Civilization Egypt and Mesopotamia Define Term Paper

Total Length: 684 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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In Mesopotamia, the gods were actively involved in the doings of this world, but not in a way that was just or equitable -- the gods had no special moral attributes, merely greater power than humans.

The lack of harmony in the natural world of Mesopotamia was also reflected in the disparate nature of Mesopotamian government, which was full of small city-states, with no cohesive national ruler. Egypt's pharaohs reigned for thousands of years, and most historians consider Egypt the first real nation-state in recorded history. The steady supply of food, climate, and the Egyptian's mastery over the arid but predictable terrain undeniably facilitated this governmental stability. Egypt was also far easier to defend from attacks by outsiders ("Mesopotamia," PowerPoint, 2007).

However, despite their great differences, both of these early civilizations made profound contributions to the world, such as the Egyptian's architectural gift of the pyramids, and the Mesopotamian saga of the flood in "Gilgamesh" (Burton, 2007). The contrasts between these two civilizations suggest that there is no singular, fixed definition of what constitutes a civilization in either the modern or the ancient world.
Modern analysts tend to privilege the cohesive nation state, as embodied in Egypt, as a marker of true civilization. However, Mesopotamia still produced a complex and rich culture and mythology, even if daily life may have been more physically difficult and unpleasant. Tribal society, or societies composed of disparate loyalties, cities, and alliances may prove more difficult to govern, and a lack of predictability in both governance and a supply of daily necessities may be less conducive to creating a major political or military power, but it does not mean that a society is culturally deprived or incapable of making a contribution to world history.

Works Cited

Burton, Dan. "Mesopotamia & Egypt." History Home Page: University of North

Alabama. 2007. 5 Oct 2007. http://www2.una.edu/dburton/MesEgypt.htm

Mesopotamia." PowerPoint.. 5 Oct 2007. http://www.nipissingu.ca/faculty/lisas/CLAS3095/WomSept11.ppt#305,8,Egypt.....

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