About 6000 years ago, a civilization possessing such advanced technology at the time that it seemed alien suddenly sprouted on land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, part of the so-called “Fertile Crescent.”

The first Greeks were the first to call this area Mesopotamia, which means “land between rivers”. These people (we know them today as Sumerians) called themselves sag-giga, the “black-headed people”, and called their lands ki-en-gir. Tea AkkadiansHowever, he referred to these people as Shumer (which can actually refer to language); the Bible refers to this region as Shinar. The area is today in southeastern Iraq.

The events that took place there are considered among the most crucial events in human history. The Sumerians, shortly after settling in Mesopotamia, developed a very sophisticated system of irrigation and agriculture. The irrigation system made the most of the waters of the two rivers, resulting in a significant increase in their agricultural yields. The Sumerians then built magnificent cities, advanced laws of government, and invented a written language. Where did these people come from?

Unfortunately, historians are not sure of the origin of the Sumerians. Some archaeologists maintain that the origin of the Sumerians is from lands northeast of Mesopotamia, while others say that they are actually from Anatolia. In fact, no one is really sure where these people originally came from. When the Sumerians arrived in Mesopotamia, there were already people living there (the Ubaidians), but they were quickly supplanted by the newcomers.

The ancient Sumerians invented the wheel, probably while spinning clay to make pottery on a simple wheel. Finally, the wheel was used for transportation, in carts pulled by donkeys. Later it was used for war chariots. They also invented a mathematical system based on the number 60. We keep dividing the hour by 60 minutes and the minutes by 60 seconds. The idea of ​​dividing the circle by 360 degrees is also theirs, as well as dividing the day into 24 hours and the year into twelve months. Archaeologists found evidence that the Sumerians developed writing from 3500-3000 BC. C. The earliest form of writing of the Sumerians was made up of images. The images were later simplified, with symbols being used to represent sounds. This style of writing is known today as cuneiform, which is from the Latin word cuneus (crib).

The Sumerians also seem to have developed one of the earliest monarchical systems of government. The first Sumerian states, which are the first states in human history, were ruled by a type of priest-king. His government was actually a combination of monarchy and democracy. Elected officials in the Assembly also governed the people: kings had to consult the Assembly on matters of state. The laws that were written during the time of Babylon were actually laws created by the ancient Sumerians.

The Sumerians had twelve city-states, each with its own ruler and its own temple. One city, Ur, had about 24,000 inhabitants. These city-states were surrounded by walls, which included nearby lands and towns. The central structure of the city is the temple, called ziggurats.

The Sumerians were polytheists; that is, they worshiped many gods, including goddesses. The main deities were Enki, who put order in the universe, and Inanna (later known as Ishtar), the “Queen of Heaven”.

Sumerian society had three classes: the upper class, which consisted of the nobility, priests, government officials, and warriors; free men, made up of merchants, merchants and artisans; and the lower class, made up of serfs and slaves. Women can own property, but they do not have the same rights as men. A husband can divorce his wife for any reason, but the wife cannot initiate the divorce process on her own. However, women played a vital role in these ancient kingdoms. Their society was matriarchal and women were highly respected.

At the beginning of each year, the goddess Inanna must enact a sacred “ritual marriage” with the ruler to ensure a bountiful harvest for the coming year. The goddess was represented by a priestess in this “marriage” to the king.

Other Sumerian inventions include the sailboat, pans, razors, cosmetic sets, pottery, and the plow. The Sumerians also created a lunar calendar based on the lunar month and even mapped the stars into constellations, which later became the zodiac. These people also established the first formal schools.

There were many skilled Sumerian craftsmen. They made well-designed jewelry from gold and precious stones, furniture, and pottery. They also created colorful mosaics with intricate and beautiful patterns using pieces of painted clay. The Sumerians also used musical instruments such as harp, reed flutes, drums, and lyres.

The modern world learned of Sumer’s existence through references in the literature of ancient civilizations; This literature speaks of an even older civilization, which turned out to be that of the Sumerians. Excavations from 1842 to 1854 at various locations in Mesopotamia led to the discovery of this remarkable people and their achievements.

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