What did the Sumerians develop

History of humanity: Sumer

The empire of Sumer and Akkad and its surroundings

The country Sumer was south of Akkad in Mesopotamia. During the 4th millennium BC, the Sumerians influenced BC the transition to the Mesopotamian high culture was decisive. They called their country “ken-gir”, their language “eme-gi (r)”; the term “Sumeru” is the Akkadian name for the land and people of the Sumerians. This term has also been used for their culture since the 19th century after the rediscovery of the Sumerian script and language.

As far as we know today, the Sumerian language is probably not related to any known language, which is why it is referred to as isolated. Sumerian was in southern Mesopotamia until around 1700 BC. Spoken. In addition, it became an everyday language in all of Mesopotamia beyond extinction until the 1st century. v. Used as the language of religion, literature and science. Sumerian is one of the first languages ​​- if not the first - for which a script was developed (around 3200 BC), thus the period of written tradition covers a period of around 3000 years.

The theses about the alleged relationship between Sumerian and other languages ​​are numerous, but none of them are conclusive so far.

The origin of the Sumerians is unknown; according to their language, they are certainly not Semites and also not related to the Elamites to the northeast. Theses were put forward about a possible immigration of Sumerians from Central Asia (see Oxus culture) to Mesopotamia, but these cannot be proven and were therefore not accepted by the majority of experts. The thesis that the Sumerians are an autochthonous Mesopotamian culture cannot be proven either, but there is also no archaeologically tangible evidence of immigration to southern Mesopotamia in the course of the 4th millennium. The thesis of immigration, which used to be based on linguistic arguments - based on an alleged presumeric substratum of the Sumerian language - has increasingly lost its support.

The history of Sumer begins with the so-called Uruk period, from around 4000 to 3000 BC. The Sumerians settle on the Euphrates. Cities emerge from villages. Uruk was the most important of them at the time, with the Inanna Temple radiating far.

Around 3100 BC The population grows. Irrigation construction is intensified, the centers of the cities become holy districts. The period ends around 2900 BC. Chr.

Old Sumerian Empire

At the beginning of Early Dynastic Period stood a number of city-states (Adab, Eridu, Isin, Kisch, Kullab, Lagasch, Larsa, Nippur, Ur and Uruk, which formed the Old Sumerian Empire around 2800 BC under changing city rulers:

The first known ruler of Sumer is Etana, who lived around 2800 BC. Lived and was king of Kish. His successor Mes-ki-agga-sher, king of Uruk (the biblical Erech), founded a rival dynasty far south of Kish and gained control over the entire region between the Mediterranean and the Zagros Mountains. He was replaced by his son En-mer-kar (around 2750 BC). This was followed by his general Lugalbanda on the throne. At the end of the reign of Lugalbanda, En-me-bar-agesi (around 2700 BC), a king of the Etana dynasty in Kish, became the leading ruler of Sumer.

The Akkadians from the north under Sargon united Sumer under one dynasty (2371-2191 BC). Akkadian becomes the language of administration. Promoted by disagreement between Akkad and the rest of Sumer, this dynasty ended with the conquest by the Guteans.

New Sumerian Empire [edit]

The New Sumerian Empire (2112 to 2004 BC) under the rule of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur - Sumerian as the administrative language, the first ziggurats emerged - ended under the pressure of Elam from the east.

Culture and meaning of the Sumerians
The location of important cities

The beginnings of Sumerian culture in the so-called Uruk period go back to the beginning of the 4th millennium. It is characterized by the founding of the oldest cities and a characteristic pottery. The Uruk period was preceded by the Ubaid culture, which is characterized by its pottery in style and color, as well as by early settlements on the waterways; it extends into the 6th millennium BC. BC back.

Although the writing was invented several times in the history of mankind (Egypt, China, Maya), the Sumerian cuneiform script is of central importance for Europe and probably also older than the other highly developed scripts. The cuneiform script was successfully adapted to Akkadian and Hittite (also Hittite) and is considered to be the forerunner of many scripts.

