Civilization is not something that happens overnight. Instead, it takes years or hundreds of decades, failing after failing, before finally becoming a reality. Collins English Dictionary defines civilization as “The condition of being civilized” (Collins). Another crucial aspect is that civilization has a foundation of religion. Without civilization, certain organizations wouldn’t thrive and others would stagnate. This allows communities to flourish and be at their highest. Although Mesopotamia was founded before Egypt, both were working towards their forms of civilization. Mesopotamia was built on the same foundations as ancient Egypt. Mesopotamia had two rivers at its center, which was crucial for its success. The Euphrates river and the Tigris rivers were both important in the development of civilization. Mesopotamia was located between them. Cities first appeared in 4000 B.C. It wasn’t until 3000 B.C that cities were organized. The harvest enabled many to live in Mesopotamia. Markets were created to attract money and are the foundation of civilization. It wasn’t until around 6000 B.C. It was not until 6000 B.C. When irrigations were first effective. Great cities were created by Uruk, which dates back to 3200 B.C. (“Mesopotamia 2017,”) and was one the largest cities. These cities were transformed into city-states. They combined small towns with cities, and kept the land close to farms. These cities were more religious and required public works, such as roads and irrigation. Mesopotamia used brick for its building materials, but it crumbled due to its fragility and inability to hold together. They ,”..oversaw all the labor required to maintain aqueducts and irrigation canals as well as water resources. They assisted merchants and traders when necessary, seeing to a caravan’s protection”(“Mesopotamia Government, 2018”). With time, the community developed a sophisticated writing style which allowed for better economics and politics. Bronze was also invented by the people to be used as armor, shields and plates, as well as knives. Slave owners were often held captive or owed money. They were then freed after a few years. Each city had its own patron god and goddess. The majority of the information we have about them comes from clay tablets that detail Mesomoptian religious beliefs. Gilgamesh (a demi-god who ruled in Uruk) was one of their beliefs. Stories about his incredible abilities were also shared. They did not believe there was an afterlife. However, they buried their dead in accessories. Mesopotamia did have a ruler, but they lost control of the country and became ungovernable. Mesopotamia was eventually destroyed by this. Ancient Egypt was founded in 3100 B.C. Its early dynastic years were located between 20 and 30 km from the Nile River. Egypt capitalized on their geographical position, and the Nile became a major source of trade, travel, communications, and other activities. Hieroglyphics is the Egyptian way of writing. It uses both pictures and words. Three kingdoms existed in ancient Egypt. Each of them learned from the last and advanced. The old kingdom’s pharaohs had absolute rulership and were considered gods. This period saw the construction of pyramids at Giza by Egyptians. These pyramids were made from limestone and lasted longer. The middle kingdom also participated in large drainage projects to make it easier to cultivate more food. The pharaohs “..appointed their high-ranking officials and they elected members from their family” (The Governance of Ancient Egypt). With this new kingdom, influential pharaohs forged an impressive empire that reached as far as the Euphrates River. Each kingdom contributed to making Egypt stronger. The kingdoms that followed saw lower and higher Egypt united and divided several times. Ancient Egypt’s religion was vital. “There are 700 gods/deities and many were combined into new deities” (“Religion and Ancient Egypt”). Egyptians believed that there was an afterlife. The Pharaoh was buried with valuables, and would build monuments to mark his grave. Although ancient Egypt’s history was gradual, it eventually developed strong dynasties. This allowed them to rule for longer periods of time. Although both Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt share similar structures, they grew into a civilisation for their people. However, there were many differences. The first was that both relied heavily on the river(s), which helped them to become civilized. They traded with other parts of the world and were able produce food and had fun. They were also able to create a writing system around the same time they started. Both were also helped by the introduction of slavery. Slavery was a key factor in both. Peasants came in second place behind slaves. The Nile River was predictable and reliable, while the Tigris or Euphrates weren’t. Aside from Egypt having pharaohs to oversee the government, Mesopotamia, on the other hand, was governed by kings. Mesopotamia was not a believer in the afterlife. Egypt had pharaohs and officials, while Mesopotamia had kings and priests. Egypt uses stone for building, while Mesopotamia is made from mud. This material has lasted longer than Egypt. The unification of Egypt meant that it lasted longer than Mesopotamia, which was not as well managed by other countries. Works citées
“Civilization Definition and Meaning: Collins English Dictionary.” Civilization Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary, www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/civilization.
History.com Editors. “Mesopotamia.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 30 Nov. 2017, www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/mesopotamia.
“Mesopotamian Governments.” History, 2 July 2018, www.historyonthenet.com/mesopotamian-governments.
“The Government of Ancient Egypt.” The Government Of Ancient Egypt, www.ancient-egypt-online.com/ancient-egypt-government.html.
“Religion in Ancient Egypt.” Religion In Ancient Egypt, www.ancient-egypt-online.com/ancient-egypt-religion.html.