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Ancient Man and His First Civilizations

Sumer

modern Iraq

 

 

Concerning Literature

Egyptians, Sumerians, Mohenjo-daroans, Harappans, and Cretans, Elamites, and Nubians, were literate 3,000 years, 4,000 years, who knows how many thousands of years, before the world ever heard of Greeks or Romans. And there is ample evidence of their literacy.

Yet there is not one single entry: describing any of the people of their times, whether it be friends, foes, or invaders: or even more incredulously, there is not one single entry describing invading Whites in any of their literature, (Except the Sumerian Guti quote).

Contrast that with Greek and Roman writings, in which these NEWLY literate people, describe EVERYTHING and EVERYONE!

The discrepancy is of course, not accidental, nor for lack of material.

Hopefully, the White man has simply withheld this material, and not destroyed it.

 

 

First some fast facts:

The name "Sumer" is derived from the later Babylonian name for southern Babylonia, ("mät umeri"), the land of Sumer. The later Greeks, called it Mesopotamia: (mesos "middle" and potamos "river"), so "land between the rivers". The Sumerians themselves, called their country, "The Civilized land" and themselves "The Black Headed One's".

Other people of the area were known as Akkadians, they inhabited the land just north of Sumer. The Assyrians, inhabited the land just north of the Akkadians. Akkadians are known by that name because "Sargon the great" built a city called "Agade". Akkadians and Sumerians did not make a distinction between themselves. The name Babylonia, is taken from the minor Amorite town of Babilla. After the ascension of Hammurabi, it become the major city of the region. Therefore in historical writing, Mesopotamia and Babylonia, are commonly used to refer to the entire region.

The ancient country of Sumer was located in the southern part of the modern state of Iraq. In early times, Sumerians like Egyptians, were fastidious about cleanliness, and like the Egyptians, they were for the most part “Head Shavers”. However, unlike the Egyptians, they did not wear wigs to cover their shaved heads, they seem to have preferred wearing caps. It is not known if they also practiced circumcision, as did the Egyptians.

 

Note: In keeping with our mission to present accurate and truthful history, artifacts such as the plaques, lintels etc. showing depictions of people, identified as Sumerian, with crudely carved faces and bulbous noses will not be presented. Some of these are obviously NOT Sumerian: perhaps Hittite in provenance? (such as it is). The rest are modern fabrications.

Authentic material from the area and time, fails to show any people, who look like that, or depicted themselves like that, (except perhaps those known as Hittites). Special attention should be paid to NOSES: Compare statue noses with the noses on finely detailed Sumerian Cylinder Seal figures such as below. (Those Cylinder Seals of poor quality, with little detail, and pointy facial features are of dubious authenticity).

It must be acknowledged that certain "Liberties" have been taken with Egyptian and Sumerian statuary, as well as the artifacts of others. We must all be mindful that by virtue of victorious war and invasion, these artifacts are now in the hands of people who are NOT their originators

Consequently; there has been attempts to establish ethnic commonalities and affinity with these original people, where none exists. Unfortunately, these attempts at commonality and affinity have taken the form of alterations, mutilations, forgeries and misrepresentations.

As with almost all statues of Egypt, Sumer, and the Middle East in general, certain modifications were made to the facial features chiefly the Nose - so as to make the face look Caucasian. In cases where modification was too difficult, the nose was simply broken off.

These practices are despicable and at the same time pathetic. But the damage is already done, and cannot be undone. Since new sites, are even now being found, we can only hope that in the future, men will not feel themselves so "Lacking", that they will feel the need to do such things.

Please see "Sumer" in the Additional Material Menu Area for more on this issue - Blue Banner below - or <<Click Here>>

 

 

Sumer Culture

 

 

In Sumer, society adhered to a class system comprised of three tiers: amelu, mushkinu, and slaves. The amelu were at the top rung of the class system. Nobles, government officials, professional soldiers, and priests were found in this class. Next were the mushkinu, the "middle class" of Sumerian society. These were the shopkeepers, farmers, merchants, and laborers. Slavery was an integral part of life in Sumer, and slaves were the lowest in the class system.

