Sumer: The Sumerians<br />The First Civilization and People in History<br />In Ancient Mesopotamia<br />
IntroductionWhat Sumer and the Sumerians are all about<br />In approximately 3100 B.C., the first civilization was discovered in Sumer, which is in Southern Mesopotamia. Sumer is the beginning of everything we have, do and make use of today. In this presentation, you will learn all about what we have learned over the past few weeks about the Sumerians and the lives they lived all those years ago. We also learned about their cultures, their contributions to today’s society, their architecture, their economy, and much more. We hope you enjoy it!<br />
THE RISE OF THEIR EMPIRE<br /><ul><li>In southern Mesopotamia, in around 3000 BC, a civilization known as Sumer (soo-MER) began an elaborate, yet advanced civilization.
Sumer was first established between 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people who didn’t speak the official Sumerian language. These people are now known as proto-Euphrateans or Ubaidians, for the village Al-Ubaid, where their remains were first found.
A majority of the Sumerians lived in the countryside, but were dominated from the suburban areas that ruled over the neighboring countryside.
After a group of people (around 3100 BCE) settled in Sumer, gradually, by doing farming, building temples, monuments etc, the Sumerians came to power - there were no civil wars and there was peace between the citizens. After being enslaved by the Akkadians, after several generations, the Sumerians managed to regain power and so the official language was, once again, Sumerian.</li></li></ul><li>Sumerian Contributions to the World!<br />The Sumerians of Mesopotamia were very smart people. They contributed many inventions or “firsts” totoday’s world. To sum it all up, they invented the wheel, the sailboat, and the first written language, frying pans, razors, cosmetic sets, shepherd’s pipes, harps, kilns to cook, bricks and pottery, bronze hand tools like hammers and axes, the plow, the plow seeder, and the first superhero, Gilgamesh.<br />One of the Sumerians most impressive invention is the wheel, which had lots of uses. The sailboat was also one of their most helpful and famous inventions which helped them with trade. Third, they invented the first carts and chariots, which made transportation much easier. They also came up with the first irrigation. Finally, writing, one of the most special inventions in all of history. Without it, life would be very difficult. The Sumerians developed some of the most resourceful things, even for today’s standards. <br />
GEOGRAPHY<br />Early Mesopotamia was situated in the Middle East, in which is now present day Iran and Iraq. Back then, Mesopotamia was a mountainous country. Mesopotamia in Greek means “The Land Between Two Rivers” (mesos ‘middle’ and potamos ‘river’). The two rivers that Mesopotamia was amid by were the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. The Tigris was on the east while the Euphrates was on the west. <br />Today’s archeology proves that the Sumerians actually did have their first few cities located nearby the Persian Gulf, although after several years, they extended their civilization up north.<br />An early Sumerian map.<br />
STYLE<br />The daily appearance of the Sumerian people was, for the most part, rather basic. The men carried out long hair with a part down the middle. Also, some of the men had long beards, while some men liked to be clean-shaven. Their clothing included skirts they could wrap around themselves and felt cloaks, although it eventually advanced into long skirts with large shawls thrown across one of their shoulders. Sumerian women also liked to wear their hair long. The majority of women would braid their locks into one long braid which they liked to bundle up and around their heads. For clothing, the Sumer women dressed in long shawls which hid their bodies.<br />
Architecture<br />Sumerian architecture is the oldest type of architecture in the world. Between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers (or modern Iraq), the Sumerians built lots of large buildings in about 3500 BC. Because they didn’t have much building stone at that period of time, they used what they did have, lots of clay, which would explain why the Sumerians mainly built their buildings out of mud-brick or fired brick. <br />The Sumerians had a very different idea of architecture then from what we have today. The most important buildings were the ziggurats. They were so high it was as if they were aiming for heaven. Each city-state had its own individual ziggurat, partially to gratify the gods and partially to display how much power the town had. <br />In addition, they built their houses out of mud bricks with different amount offloors, based on their class in society. They also built walls around their city-states with their farmlands outside of the walls.<br />
