Similarities/Differences of Mesopotamia and Egypt Essay
Mesopotamia and Egypt have many similarities and differences in many aspects. Though regionally close, Egypt and Mesopotamia had many differences, such as social structure and government structure. While both civilizations differed as in social structure of their society and government structure; they also had similar aspects as in cultural development. Comparing the two, they both had close advances in culture and a polytheistic religion. The one aspect that sets apart the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations the most is their social structure.
While Mesopotamia had a punctuated and defined social structure, Egypt had a less distinct division of classes. In Mesopotamia, there was the ruler and at the top of all classes while just below the ruler were the bureaucrats from the city-states. In addition to the upper class were priests, military officers, and soldiers. Middle class consisted of merchants, artisans, laborers, and farmers. Lower class consisted of slaves who were usually prisoners of war. In Egypt, this was generally the case in social structure except for some differences.
One of them is that there was a small upper class with the Pharaoh being at the top and viziers surrounded by whoever was in charge. Middle class consisted of soldiers, scribers, and laborers such as farmers. Slaves and servants filled the lower class. Though they both had similar structures, Egypt had more of a middle class in their structure, while Mesopotamia’s structure had much more of an upper class because of the city states. Proof of these divisions in social structure was the ziggurats in Mesopotamia and the pyramids in Egypt.
These monumental structures were set up for their own ruler, with middle class growing and creating what would make up the structure, while the lower class constructed the actual monumental structure. Another part of their structure that was differentiated between the two civilizations was the gender roles in the society. Mesopotamia had a patriarchal society that held women from many rights. While women had to stay at home to care for the children and the house, men were off either in the government, farming, scribing, etc. Women could not function or involve with government or political associations or own property.
In contrast, Egypt allowed women many more rights. Egypt was more laid back in what women could do and allowed women beyond homemaking and childbearing. Women were allowed the right to buy and sell property, divorce, and pursue court disputations. Though women were not allowed the right in government business, they did receive many more rights than Mesopotamia women did. A second major difference between Egypt and Mesopotamia was their government structures. While Mesopotamia had city states with each one a ruler, Egypt had more unified government. In Mesopotamia, the government was a bureaucracy divided into city-states.
The head government was the present ruler at the time with bureaucrats, heads of the city-states, under the rule of the king. Usually the king was the successful military officer of that time because frequent invasions led the military to become the majority of what government was held for. On the other hand, Egypt’s government structure was more unified and less divided up like Mesopotamia’s was. The Pharaoh, at the top of the government, ruled over Egypt with somewhat of city-states called nomes. Pharaoh’s had an administration called viziers who represented the Pharaoh and coordinated many responsibilities.
There were also nomes where there would be a nomach in charge and report to the viziers. Though not as distinct as city-states, they were somewhat a form of divisional government regions. Secondly, both empires were dissimilar in stability of their government. Mesopotamia, who was constantly invaded by northern groups, was very unstable which made each empire become overpowered by another invader. Though the Mesopotamian civilization struggles with frequent invasion, the outside influences from the invaders advanced their technology developments.
In contrast, Egypt had a very stable government most likely due to isolation from the Sub-Saharan desert, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Gulf of Suez. While Mesopotamia had no natural borders, Egypt did which benefited Egypt from invasion. Though stability is the key component to a successful empire, Egypt had much less technological advances. Most of Egypt developed simple advancement in technology such as the lever and pulley for irrigation. In this aspect of civilization, Egypt was more successful. Though many differences, Egypt and Mesopotamia had similarities as well.
The main thing that both Egypt and Mesopotamia had in common was their cultural developments. The first thing that both Egypt and Mesopotamia had in common was their cultural developments. The first thing that both civilizations that both civilizations developed were their belief in many gods called polytheism. Both civilizations’ religions worship and praised mythical gods and goddesses. These beliefs in mythical gods and goddesses are presented through the findings left behind from their civilization such as pyramids, tombs, ziggurats, temples, and palaces.
Another similar cultural aspect both civilizations developed was literature and writing. Written language, one of the most studied archaeologist findings that can portray many aspects of a civilization, is similar in both of Egypt’s and Mesopotamian’s civilization. Both written languages have pictographic and ideographic symbols used to represent words and phrases used in vocal language. Though Mesopotamia developed cuneiform and Egypt developed hieroglyphics, they both are very similar because hieroglyphics was developed from cuneiform.
Similar literature means that other aspects of their culture were also in parallel (ex: religion and art). Thirdly, art and architecture were also very similar. Because of similar religious beliefs, other cultural developments spark off from that because belief in polytheism in the two civilizations was an important thing and influenced manly parts of their culture. In both Egypt’s and Mesopotamia’s culture, monumental architecture allowed a place of worship and praise to their gods. Also, it was used to resist influence of their cultures and followed strict rules mainly used in Egypt.
These aspects of cultural developments seem to blend together in both civilizations and both civilizations’ culture is closely related due almost identical religion. In conclusion, Egypt and Mesopotamia’s civilizations have both similar and dissimilar aspects. In social and government structures, both civilizations had contrasting developments which made them distinct empires. In comparison, Religion was the basis that set their whole culture in similarity and brought them in parallel standing. Overall, both similarities and differences of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian made them who they are today.