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    1. Describe each of the following characteristics of the four early civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China, using the attached “Early Civilizations Table” or similar document:
      key geographical features
      2. religious beliefs
      3. political structures
      4. social and/or cultural characteristics

      Note: You may include a short paragraph in each cell or a thorough bulleted list with significant key terms. Please be sure to include appropriate source references for the information in your chart.

      B. Write a brief essay (suggested length of 2–3 paragraphs) in which you compare similarities and differences of two civilizations from part A using one characteristic described in the attached “Early Civilizations Table” or similar document.

      C. Provide acknowledgement of source information, using in-text citations and references, for quoted, paraphrased, or summarized content.
      1. Include the following information when providing source references:
      • author
      • date
      • title
      • location of information (e.g., publisher, journal, or website URL



Subject Essay Writing Pages 8 Style APA


World History

Characteristics of early civilians of different regions

Table 1: Characteristics of early civilizations of Mesopotamia


Early Mesopotamian Civilizations





Key geographical features

Formed in the southern Mesopotamia

Formed along the banks of rivers Euphrates and Tigris (Modern-day Kuwait and Iraq, respectfully).

Traded between the Persian Gulf and Northern India

Formed around the ancient city of Ashur ion the northern Mesopotamia, between Egypt, Persia (Today’s Iran) and Cyprus.

Formed around the Akkad city state, hence the name.

Used Semitic languages that are related to Arabic and Hebrew

Formed around the Babylon city in central Mesopotamia

Religious beliefs

Sumerians were polytheists who worshiped multiple gods in anthropomorphic forms in temples. 

Were polytheists that worshiped different gods

Increased use of Semitic language that originated from biblical Shem, the son of Noah and a Biblical character associates the Akkadian with Christianity. 

Believed in gods rather that Christianity and other religions that emphasize forgiveness.

Political structures

Ruled under the Ur code developed by King Ur-Nammu between 2100 and 2050 BCE.  

Ruled by descendants of Sargon and the Assyrian Empire

Sargon of Akkad established the Akkad empire that ruled between 2334 BCE and 2154 BCE (Maisels, 2003).

Ruled by Hammurabi between 1792 and 1750 BCE under centralized bureaucracy

Socio-cultural characteristics

Developed wedge-shaped scripts (cuneiform) engraved on clay tablets.

Renowned for inventing the wheel


Developed cuneiform pressed into clay tablets

Traded in semi-precious stones, textiles and pearls

Laws were written on clay tablets and stone slaps.

Ascribed to the “an eye for an eye” social rule



Table 2: Characteristics of early civilizations of Egypt


Early Egyptian Civilizations

Predynastic Period

Archaic era (3100-2686 BC)

Age of Pyramid Builders

12th Dynasty

Key geographical features

Formed in the river Nile Delta in the northern Africa near Mediterranean Region from c. 5000 to 3100 B.C.

Formed close to the apex of River Nile Delta

Established in Memphis, Saqqara, Cairo and Giza where pyramids were built as funerary monuments for kings

Formed in the south of Memphis

Religious beliefs

Worshiped gods and goddesses

Had a reverence for the dead and believed in the possibility of life after death. 

Believed in multiple gods such as the Horus believed to be all powerful 

Worshiped multiple gods

Worshiped at Thebes as the major religious center

Political structures

Comprised of Northern and southern kingdoms. The southern kingdom was ruled by King Scorpion until 3200 B.C. when the kingdoms united under king Menes who started the dynasty leadership (History.com, 2020).

Kings including king Menes established strong empires and were treated like gods

Ruled under pharaoh dynasty who held stable governments

Ruled by kings Amenemhet I to

Amenemhet IV under dynasty leadership

Socio-cultural characteristics

Had a higher reverence for the dead

Exchanges hunted animals for agricultural produce

Lived in villages where they practiced farming.

Constructed pyramids from stone materials as funerary structures for prominent people.

