Contrasting Aegean and Mesopotamian Societies

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Differences between Aegean and Egyptian/Mesopotamian Societies

The Minoans, the Mycenaeans, the Egyptians, the Mesopotamians – all were great civilizations, but no civilization is the same. Change can be expected, as these civilizations arose in very different environments. As a result of evolving in very different places, the civilizations that developed had some similarities but quite a few differences. The Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations differed from the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations quite a bit. For example, the Aegean civilizations had very different art. The Egyptians’ art was centered on the afterlife and the Nile, and Mesopotamia had very little actual art – rather, their so-called art was meant to be highly functional as well. In the Minoans’ art, however, it is almost universal to see two elements, those being stylized bull’s horns and double-headed axes. For the Mycenaeans, shaped gold figures and pots are common, but their art was highly influenced by the Minoans, so elements in Minoan art are also common in Mycenaean art. The government of the Mycenaeans and Minoans was also very different. In Egypt, the pharaoh was considered a god, and so had ultimate power over all of Egypt – no one dared to cross him. The Mesopotamians were similar – when Sargon conquered Sumer, he began the series of Akkadian rulers, who were basically dictators. In Crete and Greece, however, none of the kings had the same absolute power as the Egyptian and Mesopotamian monarchs. A king was expected to consult with a group of nobles before making any decisions. As a result, the continuation of a Mycenaean king’s rule relied on the quality of his or her leadership and the support of the nobles. Religion was also very different between the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations and the Aegean. For the Egyptians, the Nile showed up everywhere, and they had many, many gods over many different areas. The Mesopotamians also considered their rivers important, and...
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