The great civilizations

Throughout history there have been many great civilizations, around the time of 4,000-1,000 BC there were two major western civilizations. Those civilizations were, the Babylonian Empire and Ancient Egypt. When the Sumerian power faded away Hummarabi unified all the scattered cities, and restored order and justice to the Mesopotamians, he then built the Babylonian Empire. The unification of Upper and Lower Egypt into a single kingdom it is the start of the Egypt Empire and the beginning of their civilization. Egyptian tradition claims the unification of the Upper and the Lower Egypt to a Pharaoh called Menes. Many similarities exist between these civilizations as well as many differences. One of their major similarities and difference are how they develop culturally and geographically, as well the importance of their existing class structures.

The Babylon Empire and Ancient Egypt were different empires, however, at the same time they shared some similarities in the way they developed their empires culturally and geographically. Both cultures had a code of laws, still they differed in the way these laws were used toward the people. The Babylonian Empire was maintained by the code of laws, called the Code of Hammurabi, these were formed by 282 laws that defined the relationship and aspects of the kingdom. These laws were displayed in a public place so all the people could have the opportunity to study them. The laws applied to everyone, though application of the laws and punishment differed according social status. Ancient Egyptian laws was based on a common sense of view about right and wrong, these codes apply the theory of Ma'at. Ma'at symbolized the truth, order, balance and justice in the universe. This concept allowed that everyone, with the exception of slaves, should be judge as equals under the law, regardless of wealth or social position. However, when punishment was consummate, often the entire family of the criminal, suffered the consequences as well.

Both Empires were in flood basins of major rivers as well which introduces another similarity between these empires. Babylon Empire was the land surrounded by the Tigris and Euphrates river, these rivers flooded irregularly. Thanks to this Babylon was characterized by chaos and tension. In contrast Ancient Egypt was centered near the predictable Nile River; because of this river Egypt was characterized by stability and serenity. Also the Babylon characteristic weather was harsh and since the Tigris and Euphrates flooded irregularly, Babylon was not viewed as life enhancing, but rather considered a treat. Ancient Egypt, on the other hand being centered on the dependable Nile. Even though the river was knew to flood yearly the Egyptians had no reason to fear it because it helped them to predict nature and use this knowledge for their benefit for example they use the rich and fertile soil of the Nile Valley by farming crops.

Class structure played an important role in Babylon Empire and Ancient Egypt this was used to identify which person have more prestige and power within the people. According to Meskell, Lynn "Society is a very complex structure, and therefore the study of it cannot be simple. In any country at one time there are many varieties of it in different classes, and probably the contemporary differences are as great as those of many centuries in any one class. In different lands under different climates, with different ancestries and different religions, and still more different modes of life, the adversity far exceeds our power of realization...It is not too much to that the discoverer is the maker of society" (Meskell 1). In Babylon Empire social distinction was defined in three levels; represented by the upper class was known as awilu, a free person of the upper class; middle class was known as the mushkenu, a free person of low estate, and the lower class was known as wardu; or slave. Concord Hall Timothy "Babylonian social structure also retained much of the Sumerian look. Generally there were three classes of people in the society. The kings, priests, and nobles were at the top. The artisans, merchants, and farmers were in the middle...And slaves who came from the conquered peoples were at the bottom of the class structure"( Hall 17). The upper class consisted mainly of: the king who was the absolute monarch as well as the ultimate authority in all areas; excluding religion, who was mainly done by priests. The priest job was to intervene with the gods to ensure good fortune for their communities and the king. Also and not less important the nobles there were mostly member of the royal family and close supporters of the King. The middle class consisted of artisans, merchants, farmers and others that were not slave. The lower classes consisted of the slaves who were prisoners of war, but some were Babylonians because their parents would sell their children as slaves in time of need. According to Bentley and Ziegler "Like their Mesopotamia counterparts, both Egyptian and Nubian peoples built patriarchal societies that vested authority over public and private affairs in their men"(Bentley; Ziegler 71). Ancient Egypt differ from Babylonian Empire because the class structure was composed by six levels at the top was the pharaoh, The pharaoh was the supreme ruler of Egypt, pharaohs were believed to be god on earth. Secondly was the vizier who was the pharaohs advisor and most of the times was the chief priest. Thirdly were the nobles and priests. The responsibilities of the nobles was to make local laws and to keep order in their region.The main responsibilities of the priests was to pray the gods.In the next levels were the scribes and soldiers. The scribes were the ones who could write and read; their jobs was to make records and laws. The soldiers were responsible for the defense of the country, and helped expand and gain more territory. Next were the craftsmen, they were skilled workers who made pottery, shoes, leatherwork etc. At the bottom were the farmers and slaves.The farmers work the land of the pharaohs and nobles. The slaves were prisoners captured in war which worked mainly in mine, quarries or building temples.

In conclusion Babylonian Empire and Ancient Egypt were Empires that were hundreds of miles apart; still they shared similarities and differences in their development and in their class structure. If I have to choose one of these Empires I will rather live in Ancient Egypt because I will have the opportunity to be treated as an equal if I ever commit a crime, as well the geography is better than the Babylonian Empire, because I will not be worried about when the rivers will flooded.

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