Comparing Ancient Civilizations

Topics: China, Religion, Civilization Pages: 2 (607 words) Published: March 25, 2013
Comparing Ancient Civilizations
The word civilization is defined as “an advanced state of human society”. When thinking of an ancient civilization though, people of the present do not really consider these societies advanced technologically or culturally. The ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Shang and Zhou dynasties prove that their thinking is a misconception with their innovations in the ancient world. The Chinese and the Mesopotamia’s similarities proved why these civilizations thrived in the ancient world, but their difference also clearly show how these civilizations established themselves and how the civilizations eventually died out. Mesopotamia’s sturdy government structure and religious views contrasted greatly with China’s philosophic views and loose, branched central government, while their social structures and metallurgy advances were identical.

The hierarchical system of Mesopotamia and the Shang/Zhou dynasties were almost identical. Both systems had the nobles and wealthy families ranked first, while merchants, craftsman, and commoners are further down the system. Peasants and slaves were obviously ranked last in the hierarchical system. Their advancement of metallurgy was very alike also. Both civilizations started to use metals to form stronger weapons, resulting in a stronger military for both societies. Their agricultural productions increased when new farming tools consisting of metals were now being made. Despite their similarities, the civilizations also had differences.

The government structure of the two societies varied greatly. Mesopotamia’s first forms of government were city-states ruled by a group of nobles, but then transitioned to empires throughout Mesopotamia ruled by an emperor. During the Shang/Zhou dynasty, the central government entrusted power and authority to subordinates who looked over the vast network of towns that they controlled. The central government also used its military and allies to keep order...
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