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What was history of Sumer?

Sumer - one of the most ancient civilizations of the Middle East which existed at the end of IV - the beginning of the II millennium BC in Youzhny Dvurechye, area of the lower current of the Tiger and Euphrates, in the south of modern Iraq.

It is considered that the Southern Mesopotamia - not the best place in the world. Total absence of the wood and minerals. The marshiness, frequent floods accompanied with change of the riverbed of Euphrates from - for low coast and, as a result, total absence of roads. The only thing that was in prosperity, it reed, clay and water there. However in combination with the fertile soil fertilized by floods it appeared enough that at the very end of 3 - go the millennia there blossomed BC the first city-states of ancient Sumer.

Pioneer settlements in this territory appeared already in the VI millennium BC. From where the shumer assimilating local agricultural communities came to these lands it is not found out. Their legends speak about east or Hugo - east origin of these people. The most ancient settlement they considered Ereda - the most southern of the cities of Dvurechya, nowadays Abu`s ancient settlement - Shakhrayn.

The ancient legend says:

Once from the Eritrean sea where it borders on Babylonia, the animal endowed with reason by the name of Oann was. The animal of that had fish all body, only under the fish head there was other, human, his speech also was human. And its image remained until now. This being, happened, spent the whole day among people, teaching them concepts about literacy, sciences and any arts. Oann taught people to build the cities and to build temples the word, trained them in everything that softens customs, and since then nobody any more anything surprising invented He wrote to

the book about the beginning of the world, how it arose, and handed it to people .

So the priest Beros living at the time of Alexander of Macedon narrates about an origin of Dvurechya. This story is considered an invention, however some researchers including A. Kondratov, consider all this not as fiction. It is retelling of the Babylon myth about arrival of a deity of water of Ea which is transformation of a Sumer deity of Enki.

Historians consider as the only truth in this legend that shumersko - the Babylon culture extended from the South to the North, and the mysterious being Oann is considered a newcomer from the Indian Ocean, i.e. from islands in the Indian Ocean which culture was very developed.

But there is stranger version according to which the newcomer Oann was the representative of ancient culture, Shumera`s

hidden by thicknesses of the Indian Ocean considered that their ancestors came from the mysterious country Dilmun. Many archeologists consider that this country was located on the Bahrain Islands in the Persian Gulf. But the largest shumerolog professor Samuel Kramer proved that it not so. According to Kramer Dilmun shumer meant by the ancient country India. But it again - only the version.

Sumer language continues to remain too a riddle as still it was not succeeded to establish its relationship from one of the known language families.

Agriculture and an irrigation were a basis of economic life of Dvurechya. In the most ancient communities of the southern part of Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC almost all products made here were consumed on the place, the subsistence economy reigned. Clay and reed was widely used. In the most ancient times from clay molded vessels - at first manually, and subsequently on a special potter`s wheel. At last, did of clay in a large number the major construction material - a brick which prepared with impurity of a cane and straw.

The main centers of a Sumer civilization - the city-states concentrating around themselves the small cities and settlements were connected with a network of the main channels. Eshnuna, Sippar, to Kut, Kish, Nippur, Shurupurak, Uruk, Ur, Umm, Lagash were the largest among them.

Already since the end of the IV millennium BC existed the cult union of all communities of Sumer with the center in Nippur where there was one of the main temples of Sumer - Ekur, the temple of god Enlil.

In the field of medicine shumer had very high standards. In the library of the tsar Ashshurbanipal found Layard in Nineveh there was an accurate order, in it there was a big medical department in which there were thousands of clay tablets. All medical terms were based in words, borrowed from Sumer language. Medical procedures were described in special reference books where data on hygienic rules, on operations, for example, about removal of a cataract, about use of alcohol for disinfection contained at surgeries. The Sumer medicine differed in scientific approach to statement of the diagnosis and the instruction of a course of treatment, both therapeutic, and surgical.

Shumera were excellent travelers and researchers - also the invention of the first-ever vessels is attributed to them. One akkadsky dictionary of Sumer words contained not less than 105 designations of various types of vessel - by their sizes, appointment and by the form freights.

Even more amazing was the fact that shumer seized ways of receiving alloys - process by means of which various metals connect when heating in the furnace. Shumera learned to make bronze - the solid, but well giving in to processing metal which turned all course of history of mankind.

Shumera measured rising and a decline of visible planets and stars of rather terrestrial horizon, using heliocentric system. At these people the mathematics was well developed, they knew and widely applied astrology. It is interesting that shumer had the same astrological system, as well as now: they divided the sphere into 12 parts (12 houses of the Zodiac) on thirty degrees everyone. The mathematics of shumer represented bulky system, however it allowed to calculate fractions and to multiply numbers to millions, to take roots and to build in degree.

The religion of shumer represented quite accurate system of heavenly hierarchy though some scientists consider that the pantheon of gods is not systematized. God of air Enlil who divided the sky and the earth headed gods. In a Sumer pantheon AN (the heavenly beginning) and KI (machismo) were considered as creators of the universe. The fundamentals of mythology were made by energy of ME which meant a prototype of all live, radiated by gods and temples. Gods in Sumer were represented as people. In their relationship courtship and wars, rape and love, deception and anger meet. There is even a myth about the person who seized in a dream the goddess Inanna. It is remarkable that all myth will get sympathy for the person. Shumer had a peculiar idea of Paradise, in it there was no place to the person. Sumer Paradise is a monastery of gods. It is considered that views of shumer found reflections in later religions.

History of Sumer represented fight of the largest city-states for domination in the region. Kish, Lagash, Ur and Uruk conducted infinite fight during several hundred years until the country was united by Sargon Drevny (2316 - 2261) - the founder of the great Akkadsky power stretching from Syria to the Persian Gulf. In the period of government of Sargon who, according to the legend, was east Semite became wider to be used akkadskiya (East Semitic language), however Sumer remained both in life, and in office-work. The Akkadsky power fell in the 22nd century BC under an impact kutiyev - the tribes which came from the western part of the Iranian Plateau.

At the end of the III millennium BC the center of statehood of Sumer moved to Ur which tsars managed to unite all areas Dvurechya. The last rise of Sumer culture is connected with this era. The kingdom of the III dynasty of Ur represented a drevnevostochny despotism of which the tsar carrying the title " was at the head; tsar of Ur, tsar of Sumer and Akkad . Sumer language became official language of imperial offices while the population, generally spoke on akkadsky. During an era of board of the III dynasty of Ur the Sumer pantheon of which god Enlil together with 7 or 9 gods entering into heavenly council was at the head was ordered.

Falling of the III dynasty of Ur happened for several reasons: the centralized economy failed that led to exhaustion of grain stocks and hunger in the country which endured invasion amoreev at this time - the West Semitic cattle breeding tribes which appeared in the territory of Mesopotamia at a boundary III and II millennium BC. From now on Sumer did not exist as the independent state any more, however its great cultural achievements continued to live in different civilizations of Mesopotamia within two next millennia.


1. Kuvshinskaya I. V. Sumer//World history. Drevny world. - M of 2003. - Page 31 - 55.

2. Big encyclopedic dictionary. - M of 1998. - Page 1383.

3. Myths of people of the world//Under the editorship of Tokarev A. S. - M 7. I and II volumes.