Sumerian vs. Egyptian Civilizations: Political Structure Religion Society and Culture

820 Words Jan 12th, 2018 3 Pages
Account for the similarities and differences between them. Despite the fact that ancient Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations grew up rather close together, both civilizations evolved in vastly different ways. The influence of geography cannot be underestimated. Although both civilizations were located in what is now the Middle East, ancient Sumerians lived in a constant state of instability and fear, due to the threat of flooding. In contrast, the Egyptians enjoyed the fertility conveyed by the relatively controlled flooding by the nearby Nile. For the Mesopotamians, the natural world constantly threatened to flood their crops and their homes: "floods and torrential rains were a significant theme in Mesopotamian literature as depicted in the Epic of Gilgamesh" (Kries, 2006, Lecture 2). In the Epic, the gods are depicted as angry, temperamental beings that callously give and take away life. Life was hard: "because the land closest to the river was the most fertile, there was a variation in terms of the wealth of these early farmers, which led to distinct social classes" (Kries, 2006, Lecture 2). Ancient Sumerian civilization was thus highly stratified and segmented. Slavery was practiced, and laws such as the Law of Hammurabi were administered harshly but impartially, although there were different punishments allocated for different members of society…
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