Lesson 2: Comparing/Contrasting Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt A civilization is a society in an advanced state of social development.
Geography of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia (what is now Iraq) is located between the TigrisRiver and the Euphrates River.
The oldest civilization, Sumer, is found in this region.
The Fertile Crescent is a fertile arc of land from the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea through Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf. Rich soil in this region allowed the Sumerians to grow a lot of cropsand thus develop a civilization.
A city-state is a city and its surrounding territory. The city-states were surrounded by great walls to offer protection.
Geography of Egypt
Egypt is located on the Nile River.
The most important thing to the Egyptians about the Nile River is the yearly flooding, which deposits a rich layer of silt, or soil that the Egyptians use to grow their crops.
Egypt had natural barriers (e.g., desserts, rivers) that helped to protect it from invasion.
The political system in Mesopotamia was a theocracy, which means religious authority by divine rulers. There was no central government.
Hammurabi’s Code was a written collection of laws. The laws were written down so that people could not use ignorance as an excuse to escape justice.
The Egyptian king, also known as the Pharaoh, was an absolute monarch. Egypt had a strong central government.
Mesopotamia’s economy was based on agriculture and trade. The Sumerians were known for their metalworking.
Egypt’s economy was based on farming and trade. The Egyptians traded gold and wheat.
The people of Mesopotamia were polytheistic -- they believed in many gods. The ziggurat was a massive stepped tower with a temple in the top of it, believed to be homes for gods and goddesses.
The Egyptians also believed in many gods. The most important god was Ra, the god of the sun. The Egyptians practiced mummification, a process completed to preserve the body so that the soul could stay in the afterlife.
Mesopotamia was split into three social groups: nobles, commoners, and slaves.