Similarities and Differences of Mesopotamia and Shang China Paper
Features | Mesopotamia | Shang China| Community Development * Large settlements * Stable food supply * Trade and communication | Most of the settlements began along the borders of Mesopotamia and date from the 10th to the 9th millennium BC. Because of the dry climate and flooding of the river, farmers had to adapt and eventually began to grow crops of fruits and vegetables. | People settled towards the middle or lower parts of the Yellow River in places called urban centers. They built the 1st real cities in China; they also built palaces and temples.
The settlements began to start crops along the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers. In the growing industry fishing became popular just like agriculture, even handcrafting. | Organized Systems * Religious systems * Military authority * Civil authority * Economic authority | Sumerians believed in Polytheism and devoted all their prayers and offerings to their Gods, in believing that they controlled the nature of their agriculture. City-states ruled by a king who claimed divine authority.
The government helped regulate religion and enforce duties, also providing a system of courts for justice. To keep his people in order King Hammurabi created a document for his people creating justice for the innocent and the guilty. Each city-state regulated their own trade and controlled much of their own businesses. Their business dealt with agriculture and clothing, basic needs for a society. | The Shang Dynasty practiced Polytheism; their most important God was Di. They also believed in ancestor worship which was probably around for thousands of years after they started it.
A Shang king could gather an army of about 5,000 for in border campaigns or call all his forces in a grand army around 13,000 to face down serious threats such as insurrection and invasion. The king began to tax the people for agriculture and this outraged them and attacks started to happen. The Shang began to lose control. In their economy, they began to fish as an industry; they also sold hand crafted goods, which became industries. | Complex Social Structures * Division of labor * Division of power * Gender roles * Class structure | Division of labor meant that farmers would buy goods from other workers.
Kings thought of themselves as superior to all, they believed of themselves as divine authority. In gender, the men were the hunter-gatherers and women picked berries. The Sumerians had a specific class system. The highest class was the priests, middle class were merchants, and the majority was city-states, which was lower class, made up of farmers. | In the class structure and division of labor, nobles had the most power followed by craftsmen, peasant farmers, and then slaves. Most of the Shang people were farmers.
Even though class differences affected gender roles lower-class women were to stay home cook, clean the house, take care of the kids, and make clothes for the whole family. But the division of labor was also important between men and women in different civilizations and social classes. | Form of Writing * Statement of values * Business records * Legal records * Continuity of traditions | To keep track of their trades, the Sumerians had to develop a writing system. They wrote all of their transactions on clay tablets. These were the first legal records, displaying numbers of their traded goods. The Shang people showed the importance of family and Shang society. This value was carried out through China’s history to present day. Even the ritual of ancestor worship. | Artistic Achievements * Visual arts * Literature * Architecture * Music | Art was made up of natural resource; stone, shells, and marble. The societies depended on art in order to find organization and structure. People of Mesopotamia recorded all their literary works on clay tablets, which include folktales, prayers, hymns, proverbs, personal letters, and fables.
Religion played a big part in architecture. Temples were centers of city-states to be worshipped. Instruments are commonly present in many forms artwork; musical notes and lyrics have been found. Music was a significant and sophisticated role. | In the industry of hand crafted goods their pottery showed various types of patterns carved or painted onto them, even stones had fine pictures painted onto them. They usually wrote in a special ink, they had various forms of writing like hieroglyphics, and self-explanatory characters.
They usually carved these onto animal bones or tortoise shells. Architecture was built into houses made of wood or carved out of the earth into rows. They listened to folk music and palace music. With their practice in bronze they made fine musical instruments, people engaged into music but they were divided into 3 sections; Wu, music slavery, and Gu. | Developed Technology * Technical process * Technology and work * Technology and settlement patterns | The development of the calendar was based on their observations and studies of the stars, moon, and sky.
They also established a number system; a year was cut into 12 months, a month into 30 days, a day into 12 hours, an hour into 60 minutes, and a minute into 60 seconds. They also divided a circle into 360 degrees of the 60 arc minutes. Settlement patterns were based on the environment of the area and the need for a stable water supply. | The Shang developed the cycle of the moon, their calendar lasted for 366 days, and they have many records about solar eclipse, lunar eclipse and nova. The calendar system continued to advance and in the area of math.
Settlement patterns on the Shang period are dispersed, in a variety of villages and they also have ritual or ceremonial centers. | Features | Mohenjo-Daro | Egypt | Community Development * Large settlements * Stable food supply * Trade and communication| Mohenjo- Daro is one of the largest Indus cities also being one of the best preserved urban centers of Indus Civilization. Their food consisted of wheat, barley, millet, fruit, vegetables and fish. They were able to grow grain and vegetable because the river would flood sometime. They also had fish because the city was along the Indus River.
Their trading network moved from the coast to the Indus plain, and trade routes passing the Bolan Valley to the west. | Different environments affected settlement areas but the earliest known settlement is the Nile Valley or Mermida on the western Delta. Another settlement would be The Fayum. Both these settlements were along the Nile and all inhabitants found had a good supply of fish, meat, and cereal grain for their diet. The Egyptians would trade gold and farmers harvested all year long, especially flax since it was an important source in textile fiber. Organized Systems * Religious systems * Military authority * Civil authority * Economic authority | Artifacts point to Polytheism, certain plants and animals were sacred to them. There was no military strength instead they were governed through trade and religion.
