Urbanization in Mesopotamia and Egypt


The urban revolution was created by Mesopotamia and Egypt.  Both these societies created material changes as well as brought about abstract concepts.  There are a few differences in the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations.  Both the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations left lasting effects on the way the civilizations of the world work today and both have important unique aspects to them. 


The urban revolution brought about a couple material changes as well as some abstract concepts.  The first material change was the irrigational systems.  Mesopotamia and Egypt both created irrigation systems that were used to help build up their societies.  They both build canals and dams, the canals “brought water to the fields far away from the rivers” while the dams “raised the water level of the river so that gravity would cause the water to flow into the irrigation canals” (Bulliet 32).  With the emergence of the societies, priests and kings were appointed leaders of the land.   The priests brought on the abstract idea of Animism, which “is the belief that the forces of nature are controlled by spirits and ancient peoples’ gods reflected the nature of their surroundings” (Vargas Chapter 2 lecture).  The urban revolution was mostly thanks to Egypt and Mesopotamia.   

There are a few differences between Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization based on the concept of urbanization.  The first difference pertains to the rivers.  Both Mesopotamia and Egypt are surrounded with rivers.  Mesopotamia had to build irrigation channels to bring water onto the land as well as built dams and dykes to keep the water from flooded crops.  Egypt has the “fundamental geographic feature” river called the Nile (Bulliet 41).  The Nile river floods at just the right times so the Egyptians did not need to build dykes and dams.  The next difference is in class systems.  Although a lot of Egyptians were wealthier and had more power compared to Mesopotamians “no formal class structure emerged” in the Egyptian civilization (Bulliet 45).   Another difference is the laws in the civilizations.  Mesopotamia had a civil code of laws.  Egypt used the divine will of the king as their way of controlling the people.  A big difference is the Egyptians created were the monumental buildings called pyramids that consisted “of a series of stone platforms laid one on top of another” (Bulliet 43).  The Mesopotamians did not have such amazing monumental buildings.  The Egyptian civilization had a monopoly over the important economical aspects of production which was much more powerful than Mesopotamia’s economic production.  Mesopotamia’s trade was under the control of middle class. Egypt eventually created the first form of writing known as hieroglyphics because they needed to keep track of their business with trade. 

            Egypt and Mesopotamia were considered the first civilizations of the world.   They both created many lasting changes to create the world as we know it today.  Egypt and Mesopotamia had many differences in their civilizations.  Although both had an impact on society, Mesopotamia left the most impact on creating the civilizations we see them today.