The Mayans preformed a ritual was to make themselves bleed to please the gods. On the other hand, the Shang thought themselves as superiors to all others. Both these civilizations had similarities, both relied on agriculture and their ruling method. One of the many differences, is the Mayans had a religion while the Shang did not. The Maya and Shang relied on similar agricultural methods and political structures with small kingdoms and one ruler; however, they differed culturally since the Shang had no religion and the Mayans did.
Even though they were very similar, they did have their differences. Both of these civilizations were based on a monarchy/bureaucracy. Each had a supreme leader that stated he got his power to rule from the gods. But there were also bureaucrats to run the extensive area these civilizations once ruled that the king could not control by himself. Trade was an essential part of these societies.
Priests in Mesopotamia used the top levels of the ziggurat to worship and give offerings to the gods. It was important for Mesopotamian cities to appease their gods, because they believed that if the gods were angry, they would wreak havoc upon their city. Ziggurats were also used for grain storehouses for food surpluses and as a last line of defense in case the city was ever overrun. In Egypt however, pyramids were placed outside of the city, so when the Nile flooded, it would not be near the river. Pyramids in Egypt were also used as a burial site for pharaohs, because they strongly believed in life after death.
Both religions are often thought to be henotheistic, meaning they recognize a single deity, and view other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations or aspects of that supreme God. In the Ancient Egyptian religion, this is untrue due to the fact that the pharaoh, who is believed to have been descended from the gods, can choose when to shift the focus of the supreme deity. Because the concerns of the population in both areas were different, gods held contradictory roles due to landscape, social, and climatic variation. Worship in both religions also has similarities, with a temple dedicated to a particular deity, and shrines within that temple dedicated to other gods correlated with the main deity. Both religions believed in the afterlife.
Since Egypt was bordered on one side by a huge sea, and on the other side an impassable desert, it made it very challenging to attack or conquer Egypt. Since Mesopotamia was wide open on most sides, it was very effortless to invade. Socially, their rankings were quite similar; Priests/ Pharaohs were ranked the highest, lower-class was second, and then slaves, but Egyptians were notorious to treat the slaves far beyond brutal. Mesopotamians typically used war prisoners or debtors as slaves. The Egyptian society tended to think of themselves as superior to other people, so Egyptians frequently eyed foreigners with unwelcomed glares.
And to prevent treason, the King created a system of imperial spies which were his “eyes and ears”. As the Greeks were never politically stable, the Persians were very particular on how they were ruled. The social customs of these two empires are dramatically different. The Persians, who followed Zoroastrianism, believed in one god, Ahura Mazda.
However, the king was not always called a pharoah. This didn't start until the 18th dynasty in 1554 B.C. Before this, pharaoh just refered to the king's palace (“History of The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt”). The people believed their king was not just merely a man, but that he was a god in human form (Wilson, 14). For this reason, they allowed him to have absolutecontrol over the land, government, economy, people, laws, etc.
However they also share a number of differences because they developed in different regions with different natural influences. Egypt and Mesopotamia were both governed by god-kings. The idea of a god-king was common in early complex societies. A king established his rule by a divine right bestowed upon him by the gods of his people. Mesopotamia was broken into thirty-five separate city-states and “The ruler of each city-state claimed to rule with the support of the local guardian deity…” (Hansen and Curtis 36).
The Indus Valley and Egypt both had their own writing systems. The Egyptian script is called hieroglyphs and with the aid of the Rosetta Stone, have come to be deciphered, while the scripts of the Indus Valley has not yet been translated. Since hieroglyphs can be read, and the physical remains have been destroyed by the Nile, most interpretable remains that tell us about Egypt are written. On the other hand, most informative remains from the Indus Valley are physical. To further differentiate the two scripts, there is controversy over whether the script of the Indus Valley is a complete language or not, but it is known that hieroglyphs form a complete language.
The two share a polytheistic belief system. Both the Sumerians and Egyptians were polytheistic, they believed in many gods rather than one. This is because during their time they had no other way of explaining unnatural events so they assumed that the gods controlled everything, a plausible explanation during the time. The Sumerian gods were super humans that they worshipped in Ziggurats. They had gods like An, the god of heaven, and Utu, the god of the sun.