Guide to help you write the essay

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Name: Date:

Due Date:

Essay - Compare/Contrast Mesopotamia and Egypt
Directions: You have to write or type a five-paragraph essay comparing/contrasting the Egyptian and

Mesopotamian/Sumerian civilizations. You will use this guide to help you write the essay. These sheets need to be stapled to the back of your essay.

Introductory Paragraph

1. Why did people tend to settle in river valleys in the ancient world? (p. 13 of Notes)

a. drinking water for humans and animals

b. water for crops and plants

c. source of food for fishing and hunting

d. transportation and trade

Be sure to include topics you will discuss in your body


2. Thesis: The Mesopotamian and Egyptian societies are (more similar than they are different -OR- more different than they
are similar).

Body Paragraphs






Tigris and Euphrates

Unpredictable floods

Open plain - no natural barriers

Irrigation ditches

Built city walls

Traded with people of mountains and deserts

Limited natural resources

Nile - predictable flooding

Flows north

Has cataracts - waterfalls

Rich soil from the flooding

Vast deserts are natural barriers

Egyptians had to stay close to the river




(describe the


important rulers)

Temple priests had all the power (early)

Commanders soon gained permanent control of Ramses II - building/architecture

the armies
Rulers began


Sargon of Akkad - 1st empire in the world

Hammurabi - law code

Sumerians built a number of cities by 3000BC

Pharaohs - god-kings, reps of the gods
Theocracy - gov ruled by religion

Menes united Egypt in 3100 BC


Religious Patterns

(type of religion/

important gods)

Polytheism - many gods

Described gods as having human characteristics

Believed dead souls went to Land of No Return

Enlil - god of clouds and air

Epic of Gilgamesh - story of god king looking for


Ra - sun god




Osiris - god of dead - weighs heart of the dead -

if lighter than a feather, go to happy place; if

heavier, go to Devourer of Souls


Pharaohs - god-kings, reps of the gods


Buried with all material items you’ll “need”

Social Patterns

(writing style,



Cuneiform - wedged shaped writing

Created: wheel, sail, plow, number system based

on 60

classes: 1. Kings and queens, 2. Wealthy

merchants, 3. Farmers, 4. Slaves

First to use Bronze

Hieroglyphics - Rosetta Stone to translate

Used geometry, developed calendar

Medical: fix bones, take heart rate, surgery

Hierarchy: 1. Kings, queens and royal family, 2.

Wealthy landowners, 3. Merchants and

artisans, 4. Peasants, farmers, unskilled


Women held many of the same rights as men

Concluding Paragraph

No new information should be presented here. This should summarize your arguments and restate your thesis.


Rubric for Assessment of Essay—Writing Skills


Look For”




SS1: Constructing and Evaluating


CS22: Following Conventions of Writing

1. Does the essay contain 3 content paragraphs (5 total)

with evidence and explanation that support the thesis?

(2 points)

CS20: Organizing and managing

information to solve multi-step problems

2. Does the essay show evidence of being graphically

organized or outlined before writing began?

(2 points)

CS21: Being precise and clear in writing

3. Does the essay employ correct grammar?

(1 point)

CS10: Understand difficult vocabulary

4. Does the essay use appropriate vocabulary in the

correct context?

(1 point)

CS21: Being precise and clear in writing

5. Does the essay make its arguments or points with an

economy of words? Did you get to the point?

(1 point)

CS22: Following conventions of writing

6. Does the essay have a clear topic sentence or thesis?

(Introductory Paragraph)

(2 points)

CS24: Structure cohesive essay with

topic sentences, evidence and conclusion

7. Does the essay have a clear conclusion that relates to

the content and thesis statement?

(2 points)

Total Points _______
(Maximum: 11 points)

Rubric for Assessment of Essay — Additional Writing Skills
1. Do NOT use one or two sentences as a paragraph. Paragraphs must be at least four sentences.

2. Each paragraph must stick to the subject introduced by the first sentence in that paragraph.

3. Do NOT misspell words. Misspelling words is a sign of carelessness. Du nat bee cairless! Use spell check, a

dictionary, or a literate friend to check your spelling.

4. Do NOT use the first or second person - I, me, my, mine, we, us, our, your, yours, etc.

5. Support your ideas with concrete examples from reliable sources (in this case, the notes).

6. Should we ask rhetorical questions in our paper? NO! Avoid rhetorical questions.

7. Write about works of art or buildings in the present tense. The Great Pyramid of Giza will still be standing in

Egypt long after your great, great, great grandchildren have forgotten your name.

8. Use comfortable words you understand. Only English teachers and college professors are impressed with big words.

9. Use a font that is easy to read - Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial, etc.

10. Double space your paper.


Look For”




CS22: Following conventions of writing

1. Quality of essay

(5 points)

CS22: Following Conventions of


2. Did you follow Jason’s Picky Writing Rules as

listed above

(10 points)

Total Points _______
(Maximum: 15 points)

River Valley Civilizations:

Compare and contrast an ancient Mesopotamian society and ancient Egyptian civilization. Why might these two societies differ or why might they have similarities?

Concentrate on the years 3500 to 500 BCE. Be sure to divide your descriptions and comparisons into three of the following categories: Environmental patterns, Religious patterns, Political patterns, Social patterns

Content Rubric


Look For”




SS5: Analyzing and evaluating trends in

human movement

Does the essay explain why people tended to settle in

river valleys in the ancient world?

(4 points)

SS6: Identify and describe major

geographic features important to the

study of World History

Does the essay describe the specific geographic

features of Mesopotamia and Egypt that affected the

way people lived in these places?

(4 points)

WH1: Identify and analyze global

patterns over time and connect local and

global patterns

Does the essay list and describe features of two

societies that are similar or different?

(4 points)

WH1: Identify and analyze global

patterns over time and connect local and

global patterns

Does the essay explain how certain features of each

society can be related to global or universal issues?

(4 points)

WH2: Comparing Societies

Does the essay explain how certain specific features of

each society might be similar?

(4 points)

WH3: Recognizing universal commonalities

without erasing cultural uniqueness

Does the essay give examples of the ways in which two

societies can have similar structures, but distinctive or

specific features?

(4 points)

Total Points ______
(Maximum: 24 points)

Total Point Tallies





Subtotal for Writing skills


Subtotal for Newman’s Additional Writing skills


Subtotal for Content


Penalties - Is it on time? 5 points for every day it is late (up to 15 points off)

Are these two sheets stapled to the back of your essay? (2 points off)

Is your name and period number on the front, top-left corner of your essay? (3 points off)


Final Total


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