Compare And Contrast Essay: Ancient Egypt And Greece

2954 words - 12 pages

Compare and contrast essay: Ancient Egypt and Greece

The ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek civilizations are two of the oldest known civilizations in our history. The Egyptian civilization, based in the eastern part of North Africa, is believed to have started around 3150 BC and continued till the end of the Pharaoh rule in 31 BC. The ancient Greek civilization is believed to have been in effect from 1100 BC till about 146 BC. Many similarities and differences existed between these two civilizations, as even though they co-existed during a certain timeframe (1150 BC to 146 BC), they were located in different geographical areas. Because of these differences in geography, both these ...view middle of the document...

The Greeks lacked such beliefs and this is why their social structure was very different from the Egyptians.

Both the civilizations are known to have been extensive traders, however, there were certain differences in the way that they traded due to their geographical location. The Egyptians had the Nile to their advantage and their production was mostly agricultural. The Greeks had a much harsher climate and their focus was instead on the development of commercial law and merchant class. This is why the Greeks had to develop much more complex trade routes than the Egyptians did. Many scholars as being more stable than the Greeks also describe the overall political structure of Egypt. Most scholars agree that this was because of the comprehensive religious belief system that the Egyptian had in place. The Greeks lacked such a strong belief system and their political structure was marked by intermittent and heavy disruptions.

However, the two civilizations were very similar as far as the social stratification was concerned. Both civilizations had a upper class that were landowners and each of these upperclassmen had their peasants and slaves. Religious priests were also part of the upper class, as they had a great say in the political happenings of both the civilizations. Even though both the civilizations encouraged scientific studies in astronomy and mathematics, and had greatly developed political and economic systems, they both showed more conservatism. Change was not encouraged and was only brought on about because of outside forces, such as natural disasters or invasions. Both civilizations, were therefore, able to last a long time while keeping true to their roots and their values. Perhaps the biggest impact that the Egyptian and Greek civilizations had on our Western society was on the iconoclastic ideals and symbols. Many of our current religious as well as social symbols (such as the sun, the moon, etc) have been adopted from the ideas behind Egyptian religion and mythology.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that there was more to life than just the life on earth. Much of their architecture, including the pyramids and the houses they built were based on strict rules of mathematics and geography. They used mathematics to build the dwellings in very symmetrical designs. It has been noted that the numbers pi and phi have been greatly incorporated in the building and design of Ancient Egyptian architecture (Greenberg). Researchers have noted that dividing the perimeter of the dwellings made by Ancient Egyptians by their height gives a close approximation to 2pi, which is the same result one would get if one were to divide the circumference of a circle by its radius. This suggests that maybe the ancient Egyptians were trying to emulate the spherical nature of the Earth by presenting this relation (Smith et al).

These design techniques show that the Ancient Egyptians built their dwellings very symmetrically. It has also been noted by...

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