Continued the tradition of pyramid building

Traded in gold and ivory


Table 3: Characteristics of early civilizations of India

Religious beliefs

Prayed to gods and goddesses in temples with the assistance of priests

Perfumed rituals and recited religious chants in temples

Practiced meditation to attain the right mindfulness and borrowed some principles from Hinduism, while rejecting the aspect of multiple gods

Practiced meditation and other mindfulness practices related to Buddhism

Political structures

Rulers turned to religion for divine assistance in their authority

Smalls states were formed and led by rajas in fighting other Aryan groups

Siddhartha Gautama founded the practice of Buddhism and led his followers in convincing Indians to embrace it

Ruled by king Chandragupta Maurya who divided the state into provinces and appointed governors to rule them, then by King Asoka, his grandson

Socio-cultural characteristics

Made carvings of priest-kings and other popular people.

Exchanged agricultural produce with precious stones and minerals imported through the Persian city

Introduced the use of iron plow in India.

Developed the Sanskrit as a writing system in 1000 B.C. 

Performed traditional dances in harvest festivals

Performed traditional dances in harvest festivals


Table 4: Characteristics of early civilizations of China


Early Indian Civilizations

The Shang Dynasty

The Zhou Dynasty



Key geographical features

Formed at Shang and Anyang in North Central China

Replaced the Shang dynasty in Anyang in North-Central China

Developed in North central China towards the fall of Zhou dynasty


Religious beliefs

Believed in gods and supernatural forces and communicated with them through oracle bones

Used the “Mandate of Heaven” to keep the gods pleased, with the help of the King

Worshipped ancestors in the “Temple of Heaven”

Emphasized the ideas of duty and humanity by urging people to subordinate their personal interests to the needs of their families and community in general instead of looking to divine interventions.   


Political structures

Ruled by kings who ascribed to aristocracy

Continued the Shang practice of aristocracy and subdividing of the kingdom into territories aristocracy

Approached leadership from an ethical and philosophical approach, rather than spiritual


Socio-cultural characteristics

Believed in life after death and thus buried kings with their servants

Practice veneration of ancestors

Renowned for excellent craftsmanship and casting of bronze objects such as the “guang” 

Regarded the king as a mediator of heaven and earth

Carved various sculptures such as the Hsiung-nu

Focused on fulfilling needs and distinguishing good from evil or right and wrong in order to improve social coexistence.



Part B: The Sumerian Civilization of Mesopotamia vs. the Aryan Civilization of India.

The Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia and the Aryan civilization of India have several characteristics in common. First, both civilizations were formed along river banks. The Sumerian was formed on the banks of rivers Euphrates and Tigris, whereas the Aryan civilization established along the banks of Indus River (Archer, 2001; Maisels, 2003). These civilizations settled along river banks because they not only wanted easier access to water, but they also believed that the rivers would flood and make their lands more fertile. Second, both civilizations worshiped multiple gods such as god of fertile and the god of protection in designated places and temples.

The key difference between the two civilizations lies in their cultural and socio-economic characteristics. In comparison to the Sumerian civilization that practiced farming as a primary activity and even invented the wheel, the Aryan civilization of India were largely pastoralists who wandered in the Ganges plains and Deccan plateau (Maisels, 2003). However, they later settled along Indus River where they began growing crops and introduced the use of iron plow in India.       


Early Indian Civilizations

The Indus/ Harappan

The Aryan


The Mauryan Dynasty

Key geographical features

Emerged in the Indus River valleys that extend from the Himalaya to the Arabian Sea (Archer, 2001) 

Emerged from the northern India plains near the Hindu Kush mountain and extended into the Ganges plains and Deccan plateau.

Emerged from the foothills of Himalaya (modern-day Nepal)

Formed in the Ganges valley at Pataliputra (now Patna)


Archer, J. M. (2001). Old Worlds: Egypt, Southwest Asia, India, and Russia in Early Modern         English Writing. Stanford University Press.

History.com, H. (2020, February 21). Ancient Egypt. Retrieved from          https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/anci

Maisels, C. K. (2003). Early civilizations of the old world: the formative histories of Egypt, the       Levant, Mesopotamia, India and China. Routledge.






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