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The Sumerian afterlife involved a descent into a gloomy netherworld to spend eternity in a wretched existence as a Gidim ghost. Ziggurats Sumerian temples each had an individual name and consisted of a forecourt, with a central pond for purification.

Flanking the aisles would be rooms for the priests. At one end would stand the podium and a mudbrick table for animal and vegetable sacrifices.

Granaries and storehouses were usually located near the temples. After a time the Sumerians began to place the temples on top of multi-layered square constructions built as a series of rising terraces, giving rise to the Ziggurat style.

It was believed that when people died, they would be confined to a gloomy world of Ereshkigal , whose realm was guarded by gateways with various monsters designed to prevent people entering or leaving.

The dead were buried outside the city walls in graveyards where a small mound covered the corpse, along with offerings to monsters and a small amount of food.

Those who could afford it sought burial at Dilmun. The Sumerians adopted an agricultural lifestyle perhaps as early as c.

The region demonstrated a number of core agricultural techniques, including organized irrigation , large-scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping involving the use of plough agriculture , and the use of an agricultural specialized labour force under bureaucratic control.

The necessity to manage temple accounts with this organization led to the development of writing c.

In the early Sumerian Uruk period, the primitive pictograms suggest that sheep , goats , cattle, and pigs were domesticated.

They used oxen as their primary beasts of burden and donkeys or equids as their primary transport animal and "woollen clothing as well as rugs were made from the wool or hair of the animals.

By the side of the house was an enclosed garden planted with trees and other plants; wheat and probably other cereals were sown in the fields, and the shaduf was already employed for the purpose of irrigation.

Plants were also grown in pots or vases. The Sumerians were one of the first known beer drinking societies.

Cereals were plentiful and were the key ingredient in their early brew. They brewed multiple kinds of beer consisting of wheat, barley, and mixed grain beers.

Beer brewing was very important to the Sumerians. It was referenced in the Epic of Gilgamesh when Enkidu was introduced to the food and beer of Gilgamesh's people: "Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land He drank the beer-seven jugs!

The Sumerians practiced similar irrigation techniques as those used in Egypt. They grew barley , chickpeas , lentils , wheat , dates , onions , garlic , lettuce , leeks and mustard.

Sumerians caught many fish and hunted fowl and gazelle. Sumerian agriculture depended heavily on irrigation. The irrigation was accomplished by the use of shaduf , canals , channels , dykes , weirs , and reservoirs.

The frequent violent floods of the Tigris , and less so, of the Euphrates , meant that canals required frequent repair and continual removal of silt , and survey markers and boundary stones needed to be continually replaced.

The government required individuals to work on the canals in a corvee , although the rich were able to exempt themselves. As is known from the " Sumerian Farmer's Almanac ", after the flood season and after the Spring equinox and the Akitu or New Year Festival, using the canals, farmers would flood their fields and then drain the water.

Next they made oxen stomp the ground and kill weeds. They then dragged the fields with pickaxes. After drying, they plowed , harrowed , and raked the ground three times, and pulverized it with a mattock , before planting seed.

Unfortunately, the high evaporation rate resulted in a gradual increase in the salinity of the fields. By the Ur III period, farmers had switched from wheat to the more salt-tolerant barley as their principal crop.

Sumerians harvested during the spring in three-person teams consisting of a reaper , a binder , and a sheaf handler.

The Sumerians were great creators, nothing proving this more than their art. Sumerian artifacts show great detail and ornamentation, with fine semi-precious stones imported from other lands, such as lapis lazuli , marble , and diorite , and precious metals like hammered gold, incorporated into the design.

Since stone was rare it was reserved for sculpture. The most widespread material in Sumer was clay, as a result many Sumerina objects are made of clay.

Metals such as gold, silver, copper, and bronze, along with shells and gemstones, were used for the finest sculpture and inlays. Small stones of all kinds, including more precious stones such as lapis lazuli, alabaster, and serpentine, were used for cylinder seals.

Some of the most famous masterpieces are the Lyres of Ur , which are considered to be the world's oldest surviving stringed instruments. They have been discovered by Leonard Woolley when the Royal Cemetery of Ur has been excavated between from and Ram in a Thicket ; BC; gold, copper, shell, lapis lazuli and limestone; height: Standard of Ur ; BC; shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli on wood; length: Bull's head ornament from a lyre; BC; bronze inlaid with shell and lapis lazuli ; height: The Tigris-Euphrates plain lacked minerals and trees.

