Ancient Mesopotamia vs. Ancient Egypt

Throughout history there has been a tremendous amount of civilization eruptions, eruptions as in complex creations of diversity. Mesopotamia and Egypt may very well be considered some of the world’s most profound ancient civilizations dating all the way back to the beginning of time. In other words, Mesopotamia and Egypt both had a severe impact in the expansion of agriculture, development of advanced technology, as well as the social hierarchy system; all which are still present today.

Agriculture began in Mesopotamia where the environmental factors may have favored this particular region; although Mesopotamia had cool rainy winters and hot dry summers this weather did not encourage an abundance of plant life. Many factors contributed to the invention of agriculture. One main factor was the fact that hunting and gathering provided a more stable food supply, another being that there was a certain amount of cereal grains located in the Middle East; Both factors led to the allowance of more permanent villages for the people to settle down in.

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Being able to settle down, however, only increased the growing population because of the fact that women could produce more children in a more permanent environment. Therefore the villages grew needing more food supply than the hunting and gathering method could supply. Through it all, the people were given the opportunity to discovery that not only seeds grow into plants but also it provides food from both sources. Many civilizations from then on continued to follow hunting and gathering lifestyle mixed with some casual agriculture such as scattered seed along their river banks or fields and coming back in a few months to harvest.

Agriculture in Egypt was very similar but the Egyptians did invent an animal-drawn plow to make planting a lot easier in their harsh soil. The Egyptians had a method of having the men cut the grain, when it was ripe of course, with a sickle and having woman pick up the cut grain and tied into bundles. Many other civilizations along with Mesopotamia and Egypt both developed and used agriculture and is even continued in certain parts of the world today! Known as “the land between two rivers”, the Mesopotamian civilization was located between the Tigris and Euphrates River, or present day Iraq.

Beginning in the fourth millennium B. C. E, Mesopotamia was the earliest known ancient society of the world. This civilization we speak of had developed some of the very first technologies of the world we know today. The earliest known inhabitants of this civilization were the Sumerians; these people relied on the Tigris and Euphrates River and by that, eventually learned to cease the yearly flooding with the development of leeves, an embankment designed to prevent the flooding of the river.

The Sumerians were also credited with inventing the first wheel in the world. Located just beyond the Nile River, Egypt, another ancient civilization had similar characteristics but used the Nile River for similar methods to trap water using mud-brick reservoir along with irrigation systems the river later provided as well as the source of fertile soil that arose from the river during a flood. These rivers were also used for the trade industry of the early civilizations.

Due to the annual flooding of the Nile the Egyptian civilization was able to extract papyrus reeds for the use of paper and other building materials. Inventing the animal-drawn plow helped make planting a lot easier also. Not only did both the Egyptians and Mesopotamians have this in common but both developed an advanced writing system. One of the first known writing systems of this world was Cuneiform writing. This complex system of writing was developed as a way to keep historical records.

However, the Mesopotamians had a somewhat different technique of writing systems one using ancient Egyptian pictures and symbols and being known as one of the first and for most very labor intensive writing systems called hieroglyphics. With the development of all of this technology lastly and probably the most well known advance in technology in Egypt was the pyramids and religious practices. There are over 100 pyramids in Egypt still very much intact to this day and the Great Pyramid remained the tallest structure in the world for more then 3,800 years.

Pyramids were designed and built for storage of pharaoh’s deceased bodies inside of the pyramids to be left to ensure peace in their journey to the afterlife. The Mesopotamians, however, did not have as complex and extravagant architectural advancements in their technology as did the Egyptians. The Mesopotamians built what were called ziggurats that were built for the use the City-states own priests and were the only ones aloud to enter these contemporary temples. Constructed of bricks made from dried mud this temple was to ensure the happiness of the gods and customary of the warship of the priests.

Technology has come a long way from today but in ancient civilizations, pyramids, irrigation and writing systems were incredible achievements. Egypt along with Mesopotamia developed an interesting system of social hierarchy ethics. Ancient Egypt’s social classing was fairly simple. First and most powerful was the Pharaoh, or Egyptian king, next comes the Vizier who was the Pharaohs chief advisor or sometimes the highest priest and if not, next in line was the priest or nobles.

Scribes or soldiers were right under the priests and nobles who were somewhat higher then middle class; below them were the craftsmen followed by farmers and slaves the lowest in the social classing. The top of the hierarchy system made the most money and at the bottom they made little to nothing. In Ancient Mesopotamia there were four main classes of people- the priests, the upper class, the lower class, and the slaves. The priests were really the most powerful of this society making sure that everyone was behaving in a way that would please the gods.

The upper class dressed in a way that was visually noticeable to ensure that others new of their wealth, but it was easy to tell who was considered upper class to that of one who was considered a priest. The lower class of Ancient Mesopotamia, however, did not have any rules regarding the option to eventually move up on the social scale. The lower class consisted of merchants and farmers who got paid a fair amount for their work giving them the option to dress as others did and wear nice jewelry although it was not made of real gold.

Last on the social scale were the slaves of this ancient civilization. Slaves were people who could be sold and bought by priests or other wealthy people, often prisoners from other towns and civilizations that were previously conquered. There are interesting similarities and differences between the social classing of these two ancient civilizations that have had a long lasting effect on this world because even today there are systems of social hierarchy that differ in different parts of the world.

The expansion of agriculture, the development of advanced technology, along with the social hierarchical systems of Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt have contributed to a number of similarities and differences that have carried out and impacted the world we know today. The world of Mesopotamia and Egypt transformed by all of these keys points; technologies, social classing, and agriculture which are characteristics of the ancient world that have shaped the world even today.