State Leader & Symbolic Role Method of Unification Ruler’s Means of Control
Egypt Pharoh (herdsman) sometimes functions as god. Organizing labor to manage floods; distribution of food; use of Nile River as highway to unify, control. Pharaoh’s commands, policies function as law, regarded as devine.
Mesopotamia city-states King/Royals, mediate, lead, worship, receive oracles. Organizing labor; distributing food; competition with other city-states. Earliest law codes; rituals performed by oracles guide decision making.
China Emperor/engineer, builder, hunter, takes on shaman’s role in receiving prophecies. Organizing dike building, irrigation; use of Yellow River (Huang Ho) as highway to unify and control. Ritual divination using oracle bones – foretelling future interpreting will of spirits.
Harappa Uncertain if singular ruler of priests dominated ruling class. Harnessing river, irrigation; distributing food; engineering and construction of complex urban systems. Unknown; widespread standardization of measurements and trade point to coordination/leadership
Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Political and State Power in Great River Valley Societies," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019,

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