Ancient Civilization Comparative Essay Without any form of rapid long distance communication as we have today, Egypt and Mesopotamia built their civilizations with inadvertent similarities and differences between their political and social structures. Given the facts that Egypt was unified and Mesopotamia was a collection of city states, both had common writing forms amongst them, but not all were literate due to the sharply contrasting social hierarchy. Even though Egypt believed in a fulfilling after life, Mesopotamia did not; owever, both had polytheism religions.
Known as one civilization but actually a collection of city-states, Mesopotamia, unlike Egypt, was not politically unified. However, Egypt was politically unified under one ruler, the pharaoh. Political unity allowed for a stable government and economy. Therefore, more people were able to study other pursuits. As a result of this, the two civilizations developed respective forms of writing. Usually used to record religious rituals, hieroglyphics were used as a form of writing and art; but it wasn’t only used for religion.
Hieroglyphics were also used for writing poems, myths, medical recipes and records of battle, legal documents, trade transactions and even magic spells. Scribes, wrote with hieroglyphics on walls of temples but mostly papyrus, an early form paper. Mesopotamian scribes, instead of writing on papyrus wrote on clay tablets. Mesopotamians are credited with inventing the earliest form of writing, Cuneiform. With the use of reed styluses, they carved pictographs into clay tablets and left the tablets to dry.
Even though both civilizations had a writing form, not all ould read or write due to the massive inequality between the elites the laymen. Only the elites could read and write because only they could afford to go to school. In each of these civilizations, women were not permitted to attend school. However, women in Egypt had rights to an extent. For example, in the absence of her husband and sons women would manage the family farms or businesses. Women could even initiate a lawsuit to get a divorce. But those rights came with a price, under the law women in Egypt were treated equally even more so cruel than men.
To a degree women in Egypt had freedom of expression while women in Mesopotamia could not due to the fact that they were completely downgraded and did not have any rights unlike Egyptian women. Under one leader, Egypt was unified; ancient Egyptians believed that their leaders, or Pharos, were part god, a god of their many gods. In fact, it was believed that Egypt had over 2000 gods, Just short of Mesopotamia’s 3000. There is no doubt that they were both polytheistic, but their beliefs of the after life differed.
The gloomy outlook of Mesopotamian religion was to go to the land of no return after life on earth. On the other hand, Egyptian religion believed that one’s after life is where one finds content; as a matter of fact it was believed that kings ruled in the after life as well, therefore they were part god. In order for them to rule in the after life, they had to undergo a proper burial. Therefore in their life on Earth, it was ordered that a proper mesopotamians also built a pyramid like structure, but it was used for religion and ot as a burial site, the ziggurat.
Although Egypt was unified under one ruler and Mesopotamia was various city states, their social structures were homogeneous in parts yet also heterogenous in others. However, because of the social hierarchy not all were educated and could write; both had common writing forms among them. Even though both believed in an after life, their outcomes were not the same. The early civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia had distinguishable similarities but also very distinct differences.