History Essay: Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Ancient Minoan and Western Civilization

Date:  2021-04-09 10:41:16
7 pages  (1765 words)
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Harvey Mudd College
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Question One: Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia

The civilizations that characterized the ancient world was a remarkable beginning of transformational changes across the globe. A critical evaluation of historical accounts specific to different countries and regions shows how the level of socioeconomic and geopolitical interactions altered the lives of the people as well as the neighboring regions. In some cases, the changes affected the subsequent generations and periods. Egypt and Mesopotamia showed striking civilization characteristics that had a significant influence on the Western culture and orientation (McKay et al., 2013). The diversity of resources and culture coupled with similar development and sustainability objectives characterizing the ancient period of the two territories was fundamental in setting the baseline for the outstanding heritage as outlined in this section.

The location of Egypt and Mesopotamia played a key role in enhancing and shaping the nature of civilization exhibited in the region during the early years. The activities that people undertook to support their basic needs depended on the fertile soil in the regions and the Euphrates, Nile, and Tigris rivers that cascaded the two territories. The economic activities of the people based on land fertility and the three major rivers shaped the metropolitan establishments where Ur and Erika developed in ancient Mesopotamia while Thebes was a landmark in Egypt. River Nile was a major transport means in Egypt, which encouraged social and economic integration among the people (McKay et al., 2013). However, the nature of the political environment in the two regions differed significantly, which accounted for the diversity in social, cultural, and scientific advancements. A strong central authority in Egypt encouraged consolidation of the activities in the nation with a focus on sustainable on sustainable development. On the other hand, Mesopotamia was associated with a shifting structural administration based on the numerous regional city-states. Moreover, the most significant identity of the ancient Mesopotamian around 5000-3000 B.C. people was their focus on trade and technology while in Egypt agriculture was an incredible economic activity.

Another key dimension that characterized the early period in Mesopotamia and Egypt was the diversity in philosophies, culture, and religion, which depicted the type of leadership and governance. The practices and beliefs shaped the nature of socioeconomic and geopolitical inclinations that impacted the future. The access to resources defined the approach of information storage. The Egyptians could easily access great stones that were used to create monuments as opposed to the Mesopotamians. The centrality of the leadership approach and the level of bureaucracy in Egypt allowed easy establishment of labor-oriented development ventures, which was a challenge in Mesopotamia. Moreover, the two ancient states believed in many gods and designated worship places were constructed. The firm belief in the existence of an afterlife was the reason why both the communities buried their dead with their items. However, significant differences existed. Egyptians worshiped the pharaohs while the Mesopotamians established figurines to intercede on their behalf. In Egypt, the pharaohs were buried exclusively within the temples, and the mummification of the dead bodies was a widely spread practice (McKay et al., 2013). On the other hand, in Mesopotamian, more focus was given to the seven gods, and their dead were buried in ceramic jars and not tombs.

Moreover, the government and legal structure in the two old states was an important perspective that shaped the subsequent historical periods and the present. Both the Egyptian and Mesopotamian government allowed women from the upper social class to participate in leadership development. The payment of taxes was essential in sustaining the operations of the central and local rulers. In both cases, the people were subjects of their leaders and loyalty was the baseline for the corporation. Besides, the government and religion were inseparable. However, Egypt was founded on centralized governance with one supreme commander and served as the religious icon to be worshiped. In Mesopotamia, the decentralized city-states were independent but subject to the collective responsibility of national leadership. Each region was under the control of a designated political center with leaders in different capacities. Nevertheless, the role of the government was to ensure peace, stability, and development.

The evaluation of the historical civilization of Egypt and Mesopotamia cannot be complete without the scientific discoveries and development that characterized the period. The existence of fertile soil and major rivers enabled the two regions to enhance their agricultural activities through innovation. The onset of drought encouraged the development of irrigation systems. The use of bronze was preferred to copper because the later was sturdy. The use of the wheel to improve mobility characterized innovation in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Skills to determine time and season was purely based on the study of stars and skies. However, some significant scientific discoveries were peculiar to each region. In Egypt, excess water was stored lakes. The people were skilled in the production of glassware such as beads and decorations. The erection of obelisks using pits of sand was a masterpiece knowledge of the Egyptians. The discovery of hieroglyphic alphabet is traced to the Egyptians, which was cheap especially with the introduction of the papyrus as a writing material. Moreover, the discovery of length of the solar year emanated from the mathematics and astronomy competencies in Egypt. Other scientific discovery in the ancient Egypt included medicine and contraceptives. On the other hand, Mesopotamia was specific on seeder plow for farming and the use of glazed bricks for decoration. The elites in the society developed the cuneiform alphabet in writing, which was complex and restricted to priestly class. Scholars have noted that the advancements in Mesopotamia were more advanced than in Egypt.

