The early civilizations of India and China and those of Sumer and Egypt were amongst the firsts in the world and have many similarities and differences with one another. Centralized development that both China and Egypt shared had many effects; and, it may have factored into the longevity of these states. Sumer and India, unlike their counterparts were more wide spread and decentralized, which could have factored into their longevity as well. The overall geographic position and structural organization of the civilization also plays a large role as to whether or not they fail or succeed.
It could also be affected by the fact that they were all civilizations that were primarily agricultural. China however having derived from nomadic hunters continued to fish aside from harvesting crops. Summer and Egypt made many contributions to the civilizations that followed in their wake. Where as the Harappan civilization, was wiped out and left little to no contributions to civilizations that followed. The idea that the centralization of the civilizations in question plays a role in their overall longevity is not entirely ludicrous.
For example Egypt, which was primarily centralized around the Nile River valley, lasted for nearly three thousand years. Where as the Harappan civilization, which featured two-great cities Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro both hundreds of miles apart from one another, was faced with its’ decline in a mere 1000 years since its’ start and was subsequently taken over by a nomadic tribe called the Aryans, and thus all the great inventions and potential influences of that civilization lost.
Of course, there are other things that affect the longevity of such a civilization. The geographic area and structural organization in which these civilizations are centered plays a large role in their success. For instance the Harappan civilization was in an area where the occurrences of nomadic conflict was slim, the Harappan civilization never really saw it necessary to develop a military, and thus when a conflict arose they were not prepared and were easily defeated.
Where as, the Chinese civilization was in an area that was at constant risk of nomadic invasion and so they developed a suitable army and whenever a situation arose they were more then prepared to combat it. China compared to Sumer was more extensively governed, because of it centralization. Sumer on the other hand was separated in small city-states each with their own individual king. Sumer is more comparable to India, and China to Egypt. Sumer and India both possessed individually run city-states with loose control over the entire union as a whole.
However, India’s two major cities though very far apart are remarkably similar in construction and positioning which demonstrates some control over city planning on India’s part. China and Egypt were both very centralized around a common point China around the yellow river and Egypt the Nile river, through this they were both able to avoid the use of many city-states, and thus it became less difficult and more manageable to control the entire city. The final set of similarities between these early civilizations is that they all exhibit a polytheistic religion of one sort or another.
However Egypt and China seem to share a more rationale thought behind the monumental temples and rituals they perform. Where as Sumer and India also have monuments and rituals, however their religious beliefs weren’t as deeply rooted as those of the Egyptian and Chinese civilizations. The Egyptians built their temples and pyramids as a sanctuary for afterlife and the rituals they perform are for their annual flooding of the Nile. The Chinese performed human sacrifices and relied on shaman to read the future by burning the bones of dead animals.
India and Sumer on the other hand do not have anything more rooted in their religion then praying for a good harvest and to avoid flooding they haven’t developed or thought into rituals for afterlife or deeper meanings in their religion. These are some of the many similarities and differences between the earliest civilizations, though they all had a lot in common it really is the differences they had that set them aside from one another and allow each of them to contribute to the history of the world differently.