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Comparison and contrast of Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley

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Comparison and contrast of Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley

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  • November 15, 2004
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Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley civilizations have long been compared throughout history and were both some of the earliest civilizations in the world. Mesopotamia, also known as, 'the land between the rivers,' was named for the triangular area between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. This area has been extended and now covers modern day Iraq, adding ancient Assyria and Babylonia to that land. The Indus civilization is often referred to as the Harappan civilization from the first city discovered called Harappa. The Indus civilization existed in the vast river plains of what are now Pakistan and northwestern India between the Indus and Ganges rivers from about 2800 BC to 1800 BC. Though these two territories had many things in common due to their surrounding geographies, they also differed in some fundamental ways such as economy, government, and social system.

The economy of Mesopotamia was mainly agricultural, but also included wool, hair, and leather. The domestication of animals, painting of pottery, and most importantly, agriculture spread to Greece from Mesopotamia. This agriculture was being jeopardized from the progressing salinization (treating of salt) of the soil, and the weakening of the dikes. This necessitated constant watch employed by the temple and the palace. Silver was used in the Babylonian period, and it was being hoarded as treasure by the palace and the temple. There were three kinds of trade going on in Mesopotamia, one being inner city trade. The second kind was an ongoing trade between foreign cities and trading outposts. The last was the export of industrial goods to sights such as Al Mina at the mouth of the Orontes River in Syria. Items that were exported include textiles made by serfs(servant required to perform labor for his/her lord) and the importing of metal, stone, lumber, spices and perfumes.

The economy of the Indus civilization was similar to Mesopotamia in that both had an agriculture based on irrigation and...