A person could find themselves a slave for several reasons, such as a prisoner of war, people unable to pay their debts, or people born into slavery. Husbands could sell their wives into slavery, and parents could sell their children into slavery. However, slaves did hold a few rights, they could borrow money, own property, engage in trade, serve as a witness in a legal matter, and even buy their freedom. Slaves who purchased their freedom, or who were freed by their owner, could not be forced back into slavery. The slave class did not appear to hold any particular negative social stigma with Sumerian citizens, they held the belief that persons who found themselves slaves, did so out of misfortune, rather than any fault of their own.

 

Sumer Kingship

Ancient Sumers civic structure, was comprised largely of freemen, who met in concert to govern themselves. The citizens initially held power, and decisions were made in an assembly. In times of need, such as war, a lugal (big man) was elected only for the duration of that threat. Over time however, this position became permanent and hereditary, a kingship: father to son.

Sumerian society and prosperity, was based on agriculture and commerce, fields irrigated by man-made canals produced an assortment of crops. The king, and the Temple of a cities patron god, - {thus the priests} - owned much of the land, but it was very common for the "average" man to own property. There was a large disparity between the rich and the poor, but even the poor, could own their own land and livestock. Coins were not used, commerce was accomplished through barter, or by payments of silver and gold. Purchases of even the smallest things, were almost always confirmed in writing.                                        

In family Life, Monogamy was the normal practice, although concubines were tolerated. Family elders often arranged marriages. Part of the marriage ceremony, consisted of the presentation of a sealed tablet, in which the guidelines for the marriage, and later if necessary divorce, were laid out. Marriage was a complex institution regulated by many laws. Children had no legal rights, their parents, simply by publicly disowning them, could have them banished from the community, in all likelihood there was age restrictions for this practice. Normally however, children were loved and cared for, and adoption was very common. But if necessary, children could also be disowned and sold into slavery, to repay a debt.

 

 

 

 

Religion

Sumerian religion had its roots in the worship of nature, such as the wind and water and animals. The ancient sages of Sumer found it necessary to bring order, to that which they did not understand. And to this end, they came to the natural conclusion that a greater force was at work. The forces of nature were originally worshipped, as entities onto themselves. However over time, the human form became associated with these forces. Gods in human form, were then seen as having control over nature. As in Egypt, figures with human bodies and animal heads are common.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sumerian theologians believed that every intricacy of the cosmos, was controlled by a divine and immortal being, and that the cosmos adhered to established rules.

The world below was known as the nether world. The Sumerians believed that the souls of the dead, descended into the nether world from their graves. But there were also special entrances to the nether world, in the cities. A person could enter the nether world from one of these special entrances, but once there, could not leave, unless a substitute was found to take their place in the world below. A person entering the nether world must adhere to certain rules:

He must not make any noise.
He must not carry any weapons.
He must not wear clean clothes.
He must not behave in a normal manner towards his family.
He must not wear sandals.
He must not douse himself with "good" oil.

Failure to adhere to these rules would cause the person to
be held fast by the denizens of the nether world, until a god intervened on their behalf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gods of Sumer were human in form, and maintained human traits. They ate, drank, married, and fought amongst themselves. Even though the gods were immortal and all-powerful, it was apparent that under certain circumstances, they could still be hurt and even killed.

Each god adhered to a set of rules of divine authority, known as the "Me". The Me ensured that each god was able to keep the cosmos functioning, according to the plans handed down to them by the paramount god "Enlil".

Hundreds of deities were recognized in the Sumerian pantheon. Many of these were wives, children, and servants of the more powerful deities. The gods were organized into a caste system, at the head of this system were the kings or supreme gods. The four most important deities were An, Enlil, Enki, and Ninhursag. These were the four creator deities who created all of the other gods. "An" was initially the head of the pantheon, but he was eventually seceded by Enlil. Enlil was then seen as the most important god. He is known as "the king of heaven and earth," "the father of the gods," and "the king of all the gods". Enlil was thought to have developed the broad designs for the universe. However, it was Enki who further developed and carried out his plans. Ninhursag was regarded as the mother of all living beings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the four creator deities, there was the group of seven gods, who "decree the fates." These were An, Enlil, Enki, Ninhursag, Nanna, Utu, and Inanna. These were then followed by the 50 "great gods" or the Annunaki, the children of An.

