Early Civilizations

Early Civilizations

From 3000 BC to 1500 BC four civilizations arose that historians to this day marvel at, the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Indus River Valley people, and the Shang dynasty in China. They all had great accomplishments in government, and religion and inventions. While they had their own different civilizations many similarities arise, such as depending on the river and their polytheistic religions. They had very isolated civilizations with the exception of the Sumerians. The geography, religion, and their governments all contributed to their success as a civilization.
The Egyptians were situated in northern Africa around the Nile. The Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Nubian Desert, and Libyan Desert were the natural boundaries that made the Egyptians very isolated. Also, the Indus River valley civilization was rather isolated, with water to the east and west, the Hindu Kush and Himalayas to the North. The monsoons that are seasonal flood the rivers. The Shang dynasty was situated in China over the Yellow River. On the contrary the Sumerians were not isolated at all in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Mesopotamia was in the Fertile Crescent, which was why many invaders invaded their land, ultimately crushing them.
The polytheistic religions of the early civilizations were rather similar. The Egyptians had pharaohs, which were considered to have a god’s blood. Egyptians also had a main god Osiris, who was god of the Nile. The Egyptians also worshiped local gods. They also believed in the afterlife, which required mummification to accomplish. Sumerians also had a polytheistic religion, and like the Egyptians each region or city-state worship a local god primarily. They pictured their gods as having little regard for human life. The Sumerians did not believe in an afterlife. The Shang dynasty’s religion is rather different compared to the others Shang Ti was a god that ruled over lesser gods. They also believed that ancestors were able to go between through gods and people. Also Oracle Bones were used to tell the future. Lastly, The IRVC was also polytheistic religion they revered bulls and some trees, and held them as sacred.
The governments of these four civilizations were rather different with kings, pharaohs, and nobles. In Egypt a pharaoh had god’s blood and was an absolute monarch. In Sumeria had twelve city-states that were very populated somewhere from 20,000 to 250,000 people in each. Each city-state was governed independently and had their own kings. The king was a military leader, and a priest, making Sumeria a theocracy. The IRVC had a centralized government, which is indicated, by very intricately planned cities. Priest-kings were the leaders of the land. The Shang dynasty had kings that ruled over nobles who ruled over providences.
All four civilizations were different but significantly similarly in the sense that they all relied on the water for transportation water for irrigation. The Nile the tigris, the Euphrates, the Indus, and the Yellow river were the rivers that the civilizations settled upon. The civilizations unfortunately all saw their end. From the cuneiform, the wheel, silk and indoors plumbing many very important inventions were made.
Lindsey Jones
February 6, 2000
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Category: History