The Egyptian Middle Kingdom and Mesopotamian period of the Babylonian Empire occurred at roughly the same time and revealed that the two geographically close lands had differences in their national structure, governance, and values. Various internal events, wars, and rulers’ personalities influenced these civilizations’ development and established new generations’ values (El Nabolsy, 2020). This paper aims to analyze the similarities and differences between political and social structures, military approaches, and religions of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom and Babylonian Empire.
Political structure in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia was tied to monarchy, and the same was true for Middle Kingdom and Babylonian Empire periods. Egypt’s main governor was a pharaoh, and during the analyzed period, the Eleventh and the Twelfth Dynasties enchanted the centralized power and authority of a king that weakened since the previous times of the Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate periods (El Nabolsy, 2020). Similarly, Mesopotamia experienced instability, lacking a strong leader when the Babylonian period began and later made it the country’s capital place, making its ruler Hammurabi an absolute monarch (Cousin, 2019). The difference in the civilizations’ political structure was that Babylonian city-states had their rulers, while Egypt belonged to one pharaoh.
The way ancient societies operated determined how well-developed a civilization was, their values, and citizenship perception. Babylonian Empire of Mesopotamia and the Egyptian Middle Kingdom had similar social structures, with the ruler in the highest position and slaves, the most significant part of the population, in the lowest (Cousin, 2019). However, while the soldiers reprinted Egypt’s upper middle class, Mesopotamia put the priests in that position (Roubekas, 2017). In both civilizations, slaves had rights, and the class position could be changed due to the punishment, job, service, or marriage of a citizen. Cultural and religious traditions were vital for ancient people, therefore the rulers of Egypt and Mesopotamia addressed those values in establishing laws for their societies.
The military system’s stability and strict regulation allowed ancient civilizations to support their safety and increase authority among the neighboring countries. Both the Babylonian Empire of Mesopotamia and the Egyptian Middle Kingdom invested significant steak of their resources into their armies. In Egypt during the Middle Kingdom period, the soldiers were continuously involved in protecting the borders and eliminating conflicts in regions like Nubia (El Nabolsy, 2020). In contrast, the Babylonian Empire of Mesopotamia dedicated the military forces to internal processes. In times of king Hammurabi, who strictly ruled, the Babylonian army gained control of most of the Mesopotamian regions, becoming the capital city-state of the country (Cousin, 2019). The warriors of ancient armies did not have any complicated weapons, however, the development of bronze mining and production provided them with better spears and shields.
The Egyptian Middle Kingdom and the Babylonian Empire’s religions were polytheistic, and each civilization had its variety of Gods. In Mesopotamia, the deities were anthropomorphic and belonged to places where city-states had their gods like Babylon had the Marduk (Roubekas, 2017). In contrast, Egyptian gods had forms of humans and animals and were the deities of natural forces or events like death and Osiris was responsible for it. Another significant difference in these civilizations’ religion is while both Babylonians and Egyptians believed in the afterlife, the latter dedicated a lot more time and investments during their lifespan. The Middle Kingdom period’s society prepared to meet the gods by collecting items they will bring and evaluating their decisions from the gods’ reaction perspective (Roubekas, 2017). Priests were important for both societies, and their forces and knowledge were considered extra-ordinary, making them able to affect kings’ decisions and cure people.
The analysis of ancient civilizations helps understand the roots of modern societies, cultures, and internal and foreign politics. The Egyptian Middle Kingdom and Mesopotamian period of the Babylonian Empire were the close lands, however, their religious beliefs and military priorities differed. Their political and social structures were similarly based on monarchy and class division of the citizens. The discussed periods were the time of development for both countries with the enforced centralization and better governance.
Cousin, L. (2019). Babylon is a city of gods and kings. Histoire Urbaine, 3(56), 11-33. Web.
El Nabolsy, Z. (2020). Using the concepts of hermeneutical injustice and ideology to explain the stability of ancient Egypt during the Middle Kingdom. Journal of Historical Sociology, 33(3), 345-370. Web.
Roubekas, N. P. (2017). An ancient theory of religion. Euhemerism from Antiquity to the present. Routledge.