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Autor: anton 09 November 2010
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Compare and Contrast Mesopotamian and Egyptian Civilizations
Civilization can be described as a high level of cultural, social, and political developments. The oldest two civilizations are Mesopotamia and Egypt, which appeared along great river systems. These two civilizations both survived the test of time. They developed political organizations, calendars, education, religion, architecture, and art. Even though Mesopotamia and Egypt were similar, they were also different in many ways.
Mesopotamia and Egypt were both located along the east. Mesopotamia is located in the Middle East and its landforms can be described as plains. Mesopotamia was called Sumer, which is now the present country of Iraq. Mesopotamia is located among Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which has became known to the Greeks as Mesopotamia, meaning "between two rivers". Egypt is located in the northeast corner of Africa and its landforms can be described as desert. Egypt is formed along the Nile River. The Greeks named it "the gift of the Nile River". The Nile is the longest river in the world that stretches for 4100 miles. Its last valley that extends 750 miles from the First Cataract to the Nile Delta, was the heartland of Egyptian civilization.
In terms of political organization, Mesopotamia had city-states while Egypt was a centralized state. In Mesopotamia, priests ruled the cities, but the abuse of the priests led to the rise of kings. Mesopotamian cities were independent, and they also had their own gods and governments. Each city was made up of the city and farmland around it. However, an all-powerful pharaoh ruled the cities of Egypt and Egyptians did not even live in the cities; they lived on estates along the Nile River.
Mesopotamians and Egyptians both had calendars that they needed for their daily lives and farming. Their calendars were based on the stars, which are similar to our calendars today. Mesopotamians had to make a calendar to know when the floods of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers were approaching. The two rivers were uncontrollable, especially when they flooded and they were very unpredictable during the rain season The Egyptians also had a calendar that they used to organize their daily life. Egyptians needed to recognize when to harvest and farm their crops. These two civilizations both created great calendars. On the other hand their calendars were different. The Mesopotamian calendar fell eleven days short of the Egyptian calendar. To make up the difference they added two months in the year to catch up with the season and the Egyptians developed the most accurate calendar known as the solar calendar.
Mesopotamians and Egyptians were also well educated. They both acquired Mathematical and Science skills such as geometry, algebra, addition, and subtraction. Mesopotamia complied tables for multiplication, division, square, and cube roots. They also knew how to solve quadratic equations and they were very advanced in geometry. In addition, they took over the counting system based on 60 units. There are 60 units in a second, minute, and hour. But the Egyptians were less skilled in mathematics than the Mesopotamians. The Egyptians could only cope with simple algebra and their arithmetic was narrowed to subtraction and multiplication. However, these skills did help the Egyptians keep track of their floods, and by knowing how to do a little math they were able to tell the floods were 365 days apart and they were also able to build great pyramids.
Another similarity between Mesopotamia and Egypt was religion. They both believed in more than one god. The Mesopotamians believed in animism, that life existed in everything in nature. They also did not go on to believe in life after death for good behavior on earth. They believed the rewards would be granted in this life. But Egyptians believed that life after death would be granted to those who were good on earth. They believed freedom from sin would grant them everlasting life. In addition, they believed that their kings were also gods.
Architecture and Art were also part of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian achievements. Mesopotamia had ziggurats, or temples and Egypt had pyramids. Mesopotamia had ziggurats at the center of each Sumerian city and also surrounding the courts. A ziggurat was made up of series of square levels. Each level was smaller than the level below it. Stairways led to the top of the ziggurats. Mesopotamia had all their celebrations at the center of the ziggurats. But the Egyptians were the greatest builders in all time because of their impressive temples. They replaced stone with bricks. A man by the name of Imhotep was honored as the "father of architecture in stone" for constructing the first pyramids by pilling six large stone-mud-brick tombs on top of each other.
Mesopotamia and Egypt were well rounded and gifted in many different catorgies as listed above. Mesopotamia was more advanced in math than Egypt. They created the system based on the number 60. This system is so useful that it is still used today for computing angles and the division of time. Egypt invented the world's first known solar calendar that includes 365 days just like the calendar we use today. In Mesopotamia priests ruled their cities, whereas in Egypt pharaohs ruled the entire land. Neither civilization seemed to be more advanced than the other in religion because everyone had different beliefs in God. As far as the architecture and art, the Egyptians were more advanced. They built large, heavy temples and also converted form stone to brick. Brick is also being used in today's time for building.
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