Ancient Mesopotamia And Egypt Essay Research Paper
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Ancient Mesopotamia And Egypt Essay, Research Paper 1) I have chosen to discuss the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. Both have many significant similarities and differences. I would like to compare some important points in four common categories. I will compare and contrast the geography and its impact, the political structure of each society, the importance of their existing class structures and finally the role of women in these dynamic civilizations. Mesopotamia and Egypt were both in flood basins of major rivers. Mesopotamia was characterized by turmoil and tension and in contrast Egypt was characterized by stability and serenity. The Mesopotamian climate was harsh and since the Tigris and the Euphrates flooded irregularly, nature was not viewed as life enhancing but rather considered to be a threat. Mesopotamia was located on an open plain without protection from foreign intrusions; therefore they were continually on alert. Egypt, on the other hand, was centered on the dependable Nile. The rich and fertile soil of the Nile Valley provided agricultural wealth. Even though the river was known to flood yearly the Egyptians had no reason to fear it. It helped them predict nature and they began to use this knowledge to their benefit. Since the Nile Valley was surrounded by deserts and the Red Sea, Egypt was free relatively free from foreign invasions. The Nile was also used for travel in their civilization. The political structure in Mesopotamia during the Sumarian era had no unified government. Instead it had numerous independent city states. In the Babylonian Empire Hammurabi enforced his laws described in the “Code of Hammurabi.” In this Code, the lower class had fewer rites than the higher class and is known for strict punishments. In the beginning Egypt was divided into two parts governed by different rulers. The Unification of the lower and upper kingdoms of Egypt marked the beginning of the Archaic period. The unification of Egypt was significant in the longevity of this civilization to ensure the free flow of traffic on the Nile. The Kingdom of Egypt was ruled by one ruler called the Pharaoh that ruled the land as the chief priest. In this civilization there was no separation of religion and politics in their lives. Both Mesopotamia and Egypt were at one time ruled by kings that derived their power from the gods and were viewed as divine. The Class structure in Mesopotamia had three major social groups. They were known as the nobles, commoners, and slaves. Commoners that included farmers, merchants, fishermen, scribes, and craftspeople made up ninety percent of the Sumerian population. In Egypt the class structure was similar in that there were three major class groups called nobles or upper class, middle class, and lower class. The enormous difference between the classes is best shown in the lower classes. The Mesopotamian lower classes were slaves commanded by their owners. In Egypt the lower class citizens lived freely but with certain requirements to their country. They were to pay taxes on their crops and dedicated much time towards the countries building projects. They also provided a strong military when needed. The lower classes in Egypt had a sense of contribution towards building places to respect their Gods. In Mesopotamia women in general had the role of keeping the household duties. These duties included household chores, bearing children and educating them. Also, anything a man decided he wanted she must do. Although, not all women stayed at home. Some of them worked for other people. In Egypt the same was true. Wives were very respected in the household and engaged in keeping the household running and educating the children. However women were allowed to hold much more power in Egypt. They were allowed to inherit property, engage in business and even succeed to the throne. These things were not attainable to women in Mesopotamia.