From around 5000B.C. their was a civilization of people called the Sumerians who lived between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This land was called Mesopotamia. The ancient Sumerians were farmers, and many people believe them to have developed the first civilization. This essay will explore three features of civilization, including, Writing, Central Government and Organized Religion, and prove that Sumer is a civilization.
Sumerians were made famous for the discovery that they invented the first type of writing. The Sumerians started writing in about 3100 B.C. to record farmer's taxes. They later used it to record how much land the temple owned. It was also used for recording animals (similar to cave paintings). The Sumerians also invented some sort of mathematics to go along with the writing. The style of writing they used was called Cuneiform writing. It consisted of wedge shaped marks on clay tablets. Mostly only scribes knew how to write, only after they went to school to write at the temple. They also used cylinder seals, which were engraved with designs, so when they rolled it onto clay tablets it would make back-to-front impressions of the design. Overall it is amazing that Sumerians in invented writing over five thousand years ago.
Although the Sumerians were mostly known for inventing writing, they also had a very successful government. The Sumerian cities were independent, so they were technically City/states. This means they had their own kings, and government. Each city/state had a palace for its ruler. The king of the each city/state controlled most things, including the writing of laws,when the state went to war. The king also was involved in religious rituals. The citizens were so loyal to their kings sometimes when the king died lyre players would be sacrificed, and buried in the royal tomb, to play for their master in the underworld. Sometimes the government would draft citizens to do community projects. Their were several important city/states, but Ur was one of the most powerful. One king of Kish, named Sargon built up the first Mesopotamian empire. Overall the Sumerian government was a very successfully and powerful one.
Sumerians also were very religious. They were polytheistic, meaning they worshiped many gods. Each city/state had its own god to protect it. All of the citizens worshiped the city's god, and gave gifts to it. They also all worshiped some of the really important Hods, such as Manna. Their was a temple in each city, for the people to pray to the gods. Some temples, and ziggurats such as the one in Ur were made as long ago as 2100 B.C. Ziggurats were made of sun baked bricks. The priests at the temples conducted rituals and ceremonies at the top of the Ziggurat. The priests "represented" the gods, and for that reason controlled much of the government. The farmers even had to pay taxes to the temple in the form of crops. The Sumerians had a functioning religion, and that is a big part of being a civilization.
Sumer is a perfect example of a civilization. They were arguably the first people to invent writing. It also had a kings, and a full government. Lastly it had temples, and ziggurats, along with priests who worshiped their religion. In conclusion Sumer demonstrates that even thousands of years ago their were flourishing civilizations.