Egypt and Mesopotamia Comparative Essay

6 June 2016

Mesopotamia and Egypt were two of the very first civilizations dating back to 3500 BCE. Their cultures were very similar, but were very different. In what ways were their cultures similar and different? Mesopotamia is similar to Egypt in that both were based around a river system and they both created their own form of writing. These two civilizations are very similar, but they are also different in that their structures are used for different purposes and Mesopotamians invented more important things. Mesopotamia and Egypt are both similar because of their civilizations being located on a river system.

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The Egyptians had the Nile River and its delta that led in to the Mediterranean Sea. The Sumerians had the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that led into the Persian Gulf. Both of these rivers flooded, depositing silt onto the ground that would fertilize the soil. This would allow for agriculture and for huge populations to settle and grow in these regions. The Nile River flooded annually and the Tigris and Euphrates flooded randomly which could lead to a good or bad crop season. For ancient civilizations to exist, they needed to be located along rivers because they were a source of fresh water that is necessary for life. It also gives the settlement a good form of transportation up and down the river. Also, the water is used for farm animals to drink. Mesopotamia and Egypt are both similar because they both have their own form of writing.

The Sumerian form of writing was called cuneiform and consisted of pictures that represented letters. It was written on clay tablets with a tool called a stylus. Hieroglyphics (sacred inscriptions) were pictures that represented letters and words or sounds. It was written on papyrus using inks and pens, made out of plants that contained ink inside of them. Both of these forms of writing were used to keep records, document different buildings and structures. In the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations, scribes were the main ones who knew how to read and write. These are the two earliest forms of writing and they were invented by their own civilizations for nearly the same reasons. Due to the purposes of their structures, Mesopotamia and Egypt developed differences in their structures for mainly religious purposes.

Egypt had triangular structures called pyramids in which they had one purpose for. It was a burial to guard their dead kings’ body after death. Their pyramids were also made of limestone and that is why they are still there today. The Mesopotamians’ ziggurats were used as temples for their kings to connect with their gods. They were made of sun-dried mud, that when hardened created a hard mud-brick. Unlike the Egyptians pyramids that had passageways in them, the ziggurats were solid on the inside with a temple on the top of it. These two structures are different because they were used for entirely different reasons. The Egyptians used it as burial sites and the Mesopotamians used them as temples.

Due to the difference in inventions, Mesopotamia and Egypt developed differences in that Mesopotamians invented more important thongs then the Egyptians. Mesopotamians invented many things that had to do with science and technology. The first invention is the wheel, which they used for making pottery. They also invented math that included many things we still use today such as time (degrees, minutes, and seconds), addition, subtraction and fractions.

They also had formulas for determining shapes. Lastly they had advancements in astronomy, medicine, and iron metal. Some of the Egyptians inventions were: medicine, which they got from the Mesopotamian’s, shipbuilding for traveling the Nile, math and geometry just like the Sumerians, they used for keep transactions and building structures. Other things the Egyptians invented were makeup and toothpaste. They invented toothpaste because of all the sand in their food and it rotted their teeth. Sumerian inventions had a much bigger impact on our world today then Egyptian inventions. Both civilizations inventions are important, but the Sumerians’ are more important.

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