Egypt vs. Mesopotamia Essay Sample
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- Category: civilization
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Egypt vs. Mesopotamia Essay Sample
Civilization. The word “civilization” comes from the Latin term for “city.” The first civilizations were the river-valley civilizations, so-called because they all developed alongside major rivers to secure an adequate water supply for agricultural production. 2 of the greatest river-valley civilizations were Mesopotamia and Egypt. All though they both supported having a patriarchal leader or king, Egypt had a strong, centralized government, whereas Mesopotamia was decentralized, and built based on small city-states operating independently.
In both societies, the patriarchal leaders were influenced by religion tremendously. For example, in Egypt, all the citizens believed that not only did their pharoah have “powers”, but he was God in human form, allowing them to have more power over people. As a result, religion became more intertwined within politics, and even back then it was hard to tell them apart.This is shown with the many tombs they designed for themselves, called the Great Pyramids. With religion in political structure was an effective tactic because the Mesopotamians feared their gods since their Gods’ punishments included making rivers flood unpredictably Also, like in Mesopotamia, in Egypt below the pharaohs were nobles and priests, and at the very bottom were slaves. By having patriarchal societies, rulers were often influenced by priests, and many decisions were based off of their polytheistic religion. Although both civilizations had rulers, Egypt only had one ruler whereas Mesopotamia had many.
In Egypt, there was a very strong centralized government, which resulted in government knowledge and influence in many needed aspects. For example, the Egyptian economy was more fully government-directed than Mesopotamia which had an independent business class. Because of its geographic location, the complexity in irrigating the Nile River resulted in government control. Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt had more peace and prosperity because it simply had very few wars. Though it is mostly because of geography, Mesopotamians were always warring,with not only invaders but themselves. This can be seen in Egyptian artwork, which is described as cheerful, colorful, and lively. Because there was only one leader in Egypt, there were governors in many key areas of the empire. However, a consistent problem seen in Egypt is the pawning of rulers, in which the priests always played a huge role in society and controlled the pharaoh. When looking at other civilizations most notably Caliphate, the caliphs were pawned by military and religious leaders, which ultimately lead to the downfall of their empire. Mesopotamia was a decentralized civilization, and resulted with many rulers leading the many city-states within the empire.
Due to the many wars occurring within, kings were originally war leaders, and the function of defense and war, including leadership of a trained army, remained vital. Due to being many rulers within the empire, there were many internal conflicts, let alone the outside ones, which resulted in Mesopotamia further advanced its empire by developing ideas for a bureaucracy and laws, by using Hammurabi’s code. It laid down the procedure for law courts and regulated property rights and duties of family members, setting harsh punishments for crimes. This focus on standardizing a legal system was one of the features of early civilization. Also, the political structure there was enforced by none other than the Sumerians, which can be seen in many similar ideas and traits passed on today’s modern world. Undoubtedly as one of our world’s first civilizations, Mesopotamia and Egypt played a crucial role in not only their time, but in today’s current world as well. This can be taken away from the use of developing many tools to shape the world, most notably through the use of mathematics and the sciences. However, with political structures extremely similar, yet different, they set up the standards for the world’s next great.