Sumerian structures were made of plano-convex mudbrick , not fixed with mortar or cement. Mud-brick buildings eventually deteriorate, so they were periodically destroyed, leveled, and rebuilt on the same spot.

This constant rebuilding gradually raised the level of cities, which thus came to be elevated above the surrounding plain. The resultant hills, known as tells , are found throughout the ancient Near East.

According to Archibald Sayce , the primitive pictograms of the early Sumerian i. Uruk era suggest that "Stone was scarce, but was already cut into blocks and seals.

Brick was the ordinary building material, and with it cities, forts, temples and houses were constructed.

The city was provided with towers and stood on an artificial platform; the house also had a tower-like appearance. It was provided with a door which turned on a hinge, and could be opened with a sort of key; the city gate was on a larger scale, and seems to have been double.

The foundation stones—or rather bricks—of a house were consecrated by certain objects that were deposited under them.

The most impressive and famous of Sumerian buildings are the ziggurats , large layered platforms that supported temples.

Sumerian cylinder seals also depict houses built from reeds not unlike those built by the Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq until as recently as CE. The Sumerians also developed the arch , which enabled them to develop a strong type of dome.

They built this by constructing and linking several arches. Sumerian temples and palaces made use of more advanced materials and techniques, such as buttresses , recesses , half columns , and clay nails.

The Sumerians developed a complex system of metrology c. This advanced metrology resulted in the creation of arithmetic, geometry, and algebra.

From c. The earliest traces of the Babylonian numerals also date back to this period. There is also anecdotal evidence the Sumerians may have used a type of slide rule in astronomical calculations.

They were the first to find the area of a triangle and the volume of a cube. Discoveries of obsidian from far-away locations in Anatolia and lapis lazuli from Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan , beads from Dilmun modern Bahrain , and several seals inscribed with the Indus Valley script suggest a remarkably wide-ranging network of ancient trade centered on the Persian Gulf.

For example, Imports to Ur came from many parts of the world. In particular, the metals of all types had to be imported.

The Epic of Gilgamesh refers to trade with far lands for goods, such as wood, that were scarce in Mesopotamia. In particular, cedar from Lebanon was prized.

The finding of resin in the tomb of Queen Puabi at Ur , indicates it was traded from as far away as Mozambique. The Sumerians used slaves , although they were not a major part of the economy.

Slave women worked as weavers , pressers, millers , and porters. Sumerian potters decorated pots with cedar oil paints. The potters used a bow drill to produce the fire needed for baking the pottery.

Sumerian masons and jewelers knew and made use of alabaster calcite , ivory , iron , gold , silver , carnelian , and lapis lazuli. Lapis Lazuli probably originated in northern Afghanistan , as no other sources are known, and had to be transported across the Iranian plateau to Mesopotamia, and then Egypt.

Gudea , the ruler of the Neo-Summerian Empire at Lagash , is recorded as having imported "translucent carnelian" from Meluhha , generally thought to be the Indus Valley area.

The Indus Valley Civilization only flourished in its most developed form between and BC, but at the time of these exchanges, it was a much larger entity than the Mesopotamian civilization, covering an area of 1.

Large institutions kept their accounts in barley and silver , often with a fixed rate between them.

The obligations, loans and prices in general were usually denominated in one of them. Many transactions involved debt, for example goods consigned to merchants by temple and beer advanced by "ale women".

Commercial credit and agricultural consumer loans were the main types of loans. The trade credit was usually extended by temples in order to finance trade expeditions and was nominated in silver.

Periodically, rulers signed "clean slate" decrees that cancelled all the rural but not commercial debt and allowed bondservants to return to their homes.

Customarily, rulers did it at the beginning of the first full year of their reign, but they could also be proclaimed at times of military conflict or crop failure.

According to Hudson, the purpose of these decrees was to prevent debts mounting to a degree that they threatened the fighting force, which could happen if peasants lost the subsistence land or became bondservants due to the inability to repay the debt.

The almost constant wars among the Sumerian city-states for years helped to develop the military technology and techniques of Sumer to a high level.

