Facts about ancient Sumer
The mysterious people of antiquity
We know little about them, but what we have established makes you dizzy. A people of unknown origin who created a civilization that was the cradle of the cultures of the Middle East and Europe. Without a doubt, Sumer can be called the most modern ancient civilization.
1They appeared in Mesopotamia between 5,000 and 4,000 B.C.
2The Sumer civilization is considered the first civilization on Earth.
It is assumed that the peak of the development of their civilization was in the years 3 750 - 2 004 B.C.
3The origin of the Sumer is the subject of considerable research and speculation.
The dominant hypothesis is that they came from across the Persian Gulf, from the Arabian Peninsula, or the Indian subcontinent. Some respondents suggest they inhabited the Himalayas and could also have come from Tibet. Supporters of the theory of the extraterrestrial pace of development of the Sumer express the belief that they came from space.
4The Sumerian language is an isolated language.
This means that it has no connection to any language we know, be it ancient or modern. Research into the Sumerian language has been going on for over 150 years.
5The Sumer used cuneiform script, which dates back to the period between 3,300 and 3,100 B.C.
Initially, it had the form of pictograms, that later were transformed into word-syllable. Cuneiform writing is considered the oldest writing in the world.
6One of the most famous writings of the Sumer is the Sumerian King List, also known as the Chronicle of the One Monarchy.
It was written at the end of the third millennium B.C. and contains a list of the kings and dynasties ruling the Sumer. The work is semi-legendary, and the information it contains is constantly verified by scientists.
7The cities of Sumer were administratively divided into states ruled by governors (Ensi) or kings (Lugal).
In each city-state, there was a temple of one deity professed by the Sumer.
8Eridu is considered the first city founded by the Sumer.
It is also believed to be the oldest city on Earth.
9The Sumer left behind the oldest medical textbook, dating back to around 2,200 BC.
Medicine was one of the most highly developed scientific fields of the Sumer civilization.
10The most characteristic buildings of the Sumer civilization were ziggurats.
These are temple buildings with a stepped terrace structure. Currently, the best-preserved is the Ziggurat of Ur - built around 2100 B.C. Originally it was 21 meters high.
11The city of Uruk, which played a key role in the early urbanization of the Sumer, had a population ranging between 50,000 and 80,000.
Research indicates that all residents lived in an area of 6 square kilometers. It was the largest city in the world known. It probably only emptied just before the Muslim conquest of Persia in 651 A.D.
12Among the extant Sumerian records, there is information about the catastrophic great flood.
One hypothesis is that a meteorite hit the Indian Ocean between 3,000 and 2,800 B.C., which caused the tsunami wave.
13The most famous ruler of the period of the Sumer civilization is Gilgamesh.
He is the historic king of the city of Uruk, with a lot of legends surrounding him, making it difficult for scientists to establish the facts of his life and reign. The Sumerian List of Kings shows he ruled for 126 years. The most credible hypothesis so far seems to be that he built walls around the city he ruled. He is the hero of the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh.
14The Sumer left behind the oldest set of laws found so far - the Ur-Nammu code, which dates back to the 22nd - 21st century B.C.
Two clay tablets were found during the excavations at Nippur in 1902, and only three articles have been deciphered - the first, the fifth, and the tenth. It is not known what issues this code regulated, but we know it was a model for, among others, the famous stele of Hammurabi.
15We owe the Sumer the invention of the wheel.
16In order to take advantage of the fertile lands they inhabited, the Sumer invented the plow.
It is also suspected they developed an irrigation system.
17They are also credited with inventing the chariot around 3,200 B.C.
18The Sumer based their mathematical system on the number 60. As early as 3000 B.C., it was common to use multiplication, division, and exponentiation.