The Influence of Geography and the Environment On the Development of Early Civilization

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Geography and the environment play a monumental role in the establishment and success of a nearly every civilization. For example, rivers bring water and allow for agricultural development, while mountains or deserts provide for protection and create a barrier. Many things, such as the aforementioned deserts and mountains, can offer both positive and negative influences on the society in question. The climate and amount of rainfall is directly related to the success or failure of crop growing, and thus related to the amount of time spent on simply surviving. Civilizations that are able to spend less time on subsistence farming are able to redirect that energy towards the establishment of arts, culture, religion, and science. Where a …show more content…
The Egyptian civilization was founded in much the same way as the Sumerian cities; the banks of the Nile River, which overflowed on a regular timetable, provided the necessary nutrients to the normally dry desert soil, allowing the people to build a thriving empire that lasted over 3000 years. This overflowing and irrigation of the river regulated Egyptian farming, and allowed for specialization within the society. (Chavalas, 42) The people of Egypt recognized this, and there are many places in their writings where they thank the gods for gifting them with the Nile: for example, this line in Akhenaton’s Hymn to the Aton which says, “You create Hapy, the Nile…to bring him, at your desire, to nourish the people.” (Brophy, 65) In addition to the river, the harsh climate of the desert around them protected them from military attack and allowed income and resources to be invested in arts and architecture, as opposed to weapons and the cultivation of an army. The combination of these two forces encouraged the creation of a class system within Egyptian society, where people could develop skills as artisans, merchants, scribes, priests, government officials, and may other varied professions. The complex and ritualistic religion of the Egyptians, as well as their favorable views on the afterlife, were also created through the time that they were able to spend philosophizing, instead of fighting to
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