Ibrahim DiopMs. Garcia and Mr. ForesterEnglish II and World History22 December 2017The Middle East and Ancient EgyptThe Ancient Middle East, also known as Mesopotamia, and Ancient Egypt were both important civilizations between 3500 B.C. and 500 B.C as two of the first civilization to ever exist. During this time humans, for the first time, started to settle, become more stable, and farm for a living instead of chasing dangerous prey for food. While Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt differed from each other in their government structure and culture, they shared many similarities such as their religion and their advanced technology.A government is essential for the good operation of an organized community. This latter was gradually considered by many civilizations as humans started to be less nomadic and more sedentary. The Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian governments, as it is today, differed from one another depending on what the citizens consented. Mesopotamia was ruled by many kings, one for each city. For instance, King Sargon ruled the city of Akkad, “In each city-state, the ruler was responsible for maintaining the city walls and the irrigation systems. He led its armies in war, enforced the laws, and employed scribes to carry out functions such as collecting taxes and keeping records. The ruler was seen as the chief servant of the gods and led ceremonies meant to please them” (Ellis and Esler 32). Although the rulers affected to each of those cities were to take charge of all of the city’s need, they owned most of the land and often organized ceremonies just for their own simple pleasure. The ruler was also in charge of top positioners of the hierarchy and the military. Mesopotamia definitely had a very unusual form of government and was quite different from Egypt Ancient. In past civilization and mainly Ancient Egypt, the rulers were often seen as gods or were the representation of a god, called pharaoh. The pharaoh ruled the whole Egypt and divinely represented the gods on earth, “The government of ancient Egypt was a theocratic monarchy as the king ruled by a mandate from the gods, initially was seen as an intermediary between human beings and the divine, and was supposed to represent the gods’ will through the laws passed and policies approved” (Mark). In Ancient Egypt there wasn’t any barrier between the government and the religion, they were, in fact, connected to each other. Therefore the pharaoh was the ultimate authority, different from Mesopotamia that had many rulers, both politically and religiously, followed respectively by the viziers in the social hierarchy. This being said, Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia’s government structure government and culture were highly divergent. Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia had very rich cultures which they were mostly known for. This latter was slightly similar in both civilization but was mostly different. Mesopotamians were the first ones to invent writing, they used a unique type called cuneiform meaning “wedge-shaped” due to the wedge-shaped marks the scribes used to make while writing on clay tablets. As their writing evolved they used it to illustrate more complex thoughts. In contrast, Ancient Egypt used a variety of writing which the most popular was hieroglyphics, “Like people in other early civilizations. The ancient Egyptians developed writing. In fact, they developed multiple writing systems. The first was hieroglyphics, a system in which symbols or pictures called hieroglyphs represent objects, concepts, or sounds. The Egyptians used hieroglyphics to record important economic, administrative, and royal information” (Ellis and Esler 54). Hieroglyph was not only the first writing ever created, it was, in fact, the most helpful. Therefore, it helped Egyptian revolutionize a lot of important factors within their society. Another major cultural difference between these two civilizations would be the way they viewed women. Women in Ancient Egypt had many benefits, “Egyptian women generally enjoyed a higher status and greater independence than women elsewhere in the ancient world. For example, Ramses II declared, ‘The foot of her’. Under Egyptian law, women could inherit property, enter business deals, buy and sell goods, go to court, and obtain divorce” (Ellis and Esler 54). Politics-wise the bureaucratic system of Egypt authorized female pharaoh to rule. On the contrary, women didn’t have that much right in Mesopotamia, they were somewhat suppressed in the society, they had very few rights and power, and were therefore dominated by men. They were often viewed as material or property and weren’t respected or granted gender equality whereas in Egypt women could be in a higher hierarchy and more considered. They couldn’t take charge or occupy any leading function. Overall Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt had had very different cultures.Although Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia had a lot of differences in their government structures and cultures, they do, equally, have many similarities such as their religion. Both Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamian people were polytheistic, meaning that they believed in many gods, “Like most ancient peoples, the Sumerians were polytheistic, worshiping many gods. These gods were thought to control every aspect of life, especially the forces of nature” (Ellis and Esler 32). Inhabitants of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt believed in these gods as they were controlling earth and therefore felt the need to worship them in order to be peaceful. They, in fact, built temples which they would do prayers and sacrifices in order to make the gods “content”. Also, both Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia rulers had power over religion. Even though the pharaoh of Egypt was more divinely seen, in Mesopotamia city kings tended to sometimes take full charge of all religious activity or presented themselves as gods, “The first Mesopotamian ruler who declared himself divine was Naram-Sin of Akkad. Naram-Sin reigned sometime during the 23rd century BCE but the exact dates and duration of his reign are still subject to research. According to his own inscription, the people of the city of Akkad wished him to be the god of their city” (Brisch). Religion had always been a great source to earn people’s trust during ancient civilizations and these rulers often used this latter tool, to mentally attract them in order to get what they wanted. The pharaoh, for example, was mostly chosen by making people believe that he was directly sent by the gods and they shall follow him in order to earn their blessings. In brief, religion was a lasting factor that both civilizations similarly shared to an extensive extent.Technology was one the most developed factor in the ancient world. It helped the inhabitants in their daily life routine which was farming, writing and the use of transport tool such as the wheel, “Technology of the early civilizations in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, both of which arose in about 3000 B.C. The early civilizations of Mesopotamia included the Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires. These two areas provide the earliest known examples of many basic technologies – pottery and glass-making, the extraction and working of metals, textiles, woodworking, and building techniques” (Kerr). The inhabitants started to uses a lot of their natural resources to create or better their fabrications. In Egypt, ancient and mainly Mesopotamia technology was used for a variety of reason. However, the most crucial one stays agriculture,”To survive and to protect their farmland, villagers along the riverbanks had to work together. Even during the dry season, the rivers had to be controlled in order to channel water to the fields. Temple priests or royal officials provided the leadership that was necessary to ensure cooperation. They organized villagers to work together on projects such as building dikes to hold back floodwaters sand irrigation ditches to carry water to their fields” (Ellis and Esler 32). Technologie played a huge role in agriculture in both civilizations. The irrigation system created by the villagers not only helped them water their fields more efficiently but also was used as a resource during the dry season when the rain percentage was low. All in all, technology was used for various tasks in both civilization and it made people’s life easier.Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, two of the earliest civilization to ever exist, shared many similarities, but mainly in religion with both of their people being polytheistic and also technology with the creation of irrigation systems. They differentiated each other in how their government was organized. Mesopotamia being ruled by many kings affected to each of its city-states, and Egypt being ruled by the pharaoh, and also their culture as both civilization evolved two distinct type of writings. In conclusion Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia despite the difference and similarities were two civilization that revolutionized the world and how people think. They brought the first apparition of writing, science and what is known as the first government structures to ever exist, their impact would be engraved on earth forever.Works CitedEllis, Elizabeth Gaynor, and Anthony Esler. “World History”. Pearson, 2014. Divine Kingship in the Ancient World and Beyond | The Oriental Institute of the University ofChicago, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 23 Feb. 2007, oi.uchicago.edu/research/symposia/religion-and-power-divine-kingship-ancient-world-and-beyond-0.Mark, Joshua J. “Ancient Egyptian Government.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, 13 Oct.2013,www.ancient.eu/Egyptian_Government/Kerr, Anne. “Egyptian and Mesopotamian Technology.” Egyptian and MesopotamianTechnology – Oi, oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095744198.
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