Mesopotamia and Egypt were two civilizations that while similar in some ways, also had many differences. Not only did they differ in the geographical layout of the civilization, but also in many aspects of basic life. Although different in many aspects of life, there are also several similarities between the two civilizations.
Mesopotamia was originally focused in the river-valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, but the civilization eventually spread throughout an entire region. The Mesopotamia culture was affected by the erratic and sometimes destructive flooding from the two rivers. In contrast, the Egyptian civilization remained focused on the Nile River and the surrounding deserts. The Egyptian culture viewed the Nile River as a source of unending bounty to be received with thanks, not as a menacing cause of floods.
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Unlike Mesopotamia, Egypt moved almost directly from the pre-civilization state to a civilization ruled by a large government without passing through the city-state phase. Because the culture was unified around the Nile river, the authoritarian government in Egypt had fewer problems with its political structure than did Mesopotamia. Because it was considered to b a city-state, Mesopotamian provided the opportunity for councils and other participatory government structures.
Egyptian culture was influenced to some degree by Mesopotamia, Egypt separated from Mesopotamia in many ways other than politics. The Sumerian cuneiform alphabet developed by Mesopotamia was not accepted by the Egyptians; instead, they developed the hieroglyphic alphabet. In both Mesopotamia and Egypt, the system of writing was complex and therefore mainly used by the upper classes. Through the development of the papyrus, the Egyptians were able to reduce the cost of the writing materials and it developed extensive record keeping practices. Egypt, did not however establish the epic literary tradition that was prevalent in Mesopotamia.
Science in the Egyptian civilization was based on mathematics and astronomy, and was less advanced than the science of Mesopotamia. Egypt was first to establish the calendar of the solar year. The Egyptians used a calendar based on the natural cycles and it suggests that they were trying to predict the cycle of Nile flooding. The Egyptians also made important advances in medicine, some of which were passed to the Greeks and then to the Middle Eastern and European civilizations.
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