Sumerian Culture

While researching Sumerian culture I learned many
interesting things that I was not aware of before. Many little
known facts about Sumer will change the way that people
feel about other ancient societies. Many advances that are
not attributed to Sumeria, often were pioneered by this
advanced culture long before others. Most people don\'t
even know much about the origan of the Sumerian culture.
The people who originally lived in Sumer in 4000 BC were
not really Sumerians. Sumers original inhabitants were in fact
Ubaidians. The Ubaidian culture was already quite advanced
for that time, and had a large variety of unique farming
techniques. Between 4000 and 3000 BC Sumer was
infiltrated by many nomadic tribes. This constant movement
of peoples caused a cross-fertilization of culture. Technology
from many different regions were becoming centralized in
Sumer. So were different theological viewpoints. During this
millennium the people that we think of as Sumerians moved
into Sumer. These people originated near the Caspian sea
and did not even arrive in Sumer until 3300 BC. When these
people ended up in Sumer it created the worlds first "high
civilization". All who lived in Sumer were now recognized as
Sumerian, because Sumerian was the common language.
Sumer, like most early middle-eastern nations, was in the
fertile crescent. These small waterways provided excellant
irrigation, and transportation. Sumer was one of the first
large civilizations that had a very developed textile industry.
Wool sheared from goats and sheep was made into
garments. The usage of linen was reserved for only high
priests and other dignitaries. Flax and wool was used for
everyone else. Farming was also a very predominant
industry in this nation. All of the mixed culture taught the
Sumerians about many different farming methods. Sickles
and other tools aided in the farming. The harvested grain was
preserved in granaries and pots. This allowed grain to be
shipped without spoiling or molding. All of the waterways in
Sumeria allowed products to be shipped up and down rivers
to other destinations. One popular shipping method was
called the "Turnip". The turnip was a buoy shaped boat that
was attached to a long rope. The turnip would float along in
the water, while the merchant rode on horseback on a near
by road. Transportation methods increased in efficiency and
new types of them arrived during the Sumerian rule, for
instance, more types of boats were invented, and the
Sumerians introduced the sail to the world of travel. The
wheel was also first implemented in the Sumerian nation.
When these advanced forms of transportation were not
available, people still used donkeys with baskets strapped to
their sides. Iron working was used to create tools that aided
in the growth of the economy. Harpoons and scythes were
constructed from metal so that they were stronger and more
affective. Plows and other farming tools were made out of
iron now. Cuneiform writing was pioneered by the Sumerian
society. Cuneiform was writing that was shaped like wedges.
This writing style was used for thousands of years after the
Sumerian empire was overtaken. Sumerians were the first
known users of "real" medicine. Their medicine did not rely
upon magical incantations or blessings from gods. Tablets
were excavated in the city-state of Nippur that provided
detailed instructions for some type of balm. The instructions
involved boiling, filtering, and pulverizing plants. Also,
directions also often required scrubbing of washing wounds.
This is the first mention of knowledge of germs. Doctors
were referred to as A-ZU, which means Water-Knower. It
is unsure if Sumerians knew about surgery yet, but there
were many bodies that were found with the skulls sliced
through, possibly for study or to relieve pressure on the
brain. It is thought that veterinarians also existed. This is
because references were made to "donkey doctors" and
"horse doctors". Sumerians had massive knowledge of the
anatomy of humans and animals. This was evident because
of the elaborate dissections involved in ritual sacrifice. Sumer
did not have an official religion, but they still worshipped
many gods. There were gods for each city-state, and for
many other parts of nature. Sumerians were especially
pessimistic. They believed that when dead, people went
down to an eternally silent, dark underworld. Sumerians
realized that the cycle of the seasons and rivers were
unrelated to god, but still erected giant temples, called
Ziggurats, to worship their gods. There was a ziggurat for
Inanna, the goddess of love, and many other gods.
Sumerians were quite good at art. It was used often to honor
royalty, and nobility. The first schools for the arts originated
in Sumeria. Sculptures made from all sorts of materials were
found in Nippur, and other Sumerian cities. Statues of many
gods were constructed, as well as sculptures of rulers. Each
city-state had