Ancient River Valley Civilizations The development of farming caused ancient people to give up their normal lifestyles and establish permanent settlements, which grew into civilizations. Most early civilizations developed on River Valleys. Governments, social structures, writing systems, and belief systems developed as population grew. Ideas moved from one culture to another with the help of migration, trade and warfare. Ancient River Valley civilizations developed around river valleys, but they are all different. Two of them are in China and Egypt. Although Egypt and China both had River Valley civilizations and were similar, they had many more differences. The river valley in Egypt is around the Nile River. The Nile is a very famous river for being the only river that flows north. It was very useful to the Egyptians because it floods periodically in a cycle that was predictable. It was also very gentle, but not too gentle or else it couldn't fertilize the land. It was considered the gift of the Nile. The rich soil deposits, and growth of fresh plants each year. They had a cycle every year; flood, plant, harvest- flood, plant, harvest. It seemed to work out well for them. The Nile wasn't their only geographical advantage. The hot dessert surrounding the river made it hard for anyone to invade or move into Egypt. This may have been a great advantage for the Egyptians, but it wasn't the only one. Egyptians had many advantages and advancements in religion and technology, but only a few things stood out, for example, the Pyramids. The Egyptians needed tombs to bury or place the dead. The pharaohs forced the slaves, or lowest people in the social classes to build these tombs. Using their advance knowledge of geometry, a pyramid seemed right. When they entombed the dead, they didn't just throw them in there- they mummified them. The most important people such as Pharaohs were mummified. The Egyptians basically worshiped cats, and they were mummified as well. The mummification process is very complicated, it involves taking out all the body fluids and organs, wrapping the body carefully- and with preservatives, and putting all the person's possessions with him or her. It was a long process, but it was necessary for their belief in the afterlife. They not only believed in afterlife, but they were monotheistic and believed that Pharaohs were gods in human form. Another interesting characteristic of the Egyptians was their written language, Hieroglyphics. It was a system of symbols and pictures. The only way that we were able to decipher it was with the help of the Rosetta stone.
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