It shows the king of Lagash leading a Sumerian army consisting mostly of infantry. The infantry carried spears , wore copper helmets , and carried rectangular shields.

The spearmen are shown arranged in what resembles the phalanx formation , which requires training and discipline; this implies that the Sumerians may have made use of professional soldiers.

The Sumerian military used carts harnessed to onagers. These early chariots functioned less effectively in combat than did later designs, and some have suggested that these chariots served primarily as transports, though the crew carried battle-axes and lances.

The Sumerian chariot comprised a four or two- wheeled device manned by a crew of two and harnessed to four onagers. The cart was composed of a woven basket and the wheels had a solid three-piece design.

Sumerian cities were surrounded by defensive walls. The Sumerians engaged in siege warfare between their cities, but the mudbrick walls were able to deter some foes.

Examples of Sumerian technology include: the wheel , cuneiform script , arithmetic and geometry , irrigation systems, Sumerian boats, lunisolar calendar , bronze , leather , saws , chisels , hammers , braces , bits , nails , pins , rings , hoes , axes , knives , lancepoints , arrowheads , swords , glue , daggers , waterskins , bags, harnesses , armor , quivers , war chariots , scabbards , boots , sandals , harpoons and beer.

The Sumerians had three main types of boats:. Evidence of wheeled vehicles appeared in the mid 4th millennium BC, near-simultaneously in Mesopotamia, the Northern Caucasus Maykop culture and Central Europe.

The wheel initially took the form of the potter's wheel. The new concept led to wheeled vehicles and mill wheels. The Sumerians' cuneiform script is the oldest or second oldest after the Egyptian hieroglyphs which has been deciphered the status of even older inscriptions such as the Jiahu symbols and Tartaria tablets is controversial.

The Sumerians were among the first astronomers, mapping the stars into sets of constellations, many of which survived in the zodiac and were also recognized by the ancient Greeks.

They invented and developed arithmetic by using several different number systems including a mixed radix system with an alternating base 10 and base 6.

This sexagesimal system became the standard number system in Sumer and Babylonia. They may have invented military formations and introduced the basic divisions between infantry , cavalry , and archers.

They developed the first known codified legal and administrative systems, complete with courts, jails, and government records. The first true city-states arose in Sumer, roughly contemporaneously with similar entities in what are now Syria and Lebanon.

Conjointly with the spread of writing, the first formal schools were established, usually under the auspices of a city-state's primary temple.

Finally, the Sumerians ushered in domestication with intensive agriculture and irrigation. Emmer wheat , barley , sheep starting as mouflon , and cattle starting as aurochs were foremost among the species cultivated and raised for the first time on a grand scale.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Sumer disambiguation. For other uses of Sumeria, see Sumeria disambiguation. Not to be confused with Summer.

Ancient civilization and historical region in Southern Mesopotamia. General location on a modern map, and main cities of Sumer with ancient coastline.

The coastline was nearly reaching Ur in ancient times. Left: Sculpture of the head of Sumerian ruler Gudea , c. Anu ziggurat and White Temple.

Anu ziggurat and White Temple at Uruk. Main article: History of Sumer. Main article: Ubaid period. Main article: Uruk period. Uruk King-priest feeding the sacred herd.

The king-priest and his acolyte feeding the sacred herd. Uruk period, ca. Cylinder-seal of the Uruk period and its impression, c. Louvre Museum.

Main article: Lagash. Main article: Akkadian Empire. Main article: Gutian dynasty of Sumer. Main article: Third Dynasty of Ur.

Sumerian princess c. Main articles: History of writing , Sumerian language , and Cuneiform. Main article: Sumerian religion.

Sumerian religion. Wall plaque showing libations to a seated god and a temple. Ur , BCE. Main articles: Sumerian architecture , Ziggurat , and Mudhif.

See also: Clay nail. Main article: Babylonian mathematics. Main article: Indus-Mesopotamia relations. Literally, "land of the native local, noble lords".

Postgate takes en as substituting eme "language", translating "land of the Sumerian heart" John Nicholas Postgate Routledge UK.

Postgate believes it not that eme, 'tongue', became en, 'lord', through consonantal assimilation. University of California at Berkeley.

Early Antiquity. University of Chicago Press. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe. Hallo; W. Simpson The Ancient Near East.

