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World views of ancient Egypt and Japan

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philomath View Drop Down
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  Quote philomath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: World views of ancient Egypt and Japan
    Posted: 09-Aug-2005 at 23:04
How did geography, religion and language impact upon the way ancient Egypt and Japan viewed the world?
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Tobodai View Drop Down
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  Quote Tobodai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Aug-2005 at 23:26
Japan was always a perifery or reciever of elite culture from elsewhere.  This helped facilitate modernization.  Egypt being stuck in one river vally isolated and invaded by neighbors made them too conservative and they were always behind in metalworking to the middle east. 
"the people are nothing but a great beast...
I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value."
-Alexander Hamilton
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Berosus View Drop Down
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  Quote Berosus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Aug-2005 at 07:52
The Egyptians were behind in metalworking because the lower Nile valley doesn't have copper or iron.  They went to the Sinai to mine copper, and they never really found a permanent source of iron; it always had to be imported.  The iron dagger found on the mummy of Tutankhamen was probably a gift from the Hittites.

To what Tobodai said above, I would add that Egypt had a geography that encouraged unity.  With the Nile flowing northward, and the prevailing wind blowing the other way, it is easy to travel both upstream and downstream.  The result was that the Egyptians didn't bunch up near the mouth of the Nile, the way the Sumerians did in southern Iraq, but spread up the valley evenly.  And because the desert concentrated everyone where the water was, it was that much easier to build cities and bring everyone together under one government.  I believe that's why we see Egypt united centuries before we see a united Mesopotamia.  Compare that with Greece, which had a geography (lots of mountains, peninsulas and islands) that discouraged unity.

Regarding Japan, I notice that those islands are poor in resources but rich in beautiful scenery.  How much do you think that affected the character of the Japanese?
Nothing truly great is achieved through moderation.--Prof. M.A.R. Barker
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