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Why did Egyptian and Sumerian civilization develop differently?

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Well, you first have to ask yourself 'why wouldn't they develop differently?' Yes, they were both Ancient Near Eastern civilizations that developed centralized states, writing systems, and urbanism in the third millennium BC, and there were contacts between them throughout their formative periods and afterward; however, the landscapes, river systems, seasons, and total environment (and thus subsistence patterns) of southern Iraq and Egypt were strongly dissimilar. As well, Southern Mesopotamia, sometimes called "the heartland of cities," was in a geographical and historical position to absorb the customs, ideas, and populations of many surrounding cultures in Syria, Iran, Turkey, and northern Iraq. Ancient Egypt had an entirely different set of prehistoric circumstances (partially to do with the decreasing viability of sustaining large populations in the deserts outside of the fertile Nilotic corridor), including a much different way of assimilating its surrounding cultures.
But mostly, no two "civilizations" develop in the exact same way. One could say that the parallels that developed between Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt are more interesting to investigate than the differences.
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