Ancient River Civilizations

Ancient River Civilizations

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Approximately 5500 years ago four of the worlds' most prestigious ancient river civilizations had emerged. Our world has been left in astonishment and awe wondering how these civilizations were developed. Egypt and Mesopotamia were the first ancient river civilizations to create cities and their own ways of living. Society, geography, and religion played an enormous role in the development of the ancient cities. Although there is evidence of early Sumerian contact with the Egyptians, Egypt's civilization was largely self-generated and its history and cultural patterns differed from Mesopotamia.
The early Dynastic Period was Egypt?s era of initial unification and state building under the guidelines of its first three royal dynasties. In the years between 2660 and 2180 B. C. the basic marks of the cultures of Egypt arose. Egypt was one kingdom and it was divided into provinces, or the names of provinces. Ruling over the kingdom was a pharaoh, who was not only a king but was also seen as a god. Provinces were ruled by nomarchs better known as provincial governors. The Egyptians devised themselves into classes, upper class, middle class, and a lower class. The pharaoh and his family were at the top of the Egyptian class system. People could move from one class to another depending on their situations.
Mesopotamian civilization exercised profound and cultural influence throughout west Asia and beyond for about 3,000 years. Mesopotamia had many independent city-states with its own government and ruler. Priests ruled these city-states with other administrators such as organizers and managers. Since turmoil and tension would often arise between the city-states, Mesopotamian Political Unification was rarely achieved. Mesopotamia was constantly invaded by foreigners who would incorporate their culture into newly society and form a new one by force.
The Mesopotamian geography affected their society because Mesopotamia was located on an open plain without protection from foreign intrusions. Egypt, on the other hand, was centered on the Nile River ad protected by natural boundaries. This allowed Egypt?s kingdom for prosper and last for thousands of years. Mesopotamia was not considered a nation or country, it was considered a region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that established a number of highly organized city-states. Since each city-state was independent there was no capital of Mesopotamia.
Religion was very important to the ancient Egyptians the believed in many gods, meaning they were polytheistic.

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Each god had their own role to play in maintaining peace and harmony across the land. Some gods and goddesses took part in creation, some offered protection and others took care of the people after they died. They also had gods who represented minor things such as plants and animals. The ancient Egyptians believed that it was important to recognize and worship these gods and goddesses so that life continued smoothly.
Although both Mesopotamians and Egyptians are polytheistic, they have their differences. Religion had a primary role in Mesopotamia. Religion and government were combined. In Mesopotamia each town and city was believed to be protected by its own unique god. The temple was the center of worship, but was also the center for every city part of Mesopotamia. With their strong beliefs they also thought that the gods could be annoyed at what you did and punish you, or they could be pleased and reward you. This made the leaders in the temples almost as powerful as the kings, where as in Egypt the kings were already considered gods.
Contemporary cultures owe much of their belief and governing systems to the ancient river civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia?s legacy of political unrest still lives on today in the turmoil in Iran and Iraq, while Egypt continues to maintain its place in the world as a major power. Today people of color should be proud to know that their cultural origins were rich, intelligent, diverse, and powerful.
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