New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. Mark Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible.

Eerdmans Publishing. Sumerian Grammar. Oxford University Press. The Harvard Theological Review. In the World of Sumer: An Autobiography.

Wayne State University Press. Teaching materials". Retrieved 5 March Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art.

Bibcode : Natur. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved A dictionary of archaeology. Smithsonian Magazine. Archived from the original PDF on 9 January Retrieved 8 January Oxford University Press US.

Uruk: First City of the Ancient World. Getty Publications. Ancient Science Prehistory — A. Cambridge University Press.

British Institute for the Study of Iraq. Henrickson; Ingolf Thuesen; I. Thuesen The Invention of Cuneiform: Writing in Sumer. Climate, History, and the Modern World.

London: Routledge. Ancient Iraq. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Journal of World-Systems Research. Archived from the original on February 19, Archived from the original on Daily life in ancient Mesopotamia.

Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved 29 November The Archaeology of the Cuneiform Inscriptions 2nd revised ed. Retrieved 14 June The Univ. The Mythology of Sex.

London, England: Macmillan. The Times Atlas of World History. Hammond Incorporated. The Origins of Writing.

University of Nebraska Press. The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mixco A glossary of historical linguistics.

Edinburgh University Press. University of Texas Press. Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol. Gotham Books. Footprints of Early Man. Heartland of Cities.

The fine art of food. Folio Society. Melville Lawrence University. Sherlock Holmes in Babylon: and other tales of mathematical history.

The two beads etched with patterns in white were probably imported from the Indus Valley. Centre and Periphery in the Ancient World. Indian Ocean In Antiquity.

Rowman Altamira. British Museum. Seals of Ancient Indian style found at Ur. Square-shaped Indus seals of fired steatite have been found at a few sites in Mesopotamia.

Asia: A Concise History. Bethesda, Maryland: CDL. In Kessler, Herbert L. Pictorial Narrative in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Ascalone, Enrico. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Crawford, Harriet E. Sumer and the Sumerians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leick, Gwendolyn. Mesopotamia: Invention of the City. London and New York: Penguin. Lloyd, Seton. London: Thames and Hudson.

Nemet-Nejat, Karen Rhea. Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. London and Westport, Conn. Kramer, Samuel Noah Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Roux, Georges.

Nick Sumer Video

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Bill of sale of a field and house, from Shuruppak ; circa BC; height: 8. The Sumerians credited their divinities for all matters pertaining to them and exhibited humility in the face of cosmic forces, such as death and divine wrath.

Sumerian religion seems to have been founded upon two separate cosmogenic myths. The first saw creation as the result of a series of hieroi gamoi or sacred marriages, involving the reconciliation of opposites, postulated as a coming together of male and female divine beings; the gods.

This continued to influence the whole Mesopotamian mythos. Thus, in the later Akkadian Enuma Elish , the creation was seen as the union of fresh and salt water; as male Abzu , and female Tiamat.

The products of that union, Lahm and Lahmu, "the muddy ones", were titles given to the gate keepers of the E-Abzu temple of Enki , in Eridu, the first Sumerian city.

Describing the way that muddy islands emerge from the confluence of fresh and salty water at the mouth of the Euphrates, where the river deposited its load of silt, a second hieros gamos supposedly created Anshar and Kishar, the "sky-pivot" or axle, and the "earth pivot", parents in turn of Anu the sky and Ki the earth.

Another important Sumerian hieros gamos was that between Ki, here known as Ninhursag or "Lady of the Mountains", and Enki of Eridu, the god of fresh water which brought forth greenery and pasture.

At an early stage, following the dawn of recorded history, Nippur , in central Mesopotamia, replaced Eridu in the south as the primary temple city, whose priests exercised political hegemony on the other city-states.

Nippur retained this status throughout the Sumerian period. Sumerians believed in an anthropomorphic polytheism, or the belief in many gods in human form.

There was no common set of gods; each city-state had its own patrons, temples, and priest-kings. Nonetheless, these were not exclusive; the gods of one city were often acknowledged elsewhere.

Sumerian speakers were among the earliest people to record their beliefs in writing, and were a major inspiration in later Mesopotamian mythology , religion , and astrology.

