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Mesopotamia and Egypt

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Mesopotamia and Egypt

Both Mesopotamia and Egypt  close to the Mediterranean sea, the Persian Gulf and red sea - ideal trading opportunities. Egypt is essentially enclosed by desert and sea, making it a nation with natural boundaries. Mesopotamia is similar in that is bordered by desert to the east and south, mountains to the north and sea to the west. Both are quite literally "Cradles of civilization".  Most political differences were the Egyptians operated under a centralized government were ruled by a pharaoh for most of their history. A pharaoh was a king who was viewed as god-like and possessing magical powers and the Mesopotamians had separate, self-controlled city-state governments with each one operating as separate political and economic units.

The ancient Egyptians were known for creating large monuments such as the Great Spinx and the Temple of Ramses II.  These massive sculptural structures many times were created in preparation for the afterlife. The Egyptians had the ability to import large stones for these great structures. Egyptian science focused on mathematics and astronomy, but its achievements were far less advanced than those of Mesopotamia. The Egyptians were, however, the first people to establish the length of the solar year, which they divided into 12 months each with three weeks of ten days. The week was the only division of time not based on any natural cycles.   The pillar of Egyptian culture was not science, however, but religion, which was firmly established as the basis of a whole worldview.  Stability was a hallmark of Egyptian culture. Many pharaohs commemorated their greatness by building huge pyramids to house themselves and their retinues after death, commanding work crews of up to 100,000 men to haul and lift the stone. The first great pyramid was built around 2600 B.C. the largest pyramid followed about a century later, taking 20 years to complete and containing 2 million blocks of stone, each weighing 51/2 tons.



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