Compartive Essay on River Valley Civilizations

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Compartive Essay on River Valley Civilizations

By | April 2011
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Approximately 5000 years ago the first complex, politically centralized civilizations began to form independently along numerous river valleys throughout parts of Asia and Africa. These civilizations were the building blocks for organization of human economic, political, religious, and social practices. Although the cultures of both Ancient Egypt and Shang China River Valley Civilizations share geographic, religious, and political similarities, the cultures are vastly different when social characteristics and economic trade are taken into consideration.

Both Ancient Egypt and Shang China both developed closely to major rivers. The Ancient Egyptian River Valley Civilization was located along the Nile River which helped to provide a reliable source of water for farming. The Nile River current runs north-allowing movement along the river, and the winds blow from the north allowing sailing vessels to travel against the current. It was easy to travel and interact along the Nile. When the Nile would flood, it would naturally fertilize the surround soil with nutrient deposits that gathered within the river. The same thing would occur with the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers, which were located near the Shang China civilization. This is why both civilizations flourished when it came to crop production. Near the Yangzi River, however, people had to work harder at flood control and irrigation. It is said that perhaps this stimulated a greater effort at organization.

Both Ancient Egypt and Shang China were both ruled by kings, too. In Ancient Egypt, they believed that the pharaoh had all the power and influence over his people. He was considered to be divine, stood above the priests, and was the only individual who had direct contact with the gods. This is similar to how the emperor was looked at in Shang China, where he was seen as a chief priest, and he had an administrative bureaucracy, with councilors, lesser priests and diviners. Emperors and aristocrats had splendid...
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