Egypt, Mesopotamia and Ancient Greek Civilizations

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Michael Jones
10/5/2012
Cabrera
Egypt, Mesopotamia and Ancient Greek Civilizations
The Ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamia, and Greeks were some of the oldest complex societies, although similar in many aspects. Mesopotamia is located in the Fertile Crescent, land in and between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers usually known as modern day Iraq and Eastern Syria.(24) In Egypt, the Nile River creates a fertile valley which is rich in nutrients and essential to their survival. The Nile flows from Burundi, slightly south of the equator eventually traveling through Egypt and into the Mediterranean. Ancient Greece is situated very closely to Egypt so trading was easy between them. How are these three civilizations comparable and different? The Purpose of this essay is to compare and contract Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece, Using the features of a complex society Subsistence, Social Stratification, Government, and Economic Systems.

Subsistence of the Mesopotamian culture relied on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers which flooded in the summertime, when crops were preparing to mature, the floodwaters washed away settler’s homes. (25) The settler’s attempted to counter this by producing channels that drained the water and rich nutrients to their crops. (25) This shows a connection between Egyptian complex societies and the techniques in which they utilized the Nile River. The Egyptians often constructed their cities close to the Nile as it provided irrigation for farming, fishing, and a rich supply of bathing and drinking water. The Nile was much more a reliable source of water than the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia. (30) The River was much more powerful and deposited more silt when it did flood. The Subsistence of Ancient Greece was very different, farming was complicated due to the limited amounts of good soil and arable cropland. Greece instead set up trade routes with the Egyptians they traded essential items such a wheat grain, art and other commodities. They had a strong connection with the Egyptian culture and are believed to exchange ideas.

Social Stratification was very diverse in Mesopotamia. On the top of Mesopotamia’s social structure was priests. Mesopotamia did not possess a monotheistic belief but worshiped multiple deities, priests were believed to have supernatural powers. This allows them to be put on a hierarchy of Mesopotamia’s community. Upper-Class consisted of Government officials, wealthy land owners and entrepreneurs. Upper-Class men of wore jewelry and expensive clothing. Upper-Class men owned slaves which did all of their manual toiling. Lower-Class consisted of individuals who received money for their work. These individuals consisted of farmers, fisherman, and pottery makers. If any of the classes were falling too far into debt they could sell or trade their wives and children into slavery. Slaves are considered the lowest class and were often criminals or prisoners of war. In addition, slaves did receive some rights such as owning land and having the ability to purchase their freedom. Mesopotamia Social Stratification has strong similarities to Egyptians. In Egypt, the Pharaoh was believed to be a god on earth and possessed most of the power. He was liable for enacting laws and assisting to maintain order, guaranteeing Egypt was not attacked by foreign invaders. He also to spoke to the God’s to maintain the Nile’s prosperity. The Viziers was the Pharaoh’s chief advisor and is also known as the high priest. All official documents had to have Viziers stamp of approval. Nobles were responsible for enacting laws and keeping order over religious groups. Priests were responsible for maintaining the God’s happiness. Scribes were the only individuals who could read and write, thus articulating their knowledge. They recorded history and maintained an accurate depiction of how many Army personal were on duty or the amount of food produced at harvest. Soldiers were responsible for the defense of...
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