Mesopotamia and Egypt Comparison

Last Updated: 07 Apr 2020
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Known as one of the earliest civilizations, Mesopotamia and Egypt both share set amounts of similarities along with a share of striking distinctions. Environmentally, these two civilizations were formed in similar surroundings, yet their weather patterns show distinctions. Politically, both governments derived from a monarch, yet their laws and punishments distinguished the two’s court systems. Economically, they both shared prosperous success in similar manners.

Socially, although the two lands followed a hierarchy, the value of women contrasted.Culturally, they both believed in a higher order of creation; however, their views of them were polar opposites. Intellectually, these two societies developed skilled abilities and creations that changed history forever. In terms of environment, these two civilizations were formed in similar surroundings. They were both the earliest river-valleys to be charted by anthropologists. Because they were both formed near rivers, it’s no coincidence that the life of both of these places depended mainly on rivers.The Tigris and Euphrates rivers aided in Mesopotamian life, while the river Nile supporting the Nile civilization of Egypt.

However, one difference between Mesopotamia and Egypt is the weather patterns of their respected localities. The Nile civilization admired and celebrated at the mineral waters that came in the favorably regular floods that provided lush vegetation and ease for society support, where in contrast, Sumerians had to settle for ruthless and unpredictable floods that lead towards more destruction than aid to their settlement.Politically, both governments derived from a monarch. Mesopotamia and Egypt had a sole and absolute ruler who rained over their respective territories, usually for life and by heredity. However, the laws these two civilizations lived by with their people were dissimilar. Laws of the Nile were based on “common sense view” of right and wrong that emphasized reaching agreements and resolving conflicts rather than strictly adhering to a complicated set of statuses.A large factor as to why this is so is because of the Pharaoh’s (name given to the ruler of Egypt) duty as a ruler to provide Ma’at or the personification of the fundamental order of the universe.

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The Mesopotamian laws, in contrast, were hard and unfortunate, which were set by King Hammurabi himself during his long reign of Babylon. In Hammurabi's court, it did not matter if you were rich or poor, if you broke the law, and were found guilty, you would be punished and required to follow the laws and punishments that were clearly written in stone (the code of Hammurabi).Economically, these two civilizations both shared prosperous success in similar manners. One connection between Mesopotamia and Egypt is that they both manipulated their designated rivers to perform critical trade operations by using them as routes. They were able to communicated and send goods with other civilizations in a farther location via the river system. Also, these two civilizations were very productive in the agricultural field due to the strategically created irrigation systems that provided water to their fertile soils to provide lush vegetations in Nile and Sumer.The one difference between Mesopotamia and Egypt in terms of economy is that the Nile government controlled most if not all of the trading monopoly, and they had their citizens pay substantial taxes.

In social terms, Egypt and Mesopotamia followed a hierarchy. A body of people with authority, categorized according to their ability or status, such as king, priests, and peasants, is what dictated daily life in both civilizations. Women, conversely, were treated and thought of differently. The Egyptians believed in equality of women and marked them decently high in terms of respect records show.In Mesopotamia, women were much considered inferior compared to men. Anthropologists theorize that women lost social standing and freedom with the spread of agriculture. The standing of women seems to have declined further in the second millennium B.

C. E. , perhaps because of the rise of an urbanized middle class and an increase in private wealth. Culturally, these two river valley civilizations both believed in a higher order of creation. Similar to one another, both practiced polytheism or the belief and worship of more than one God.However, their views of these deities were polar opposites. Optimistic by the stability of their environment, Egyptians conceived a positive notion of the God’s designs for humankind.

They believed that despite the hardships their people went through, the righteous spirit could journey to the next world and look forward to a blessed existence. In contrast the Mesopotamians believed that due to the harsh conditions they went through were signs of the displeasure of the gods, and they needed to appease them in order to survive the unpredictable world they lived in.Along with a strong belief of the afterlife, Egyptians built lavish tombs within gracious pyramids to honor their pharaoh so that as they live among the deities, he will aid in bringing prosperity to the land he once came. Mesopotamians, however, build step pyramids not to worship the gods, but to worship the king himself whole currently ruled their territory. It was mainly culture, not physical appearance that served as the criterion of personal identification in both Egypt and Mesopotamia. Intellectually, these two societies developed skilled abilities and creations that changed history forever.Egyptians and Mesopotamians were skilled mathematicians due to the accurate recordings and construction involved in creating the irrigations that derived their agricultural success.

Both societies maintained an interest in astronomy, which later, Egyptian agronomists created one of the first accurate 365 day calendars up to date. There have also been ancient records that demonstrate Mesopotamian use of the potter’s wheel. In addition, the Egyptians were expert chemists, as they modified and improve their ability to preserve the bodies of their righteous leaders or loved ones through the process of mummification.In addition, these civilizations both created sophisticated writing system to differentiate their culture from others, such as Egyptians developing hieroglyphics written on papyrus while the Mesopotamians lived by the cuneiform writing system. These first civilizations developed high levels of political centralization, urbanization, and technology due to their situations in river valleys, and their need to support agriculture through rainfall forced these communities to work as one ton construct and maintain canals, dams, weirs, and dikes.Their intellect seeks fat as to create their own original forms of writing as well. Not only did the crops support the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, but the surplus was able to support specialized artisan experts in engineering, mathematics, and metallurgy.

It was the culture, not appearance that separated these two civilizations. Both followed the system of a hierarchy, yet Egyptians held their women high in respect while the Mesopotamians saw them as inferior to society.Egyptians cherished their kind Gods and Pharaohs for the prosperity they bring to their land in terms of agriculture and weather, why the Mesopotamians scrambled to appease their harsh deities to survive their unpredictable weather conditions. Kinship governed these two societies, yet the Code of Hammurabi was the critical difference in their respective political systems. It is no doubt that the origin of human civilizations first started in these locales, and both have made a huge impact in future societies for many years to come.

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