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Civilization of Mesopotamia and Egypt
Mesopotamia means a “land between two rivers”. It was part of the present-day Iraq and Kuwait from Baghdad to northwest Persian Gulf while Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea. It has a desert climate and is a hot plateau only that interrupts the Nile Valley and the delta of the river.
There are differences in civilizations that are evident in social, political and religious aspects of the two countries. The geography and the climate of their locations largely influenced these civilizations. Mesopotamians depended on the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. They developed irrigation systems so as to maintain their growing food requirements (Guisepi, 2011). Egypt was far from other states and had natural resources that were able to sustain its people. This created a favorable environment for the Egyptians to exploit their natural resources for the benefit of their country. The Nile River flooded often and thus, they needed not to engage their resources in irrigation. Egypt became agriculturally stable, which made them enjoy the peace they thought was from benevolent gods. The climate of Mesopotamia was harsh and did not favor agricultural production. This made them believe they had a terrible fate and became pessimistic in life (Guisepi, 2011).
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Politically, Egypt got united by the Legendry King Menes who united the Lower and the Upper Egypt into one country, governed by pharaohs (Guisepi, 2011). On the other hand, Mesopotamia was vulnerable to invasion by all people and this made it unstable even in its political development. They developed written laws that guided all the endeavors. Sargon I misused this law to rule and maintain power in dynasty for 150 years. Egypt did not have any written laws. The chief priest intervened on behalf of his land and people to gods (Guisepi, 2011).
The written laws in Mesopotamia brought significant social difference among the people. Some people were able to accumulate wealth, have power centralized among them and discriminated against women (Burger, 2008). Only men served as scribes and women’s life became hard to reconstruct. Men monopolized all aspects of life. There was free ownership of land. Dependants provided the work force and the rest worked as slaves at homes of the two classes. Egypt had a pyramid structure. The highest population lived in farming villages and accumulated wealth from cultivating. Only a small percentage of its population worked as slaves as opposed to Mesopotamia (Burger, 2008).
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The Mesopotamians wore different attires. Men wore skirts made of leaves while women put on long silk dresses and heavy jewels including necklaces and bracelets. Boys and girls wore long dresses, only that those of the girls had more than one strap while those of boys had one. Those from wealthy families had their dresses made of bright and expensive materials (Burger, 2008). Egyptian men and women wore long tunics that fitted them. For women, the tunics covered the ankles while, for men they reached the knees. They were linen and always white in color. They adorned themselves with golden jewels, eye shadow and eyeliner while going out. Women had long hair while men maintained it short. While working, men would put on short skirts instead of tunics (Burger, 2008).
Mesopotamians ate unleavened bread and butter, drunk a lot of beer and cow’s milk. Cooked vegetable stew, fish, and fruits like apples, pears, melons and, pomegranates were also part of their meals. They had two meals in a day. Egyptians ate cranes, pigeons, ducks and geese. They also had bread, beans, green vegetables and onions (Burger, 2008).
Egyptians were polytheists. They believed in many gods. They would offer animal sacrifices and incense as they carried these gods from one place to the other. They believed that pharaoh was a representative of god on earth and; thus, they highly regarded him. Mesopotamians were also polytheists. They had numerous gods and goddesses, who were human beings. They differed from other human beings in that they had supernatural powers thus highly regarded. They placed them in ancient triads, which comprised of, Anu, Enlil and Ea (Reilly, 1997).
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Egyptians contributed largely to today’s mathematics. They came up with geometry and invented writing materials and ink. They also had elaborate methods of irrigation. Structural engineering also came from Egyptians and their way of building pyramids (Reilly, 1997). They also participated in the invention of astronomy which significantly developed to date. Mesopotamians also contributed to astronomy and astrology. They were able to make predictions of the movements of heavenly objects. The Mesopotamians communicated through pictograms. These pictures had a lot of coded information known to all the people. Egyptians communicated through painting on a scroll, and wrote on a script and sent it with a messenger to deliver (Reilly, 1997).
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Pharaoh reigned in the ancient Egypt as god of the two worlds and was regarded with deity and divinity. The most famous pharaoh is the Tutankhamen, widely called as King Tut. Tutankhamen became a king at nine and died mysteriously at eighteen (Burger, 2008). Twenty four people died mysteriously on the discovery of his tomb. The pharaohs married many wives because Tutankhamen had a wife and later married his half-sister. Tutankhamen had no son to succeed him, but he had six daughters (Burger, 2008). He lifted the ban on the pantheon and their gods and restored the traditional privileges to priesthood. He also moved the capital back to Thebes. During his reign, he condemned discrimination against women and demanded better treatment towards them.