The ancient Egyptian and ancient Greek civilizations are two of the oldest known civilizations in our history. The Egyptian civilization, based in the eastern part of North Africa, is believed to have started around 3150 BC and continued till the end of the Pharaoh rule in 31 BC. The ancient Greek civilization is believed to have been in effect from 1100 BC till about 146 BC. Many similarities and differences existed between these two civilizations, as even though they co-existed during a certain timeframe (1150 BC to 146 BC), they were located in different geographical areas. Because of these differences in geography, both these civilizations were subjected to different kinds of exposure, which included contact with other civilization and cultural inheritance. In the political sphere, we find that the Egyptian civilization had stronger emphasis on central authority, while the Greeks had a more decentralized structure, where powers were distributed over the cities and the states as well. As far as art is concerned, we find that the Egyptians were more involved in creating great monumental and gaudy structures, while the Greeks were more involved in creating smaller, more literary pieces of art.
One of the biggest reasons why these two civilizations had these differences is due to their geography. The Egyptians had easy access to large stones that they could bring in to their country and use them to erect such monumental structures. Many scholars believe that it was their power structure and the lust of large buildings that caused the Egyptians to develop a class system where they had to gather mass laborers to work for them. This can also be attributed to the Egyptians have a very strong bureaucracy and a strictly centralized government system. These differences can also be attributed to the difference in religious beliefs of the two civilizations, as the Egyptians had a very strong believe in the after-life and they built all their large pyramids and structures in order to help their dead find a better life after death. The Greeks lacked such beliefs and this is why their social structure was very different from the Egyptians.
Both the civilizations are known to have been extensive traders, however, there were certain differences in the way that they traded due to their geographical location. The Egyptians had the Nile to their advantage and their production was mostly agricultural. The Greeks had a much harsher climate and their focus was instead on the development of commercial law and merchant class. This is why the Greeks had to develop much more complex trade routes than the Egyptians did. Many scholars as being more stable than the Greeks also describe the overall political structure of Egypt. Most scholars agree that this was because of the comprehensive religious belief system that the Egyptian had in place. The Greeks lacked such a strong belief system and their political structure was marked by intermittent and heavy disruptions.
However, the two civilizations were very similar as far as the social stratification was concerned. Both civilizations had a upper class that were landowners and each of these upperclassmen had their peasants and slaves. Religious priests were also part of the upper class, as they had a great say in the political happenings of both the civilizations. Even though both the civilizations encouraged scientific studies in astronomy and mathematics, and had greatly developed political and economic systems, they both showed more conservatism. Change was not encouraged and was only brought on about because of outside forces, such as natural disasters or invasions. Both civilizations, were therefore, able to last a long time while keeping true to their roots and their values. Perhaps the biggest impact that the Egyptian and Greek civilizations had on our Western society was on the iconoclastic ideals and symbols. Many of our current religious as well as social symbols (such as the sun, the moon, etc) have been adopted from the ideas behind Egyptian religion and mythology.One of the main differences between these two civilization was in the realm of politics (Aird, 12).