Religion<br />The Sumerians believed that the world wasmadeout of an ancient sea from when the universe, gods, and people were created. They thought that the universe was ruled over by these gods, who were anthropomorphic (which means they had human features and human personalities). <br />The Sumerians were polytheistic, which means they worshipped many gods. They worshipped these gods in massive temples known as ziggurats. Each ziggurat was dedicated to a specific god, who the Sumerians believed ruled over their entire city.<br />The main gods of the Sumerians were Enki (god of water), Ki (god of earth), Enlil (god of air), and An (god of heaven). These key gods were believed to have formulated the rules of Sumerian society to which all people were assumed to abide by. The Sumerians also believed that the cause for their lifestyle was to please the gods. Their beliefs united the Sumerians.<br />
Timeline<br />-4000 BC Sumerians arrive in Mesopotamia <br />-3500 BC First Settlements in Mesopotamia<br />-3400 BC Pictograms were used<br />-3400 BC Priests emerge as ruling class of city states<br />-3250 BC Wheel was used<br />-2900 BC Cuneiform is formed<br />-2900 BC Walls were constructed around each city state<br />-2750 BC Gilgamesh rules over Erech<br />-2340 BC First recorded ruler of Sumer (Mes-Anni-Padda)<br />-2230 BC Gutians conquer Sumer<br />-2100 BC Sumerians king list is compiled<br />-1763 BC Hammurabi found Babylonia putting an end to Sumer<br />
DIVISIONS IN SOCIETY<br />The society in Sumer was split up into three different ranks of power. The first rank or the class of higher importance were known as the nobility. The were made up of the government officials, priests, soldiers and scribes. The second rank or the middle class were the commoners. This included merchants, teachers, laborers, farmers, or craftsmen. The nobility possessed a large amount of the land in Sumer and the commoners had what was remaining. The rank of least importance was the lower class which consisted of the slaves of the nobility. Despite the fact slaves were own by someone else, they had their advantages too. The most important element of Sumerian life were the families who loved each other and remained together no matter what.<br />
Writing<br />Sumerian is the first official written language. Its script, known as cuneiform,means“wedge-shaped.” This is because the pictograms (writings) were wedged into soft pieces of clay which was roasted afterwards. The Cuneiform script is one of the earliest known structures of written expression in history. When the Sumerians created it in the late 4thmillenium BC, cuneiform writing started as a system of pictographs. However, over time, the pictorial symbols became less complicated yet more abstract. <br />
Notable leaders & cities<br />Etana, 1st king (2800 BCE) was thought to be man who stabilized all the land<br />Ur-Namu – famous for building loads of temples – 1st king after being conquered by the Akkadians. After several generations, the Sumerians regained power<br />King Hammurabi – famous for creating the first code of law (Code of Hammurabi) with 282 laws<br />Uruk – famous because the signs of the first written language were found there<br />Kish – cultural centre<br />Nippur – religious centre<br />Each city was thought to be under the protection of god – that’s what the temples were for.<br />
Bibiliography<br />The electronic sources we used:<br />“Sumer." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Web. Accessed 14 Nov. 2009. <http://school.eb.com/eb/article-9070297>. <br />"Sumer" World Book. 2009. World Book Student. Web. Accessed 14 Nov. 2009. ≤http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar539160&st=sumer>.<br />Schwebius, Christopher "Sumerians - The Beginning of Inventions." Sumerians - The Beginning of Inventions. 22 Sep. 2008. EzineArticles.com. Accessed on 16 Nov. 2009. <http://ezinearticles.com/?Sumerians- - - The- Beginning- of- Inventions&id=1518690>. <br />Tom B. Jones, "Sumer," Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia, 1993; Samuel Noah Kramer, Cradle of Civilization, New York: Time Incorporated, 1969; World History, Volume One, St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company, 1991; http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~lheagney/mesopotamia/SUMER.html<br />"ancient civilization." Student Encyclopædia. Britannica Online for Kids. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009. Web. Accessed on16 Nov. 2009 <http://kids.britannica.com/comptons/article-196360/ancient-civilization>.<br />"The Sumerians". Taken from: http://home.cfl.rr.com/crossland/AncientCivilizations/Middle_East 29 Nov 2006.Read more: http://ancienthistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_sumerians_of_mesopotamia#ixzz0X45XI7QL. Accessed on 16th November 2009. <br />Collon, D. Ancient Near Eastern Art. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995. Read more: http://ancienthistory.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_sumerians_of_mesopotamia#ixzz0X473X7uhhttp://www.crystalinks.com/sumerwriting.html<br />The print resources we used:<br />Hynson, Colin. Find out about Mesopotamia. London, Hodder Wayland, 2006<br />
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