Comparative Essay on the Political Systems of Mesopotamia & the Nile River Valley

Topics: Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Sumer Pages: 1 (299 words) Published: December 15, 2012
For most of its long history, Egyptian government was led by the Pharaoh, a semi-divine king. Powerful dynasties ensured the continuance of prosperity, interrupted only during brief periods of civil conflict and the beginning of outside invasions at the end of the Middle Kingdom. Mesopotamia, however, began as a series of city-states, self governing and competing for power.

Hammurabi’s code established rules for procedure for courts of law and regulated property rights and duties of family members, setting harsh punishments for crime; "An eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth". Sumerian political structures stressed tightly organized city-states, ruled by a king who claimed divine authority. The Sumerian state had carefully defined boundaries, unlike the less formal territories of pre-civilized villages in the region. This is unlike the Egyptian political structure, and that Egypt was a unified state that ruled by a Pharaoh, who possessed immense power. The Pharaoh had a godlike status, and they built splendid tombs for themselves.

Sumerian government helped regulate religion and enforced duties; it also provided a court system in the interests of justice. The Egyptian economy was more fully government-directed that its Mesopotamian counterpart, which had a more independent business class. Government control may have been necessary because of the complexity of coordinating irrigation along the Nile.

While having no knowledge of each other these two civilizations had similarities, like both having a writing system. They were different in the fact that they were written differently, but both cuneiform and hieroglyphics were pictographic languages. They weren't "picture-perfect" (pun intended) identical civilizations, and they had some differences, like the distinguished Pharaoh rulers of Egypt who built pyramids for themselves while the rulers of Mesopotamia didn't, these two civilizations made progress in the development and...
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