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Henry Gonzalez

Ms. Richardson

Global History

11/5/09

Egypt was one of the first river valley civilizations, the other river valley

civilization that it is most often compared to is Mesopotamia. Though many historian’s

try to debate it, it is obvious that Egypt was in fact the more developed civilization

because of their political stability, more advanced religious practices, and control over

their natural environment. These reasons along with many others are the reason that

Egypt was in fact the more advanced civilization.

Even though both Egypt and Mesopotamia had solid political structures, Egypt

had far superior control over their society. Egypt’s stability is mentioned throughout

many text such as in “The Book of the Dead (21)” text it was stated “Egypt enjoyed long

political stability over long stretches of time.” While this quote clearly shows that Egypt

is thought of as having an advanced political system, there are also quotes that express

Mesopotamia’s inability to even remain as one society, “Mesopotamia fluctuated

between times of unification, when one or another city succeeded in dominating some or

all of the others, and times of fragmentation, when the individual city-states went their

own anarchic ways.” (Nagle 9). How can one even argue that Mesopotamia had a more

advanced political system than Egypt, when it would be so much easier to argue that in
fact Mesopotamia’s political system was inept to the point where you can’t even call it

government, but a loosely chained alliance based on barbaric ideals?

Another way that Egypt was a more developed civilization than their Middle

Eastern counter part, was their religious practices, Egypt had a thought out and

sophisticated belief in the after life, and rituals to show their commitment to the gods. A

perfect example of this is the Hymn to the Nile while the Hymn as a piece of literature

already show an advanced religious practice, the text can be looked to for the vast amount

of support that they counted on the gods for “That watereth the meadows, he that Re hath

created to nourish all cattle…Beloved of Keb, director of the corn-god; that maketh to

flourish every workshop of Ptah…Khnum hath fashioned him.” (Hymn to the Nile 25) In

this early piece of religious text there is worship of several different gods, all of which

are praised for specific tasks that they fulfill. While this example shows their attachment

to the individual gods, a good example of not just Egypt’s religion being more advanced

is their practice of mummification, and the rituals that were involved. “May I endure

longer than you, for I am fashioned as the possessor of a burial; may you permit me to go

down into the earth forever … and his corpse will not perish.” Here the Egyptians give

religious context for their practice of mummification; the above quotes show the

sophistication of Egypt’s religious beliefs. Mesopotamia on the other hand has few traces

of religion throughout their culture, the best example probably being “Gilgamesh” which

is a tale of a man’s quest for immortality, in this text Mesopotamia beliefs about the

afterlife is shown. While Mesopotamia does have strong beliefs about the afterlife they

cannot compare with Egypt’s attachment to their religion.


The last point that really solidifies Egypt as the more advanced civilization is their

control over their environment. Egypt had a relationship with their environment,

specifically the Nile, and it wasn’t just a physical relationship, but a spiritual one. The

Nile became integrated into their culture and religion, looking again at the “Hymn to the

Nile” as the prime example “Praise to thee, O Nile, that issueth from the earth, and

cometh to nourish Egypt.” In this quote the Nile is being treated as a god, the source of

their nourishment, they refer to the Nile in the same manner as Re, Ptah, and any other

god mentioned in the text. Egypt was so connected with the environment that they were

singing songs of praise to it, Mesopotamia never got to that that point though they

counted on the Tigris and Euphrates to survive, it was always technological they never

bonded with the environment the way the Egyptians did. This really proves that Egypt

had more control over their environment.

The points made in the paragraphs come to one conclusion Egypt was the more

advanced civilization, the main components of a civilization politics, and religion were

taken and carefully analyzed and only one conclusion can be drawn. Egypt had a stable

government, and a developed religion, they had made technological advancements in the

form of mummification, and architecture that were years ahead of the Mesopotamians.

Egypt endured throughout the ages while Mesopotamia rose and fell over and over again.

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