How can we help?

You can also find more resources in our Help Center.

42 terms

Sumeria: The first Civilization

Information about Mesopotamia and the Sumerians
STUDY
PLAY
Surplus of food
Most important element of civilization
Specialization of Labor
Provides a wide variety of goods and services, encourages developed skills, and promotes social classes.
Stratification of Society into Classes
Defines a person's place in society and reflects an un-egalitarian distribution of power and wealth.
Organized government
Makes and enforces law to keep order, standardizes and ensures authenticity of a currency, and collects taxes to support the most vulnerable members of society.
Cooperation beyond the family unit in building civic structures under centralized government management
Often enhance other elements of civilization
Organized religion
Formalizes religious beliefs and offers guidance in questions of life, death, creation, nature and spirit.
System of Writing
Provides a way to keep accurate and official records of taxes, building projects, religious rituals and beliefs, trade transactions, etc.
Plows
Allowed cultivation of land farther from the soft muck of the riverside. Copper plow dates to 3000s BCE. Bronze plow dates to 3000 BCE.
Central Institutions
Emerged because food had to be transported, stored and redistributed, and therefore this caused urbanization
Uruk
A large Sumerian city state, the first city state in 2500 BCE, that is the supposed home of Gilgamesh
Cuneiform
Sumerian system of writing made up of wedge-shaped markings, first clay tablets date to 3300 BCE from Uruk
Land of No Return
The afterlife of the Sumerian religion
Ziggurats
Sumerian temples made of sun-dried brick
Priests
The most wealthy, powerful class who interpreted the wishes of the gods through omens, such as the shape of the liver of a sacrificial animal. Priests often took advantage of their power and used gifts for the gods for themselves.
King Urnammu
The king of Ur who produced the first recorded law code in 2100 BCE, which showed monetary compensation for harm done and protection of the weak and vulnerable.
Hammurabi
King of the Babylonian empire; creator of the Code of Hammurabi, one of the world's oldest codes of law.
Hammurabi's Code
A harsh code with eye-for-eye justice, and cruelty towards women.
Mammetun
Goddess of fate
Ninurta
God of war
Ennugi
God or irrigation
Ea
God of wisdom and providence
Belit-Sheri
Record keeper of the gods
Anunnaki
Judges of the underworld
Irkalla
Goddess of the underworld
Anu
Supreme king of the gods and source of all order and government
Enlil
Storm god who supported royal authority
Siduri
Goddess of wine
Gilgamesh
A legendary Sumerian king who was the hero of an epic collection of mythic stories
Sargon
Akkadian king who built history's first empire by conquering all the Sumerian cities
Environmental/Agricultural Collapse
Caused by over cultivation due to increasing population, salt level rose into the soil, which made crop yield decline (especially wheat). Water became polluted.
War
Independent Sumerian city states were susceptible to external conquest
Euphrates River
A river in southwestern Asia that flows into the Persian Gulf; was important in the development of several great civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia
Tigris River
A river in southwestern Asia that flows through the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent
Ur
A city of ancient Sumer in southern Mesopotamia on a site in present-day southeast Iraq. One of the oldest cities in Mesopotamia, it was an important center of Sumerian culture after c. 3000 B.C. and the birthplace of Abraham.
Rawlinson
Deciphered the Behistun Inscription
Behistun Inscription
a cliff that has Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian inscribed it in Persia.
Enkidu
Legendary friend of Gilgamesh, in the Epic of Gilgamesh
Anthropomorphism
The representation a god as having human form or traits
Myth
An attempt by a pre-scientific society to make sense of the universe.
Civilization
A society in an advanced state of social development with complex legal and political and religious organizations (with all seven elements of civilization)
base 60
The number system of the sumerians
City-state
A city and its surrounding lands that act as a government