Egyptian and Mesopotamian Architecture


Egyptian and Mesopotamian architecture are quite different visually, but they may reflect similar concerns and priorities. What might these be? Keep in mind the similar geography and climate and political systems. Do they represent what you would call a \'healthy\' or \'unhealthy\' mindset?


An important concern with both Egyptian and Mesopotamian architecture is to reflect religious power, and to awe the common man. The leader is close to God, and in some cultures, is God, so he must be housed in something to show that power. Making a large contrast between the public’s dwellings and the Gods/leaders was a very important thing to both Egyptian and Mesopotamian societies. It created a separation between the people and the leaders. It reminded the people they could never be as good as the leaders, and that they should happily serve them, because they are also their God/s. Egyptian governments could be considered dictatorships because of the rule of the Pharaoh, the one equivalent with God. And who would question God’s decisions? Of course the Pharaoh would know best what is for his people. That was the logic of the Egyptians.
As mentioned, the architecture also was done to show off mathematical and engineering knowledge, but to whom? To other countries, to show them they are a power just as advanced. The lands both the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians inhabited were common in that they were flat, arid, deserts. Mountains, close to the sky and the sun, were therefore close to the gods and goddesses. Their buildings reflected this, raising high up into the sky.
I think that it is somewhat healthy, to a degree. Making yourself look powerful to the common people and to your neighboring countries is important, but the gap created by these buildings and the equivalent wealth stowed in them to the average person is pretty wide.