These deities formed a core pantheon; there were additionally hundreds of minor ones. Sumerian gods could thus have associations with different cities, and their religious importance often waxed and waned with those cities' political power.

The gods were said to have created human beings from clay for the purpose of serving them. The temples organized the mass labour projects needed for irrigation agriculture.

Citizens had a labor duty to the temple, though they could avoid it by a payment of silver. Sumerians believed that the universe consisted of a flat disk enclosed by a dome.

The Sumerian afterlife involved a descent into a gloomy netherworld to spend eternity in a wretched existence as a Gidim ghost.

Ziggurats Sumerian temples each had an individual name and consisted of a forecourt, with a central pond for purification.

Flanking the aisles would be rooms for the priests. At one end would stand the podium and a mudbrick table for animal and vegetable sacrifices.

Granaries and storehouses were usually located near the temples. After a time the Sumerians began to place the temples on top of multi-layered square constructions built as a series of rising terraces, giving rise to the Ziggurat style.

It was believed that when people died, they would be confined to a gloomy world of Ereshkigal , whose realm was guarded by gateways with various monsters designed to prevent people entering or leaving.

The dead were buried outside the city walls in graveyards where a small mound covered the corpse, along with offerings to monsters and a small amount of food.

Those who could afford it sought burial at Dilmun. The Sumerians adopted an agricultural lifestyle perhaps as early as c.

The region demonstrated a number of core agricultural techniques, including organized irrigation , large-scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping involving the use of plough agriculture , and the use of an agricultural specialized labour force under bureaucratic control.

The necessity to manage temple accounts with this organization led to the development of writing c. In the early Sumerian Uruk period, the primitive pictograms suggest that sheep , goats , cattle, and pigs were domesticated.

They used oxen as their primary beasts of burden and donkeys or equids as their primary transport animal and "woollen clothing as well as rugs were made from the wool or hair of the animals.

By the side of the house was an enclosed garden planted with trees and other plants; wheat and probably other cereals were sown in the fields, and the shaduf was already employed for the purpose of irrigation.

Plants were also grown in pots or vases. The Sumerians were one of the first known beer drinking societies. Cereals were plentiful and were the key ingredient in their early brew.

They brewed multiple kinds of beer consisting of wheat, barley, and mixed grain beers. Beer brewing was very important to the Sumerians.

It was referenced in the Epic of Gilgamesh when Enkidu was introduced to the food and beer of Gilgamesh's people: "Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land He drank the beer-seven jugs!

The Sumerians practiced similar irrigation techniques as those used in Egypt. They grew barley , chickpeas , lentils , wheat , dates , onions , garlic , lettuce , leeks and mustard.

Sumerians caught many fish and hunted fowl and gazelle. Sumerian agriculture depended heavily on irrigation. The irrigation was accomplished by the use of shaduf , canals , channels , dykes , weirs , and reservoirs.

The frequent violent floods of the Tigris , and less so, of the Euphrates , meant that canals required frequent repair and continual removal of silt , and survey markers and boundary stones needed to be continually replaced.

The government required individuals to work on the canals in a corvee , although the rich were able to exempt themselves. As is known from the " Sumerian Farmer's Almanac ", after the flood season and after the Spring equinox and the Akitu or New Year Festival, using the canals, farmers would flood their fields and then drain the water.

Next they made oxen stomp the ground and kill weeds. They then dragged the fields with pickaxes.

After drying, they plowed , harrowed , and raked the ground three times, and pulverized it with a mattock , before planting seed. Unfortunately, the high evaporation rate resulted in a gradual increase in the salinity of the fields.

By the Ur III period, farmers had switched from wheat to the more salt-tolerant barley as their principal crop. Sumerians harvested during the spring in three-person teams consisting of a reaper , a binder , and a sheaf handler.

The Sumerians were great creators, nothing proving this more than their art. Sumerian artifacts show great detail and ornamentation, with fine semi-precious stones imported from other lands, such as lapis lazuli , marble , and diorite , and precious metals like hammered gold, incorporated into the design.

Since stone was rare it was reserved for sculpture. The most widespread material in Sumer was clay, as a result many Sumerina objects are made of clay.

Metals such as gold, silver, copper, and bronze, along with shells and gemstones, were used for the finest sculpture and inlays.

Small stones of all kinds, including more precious stones such as lapis lazuli, alabaster, and serpentine, were used for cylinder seals.

