The ancient Sumerian civilization, located in the southern region of Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), is one of the oldest and most influential civilizations in human history. It flourished between the 4th and 3rd millennium BCE, and is credited with a number of groundbreaking achievements, such as the invention of writing, the development of complex irrigation systems, and the construction of monumental architecture. The Sumerians also had a profound impact on the development of the ancient Near East, and their legacy can still be seen in modern-day society, from the use of the 60-minute hour to the concept of the zodiac.
The Sumerian civilization is widely considered to be one of the oldest and most advanced civilizations in human history. Located in Mesopotamia, in what is now modern-day Iraq, the Sumerians developed a sophisticated society that laid the foundation for many of the advancements we take for granted today. In this article, I would like to explore the key features of the Sumerian civilization, including its advanced system of writing, its impressive architecture, and its many other achievements.
The Sumerian writing system
One of the Sumerian civilization’s most striking features was its writing system. The Sumerians developed one of the first known systems of writing, known as cuneiform, which involved pressing a stylus into clay tablets to create wedge-shaped marks. This system allowed the Sumerians to record their thoughts and ideas in a way that had never been possible before. As a result, they were able to develop a vast body of literature, including religious texts, historical accounts, and legal codes.
In addition to their writing system, the Sumerians were known for their impressive architecture. They built large, complex structures, such as ziggurats, which were stepped pyramids that served as religious temples. These structures were made from baked mud bricks and were often decorated with intricate carvings and reliefs. The Sumerians also developed a system of canals and levees to manage the Tigris and Euphrates rivers’ waters, allowing them to irrigate their crops and support a growing population.
Another key feature of the Sumerian civilization was their advanced knowledge of astronomy and mathematics. The Sumerians were able to track the movements of the stars and planets with remarkable accuracy, and they used this knowledge to create a lunar calendar based on the moon’s phases. They also developed a number system that was based on the number 60, which is still used today to measure time and angles. This number system is known as sexagenary.
In the end, conquered
Approximately around 2,300 BC, the independent city-states of Sumer were conquered by a man called Sargon the Great of Akkad. Despite their many achievements, the Akkadians eventually conquered the Sumerians, who established their own empire in Mesopotamia. However, the legacy of the Sumerian civilization lived on, and their innovations and advancements would go on to influence countless civilizations that came after them.
In conclusion, the Sumerian civilization was a remarkable achievement in human history. From their advanced writing system to their impressive architecture and knowledge of astronomy and mathematics, the Sumerians laid the foundation for many of the advancements we enjoy today. Their legacy is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the human spirit, and serves as a reminder that our potential is limited only by our imagination.
Five Things You Probably Did Not Know
Here are five things that people may not know about the ancient Sumerian civilization:
- The Sumerians developed one of the earliest known writing systems: The Sumerian writing system is one of the oldest known writing systems in the world, dating back to around 3200 BCE. The Sumerians used a cuneiform script to make impressions on clay tablets using a reed stylus. The writing system was initially used for record-keeping but eventually evolved to include literature, religious texts, and administrative documents.
- Sumerians were some of the first urban dwellers: The Sumerians lived in large cities that were centers of trade and commerce. The cities were surrounded by fertile agricultural land, which allowed the Sumerians to develop a complex economy and social hierarchy. The Sumerians were also skilled in engineering and built impressive structures like ziggurats and irrigation systems.
- The Sumerians believed in multiple gods and goddesses: They were polytheistic, meaning they believed in multiple gods and goddesses. They believed these deities controlled different aspects of life, such as fertility, war, and the weather. The Sumerians also had a complex mythology that included stories of creation, gods and goddesses, and epic tales like the Epic of Gilgamesh.
- Sumerian society was highly stratified: The Sumerian society was divided into several classes, including kings and nobles, priests and temple officials, merchants and craftsmen, and slaves. The king was at the top of the social hierarchy and was believed to have divine authority. Priests were also highly respected and had considerable influence in society.
- The Sumerians profoundly influenced later civilizations: The Sumerians were pioneers in many fields, including agriculture, writing, architecture, and mathematics. Their innovations and ideas were transmitted to neighboring civilizations like the Babylonians and the Assyrians, who built upon the Sumerian legacy. The Sumerians also contributed to the development of the wheel, the plow, and the chariot, which were crucial for transportation and warfare in the ancient world.
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