We hope to expand this section to include most of the main stories in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Besides Mesopotamia, a second civilization grew up in northeastern Africa, along the Nile River. Egyptian civilization, formed by B. Because its values and its tightly knit political organization encouraged monumental building, we know more about Egypt than about Mesopotamia, even though the latter was in most respects more important and richer in subsequent heritage.
Basic Patterns Of Egyptian Society Unlike Mesopotamia and the Middle East, where an original river-valley basis to civilization ultimately gave way to the spread of civilization throughout an entire region, Egyptian civilization from its origins to its decline was focused on the Nile River and the deserts around it.
The Nile focus also gave a more optimistic cast to Egyptian culture, for it could be seen as a source of never- failing bounty to be thankfully received, rather than a menacing cause of floods.
Egyptian civilization may at the outset have received some inspiration from Sumer, but a distinctive pattern soon developed in both religion and politics.
Farming had been developed along the Nile by about B.
This economic acceleration provided the basis for the formation of regional kingdoms. Unlike Sumer, Egypt moved fairly directly from precivilization to large government units, without passing through a city-state phase, though the first pharaoh, Narmer, had to conquer a number of petty local kings around B.
Indeed Egypt always had fewer problems with political unity than Mesopotamia did, in part because of the unifying influence of the course of the Nile River.
By the same token, however, Egyptian politics tended to be more authoritarian as well as centralized, for city-states in the Mesopotamian style, though often ruled by kings, also provided the opportunity for councils and other participatory institutions. Narmer, king of southern Egypt, conquered the northern regional kingdom and created a unified state miles long.
This state was to last years. Despite some important disruptions, this was an amazing record of stability even though the greatest vitality of the civilization was exhausted by about B. During the year span in which Egypt displayed its greatest vigor, the society went through three major periods of monarchy the Old, the Intermediate, and the New Kingdomseach divided from its successor by a century or two of confusion.
In all its phases, Egyptian civilization was characterized by the strength of the pharaoh. The pharaoh was held to be descended from gods, with the power to assure prosperity and control the rituals that assured the flow of the Nile and the fertility derived from irrigation.
Soon, the pharaoh was regarded as a god. Much Egyptian art was devoted to demonstrating the power and sanctity of the king. From the king's authority also flowed an extensive bureaucracy, recruited from the landed nobles but specially trained in writing and law.
Governors were appointed for key regions and were responsible for supervising irrigation and arranging for the great public works that became a hallmark of Egyptian culture.
Most Egyptians were peasant farmers, closely regulated and heavily taxed. Labor requisition by the states allowed construction of the great pyramids and other huge public buildings.
These monuments were triumphs of human coordination, for the Egyptians were not particularly advanced technologically. They even lacked pulleys or other devices to hoist the huge slabs of stone that formed the pyramids.Egypt and Mesopotamia Compared.
The Origins Of Civilizations. Edited By: Robert Guisepi Osiris, was essential as well. Other Egyptian deities included a creation. goddess, similar to other Middle Eastern religious figures later adapted into and different prior beliefs, Egypt and Mesopotamia were in contrast.
to one another in many ways. Compare And Contrast Mesopotamia And Egypt The two most significant civilizations of the world developed in the same region of Middle East and North Africa, closely interlinked and influenced by each other.
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