Both Egyptians and Mesopotamians are very religious and have sets of rules and laws that they strictly follow. They are both similar in a way that they appreciate the rules and strive to build a righteous community.
However, they have more differences than similarities. Firstly, Egyptians focus on living a virtuous life in order to continue to the afterlife and they all have a choice whether they want to do the right thing or not, but they know the consequences of their sinful actions. Mesopotamians, on the other hand, fight for justice and focus on getting revenge for any wrongdoings. They don’t think about consequences in the future (the afterlife), but they look for equality in every situation by using the “eye for an eye” principle. Another difference is that people in Egypt are all equal according to the law and they can determine their fate by making choices, while people from Mesopotamia are predestined to get either bigger or smaller punishments.
Most of the laws in the Code of Hammurabi sound crazy when compared to our society, but with the context of the thinking behind the Mesopotamians, most of the rules make sense. However, there are some that sound stranger than others, such as: “If, when a seignior was taken captive and there was not sufficient to live on in his house, his wife has then entered the house of another before his (return) and has borne children, (and) later her husband has returned and has reached his city, that woman shall return to her first husband, while the children shall go with their father” (Hammurabi, 23). The fact that women those days didn’t have rights explains why she would have to come back to her first husband without choosing. However, knowing that it was the wife’s responsibility to take care of the children, it’s strange that the law would state that the children have to stay with their father.
The whole concept of the Book of the Dead is already weird – it’s a selection of prayers for dead people, to make sure that their gods let them through to afterlife. There were some prayers that stood out the most: “O Bringer-of-His-Peace, who comes forth from Sais, I have not been (over)-energetic.” or “O Flowing-One, who comes forth from Nun, my voice has not been loud.” (The Book of the Dead, 39) To add to that, there were some impressive names of their gods that caught my eye: Eater-of-Entrails, Dweller-in-the-Pit, Swallower-of-Shadows and Lord-of-Faces.