Sumerians, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.

The Sumerians (inhabitants of Šumer, Egyptian Sangar, biblical Shinar, native ki-en-gir, Ki = earth, en = title usually translated as Lord, gir = cultured, civilized, hence “place of civilized lords”) are considered First urban civilization along with that of ancient Egypt.

Egypt, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


It was an eternity of southern Mesopotamia (present-day South-East Iraq), native or settled in that region since the time it migrated (around 4000 BC) until Babylon’s rise (around 1500 AD).

Mesopotamians, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


Preceded by a fundamentally figurative writing based on pictograms, the subsequent stylization led to wedge writing that seems to precede any other form of codified writing, appearing around the end of the IV millennium BC. The term “Sumer” is, in fact, the name given to the ancient inhabitants of Mesopotamia by their successors, the Semitic people of the Akkadians.

Akkadians, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


The land of Sumerian origin is still unknown today, but one thing is certain: the Sumerians were not a population of Semitic origin. In addition to this it is well known that they were neither the first nor the only people to inhabit the lands between the Tigris and the Euphrates but who took the place, or rather integrated, with the cultural complexes of Ubaid and Uruk , Folks who were already inhabiting these lands and had reached discrete technological and organizational development.

Uruk, definition and study. A-Zindex of Cognitio.


From the Protodynamic period (around 2900 BC), the Sumerians were divided into several independent state cities with an absolute monarchy exercising their power over a territory of about 30 km in diameter and whose borders were usually defined by channels. The two most important buildings of each city were the temple, usually devoted to a specific god, and a “palace,” the seat of “state power”. It is not easy to summarize the historical events that characterized Sumerian civilization, especially for the most ancient phases. Firstly, because (at least initially) there never existed a true Sumerian state, but only a number of Independent City-states struggling with each other, even though they were linked by a common cultural foundation; Secondly because of the scarcity of archaeological sources and written texts, as well as the difficulty in carrying excavations into places still unsafe today. The Sumer is an isolated language, ie it is not related to any other known language. There have been many attempts to connect the Sumer to other languages, especially the Uraloaltic group. It is an agglutinant language, meaning morphemes (word units) are put together to create words. It is also known to be the first language SOV or Word Subject Object. The first inscriptions are in pictorial form, whose stylization will lead to wedge writing. Extremely large texts (hundreds of thousands of writings) in Sumerian language survived; Mostly in clay boards. The Sumer, from a certain age, uses a wedge-shaped writing, one of the oldest known forms of writing. Some types of Sumerian texts include magical spells, scientific texts including mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. Sumerian schools, called edubba (tablet house), can be considered the first schools of humanity and appear around the 3rd millennium BC. The Sumerians created the oldest literature we have news. Among the main literary genres, there were mythical poems, epic poems (the most famous of which is the Gilgamesh Epopee), gift hymns, religious hymns.

Gilgamesh, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


Sumerian literature also belongs to the oldest author we have news: the priestess Enheduanna. The first finds that represent war scenarios belong to the Uruk period. Among the ancient weapons found there is a stone bat, probably belonged to King Meselim of Kish (about 2600 BC). It is difficult to speak of a Sumerian religion as such, as beliefs and rituals varied greatly in time and distances, and each city had its own plot of mythology and theology. The Sumerians worshiped the main triad, represented by An, An in Sumerian, Anum or Anu in Akkadian was the heavenly god of Mesopotamian mythology

Mythology, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


The art of creation, deus otiosus, is the father of gods and goddesses of goddess Antum. Sacred was the number 60, the highest figure in the Mesopotamian sexagesimal session. An / Anu in Akkadian language means “He who belongs to Heaven”. He was born with his counterpart Ki, the Earth, from the Primary Sea (Nammu), initially forming a single set (called the cosmic mountain, An-Ki). An and Ki were later separated from the god Enlil, which they themselves generated.

Enlil, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


The Sumerians gods were generally the patrons of particular cities where they were worshiped and had their temple. Their religious significance logically followed the political fate of the city, so it often prevailed, even across the country, at times it was assured of the will of the winner. Particularly feared was the destruction of the sacred simulacrum or the theft of the statue that was brought into exile by the enemy. According to the Sumer belief, gods would create humans from clay, to use them as servants (Golem).

Golem, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


Often the gods expressed their anger and frustration in earthquakes: the essence of Sumer’s religion was to point out that all humanity was at the mercy of the gods.  The Sumerians believed that the universe consisted of a flat disk enclosed in a dome. The afterward meant descent into a wicked lower world, to pass eternity into a miserable existence like a ghost (Gidim). Sumerian temples consisted of a central nave with corridors at the sides. Next, to the corridors, there were the priest’s rooms, at the end of one of the two there was a stage and a clay tablet for animal and plant sacrifices. Granaries and warehouses were usually close to temples. After a while, the Sumerians began to place temples over artificial, terraced and multi-layered hills: the Ziggurat.

Ziggurat, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


The Sumerians founded the basics of mathematics and with this the geometry and many theorems. Calculated with operations. Their numbering system was 60. The Sumerians are probably remembered mainly for their many inventions that have left us in inheritance. Many scholars believe that the first wheel has appeared in these lands, first born in the shape of a potter’s lathe. Cuneiform writing is the first of which we have news, contemporary, or most probably antecedent, to Egyptian hieroglyphs of at least seventy-five years. The Sumerians were also among the first true astronomers.

Cuneiform, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


They mapped the stars into sets of constellations, many of which survive in the current Zodiac and know the five planets visible to the naked eye. This population invented and developed arithmetic by elaborating a sexagesimal system. Using the sexagesimal system invented the clock with its 60 seconds, 60 minutes and 12 hours and the 12-month calendar that are still in use. Concerning the calendar, Sumerian knowledge of the Sun and the Moon allowed this person to elaborate the first reported calendar, a solar and lunar calendar that began to be used in Nippur in 3760 BC.

Sun, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.


The most famous Sumerian buildings, and generally Mesopotamians, where the ziggurats, large terraced terraces, built of bricks and cane layers, up to sixty feet and supporting a templar cell. The Biblical Tower of Babel is, in all likelihood, the ideal and literary description of the ziggurat of the city of Babylon, famous throughout the ancient world, and also described by Herodotus.

Babel tower, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.

Babel tower


In every city-state they built a ziggurat (usually located in the center of the city), the ziggurat was an imposing temple in the shape of a gradient pyramid and was devoted to a protector God, his structure wanted to remember a huge scale that allowed him to approach To the divinities of heaven.

Sumerians, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.



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Sumerians, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.