Sumer | Definition, Economy, Environment, Religion & Facts

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The first known human civilization in recorded history is believed to have been founded by the Sumerians. Between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, in southern Mesopotamia, in the Middle East, they resided.

Cradle of Humanity

Many historians believe that Sumer was where villages and civilizations first developed approximately 5000 BC. Nomads settled in the lush land and started to establish small settlements, which over time expanded into substantial towns. These towns eventually evolved into the Sumerian civilization. The “Cradle of Civilization” is commonly referred to as this region.

City-States of Sumer

Sumerian villages developed into sizable towns, and then into city-states. Here, a municipal government would have control over both the city and the surrounding area. These city-states frequently engaged in conflict. For security, they erected walls around their cities. Although there was farmland outside the city walls, when invaders arrived, people would flee there.

Sumer was home to numerous city-states. City-states like Eridu, Bad-tibura, Shuruppak, Uruk, Sippar, and Ur were among the most potent ones. One of the oldest cities in the world, Eridu is believed to have formed before any other significant city.

Government and Rulers in Sumeria

The monarch of each city-state was distinct. They went by several names, including lugal, en, and ensi. The monarch or governor was like the ruler. The high priest of their faith was frequently also the city’s ruler. This increased his might. The most well-known king was Gilgamesh of Uruk, the subject of one of the oldest surviving pieces of literature in the world, the Epic of Gilgamesh.

In addition to the monarch or governor, the city had a very intricate administration with representatives who assisted in planning construction projects and maintaining municipal operations. There were laws as well, and breaking them may result in punishment. The Sumerians are frequently credited with creating government.


Every city-state had its own deity as well. A ziggurat, or huge temple to the local deity, stood in the middle of each city. The ziggurat had a flat top and resembled a step pyramid. The priests would carry out sacrifices and rituals here.

Technology and Inventions of importance

The numerous inventions the Sumerians produced are among their greatest contributions to civilization. They also created the first wheeled vehicles, a system of numbers, the first form of writing, sun-dried bricks, and irrigation for cultivation. These were all vital for the advancement of human civilization.

They were also fascinated by science, particularly astronomy and the motion of the moon and stars. They constructed a more precise calendar using this data.

Some Interesting Sumerian Facts:

Like ours, which is based on the number 10, their number system was based on the number 60. When they discovered that there are 60 minutes in an hour and 360 degrees in a circle, they utilised this. These divisions are still in use today.

Some scholars believe that the ziggurat in the city of Eridu represented the biblical Tower of Babel.

There were some significant city-states among them. The main city, Ur, is said to have had a peak population of 65,000 people.

They used sun-dried bricks to construct their homes and buildings.

The Akkadian language eventually took the place of Sumerian around 2500 BC.

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