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mesop and egypt

            The source of the many differences between Mesopotamia and Egypt can be found in the geographic locations of these civilizations. Egypt, protected by natural barriers on all sides, remained uninfluenced for many years. Not many other civilizations came in contact with the Egyptian people. Thus, they developed much differently politically and socially compared to Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was constantly invaded by foreigners who would incorporate their culture into their newly conquered society and form a new one by force. It is no surprise then that the two civilizations would end up with completely different ideas about the world. Egypt's social structure consisted of the pharaoh, priests, farmers, merchants, and craftsmen. The pharaoh was the "God-King". Not only did he govern Egypt, but he was an immortal (or a god). Pharaohs were believed to be gods who had chosen to live on earth for a time. These immortal men were highly respected by Egyptian people because of their godly powers. "The pharaoh's will was law, and his wisdom all-knowing" (Adler,1996,26). Because the gods spoke through the pharaoh, his regulations and laws were to be carried out without question. Otherwise the gods would "cease to smile upon Egypt". Priests were important to Egyptians but were not terribly powerful (like they were in Mesopotamia). They merely enforced religious beliefs and helped the king when he was unpopular. The Free tenant farmers, who worked on estates owned by a landowner or government official, constituted the majority of the population. These farmers worked on this granted land in order to provide service to the crown (the pharaoh). Their life, like the Egyptians of higher and lower classes, was extremely stable and predictable. They usually resided in crowded villages that stretched across the Nile River. In these villages, the merchants and craftsmen could also be found, but Egypt had no real cities.

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