Comparison of Mesopotamia and the Indus Civilization

2695 Words Dec 16th, 1996 11 Pages
Mesopotamia and Harappan societies have long been compared throughout the history of archaeology. Mesopotamia, also known as, 'the land between the rivers,' was named for the triangular area between the Tigris and the Euphrates river, (Nov. 7 lecture). In recent use, it covers a broader area referring to most of what is now Iraq. This adds ancient Assyria and Babylonia to the scope of Mesopotamia (Schultz and Lavenda 1995:310). Parts of Mesopotamia were not inhabited at all until approximately 8000 BC when plants and animals were domesticated, bringing about an agricultural revolution. This allowed nomads and cave dwellers to become farmers and herders.(Whitehouse 1977:129).)

The Indus civilization is often referred to as Harappan
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(Hawkes 1973:275). The level of grain present would have represented the level of public credit. (Hawkes 1973:275). In Mesopotamia there were state and temple grain stores, but because of the size and architectural importance of those at the Indus sights, they are believed to have a greater importance. (Hawkes 1973:275).


The state in Indus civilization was governed by a centralized government. (Hawkes 1973:263). The regular planning of Indus towns and cities could only mean that each was built as a whole by an authority with absolute control (Hawkes 1973:273). Because of the uniformity over such a large area, it is almost guarunteed that the entire Indus area was a unified state. (Hawkes 1973:273). The two main sights were Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, and they were the commercial and administrative centers. It is unlikely that there were two equal rulers, however. (Hawkes 1973:2730). The citadels suggest a combination of a combined military and religious power. There weren't temples that dominated the area like at Mesopotamia, only a few shrines have been found in the Indus territory. (Hawkes 1973:276). We don't know the nature of the authority there, whether it was ruling priests or kings,(Whitehouse 1977:122) but we know the ruling elite had religious practices of ritual cleaning through bathing. (Whitehouse 1977:278).

In Mesopotamia we have a clearer picture of the ruling powers which were