Mesopotamia and China

Although Mesopotamia and China had similarities in politics, economics, social organization, and religion between 8000 BCE – 600 CE, they also had differences. Both Mesopotamia and China followed the same pattern to state and empire building (Supanick, Notes 2012). They both also had agricultural and trade societies (Supanick, Notes 2012). Both also had social inequities and were both polytheistic (Supanick, Notes 2012). They also had important differences, Mesopotamia’s empires were replaced by outside groups as in China’s empires being replaced by other chinese (Supanick, Notes 2012).

Also, Mesopotamia had a lot of long distance trade, while China trade more internally, with the exception of the Han (Supanick, Notes 2012). They also had differences in their social stratification, Mesopotamia had a major priest class. China had one but is was not important as the one in Mesopotamia (Supanick, Notes 2012). Religiously, China had a diversity in religion, as in Mesopotamia’s one religion (Supanick, Notes 2012). China and Mesopotamia had many political similarities. Both civilizations were threatened by invaders.

Mesopotamia was threatened by many invaders that sometimes conquered and established empires in the area, like the Assyrians and Babylonians. The biggest invaders of China were the Xiongu, a nomadic group from the north. Both were invaded for many reasons. One reason was the invaders were trying to expand and/or conquer. Also, the geography of the areas predisposed invasion. Another political similarity was the type of government, which was monarchy. Mesopotamia had many different leaders, the first was Sargon, followed by Hammurabi. China also many leaders, the emperor at the height of the Han was Wudi.

Monarchs arose in Mesopotamia and China because peoples were seeking protection and power. A final political similarity was the order of state and empire building. Both China and Mesopotamia followed this order: Rise of Agriculture to Villages to City-States to Kingdoms to Empires. Both civilizations followed this pattern because of population growth, that allowed them to expand and grow. Mesopotamia and China also had political differences. Both civilizations had many different empires, however Mesopotamia had more than China. Mesopotamia empires were being replaced frequently, as in China empires lasted longer.

Mesopotamia had many empires coming in and replacing each other. Sargon and the Akkadians were the first, then Hammurabi and the Babylonians, then the Assyrians, and then Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. While China only had the Qin, that was later replaced by the Han. This difference occurs because Mesopotamia had many invaders and the geography made them open for invasion, as in China they didn’t have to worry about many invaders and had protection by having parts of the great wall to protect them. Another political difference is the groups of people who conquered the empires.

In Mesopotamia, their empire were conquered by external invaders, as in China their empires were conquered by other chinese civilizations. In Mesopotamia, the Babylonians were conquered by the Assyrians, an external invader. In China, the Qin empire eventually replaced with the Han, a chinese civilization. Like other differences this happens because of invaders and geography. Mesopotamia has many invaders and is open to invasion while China is composed of many neighboring chinese civilizations protected by some parts of great wall and only have some invaders.

Not only does Mesopotamia and China have political similarities they also have economic similarities. One economic similarity is their mode of production which is Agriculture and Trade. Mesopotamia did a lot of trade and farming, they farmed wheat and barely. China grew rice and millet and trade mostly internally until the Han and the Silk Road. Both civilizations were agricultural and trade societies because their geography allowed them to farm and trade easily. Another economic similarity is agricultural technologies.

Both civilizations created many ways to make farming easier. They both made irrigation systems and agricultural tools like the wheel. They both created new technologies to make farming easier and more productive. Mesopotamia and China also had economic differences. Mesopotamia and China did not always traded long distances. Mesopotamia traded long distances, unlike the chinese who only traded internally. Mesopotamia and China traded to get things they couldn’t, but China only traded internally because they were ethnocentric.

They thought they were superior to others and would be thought as soiled if they were dealing with foreigners. However, when the Han took over China they established the Silk Road that they traded long distantly on. Another economic difference is what they grew. China grew rice and millet, while Mesopotamia grew wheat and barely. This difference occurs because of their geography and climate. Mesopotamia’s geography and climate was favorable to wheat and barely, while China’s was favorable to rice and millet. Mesopotamia and China also had social similarities.

Both civilizations had major inequities in society. China’s stratification was: Emperor, Nobles, Peasants, and Merchants. Mesopotamia’s stratification was: Emperor, Priest, Nobles, Artisan, Peasants/Slaves. The upper class in both societies made up about 5% of the population while the peasants and slaves made up 95% of it. However the upper class got 95% of the wealth, while the peasants and slaves got 5% of it. This occurred because people with power were not interested in sharing and didn’t care for those below them. Another similarity is the Emperor was the all powerful leader.