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Mesopotamia and Egypt

Comparing two ancient civilizations.

The sound of chatter amongst the people of Sumer, in what is present day Iran, floods the area encompassing the market area. Mesopotamia and Egypt are two of the most ancient and prosperous civilizations of the ancient world, and, as a result, share a plethora of similarities, as well as contrasts. For example, the social and economic differences caused by differences in location and geologic features such as mountains, deserts, and rivers. These and many other factors will be explored as you continue your journey into the similarities and differences between these two ancient empires.

As previously stated, Mesopotamia and Egypt are two of the most ancient civilizations to have ever existed. That aside, they were still rather advanced for their time. Both empires had a class system At the top of Mesopotamia’s were the King, Priests, Independent Merchants, and Wealthy Landowners. Egypt’s was more limited, with only the Pharaoh and its officials and scribes residing in the upper class.

The bulk of the system was made up of the Farmer class, which was beneath all except the slaves. To continue, the introduction of a written form of language further secures the grounds that these civilizations were among the most advanced of their time. The Mesopotamians developed Cuneiform, a system of wedge-shaped letters used to record information such as loans and taxes. The Egyptians developed Hieroglyphics, a type of picture writing, for much the same purpose, though it did not take as much skill to read as Cuneiform.

To continue, Mesopotamia and Egypt were both considered to have thrived in the same climate zone. It may have been the same climate zone, but the weather was hardly ever the same. In egypt, the river was the main focus every year, because with it came the flood, which, in turn, watered the crops while fertilizing the soil at the same time. This was a welcome flood in part because it didn’t really rain that much in Egypt. The same was true in Mesopotamia except that instead of the flood, they had to irrigate their own water from the two rivers which gave Mesopotamia its name, The Tigris and Euphrates rivers. These two rivers were the reason that life was allowed to sustain itself in the harsh land that is Mesopotamia. Also, the river Nile in Egypt was used to transfer messages and goods up and down the banks to the people who required them. It is unclear whether this was utilized in Mesopotamia. Also the frequent sand storms which plagued both areas affected Mesopotamia more often than Egypt.

Thirdly, there are some large differences in the ways that Mesopotamia and Egypt communicated with the world outside their respective empires. Research from excavations undergone in Mesopotamia, for example, show that there was significant trade with the Indus Valley people of, what is now Pakistan, and others such as wandering nomads and people from the areas surrounding Mesopotamia. Egypt has been shown to have had ties with the Nubians, to the south of them, as well as the people as far off as Afghanistan as well as the Greeks and Palestinians. Little can be said of any possible interactions between Egypt and Mesopotamia although it is believed that Egypt may have began to explore the area known as the Levant, which is extremely close to the Mesopotamian area.

In essence, Egypt and Mesopotamia are two of the most powerful and successful of the ancient civilizations. Although they developed in separate areas, spoke and wrote different languages, and traded with different people, they basically lived the same kind of lifestyle in the same kind of environment. And environment in which the rivers, which are the focal point when referring to these empires, meant everything to them, bringing life to these once uninhabitable areas.

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