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Compare And Contrast: Mesopotamia And Egypt

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Kyle Fuller


World Civilization 110-29

21 September 2006

Compare and Contrast: Mesopotamia and Egypt

In the time of the agricultural age, two civilizations arose out of the plenteous food and raging waters. These two early civilizations were Mesopotamia and Egypt. Although many similarities can be drawn between the two, they each proved to be very different from each other in social, political, and religious systems as well as their stability and defeat.

One factor they did have in common was the cause of each civilization existence, Irrigated agriculture. Irrigated agriculture was the bridge between a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and an agricultural lifestyle. These two early civilizations had an abundant supply of the number one resource needed for irrigated agriculture, water. "In ancient Mesopotamia, the dual drainage of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers made the first urban civilization possibleÐ'...In Egypt, the Nile was the life-giving source of everything the people needed and cherished (Adler Pouwels 2006:11). This plentiful supply of water in conjunction with fertile soil in both civilizations allowed them to produce enough food to support large communities. "Rivers also offered a sure and generally easy form of transport and communication, allowing intervillage trade and encouraging central authorities to extend their powers over a much greater area" (Adler Pouwels 2006:11). Given that water was the key to life, most communities were on or near the river. Having a central resource created community relationships and outward expansion ultimately ending in the formation of these two great civilizations. While each civilizations creation was fueled by the same factors, most of life for the two after was very different.

The political views of the two kingdoms were opposites. "The Egyptians views the world as the Egyptian's and the rest" of the inferiors (Adler Pouwels 2006:36). They truly believed that they were the best in the world, while the Hammurabi Code of Law strived for social rank equality among all. Mesopotamia had many different styles of rulers with different beliefs at the same time as Egypt had many rulers all of which were fairly similar. Socially the two differed as well. In Egypt most were free tenant farmers, some were craftspeople but for all, daily life generally stayed the same usual routine (Adler Pouwels 2006:35). It seems to have stayed like this for quite sometime as compared to Mesopotamia's always changing structure. In Mesopotamia "neighborhoods were filled with specialized wholesale and retail markets"



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