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Egyptians and Olmec Civilizations

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: History
Wordcount: 1601 words Published: 30th May 2017

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Egypt civilization will be the old world that I would be talking about. The Egyptian civilization had many ages which are early Bronze Age, middle bronze age, and late Bronze Age. The Egyptian civilization dates from the 4th millennium BC. It has a lot of arts and monuments that makes Egypt a unique place to visit. Many achievements were made by the Egyptians like the pyramids, temples, and obelisks. In the predynastic period Egyptian climate was much less dry than it is today. Most regions of Egypt were covered by savanna trees. In the early dynastic period the Egyptians had a long line of pharaohs from Menes. It has been said that the Egyptians had two kingdoms of upper and Lower Egypt. The first dynastic pharaohs solidified their control over Lower Egypt by making a capital at Memphis. Old kingdom and new kingdom will be talked about also.

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The Olmec civilization was started between 1200 and 400 b.c. The Olmec civilization was developed at San Lorenzo and the Olmec power moved to la venta. The Olmec was Mesoamerica`s first complex culture. The Olmec used the sacred 260 day calendar and a form of kingship that were later Mesoamerican cultures. The Olmec dated from 1400 BCE to about 400 BCE. The first major civilization in Mexico is the Olmec and they were known for the artwork. Monuments were also an important characteristic of Olmec centers. The culture of the Olmec was best known for sharing customs, history, beliefs, and other traits.

Egypt Old World Civilization

The Egypt civilization is known for the beautiful pyramids. Most people who think of Egypt think of the impressive Great Pyramids, Sphinx, Temples and ancient sites, but Egypt offers much more. It is romantic cruises down the Nile, the culture of Cairo, a night at the grand opera, a trek up Mt Sinai, the ancient monastery at St. Catherine’s, the popular diving and scuba diving Red Sea resorts, Alexandria and its surrounding beautiful beaches and Mediterranean resorts. Egypt also offers nature and desert treks, great scuba diving, fishing, golf, and birding expeditions. It is part of the Holy Land, and tours to Christian and other religious monuments are popular. Egypt is a land bustling with life, sound, visual beauty and excitement. For thousands of years, it has been the playground of emperors and kings, and now from tradition to modernity, Egypt is a country which has succeeded in creating a present that is as fascinating as its past. Egypt was one of the greatest civilizations that have ever existed with memorable monuments (Allen, 2009).

Ancient Egyptian had a well-defined, deeply conservative ideology which was firmly based on doctrines of conformity, continuity, and precedent. Each pharaoh ruled not according to written law, but on the basis of precedents set by the gods and by earlier rulers. Egyptian ideology fitted the kings of the past and their great monuments into a majestic, linear scene. The early Egypt civilization developed a formalized style of painting and sculpture and was very spiritual and believed in life after death (Sayyid-Marsot, 2007). Early Egyptians participated in war dancing, gymnastic games, swimming and even wrestling. Children had toys which were dolls, tops, hoops, jumping jacks, skin or leather balls, marbles, and dice, the balls were mainly for ball games which were used by tossing and juggling.


The Egyptians as a race were profoundly religious. They recognized divinity in everything around them; the whole universe breathed of God. Bird’s reptiles, animals and trees were permeated with the divine essence; they saw God as a plurality in unity. The spirit of God was infused into everything, so the powers of Nature, the elements, were also divine, and was personified as the Elementals of earth, sky, air and water. Attributes and functions were also personified, sometimes in human, sometimes in animal form, which became, for the time being, the manifestation of a special attribute of deity, “the abode of the God,” the symbol of a power divine. Thus a multiplicity of gods is presented, which is at first confusing (britannica, unknown).To understand the subject, comparison must be made with the beliefs and religions of other lands, not only of the past but of the present Man of the inferior gods are seen to be parallel to angels and archangels, to spirits that assist mankind in his progress through this world and through the next, and are by no means to be confused with the great gods. Many of the deities are only aspects, forms, of God. The official religion of Egypt is Islam and most of the Egyptians adhere to its Sunni branch (britannica, unknown). Gods were worshiped in temples that were brought by priests that act on the king`s behalf. Also, Priests had a system of oracles to communicate the will of god to the people.

