The Sumerians were one of the earliest urban societies to emerge in the world, in Southern Mesopotamia more than 5000 years ago. They developed a writing system whose wedge-shaped strokes would influence the style of scripts in the same geographical area for the next 3000 years. Eventually, all of these diverse writing systems, which encompass both logophonetic, consonantal alphabetic, and syllabic systems, became known as cuneiform. Continue reading The Sumerians
The people of Sumer could own slaves, although the majority of residents were free. Slaves had a number of rights, including the right to borrow money, transact business, and even buy their own freedom. The children of Sumer had few rights — the authority of their parents was supreme. Continue reading Sumerian People
The ancient Sumerians, the ‘black-headed ones,’ lived in the southern part of what is now Iraq. The heartland of Sumer lay between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, in what the Greeks later called Mesopotamia. This territory, once skilfully irrigated, proved very fertile, and major cities had long been in existence before the period when archaeologists can identify the Sumerian people themselves. Continue reading Sumerians
Primary Author: Robert A. Guisepi
Portions of this work Contributed By:
F. Roy Willis of the University of California
1980 and 2003
* The History of Ancient Sumeria including its cities, kings and religions
Now, I swear by the sun god Utu on this very day — and my younger brothers shall be witness of it in foreign lands where the sons of Sumer are not known, where people do not have the use of paved roads, where they have no access to the written word — that I, the firstborn son, am a fashioner of words, a composer of songs, a composer of words, and that they will recite my songs as heavenly writings, and that they will bow down before my words……
King Shulgi (c. 2100 BC) on the future of Sumerian literature.
Mesopotamia: The First Civilization
Authorities do not all agree about the definition of civilization. Most accept the view that “a civilization is a culture which has attained a degree of complexity usually characterized by urban life.” In other words, a civilization is a culture capable of sustaining a substantial number of specialists to cope with the economic, social, political, and religious needs of a populous society. Other characteristics usually present in a civilization include a system of writing to keep records, monumental architecture in place of simple buildings, and an art that is no longer merely decorative, like that on Neolithic pottery, but representative of people and their activities. All these characteristics of civilization first appeared in Mesopotamia.
The Geography Of Mesopotamia Continue reading Sumeria, Ancient Sumeria (Sumer), A history of Ancient Sumer Including its Contributions