Sumerians believed that their role in the universe was to serve the gods. To this end, the ancient Sumerians devoted much of their time, to ensuring favor with the gods. This was done with worship and sacrifice. The high gods however, were believed to have more important things to do, than to attend to the common man's everyday prayers. And so personal gods were devised, as intermediaries between man, and the high gods. The personal gods listened to prayers and relayed them to the high gods.

Religion was an important part, of the daily life of a Sumerian citizen. Accordingly, the largest and most important structure in the city was the temple. Each city had a patron deity, to which its main temple was dedicated. However, a multitude of Gods were recognized, and so some of them might have shrines located in the main temple, while others might have their own smaller temple nearby.

 

Education

The temple served several purposes, most importantly worship and education. Each temple had an educational center, in which students learned mathematics and scribing (writing). The Mathematics taught, included simpler skills such as addition and multiplication, but also went on through to the more complex, such as geometry and square roots. Scribing students would spend many years in study, learning the intricacies of grammar and the thousands of cuneiform symbols. The Sumerian teacher was known as an ummia.

 

 

 

   

 

 

Writing

 

Whether the Sumerians were the first to develop writing is uncertain, but theirs is the oldest known writing system. The clay tablets on which they wrote, were very durable when baked. Archaeologists have dug up many thousands of them - some dated earlier than 3000 B.C. The earliest writing of the Sumerians was picture writing, similar in some ways to Egyptian hieroglyphs. They began to develop their own special style, when they found that on soft wet clay, it was easier to impress a line than to scratch it. To draw the pictures they used a stylus, probably a straight piece of reed with a frayed end. An unexpected result came about: the stylus could best produce triangular forms (wedges) and straight lines. They soon found that a set of these wedges and straight lines, could more efficiently represent words and thoughts. Pictures lost their usefulness and became stylized symbols. This kind of writing on clay, came to be called cuneiform, from the Latin cuneus, meaning "wedge."

 

 

 

 

Cylinder seals

Cylinder seals were another Sumerian invention; they were first used to roll one's signature into the wet clay of a tablet, thus recording a commercial transaction or a short inscription. Over time, Cylinder seals evolved so that they could reproduce pictorial scenes such as banquets. Thousands of these tablets and seals have been found in excavated temple compounds.

 

 

 

 

Sumerian Technology

As said before, there is always an argument, as to whether it was the Sumerians, Egyptians or Indus valley people, who invented writing, mathematics, calendars etc. Suffice to say, that Sumer had developed a complex commercial system, including contracts, grants of credit, loans with interest, and business partnerships. Moreover, the planning of the vast public works under their control, led priests to develop useful mathematics, including both a decimal notation and a number system based upon 60, which has given us our sixty-second minute, our sixty-minute hour and our division of the circle into 360 degrees. They invented mathematical tables and used quadratic equations. They studied the heavens, both for religious and agricultural purposes, and they created a lunar calendar, with a day of 24 hours and a week of seven days. Sumerians are also credited with inventing the Wheel and the wagon, as well as the boat sail.

 

 

 

 

Everyday Life

The average house of a Sumerian, was a one-story structure built from baked or Sun-dried mud-brick. It consisted of several rooms surrounding an open court, wealthier citizens lived in two-story brick structures. The typical wealthy house included reception rooms, kitchens, lavatories, servants quarters, and perhaps a private chapel. Music was an important part of life, instruments included harps, drums, tambourines, and pipes. Poems and songs dedicated to the gods were also very common.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: There is in all likelihood, some translation problems with Sumerian writing, the great bulk of their early writings still cannot be translated. Unlike most others in the Middle-east, the Sumerian language was not Semitic (Egyptian), but rather, a so-called agglutinating language, we think. Sumerian has no known relationship to any other language. There seems to be a remote relationship with Dravidian languages, (like that spoken by the Tamils in the south of India). However no one has any real idea of what the language sounded like. The information that we have, is gleaned from Akkadian translations of the Sumerian language.

 

 

 

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