Although both Egypt and Mesopotamia developed at the same time, environment and natural forces affected differences in political systems, religion, and social stability.
The rise of civilizations in Egypt and Mesopotamia occurred about the same time and both civilizations grew along mighty rivers. There were many similarities but many differences as well. In each case, it was the river valley and geography that dictated outcomes affecting agricultural prosperity, religious formation, and government structures. The Role of Geography on Egypt and Mesopotamia
Both regions experienced an influx of previous nomadic peoples during the latter Neolithic period in what became the Agricultural Revolution. In Egypt, the Nile River overflowed its banks annually, depositing rich natural fertilizing elements that enabled Egyptians to grow wheat and barley, often providing a surplus. While the yearly rise of the Nile in Egypt was predictable, this was not the case in Mesopotamia. Both the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers frequently caused destructive floods, inundating villages and cities, killing people and livestock. Unlike Egypt, which was protected from outside invasion by natural barriers, Mesopotamia was a vast open region. As civilizations rose and fell, new empires were born making the Ancient Near East an unending battleground. Political Institutions In Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East For most of its long history, Egyptian government was led by the Pharaoh, a semi-divine king who was assisted by a vizier and an army of bureaucrats. Powerful dynasties ensured the continuance of prosperity, interrupted only during brief periods of civil strife and the beginning of outside invasions at the end of the Middle Kingdom. Mesopotamia, however, began as a series of antonymous city-states, self governing and competing for power. Not until 2370 B.C.E. was the Middle East united for the first time under Sargon the Great as he established the first Semitic dynasty that could...
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