The development of the wheel - also used for the first time in the Sumerian Empire - is closely related to the knowledge that domesticated animals are not only a source of food and raw materials (e.g. leather), but can also serve as draft animals and work animals (plow , Carts). Another prerequisite for using the bike are flat, wide paths that only emerge when there is a critical population density and a suitable landscape relief.

Agriculture and irrigation

In agriculture, the Sumerians are unlikely to have domesticated any new crops or animals; the contribution here lies in the refinement of irrigation and the introduction of dairy farming. At the same time, advanced irrigation technology laid the foundation for the decline of Sumer (or its successor states): Due to the salinisation of the soil, agricultural yields continued to decline. Large stretches of land can still only be used to a limited extent today. According to previous knowledge, the diet consisted mainly of pearl barley, flour porridge, dates, honey and sesame oil. Egg white was provided by eggs and cheese, geese, ducks, chickens and grasshoppers. There was slaughtered meat from the farm animals used, cattle, donkeys, pigs, sheep and goats. Hares, wild boars, wild goats, wild sheep, antelopes, gazelles and wild deer were hunted. Lion hunting was a privilege of kings. Intensive fishing was carried out, with some trained pelicans being used. Carp were exported.

Crafts and education

Texts and excavations identified the following trades and professions: bakers, butchers, brewers, cooks, basket makers, potters, stone cutters, sculptors, carpenters, car makers, shipbuilders, tailors, hairdressers, doctors, teachers, scribes, builders, priests, administrators, overseers . In addition, there were managerial jobs such as officers, mayors, ambassadors, temple administrators, directors of libraries and table houses.

Schools were called panel houses. Two of these table houses were excavated by French archaeologists in Mari. The school desks were made of adobe bricks. Word lists suggest that schools existed as early as the 4th millennium BC. School texts as direct evidence were in Schuruppak[1] found from the middle of the 3rd millennium. On the exercise boards, the pupils, who were called sons, always put their own name at the end, followed by the name of their own father. The fathers all came from the above-mentioned management professions. In the beginning, 2000 characters had to be learned. Some of the teachers named father showed a sense of humor, as shown in a teaching story on the addition of 9 and 1, the fable of the clever and the nine stupid wolves. The subjects can be arithmetic, drawing and Sumerian, i. H. Identify writing, reading. Essays, fables, wisdom teachings, hymns and epics were written.

Mathematics and Astronomy [edit]

The Sumerians produced the first known culture of sophisticated mathematics. They are considered the inventors of the vault and founded Ur, Uruk and Lagasch, the oldest known cities with monumental buildings, especially the ziggurat typical of Mesopotamia. The beginnings of astronomy can also be found in Sumer; they already knew planets like Mercury.

Myth and religion

The Sumerian religion is one of the oldest of the known religions and is considered to be an essential model for later religions in Mesopotamia and the neighboring areas (on which the 3 monotheistic religions of today are later partly based, for example: the Gilgamesh epic is used by some scholars seen as a model of the biblical tale of the flood ("Noah's Ark"). In addition to the main and original gods, the Sumerians each worshiped their city gods, who competed with each other and replaced each other in their hegemony. Together they already formed a common kingdom of gods. The oldest clay tablet finds are of particular importance with fragments of the Gilgamesh epic, which point back to Sumerian times.

Country and city names [edit]

In the Sumerian, as well as later in the Akkadian language, the term KUR first for Mountain and mountainous country used; KUR-KUR stood for mountains, which later became the general term for Foreign country / country developed. Cities or city-states were called URU. In the Sumerian or Akkadian spelling, the terms were written superscript in front of the respective country or city name, for example CureMizr or URUUr.

Literature [edit]
  • Gebhard J. Selz: Sumerians and Akkadians: history, society, culture, Beck, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-406-50874-X
  • Dietz-Otto Edzard: History of Mesopotamia. C. H. Beck, Munich 2004. ISBN 3-406-51664-5.
  • Helmut Uhlig: The Sumerians. Lübbe, Bergisch-Gladbach 1992. ISBN 3-404-64117-5.
Web links [edit]
Notes [edit]
  1. ↑ This Sumerian place to the south-east of what would later become Babylon was established around 3400 BC. Settled. In the Gilgamesh epic, it is the city of the gods in which Ziusudra the flood was proclaimed.