Some of the most famous masterpieces are the Lyres of Ur , which are considered to be the world's oldest surviving stringed instruments.

They have been discovered by Leonard Woolley when the Royal Cemetery of Ur has been excavated between from and Ram in a Thicket ; BC; gold, copper, shell, lapis lazuli and limestone; height: Standard of Ur ; BC; shell, red limestone and lapis lazuli on wood; length: Bull's head ornament from a lyre; BC; bronze inlaid with shell and lapis lazuli ; height: The Tigris-Euphrates plain lacked minerals and trees.

Sumerian structures were made of plano-convex mudbrick , not fixed with mortar or cement. Mud-brick buildings eventually deteriorate, so they were periodically destroyed, leveled, and rebuilt on the same spot.

This constant rebuilding gradually raised the level of cities, which thus came to be elevated above the surrounding plain.

The resultant hills, known as tells , are found throughout the ancient Near East. According to Archibald Sayce , the primitive pictograms of the early Sumerian i.

Uruk era suggest that "Stone was scarce, but was already cut into blocks and seals. Brick was the ordinary building material, and with it cities, forts, temples and houses were constructed.

The city was provided with towers and stood on an artificial platform; the house also had a tower-like appearance. It was provided with a door which turned on a hinge, and could be opened with a sort of key; the city gate was on a larger scale, and seems to have been double.

The foundation stones—or rather bricks—of a house were consecrated by certain objects that were deposited under them.

The most impressive and famous of Sumerian buildings are the ziggurats , large layered platforms that supported temples.

Sumerian cylinder seals also depict houses built from reeds not unlike those built by the Marsh Arabs of Southern Iraq until as recently as CE.

The Sumerians also developed the arch , which enabled them to develop a strong type of dome. They built this by constructing and linking several arches.

Sumerian temples and palaces made use of more advanced materials and techniques, such as buttresses , recesses , half columns , and clay nails.

The Sumerians developed a complex system of metrology c. This advanced metrology resulted in the creation of arithmetic, geometry, and algebra.

From c. The earliest traces of the Babylonian numerals also date back to this period. There is also anecdotal evidence the Sumerians may have used a type of slide rule in astronomical calculations.

They were the first to find the area of a triangle and the volume of a cube. Discoveries of obsidian from far-away locations in Anatolia and lapis lazuli from Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan , beads from Dilmun modern Bahrain , and several seals inscribed with the Indus Valley script suggest a remarkably wide-ranging network of ancient trade centered on the Persian Gulf.

For example, Imports to Ur came from many parts of the world. In particular, the metals of all types had to be imported. The Epic of Gilgamesh refers to trade with far lands for goods, such as wood, that were scarce in Mesopotamia.

In particular, cedar from Lebanon was prized. The finding of resin in the tomb of Queen Puabi at Ur , indicates it was traded from as far away as Mozambique.

The Sumerians used slaves , although they were not a major part of the economy. Slave women worked as weavers , pressers, millers , and porters.

Sumerian potters decorated pots with cedar oil paints. The potters used a bow drill to produce the fire needed for baking the pottery.

Sumerian masons and jewelers knew and made use of alabaster calcite , ivory , iron , gold , silver , carnelian , and lapis lazuli.

Lapis Lazuli probably originated in northern Afghanistan , as no other sources are known, and had to be transported across the Iranian plateau to Mesopotamia, and then Egypt.

Gudea , the ruler of the Neo-Summerian Empire at Lagash , is recorded as having imported "translucent carnelian" from Meluhha , generally thought to be the Indus Valley area.

The Indus Valley Civilization only flourished in its most developed form between and BC, but at the time of these exchanges, it was a much larger entity than the Mesopotamian civilization, covering an area of 1.

Large institutions kept their accounts in barley and silver , often with a fixed rate between them. The obligations, loans and prices in general were usually denominated in one of them.

Many transactions involved debt, for example goods consigned to merchants by temple and beer advanced by "ale women".

Commercial credit and agricultural consumer loans were the main types of loans. The trade credit was usually extended by temples in order to finance trade expeditions and was nominated in silver.

Periodically, rulers signed "clean slate" decrees that cancelled all the rural but not commercial debt and allowed bondservants to return to their homes.

