Mesopotamia vs. Indus River Valley

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Mesopotamia vs. Indus River Valley 9/26/12 Ancient Mesopotamia and the Indus River Valley civilization were two incredibly productive and successful empires. While Mesopotamian politics were slightly less focused on religion and more on other aspects, the two societies shared many social characteristics. They both had defined social hierarchies, as well as similar views on gender roles. These traits are helpful in explaining the similarities and differences between the two cultures.

One of the key aspects of both Mesopotamia and the Indus River Valley is their distinct social hierarchies. In the Indus River Valley, beginning with the Aryans, a caste social system was used to keep citizens in their places. This caste system held many similarities to the social structure of Mesopotamia. At the top of the caste system were the Brahmins, or the priest-kings, who ruled religiously and politically. In Mesopotamia, the kings and priests were at the general top as well. Next in the caste system were the Kshatriyas, the warriors and aristocrats; these citizens played roles parallel to that of the Mesopotamian scribes, who were also powerful, educated nobles that worked for the government. After the Kshatriyas came the Vaishyas, who were the farmers, artisans, and merchants. Mesopotamian society held their farmers, artisans and merchants at exactly the same level of respect as the Aryans. Below the nobles but above the commoners, Mesopotamian artisans worked with special materials to make tools, jewelry, and weapons. These were then taken by the merchants and traded to places such as Asia Minor. Meanwhile farmers cultivated the land and took charge of the agriculture. At the very bottom were the Shudras, or the peasants and serfs, much like Mesopotamia’s slaves. Both had little rights and worked for noble families or on plantations for most of their lives.

Another similarity between the two cultures is the social view on gender...
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