The Egyptians did have a somewhat currency. There was a system that was used as a currency which was weights of gold, silver and copper. However, around 500BC there were coins as a currency (Sayyid-Marsot, 2007). Hedj which means money was close to what is called to be a currency that was used for exchange of money. The writing of the Egyptians was composed of many symbols which same symbols can serve different purposes. The Hieroglyphic writing was a formal script used on stone monuments and in tombs.

The Olmec New World Civilization

The Olmec is considered to be one of the greatest civilizations in Mesoamerica. The Olmec was traced to the area of San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan city. The first city for San Lorenzo was The Olmec’s and it was an important civilization for around 500 years (Encyclopedia).Prior to the Olmec’s, the Indians of Mexico were hunters and gathers. They were nomadic, spending very little time in one location. As soon as the animals they hunted became scarce in one area, they gathered the few belongings they had and moved to a new location with the hope of more plentiful game. When the Olmec’s settled in southeastern Mexico, they established agricultural staples such as corn, squash and beans. They also constructed large cities, religious centers, and trade routes. They developed a distinct culture, characterized by highly developed art and religion (Rosenswig, 2010).

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The Olmec had a great run in history between 1200 B.C. and 400 B.C. Back in those days, they were the record setters in this part of the world. For example, they were the first in the Americas to develop a written language. And they were the first in the Americas to build pyramids. But sadly, many of their accomplishments have disappeared over time. Today, we know almost nothing about the Olmec and their amazing culture. As a matter of fact, we do not even know what they called themselves! The Aztec Indians gave the tribe the name Olmec. It means “rubber people”. The Aztecs called them this because the Olmec supplied them with sap from rubber trees. Apart from being known as “the rubber people,” the Olmec were equally famous for their “colossal heads.” Each colossal head was a sculpture carved out of a single block of stone. The stone was quarried in the Tuxtla Mountains. To date, we do not know for sure how the Olmec transported the stone and who the colossal heads were supposed to represent. Many researchers believe that the Olmec used rafts to carry the stone. And they made the colossal heads to portray their famous rulers. Thus far, scientists have unearthed more than a dozen colossal heads. They all had slanted eyes and large lips. The biggest one is about 3.4 meters tall. It weighs over 20 tons.

The Olmec created several monuments which are colossal heads, Small Feline, Feline-Jaguar, cross legged pose, and many more. One of the similarities of the Egyptians and the Olmec is the monuments. The Olmec Center at San Lorenzo, Honduras, contains several huge carved heads. Some of them are 9 feet high and weigh about 40 tons. The heads may be portraits of Olmec leaders or of players in a sacred ball game. The stone used for the sculptures came from a site more than 250 miles away. The Olmec transported this stone over mountain ranges, rivers, and swamps. The Olmec altar has a carved figure at the base situated at the mouth of a cave. This figure’s elaborate headdress shows that he is a ruler. The ruler holds a rope that winds around the base of the altar and binds a carved figure at the back. Scholars believe that the altar was used as a throne (Encyclopedia).

Differences between Egypt and Olmec

The belief systems of the Egyptians and Olmec civilizations also had similarities and differences. Most of the people of Egypt practiced polytheism. Although this religion had many gods, it recognized one supreme god or life force. Like polytheism, the Olmec religion also had several gods. A rain god shown as half-human and half-jaguar dominated their religion. But unlike the Egyptians, the Olmec probably did not view this rain god as a supreme god. Both the Egyptians and Olmec built great temples for worship. Egyptian builders constructed many types of temples. One type had a square shape with a pillared front porch and a flat roof. The other type also had a square structure, but its roof had a pyramid shape. The Olmec constructed entire buildings that were pyramids and probably used them as temples. So two civilizations, thousands of miles apart with no direct connection, both used the pyramid shape for their houses of worship (Olmec Meso).


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