ComparativeAnalysis: The Similarities of the Civilizations

The early river valley civilizations were the first civilizations to ever exist, and had quite a few experiences in common. Egypt, Mesopotamia, Indus, and China were the four early river valley civilizations, they all existed around 2000 BCE. The four early river valley civilizations were all civilizations developed near rivers, which helped them develop faster and more efficiently than other civilizations. Egypt, Mesopotamia, Indus, and China had the five characteristics of a civilization. Religion answering unexplainable questions regarding weather, the enforcement of social classes as a method of defining people's status and power, and the implementation of laws by the government to preserve order were common experiences in the river valley civilizations.


The appearance of religion and the way it affected the four river valley civilizations was quite similar.  A common experience in river valley civilization is the practice of a religion, commonly polytheistic, in which experiences that were, at the time, unexplainable, were explained through the emotions and feelings of their Gods. One can find records of religion in all civilizations. For example, in Mesopotamia  The Epic of Gilgamesh, was a religious flood story similar to the one in Judaism. Mesopotamian gods told Gilgamesh to build a boat and take, his family, his gold, and all the animals of the world.

The story speaks of a global flood caused by the gods that lasted six days and six nights (B). This myth is an example of a record for a religious or mythical event, the Epic of Gilgamesh was created to show that not all of the gods were malicious or cruel, and that they would watch over the pure hearted. This prompted everyone to follow the guidelines of the civilization, and obey the authority figures without question. Furthermore, the weather in the early river valley civilizations was unexplainable, the people of that time period did not have the scientific evidence or know-how to adequately demonstrate what the modern world knows now. So they declared that the weather were signs or messages from deities. For instance, “the former kings of Xia cultivated earnestly their virtue, and there were no calamities from Heaven.

The spirits of the hills and rivers alike were all in tranquility; and the birds and beasts, the fishes and tortoises, all enjoyed existence according to their nature. But their descendants did not follow their example, and great Heaven sent down calamities.” (H). This excerpt illustrates the extensive role religion played in the explanation of weather. The interpretation that disasters were directives from the gods, to do (or not to do) something was a popular judgement in all of the four river valley civilizations as there was no other way to explain these happenings.

Finally, each of the four river valley civilizations had their own unique systems and rituals regarding religion. For example, the ancient Egyptians put their deceased Pharaohs, who were considered to be gods, in large pyramids that functioned as tombs, the queen would be put in a considerably smaller room inside the pyramid to highlight their difference in status (D). Though not all of the river valley civilizations put their rulers in large intricate pyramids, each had their own particular customs and formalities. Overall, this was a standard practice in the four river valley civilizations. Religion and all of its many aspects were common experiences for the people living in the four river valley civilizations.

Social Classes

The enabling of social classes allowed a distinction between upper and lower class people to be made, this was a common experience in the early river valley civilizations.

A.  Upper class (A).

B.  Middle Class (F).

C.  Lower Class (G).


A common experience in the early river valley civilizations is government, in which laws are created and put into effect.     

Order & stability (A). 

Unify Civilization & Territory (E).

Protection & Military power (G).

Although they were separated by great geographic distances the four river valley civilizations had many common experiences. Religion and the written records, and rituals that it entailed were a common experience in the river valley civilizations. Social Classes were a common element in the people of the four river valley civilizations lives, the many tiers and rules were well thought out and very meticulously practiced. Government was a staple in the four river valley civilizations, it provided stability, unity, and protection. Religion, social classes (though perhaps less rigid), and government are still a large part of society today. Although most people no longer believe that their God or Gods dictate the weather, they will still go to a church or a temple. Similar to the way government is still a part of society but has evolved to fit in more effectively, for example instead of the, eye for an eye method, government now uses a prison system, which is less barbaric and more socially acceptable.



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