There haven’t been any signs of weapons being used. The rulers carried animal symbols each having their own meaning. It is said that the people ruled themselves; there is no evidence of leader’s authority. Their economy was entirely dominated by agriculture, but there was also hunting, pottery, metal and minerals. The Egyptians believed in polytheism, the main Gods they worshipped were, Amon-Re, Osiris, Set, and Isis. They strongly believed in the afterlife thus their need for mummification. The Egyptians had a powerful military force; an important attribute of the pharaoh was martial prowess. The king was the only landholder, warrior, priest, and judge. Everyone else worked below him. The Egyptian economy was made up of trading gold and wheat. The Egyptians served their king by building cities and markets to keep the economy going. Complex Social Structures * Division of labor * Division of power * Gender roles * Class structures| Their social structure is almost like the one we have today; divided up into wealthy and skilled workers. Women were responsible for gathering, cooking and taking care of the children. The men were to hunt. | Egyptians had a rigid class system from top to bottom, it was possible to move up classes but it was highly unlikely. What your father was, you were. The people at the top of the class structure owed a duty to those at the bottom.
It was also a culture where women were valued unlike most cultures today; they worked and were praised for it. Pharaohs were always at the top of social classes, they were superior. | Form of Writing * Statement of values * Business records * Legal records * Continuity of traditions | Forms of writing were found in the ruins of Mohenjo-Daro. The seals often show animals are written in an unknown language. It is said that the language could be Dravidian or Sanskrit, but it is still undecided. | They Egyptians system value was just as important to them as it is to us today; it is also quite similar to ours.
The difference would be what the Egyptians gave to their value system, like a secular and religious side. | Artistic Achievements * Visual arts * Literature * Architecture * Music | They made sculptures, clay models, and beaded items. These art pieces each had a different purpose and meaning. The clay models were for children’s enjoyment, sculptures were to show a person’s image or a place, and beaded items were used for decoration and jewelry, like today. Their buildings were made up of brick that goes on for miles in every direction; each block is centered on a grid. Pharaohs and Dignitaries kept their records on scribes, in the writing system called hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics used picture symbols for ideas or sounds. Egyptian literature includes hymns to the gods, mythological and magical texts, and an extensive collection of mortuary texts. In stories; instructive literature, known as wisdom texts, poems, biographical and historical texts, and scientific treatises, even mathematical and medical texts. Architecture was based on perpendicular structures and inclined planes since there was no structural assistance except the strength and balance of the structure itself.
Architects had to carefully plan out the way of the building. A ramp of adobe brick can be seen leading to the top of temple walls this was to allow artists to decorate the tops of walls and pillars. Egyptian art depicted their everyday lives. In tomb and temple drawings they show everyday living, models of people and animals, glass figures and containers, and jewelry made from gold and precious stones. | Developed Technology * Technical progress * Technology and work * Technology and settlement patterns | The closest technology would probably be their cleanliness.
They had great drain and sewage systems. It was known as aquatic culture, where water and bathing played a central role. | Egyptians developed a water clock, sundial, pyramids, and tools to build these pyramids, and a time system. | Features | Olmec | Chavin | Community Development * Large settlements * Stable food supply * Trade and communication | San Lorenzo de Tenochtitlan, La Venta, Tres Zapotes, and Laguna de los Cerros, Olmec settlemenst have been found in these places. The Olmec relied on maize, and sunflower. Later they domesticated beans. They also gathered corozo palm nuts, squash, and chili.
The Olmec had extensive trade routes. They traded raw materials and finished goods were traded across hundreds of miles. | A site of early monumental architecture in Peru and one of the oldest urban settlements of the New World. It is composed by several stone structures such as temples, squares and other buildings. The Chavin people developed an extensive trade with distant communities. | Organized Systems * Religious systems * Military authority * Civil authority * Economic authority | The Olmec practiced Shamanism, believing that every person had an inner animal spirit.
There really isn’t any evidence of any military, the Olmec people governed themselves. They each took care of themselves and provided for themselves together. | Chavin was a ceremonial center run by priests and rulers, they were a cult. They were responsible for uniting a large part of the region for the first time. The cultural influence helped the Central Andes region take a large step toward true civilization. Chavin was just a ceremonial center and didn’t seem to have a military enforcement. Most people were farmers, herders, and hunters who adapted to the mountainous terrain. Complex Social Structures * Division of labor * Division of power * Gender roles * Class structure | There really hasn’t been a known class structure because they were such a complex society but evidence shows elaborate housing for the upper classes and simpler accommodations for the middle class and the poor. |
People who lived nearer the center ate their food off ceramic serving dishes and owned many goods from foreign places, the houses on the edges of the town had none of these goods and conveniences. People who lived on the outskirts of town were clearly not as wealthy. Form of Writing * Statement of values * Business records * Legal records * Continuity or traditions | The Epi-Olmec script is logophonetic, the Olmec people had phonetic values. | The Chavin people did not invent a writing system but they were skilled architects, stonemasons, potters and goldsmiths. | Artistic Achievements * Visual arts * Literature * Architecture * Music | They made fine pottery and carved jade jewelry. The Olmec used wood, basalt and jade to make the statues. | They adapted their own artwork, called Chavin style.
They were master artists in metalwork, especially gold, and in textiles and ceramics. They distributed their religious ideas through a complicated system of artistic imagery. Using iconography they expressed a variety of religious concepts that would be understood in far off places. | Developed Technology * Technical progress * Technology and work * Technology and settlement patterns | | Chavin technology in tiles, ceramics, dyeing techniques, metalwork, stonework, and other fields found its way into distant settlements. |