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Sumer



Introduction of Sumer
Ancient region and civilization in the S part of Mesopotamia.The people of Sumer, who spoke a non-Semitic language, may have come from outsideMesopotamia. Building upon a long development ofincreasingly sophisticated cultures in Mesopotamiaand to the north, not long before 3000 b.c. they producedwhat is still accounted the world's earliesturban civilization, which was shortly to be followedby the rather different civilization of ancient Egypt,and finally by that of the Indus Valley. The Sumerianswere responsible for the development of a writtenlanguage known as cuneiform; for their extensiveirrigation and canal-building achievements; for theirexceptional artistry in gold, silver, and precious minerals;as well as for their massive religious architecture.Flourishing as a series of independent city-states,the Sumerians finally united with the Semitic-speakinginhabitants of Mesopotamia from Akkad, and it wasSargon of Akkad who finally imposed a political unityon the whole of Mesopotamia c. 2340 b.c. Invadingbarbarians from the N brought about the collapse ofAkkad c. 2180 b.c., although one great ruler of aSumerian city state, Gudea, held out in Lagash.Sumer was able to regain some of its politicalpower and prestige under the Third Dynasty of Ur (c.2060-1950 b.c.), but Ur was destroyed by Elam.With the rise of Babylonia under Hammurabi, theSumerians disappeared as a distinct nation, althoughtheir culture as a whole was carried on for thousand sof years, from Babylonian times into those of Assyriaand Persia. The chief cities of Sumer, many of whichhave been excavated, lay near the lower EuphratesRiver and included Erech, Larsa, Lagash, Kish,Nippur, and Ur.Ancient region and civilization in the S part of Mesopotamia.The people of Sumer, who spoke a non-Semitic language, may have come from outsideMesopotamia. Building upon a long development ofincreasingly sophisticated cultures in Mesopotamiaand to the north, not long before 3000 b.c. they producedwhat is still accounted the world's earliesturban civilization, which was shortly to be followedby the rather different civilization of ancient Egypt,and finally by that of the Indus Valley. The Sumerianswere responsible for the development of a writtenlanguage known as cuneiform; for their extensiveirrigation and canal-building achievements; for theirexceptional artistry in gold, silver, and precious minerals;as well as for their massive religious architecture.Flourishing as a series of independent city-states,the Sumerians finally united with the Semitic-speakinginhabitants of Mesopotamia from Akkad, and it wasSargon of Akkad who finally imposed a political unityon the whole of Mesopotamia c. 2340 b.c. Invadingbarbarians from the N brought about the collapse ofAkkad c. 2180 b.c., although one great ruler of aSumerian city state, Gudea, held out in Lagash.Sumer was able to regain some of its politicalpower and prestige under the Third Dynasty of Ur (c.2060-1950 b.c.), but Ur was destroyed by Elam.With the rise of Babylonia under Hammurabi, theSumerians disappeared as a distinct nation, althoughtheir culture as a whole was carried on for thousand sof years, from Babylonian times into those of Assyriaand Persia. The chief cities of Sumer, many of whichhave been excavated, lay near the lower EuphratesRiver and included Erech, Larsa, Lagash, Kish,Nippur, and Ur.

Sumer Images