Customarily, rulers did it at the beginning of the first full year of their reign, but they could also be proclaimed at times of military conflict or crop failure.

According to Hudson, the purpose of these decrees was to prevent debts mounting to a degree that they threatened the fighting force, which could happen if peasants lost the subsistence land or became bondservants due to the inability to repay the debt.

The almost constant wars among the Sumerian city-states for years helped to develop the military technology and techniques of Sumer to a high level.

It shows the king of Lagash leading a Sumerian army consisting mostly of infantry. The infantry carried spears , wore copper helmets , and carried rectangular shields.

The spearmen are shown arranged in what resembles the phalanx formation , which requires training and discipline; this implies that the Sumerians may have made use of professional soldiers.

The Sumerian military used carts harnessed to onagers. These early chariots functioned less effectively in combat than did later designs, and some have suggested that these chariots served primarily as transports, though the crew carried battle-axes and lances.

The Sumerian chariot comprised a four or two- wheeled device manned by a crew of two and harnessed to four onagers.

The cart was composed of a woven basket and the wheels had a solid three-piece design. Sumerian cities were surrounded by defensive walls.

The Sumerians engaged in siege warfare between their cities, but the mudbrick walls were able to deter some foes.

Examples of Sumerian technology include: the wheel , cuneiform script , arithmetic and geometry , irrigation systems, Sumerian boats, lunisolar calendar , bronze , leather , saws , chisels , hammers , braces , bits , nails , pins , rings , hoes , axes , knives , lancepoints , arrowheads , swords , glue , daggers , waterskins , bags, harnesses , armor , quivers , war chariots , scabbards , boots , sandals , harpoons and beer.

The Sumerians had three main types of boats:. Evidence of wheeled vehicles appeared in the mid 4th millennium BC, near-simultaneously in Mesopotamia, the Northern Caucasus Maykop culture and Central Europe.

The wheel initially took the form of the potter's wheel. The new concept led to wheeled vehicles and mill wheels.

The Sumerians' cuneiform script is the oldest or second oldest after the Egyptian hieroglyphs which has been deciphered the status of even older inscriptions such as the Jiahu symbols and Tartaria tablets is controversial.

The Sumerians were among the first astronomers, mapping the stars into sets of constellations, many of which survived in the zodiac and were also recognized by the ancient Greeks.

They invented and developed arithmetic by using several different number systems including a mixed radix system with an alternating base 10 and base 6.

This sexagesimal system became the standard number system in Sumer and Babylonia. They may have invented military formations and introduced the basic divisions between infantry , cavalry , and archers.

They developed the first known codified legal and administrative systems, complete with courts, jails, and government records. The first true city-states arose in Sumer, roughly contemporaneously with similar entities in what are now Syria and Lebanon.

Conjointly with the spread of writing, the first formal schools were established, usually under the auspices of a city-state's primary temple.

Finally, the Sumerians ushered in domestication with intensive agriculture and irrigation. Emmer wheat , barley , sheep starting as mouflon , and cattle starting as aurochs were foremost among the species cultivated and raised for the first time on a grand scale.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Sumer disambiguation. For other uses of Sumeria, see Sumeria disambiguation.

Not to be confused with Summer. Ancient civilization and historical region in Southern Mesopotamia. General location on a modern map, and main cities of Sumer with ancient coastline.

The coastline was nearly reaching Ur in ancient times. Left: Sculpture of the head of Sumerian ruler Gudea , c.

Anu ziggurat and White Temple. Anu ziggurat and White Temple at Uruk. Main article: History of Sumer. Main article: Ubaid period.

Main article: Uruk period. Uruk King-priest feeding the sacred herd. The king-priest and his acolyte feeding the sacred herd. Uruk period, ca.

Cylinder-seal of the Uruk period and its impression, c. Louvre Museum. Main article: Lagash. Main article: Akkadian Empire.

Main article: Gutian dynasty of Sumer. Main article: Third Dynasty of Ur. Sumerian princess c. Main articles: History of writing , Sumerian language , and Cuneiform.

Main article: Sumerian religion. Sumerian religion. Wall plaque showing libations to a seated god and a temple.

Ur , BCE. Main articles: Sumerian architecture , Ziggurat , and Mudhif. See also: Clay nail. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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