Starting around 5000 B.C.E., agricultural advances coming out of the Neolithic era have allowed for the development of cities, which become major crossroads for societies. These early cities and city-states develop and grow overtime, leading to more social organization and specialization of labor. Although both Mesopotamia and Egypt were centered on rivers, developed scripts, trusted religion, and were ruled by patriarchy and strong leaders, they did arrive at those similarities in different ways. These differences, however, did not stop them from eventually both becoming major players in the eastern Mediterranean international order. The development of Mesopotamia, and later the eastern Mediterranean region is examined here, and the Counterpoint of this chapter observes how Egypt took a distinct path to statehood.

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