Mesopotamian vs. Egyptian Social Structures

Mesopotamian and Egyptian Social Structures
Concerning social structure, the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt had similar general structures, but very different specific structures. The social structures of both Mesopotamia and Egypt consisted of the general, basic features, such as social division and gender dominance, that were either emergent properties of the formation of civilization or common features of civilizations at that time. However, when these features are broken down into more detailed social properties of specific social hierarchy and the degree of male dominance, it becomes apparent that Mesopotamia had both a more distinct hierarchy and a higher degree of male dominance than Egypt.
Both Mesopotamia and Egypt had similar general social structures concerning class divisions, general classifying methods, and gender dominance. In both civilizations, class divisions in general were very apparent and significant. Social classes were defined in both Mesopotamia and Egypt by wealth and position. This social division is an inevitable characteristic of civilizations caused by their development during their emergence. Another similarity of the general social structures of Mesopotamia and Egypt is that both civilizations were patriarchies. This characteristic of a male-dominated society is the result of the agriculture revolution, which degraded women because of the decreasing dependency on them and their lack of labor skills needed. Before the agriculture revolution, women’s foraging provided most of the food for the community. However, after the agriculture revolution, communities depended almost entirely on labors requiring heavy physical strength. Since men were physically stronger, these labors were usually done by them, leaving women mainly as powerless housewives. These similarities in Mesopotamian and Egyptian social structure characteristics signify their both being civilizations and their similar time periods.