The existence of the Egyptian and Mesopotamia ancient civilization as a component of global history is associated with essential achievements that shaped the subsequent periods in the region and the neighboring territories. The accomplishments in Egypt include the invention of the basin-based irrigation agricultural system that enhanced the production to a high scale for the local and external market. The Egyptian calendar was another remarkable element of the civilization period. The existence of the monumental pyramids and sphinx located at Giza as well as the hieroglyphic writings were part of the heritage associated with ancient Egypt. Moreover, the invention of papyrus was another achievement during the early years. Nevertheless, the failures of the ancient Egypt emanated from the lack of a sustainable internal system of governance since the kingdom did not collapse because of external invasions. On the other hand, the notable achievements in Mesopotamia included the outstanding cities that depicted competent architectural skills. The mathematical competencies were essential in setting the baseline for innovative construction and planning. Being among the first people to use the wheel was the onset of a remarkable transport sector that has been embraced globally (McKay et al., 2013). Nevertheless, ancient Mesopotamia civilization was associated with shortcomings such as the overcrowding, pollution, external and internal war invasions, and unsustainable irrigation systems.

Although significant differences existed, as well as challenges related to the ancient civilization of Egypt and Mesopotamia, the inventions contributed to human development during the existence of the respective kingdoms. The dimensions of civilization focused on trade, culture development, trade, and technology that assisted the people to access transform factors of production to practical advantages. Through agriculture and irrigation, food security was attained that sparked population growth. The introduction of writing techniques assisted in preserving the heritage of the communities. Effective transport that facilitated trade was essential because of the diversity applications of the wheel. The achievements in medicine and contraceptives, as well as the discovery of astronomy and mathematics, advanced the scientific and architectural fields. The current status of development and growth in different areas can be traced to the civilization in Egypt and Mesopotamia because the inventions influenced the neighboring communities. The technology started spreading to the Eastern Middle East and later to Europe.

Question Two: Ancient Minoan and Western Civilization

The history of Minoan civilization can be expounded in line with the three critical timelines: Pre-palatial, Proto-palatial, and Neo-palatial. The Minoan era is known to be the Aegean Bronze Age that dominated the island of Crete and other neighboring regions between 3500-1400 BCE. The period is part of the Greek history that preceded the Mycenaean, Dorian, and Dark Age civilizations respectively (McKay et al., 2013). The existence of the Minoan marked the beginning of the changes in the Greek historical accounts being the onset of the civilizations that shaped the world. With little archeological writings characterizing the Minoan civilization, little is known about the direct influence on the western culture and developments; however, the era formed the basis for the Greek development and innovation. The evaluation of the culture of the Minoans, as well as the political, economic, religious, and scientific works, depict a significant influence to the chain of transitions that defined the pattern of western civilization as outlined in this section.

One of the key elements of the Minoan era was the dimensions associated with religion. The Minoans worshiped the goddesses with some links being highlighted to the matriarchal religion. The difficulty in ascertaining the nature of gods that were worshiped during the Minoan civilization emanates from the existence of images only in places designated for worship, which is inadequate to conclude the superiority between goddesses and the supreme deity. The burial practices common during the Bronze Age is part of the religious practices that were carried out in the Minoan territories (McKay et al., 2013). The horn-toped alters depicted the existence of the sacrificial practices in the context of the worship. For example, the archaeological evidence shows the Minoans had two forms of burial over the period of existence: the circular tombs and the house tombs. The reverence of the dead, which is shown by the manner the dead were buried is later depicted in the other civilizations in the Greek history. The nature of religious practices, which closely defined the political and social relationships, determined the culture of the Greece kingdoms where the state and religion played a major role in leadership and survival. Later in the Western civilization, the reverence given to human life is also depicted in the Roman Christians.

Moreover, art and writing were a significant element of the Minoan civilization, which impacted the entire regimes in Greece and beyond. The Minoans were known for their stunning artifacts such as pottery depicted by the wide range of clay-based items. For example, the archaeological remains include the wafer-thin cups as well as the large storage jars. The introduction of potters wheel improved the efficiency and beauty of the products. Worth noting is that the evidence relating to Minoan period depict two distinct times. Such a phenomenon is bel...

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