The Ancient Sumerian Civilization
Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Amurian, Assyrian, Chaldean etc. The Sumerian civilization is the oldest among them. So the Sumerians are considered to be the creators of the Mesopotamian civilization. The Greek name Sumer means black man The Sumerian civilization is named after the Ascetic, Sumerian race. Sumerian civilization emerged in Mesopotamia. The Sumerians appeared in the Neolithic period around 6000 BC.
Country and Society: Although they are the symbol of a civilized nation, they could not build a coherent state system for some reasons. The civilization was based on city-states. These civilizations centered around walled cities such as Eridu, Nippur, Kis, Lagas, Ur, Al Ubaid, etc. had a king and a self-appointed deity. The head of the city-state was called ‘Pateji’, the head of the state himself was the military commander, administrator, and overseer of irrigation works. There were various divisions in Sumerud society. At the top of society were the priests, the aristocracy, merchants, industrialists, and high-ranking officials. The middle class included doctors and petty traders;
Peasants, laborers, and serfs were the lower class. Women enjoyed high status in the society. Son’s and daughter’s share in father’s property. had equal parts.
Religion: The Sumerians believed in various gods and goddesses. They worshiped the natural forces as gods. Notable among their gods and goddesses were the sun god Shamas, the moon god Nanna, the wind and rain god Enlil, the fertility goddess Ishtar, the plague god Nargal, and the water god Enki. The religious temple of the Sumerians was called the ‘ziggurat’. They did not believe in the afterlife. People and animals were sacrificed to the gods and goddesses. The body was buried under the house without a coffin.
Governance: Sumerian city-states were governed in a dynamic and controlled manner. An excellent system of government was established in the monarchical style. The city-states were governed independently, and their chiefs were called Puteri. He is the head of state, military commander, and high priest. A council consisting of several intelligent aristocrats and landed gentry was formed to govern the state. They probably operated on the lines of a modern home system. Although individualism remained among them, all were interested in an orderly lifestyle. The legislative activities of the Sumerian emperor Dungi bear witness to this.
Economic Life: The economic structure of the Sumerians was prosperous. Agriculture was the main source of economy followed by trade. They cut canals and invented the first irrigation system. Advanced agricultural civilization developed by using metal plows, spades, sickles, and scythes instead of blunt agricultural implements. The application of advanced technology in agriculture revolutionized agricultural production. The Sumerians were particularly successful in trade.
By sea and land, they imported timber, sapphires, red stones, etc., and exported textiles, weapons, etc. They had trade with the Indus, Afghanistan, Persia, Syria, Palestine, Anatolia, Phoenicia, Crete, and Egypt. The Sumerians introduced some of the modern rules and laws. They use bills, receipt notes, and promissory notes in business. Also introduced the use of tenders and seals.
Literature, Art, and Culture: The contribution of the Sumerians to the development of human civilization is outstanding. They popularized the writing system through pictographs and discovered new things in science. Their writing system through pictographs is called cuneiform. At first 2000, then 600, and later 350 symbols, this writing system was followed by Babylonian, Assyrian, and Persian civilizations. The greatest contribution of the Sumerians is the epic ‘Gilgamesh Kavya’. It is written on 12 large clay tablets. It describes the valor and achievements of Gilgamesh, king of the city-state of Uruk.
Introduction of Laws: In the Sumerian period some statutory laws or Codes were in operation. One of the mainstays of Sumerian civilization was the formulation of statutory laws. Badla Law i.e. “eye for eye” “hand for hand” “tooth for tooth” and “foot for foot” The criminal who commits the crime shall suffer the punishment corresponding to the crime. The offender was brought before the judge by the victim. The judge would try to settle the case between the plaintiff and the defendant and punish the offender. All people were not equal in Sumerian society Farewell Punishment Noble, common and 5. Surfers were different
Cognoscenti: The real cognoscenti began during the Sumerian period with the invention of water clocks, gold clocks, and lunar calendars, the introduction of multiplication and division methods, weights and measures, and the introduction and circulation of universal civilization. They calculate 1 day in 24 hours, 1 week in 7 days, and 1 hour in 60 minutes. Sumerian priests were able to determine the relative positions of the sun and moon. Besides they indicate the time of the planets also. The success of the Sumerians in herbal medicine is remarkable. Medical records of drug registries bear this out. The famous invention of the Sumerians was the invention of the wheel. Mesopotamian civilization progressed rapidly after the invention of the wheel. It also brought revolutionary changes in the development of human civilization.
Architecture and Sculpture: The Sumerians were skilled in metalwork, statues, and sculptures. The girls were skilled in various arts and crafts. The ziggurat of temples built in layers is a wonderful example of Sumerian architecture. Paintings and crafts: Sumerian painting is usually expressed in metalwork, carved figures, and sculptures. Their realistic images are revealed in weapons, drinking vessels, ornaments, and human or animal nature.