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The Similarities and Differences of Two Early Civilizations - Essay Example

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Introduction Existence of a social order is a major defining characteristic of civilization. A social order arises on the basis of historically developed ideas, beliefs, and traditions that govern the manner in which people in a particular community conduct and manage their communal affairs (Trigger, 2007)…
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The Similarities and Differences of Two Early Civilizations
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Download file to see previous pages There are various characteristics of civilizations, including the type of subsistence, form of government, economic system, education, social stratification, and human settlement patterns. Moreover, civilizations are characterized by religious beliefs, art, and architecture among other aspects (Trigger, 2007, pp. 57-65). This paper is a critical examination of the Nile valley and Mesopotamia ancient civilizations. Discusion The Nile valley civilization existed back in the 3000 BC and it consisted of three major civilizations, namely Nubia, Egypt, and Kush (Ikram, 2009). Geographically, the Nile valley civilization was located in the Lower Egypt in the river Nile’s delta and in the Upper Egypt along the river in Africa’s interior. The rich alluvial and silt deposits of River Nile provided the Nile valley civilization with rich agricultural land for farming along the banks and the delta. The inhabitants dug complex channels to irrigate their crops from the waters of the river. The government of the Nile valley civilization became theocratic after the unification of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms in 3100 BCE (Ikram, 2009). Pharaoh became the ruler of the unified Egyptian kingdom after establishment of the first dynasty in the civilization. Theocratic government implies that pharaohs were regarded as gods, and they served as political and religious leaders (Scarre & Fagan, 2007). Egyptians believed that pharaohs were omnipresent and continued ruling after death. Consequently, their bodies were mummified, preserved, and buried in special tombs enclosed in huge pyramids. The Nile valley civilization was polytheistic and believed in life after death. The society of ancient Nile civilization was stratified and consisted of four classes, namely the royal family (Pharaoh), upper, middle, and lower classes. The upper class consisted of priests, government officials, landowners, and military leaders while the middle class consisted of traders and other skilled people. The peasant farmers and other unskilled people belonged to the lowest class (Trigger, 2007). Nile valley civilization provided social mobility – people from the lower class could rise to middle and upper classes through hard work or marriage. Men and women had almost equal rights, sharing privileges such as education, seeking divorce, and property ownership (Ikram, 2009). According to Scarre and Fagan (2007), Mesopotamia was located between Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Persian Gulf and it is the oldest recorded civilization. The rivers provided water for irrigation and fertile silt, which formed rich agricultural land for the Mesopotamians. These favorable conditions amidst the harsh desert climate in the region attracted the settlement of Sumerians. Sumerians are credited for the creation of the earliest civilization in Mesopotamia and for introducing city-states, education, and better technology in addition to foundation of organized institutions. Though city-states shared the same culture, they were autonomous. Each city-state had its own government that was led by its own leaders (Trigger, 2007). Temple priests led early Sumerian governments. In an economy that relied heavily on agriculture, farmers believed in appeasing the gods to enhance agricultural production. Therefore, the priests were regarded as the appropriate leaders to mediate between the farmers and the gods. However, military rulers later took over the leadership of Mesopotamia civilization ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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