Civilization Comparison Essay Assignment Help
For this assignment, you will choose two cultural periods from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. You will develop an essay that analyzes the similarities and differences of the two civilizations in the areas of political structure, social structure, military, and religion.
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History has been proof that wherever there were great rivers and fertile lands, human settlement in some form or the other had come up surrounding it. The Egyptian and the Mesopotamian civilizations were two such great riverine civilizations that existed during the ancient times, which sustained large populations and were highly advanced in their social and cultural aspects of development. The ancient civilizations of the Old Egyptian Kingdom and Sumerian culture of Mesopotamia were quite similar to each other in terms of administration, social hierarchies and religious norms, while the military might of the latter was undoubtedly greater compared to the Egyptians.
During the Old Kingdom in Egypt, the Pharaoh was the ruler of the land by divine decree. A vizier was appointed to each of the ministries, and the regions or provinces were administered by nomarchs (Garcia, 2013). The central motif of the Egyptian political system was the ability of the Pharaoh to control the great river Nile, and it was believed that he was responsible for morality and justice on earth on behalf of his heavenly guardian, referred to as Goddess Maat. The Sumerian civilization had a similar political structure, as the it was largely theocratic in nature and was headed by a king. He was assisted by a council of elders, and this council included both men and women (Jamieson, 2016).
Ancient Egypt function in accordance with a social pyramid, which was dominated by the Pharaoh, followed by the vizier, chief treasurer, army general, priests and noblemen, soldiers and accountants or scribes, craftsmen and merchants, farmers and servants, and slaves (Turchin & Gavrilets, 2009). Sumerian cities had a similar social structure, the upper spectrum of which consisted of the nobles, priests, warriors and government officials, followed by the merchants, artisans and traders. The slaves were at the bottom of the social hierarchy and the affluent or higher classes usually owned them (Bourne, 2014).
The military in the Old Egyptian Kingdom were an expert at building forts, which is evident from the numerous constructions along the river Nile (Bard, 2015). These were mostly used as defensive structures to ward off foreign invaders, although there has been no evidence of an attack. However, ancient Egypt had no professionally organized army and the provincial governors had the responsibility of raising their own volunteer armies, which came together to fight for the Pharaoh, when and as needed. The Sumerians, on the other hand, show evidence of a highly organized and professional military structure, often believed to be among the earliest of its kind (Lafont, 2009). The later years of the Sumerian civilization oversaw the replacement of the priest-kings with warlords who could command armies and exercise better military tactics.
In Egypt, the religious system was rather complex due to its polytheistic rituals and beliefs. The pyramids had large complexes and were used as the tombs of Pharaohs. Interestingly, the temples for the Gods were smaller, which hinted at the fact that the king was subject to more direct worship from the people rather than the deities themselves. Some of the notable Gods and Goddesses included Ra, Osiris, Atum and Set. A similar polytheistic structure was followed by the Sumerians, the most important among them being Enki, An, Enlil and Ninhursag, followed by around fifty other Gods.
The Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations thus had numerous similarities, especially in their political and social structures. The king or the emperor was treated as the representative of God on earth, and he was at the social ladder, followed by the nobles, the middle class and the slaves. The Sumerians had a far more superior army, as the Old Egyptian Kingdom did not have a professionally organized military system and was less prone to invasions or battle.
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