society. The Pharaoh was basically a king ruling for his people, while Mesopotamia, had city states, which was controlled by priest kings.

Another difference is that in Egypt the Pharaoh had complete control over the land, while in Mesopotamia the kings were not so powerful, and the land was split with others such as priest kings. Lastly, Egypt had a centralized government, while Mesopotamia did not have this. Egypt was ruled under one leader and was together as a unity. Egypt had an overall leader such as the Pharaoh, which helped Egypt stay united as one government and civilization. Key similarities would be that they both had poly gods and many of their gods were very brutal. Both the lands were birthed in war and had much cultural strife for land. Mesopotamia had an all mighty ruler of gods and Egyptians really didn’t. Many people say Ra was the almighty sun god of Egyptian culture but really all of Egypt’s gods were about equal.

The idea of what is beautiful and what is considered “manly” is still held upon Egyptian beliefs, not Mesopotamian beliefs. Very different cultures Egypt developed in relative isolation from the rest of the ancient Near East. Thus, cultural evolution resulted in a totally unique civilization, without influence from the outside. Mesopotamia was a multicultural society, with Sumer and Akkad, Elam and Babylon, Assyria, Mitanni, and others all vying for supremacy. Mesopotamia and Egypt were both in flood basins of major rivers. Mesopotamia was characterized by turmoil and tension and in contrast Egypt was characterized by stability and serenity. The Mesopotamian climate was harsh and since the Tigris and the Euphrates flooded irregularly, nature was not viewed as life enhancing but rather considered to be a threat.

Mesopotamia was located on an open plain without protection from foreign intrusions; therefore they were continually on alert. Differences between the religions is the idea of death and resurrection for all people, including common people, was possible in ancient Egypt, but not generally so in Mesopotamian religions. Early on in Egyptian history, only the king, or pharaoh, could resurrect from the dead and live forever. That is why the Egyptians mummified their dead. Later, even the common man wanted his body to be preserved as a home for the spirit, who would live on in the afterlife. This was not possible for the average Mesopotamian. Egyptian religion was less likely to be influenced by the outside world. Mesopotamia is at the crossroads of many different peoples and cultures.

Changes in the Mesopotamian religions was much more likely, and more common, than in Egypt. Egypt and Mesopotamia have both similarities and differences, throughout both of these civilizations from back to 3,500 B.C. The political and social structures in these civilizations were different and the same in their own way. The political differences between Egypt and Mesopotamia included hierarchy power, land control, and centralized government. The similarities between both civilizations are social class, male patriarchy, and kings. Egypt and Mesopotamia both had differences of their political and social structures. Egypt and Mesopotamia believed in polytheistic, but the Mesopotamia they believed in many rulers such as ur-nammu and sargon ant ect but they Egyptians believed in the pharaoh he was the only person in charge over everything.

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