Compare Egypt and Mesopotamia

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Jenny Di
Bowler 5th Period
AP World History Comparative Essay
07 September 2010
The geography of Egypt and Mesopotamia helped shaped their economies, social structures, and religions. In these two societies, the rivers they depended upon played central roles in all parts of society. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers surrounding Mesopotamia and the Nile River, in the middle of the desert, produced two polytheistic, ancient civilizations. Although Egypt and Mesopotamia both have similar economies which center on agriculture and include heavy trading, they differ in their religions and social structures because the geographical features in each region altered the people’s beliefs and views. The two civilizations views on religion were also affected by the geography of the area, more specifically the flooding of the two rivers. The Mesopotamians believed in a dark and cruel afterlife where everyone was sentenced to after death, while Egyptians thought that they would be judged by the god of the underworld, Osiris. He would determine if they could pass on to the good afterlife or not. The Mesopotamians view of gods as uncaring was most likely due to capricious nature of their rivers. The direct result of the gods’ capriciousness was said to have lead to the unpredictable flooding. The rulers of Mesopotamia could not claim to be gods or have divine powers because they could not predict or control the floods, while the Egyptian kings were unquestionably divine. The Egyptians had a very fond view of their gods and tried to keep their cycles of life continuing, including the continuation of divine kings, while Mesopotamians feared their gods and did everything possible to gratify them. The consistent cycle of floods in the Nile brought bountiful harvests. Rebirth occurred all around them and the Egyptians trusted in this cycle. They put a lot of effort in order to ensure “rebirth” and went through many rituals, such as mummification, in order to preserve their bodies...
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