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Information about SumerOL

Published on January 22, 2008

Author: Donato


THE SUMERIANS:  THE SUMERIANS THE FERTILE CRESCENT:  THE FERTILE CRESCENT Aswan Dam Draining of the Marshes Pre-requisites for Civilization:  Pre-requisites for Civilization Agriculture developed in the Fertile Crescent around 9000 bce Mining and use of copper around 6000 bce Growth of villages and towns Division of labor Smelting of tin and copper to make bronze around 3000 bce > Bronze Age Sumerian Inventions:  Sumerian Inventions Cuneiform writing The wheel Potter’s wheel Sailing ship Pick-axe Brick mold Glass 60-based counting system: 60 minutes to an hour, 360 degrees to a circle Number positioning Beer Epic poetry Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur Mesopotamian Empires:  Mesopotamian Empires Characteristics of Mesopotamian Civilizations:  Characteristics of Mesopotamian Civilizations City states Each city had its own king and patron god or goddess City states often warred with each other Theocracy -- king as god’s representative Hierosgamos: ritual marriage with the goddess/priestess Highly legalistic Law Codes Contracts Judicial proceedings and appeals processes Extensive trading networks Architectural Marvels of Ancient Mesopotamia Slide7:  Lively Spirits: From the Hymn to Ninkasi You are the one who holds with both hands the great sweet wort, Brewing [it] with honey and wine (You the sweet wort to the vessel) Ninkasi, (...) (You the sweet wort to the vessel) The filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound, You place appropriately on [top of] a large collector vat. Ninkasi, the filtering vat, which makes a pleasant sound, You place appropriately on [top of] a large collector vat. When you pour out the filtered beer of the collector vat, It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates. Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the filtered beer of the collector vat, It is [like] the onrush of Tigris and Euphrates. Beer or Bread? Writing Origin and the Deveopment of Writing in Mesopotamia:  Tablet of pre-cuneiform script South Mesopotamia Uruk III, end of 4th millenium BC. Clay (?sun-baked clay) Louvre Writing Origin and the Deveopment of Writing in Mesopotamia Writing: Pictograms Cylinder Seals:  Writing: Pictograms Cylinder Seals Cylinder Seal with Watergod, Birdman, and Deities Mesopotamia, Akkadian Period, 2300 - 2200 B.C. Emory University Writing: Cuneiform:  Writing: Cuneiform Cuneiform Cylinder of Nabopolassar Recording Repair of the City Wall of Babylon, Mesopotamia, Babylon Neo-Babylonian Period, Reign of Nabopolassar, 625 - 605 B.C Emory University Sumerian Schools:  Sumerian Schools Literacy was a highly valued skill Sumerians set up first institutions of formal education: edubba Education included writing and mathematics Tuition paid for education Educated were privileged elite: government officials, scribes, etc. Nippur Flood Tablet:  Nippur Flood Tablet The tablet can be dated by its script to the late 17th century BC. ...a flood will sweep over the cult centers; To destroy the seed of mankind... Is the decision, the word of the assembly of the gods. By the word commanded by An and Enlil... All the windstorms, exceedingly powerful, attacked as one, At the same time, the flood sweeps over the cult centers. After, for seven days and seven nights, The flood had swept over the land, And the huge boat had been tossed about by the windstorms on the great waters, Utu came forth, who sheds light on heaven and earth, Ziusudra opened a window on the huge boat, The hero Utu brought his rays into the giant boat. Deciphering Cuneiform:  Deciphering Cuneiform 1835: Henry Rawlinson, an English army officer, found some inscriptions on a cliff at Behistun in Persia. Carved in the reign of King Darius of Persia (522-486 BC), they consisted of identical texts in three languages: Old Persian, Babylonian and Elamite. Enheduanna, Priestess and Poet the world’s first known writer:  Enheduanna, Priestess and Poet the world’s first known writer Original tablet Reconstuction of alabaster disk,Philadephia The Enheduanna Research Pages Women in Ancient Mesopotamia Inanna: The Opera Enheduanna’s Inscription:  Enheduanna’s Inscription Here are the first 4 lines of cuneiform: 1) en-he-du-an-na.....................En-he-du-ana, 2) MUNUS.NUNUZ.ZI.............zirru priestess 3) dam-nanna........................... wife of the god Nanna, 4) dumu-...................................daughter The inscription continues: 5) sarru-GI............................ of Sargon, 6) [ lugal]............................... [king] of 7) KIS................................... the world (Kish), 8) e-INANNA.ZA.ZA............. in the temple of the goddess 9) uri.KI-ma-ka...................... Inanna- ZA.ZA in Ur, 10) bara-si-ga........................ made a socle and 11) bi-e-du 12) bara bansur-an-na...........named it: 'dais, table of 13) mu-se bi-sa......................the god An'. THEOCRACY: Kings: Servants of the Gods:  THEOCRACY: Kings: Servants of the Gods Sumerian King List The powerful gods communicate their desires to humanity through the medium of a powerful priestly class or autocratic king who serves as the intermediary. - Government of the gods/priest class - Ruler may be divine himself, or chosen by the god/gods - Each city had its own gods This system centralizes power in the hands of a small group of people and gives political decisions a religious authority The City Center:  The City Center Temples served civic and religious purposes Daily sacrifices and rituals Storage of surplus grain and other foods Dwelling of priests and priestesses Locale where craftsmen and artisans could practice their trades Ziggurats: Temples to the Gods Gilgamesh, the Hero-King:  Gilgamesh, the Hero-King Ruled in Sumer c. 2700 bc Epic of Gilgamesh chronicles his reign Evolves from selfish, uncontrolled autocrat to benevolent ruler via: friendship rebellion loss quest recognition of mortality acceptance of responsibilty and service to the goddess Ishtar (Inanna) LAWS: The Code of Hammurabi, ca. 1760 bce :  LAWS: The Code of Hammurabi, ca. 1760 bce Law-Codex of Hammurabi,first half of the 18th century BCE, Basalt, Louvre Full Text of the Code of Hammurabi 2350 bce law reform by King Urukagina of Lagash to protect exploited citizens 21st c. bce: earliest extant law code from Ur-Nammu (1000 years before the 10 Commandments A stele is a monolithic monument that commemorates an historical event. The Stele of Naram Sin has a formality and rigidity similar to Egyptian art. Compare its strong diagonal composition with the horizontal registers of the Standard of Ur. :  A stele is a monolithic monument that commemorates an historical event. The Stele of Naram Sin has a formality and rigidity similar to Egyptian art. Compare its strong diagonal composition with the horizontal registers of the Standard of Ur. Victory Stele of Naram Sim c. 2300- 2200 B.C.E. 61/2' tall, sandstone Continual warfare among Sumerian city states and against invading tribes eventually led to the downfall of Sumerian civilization. But the influence of Sumerian civilization was felt in throughout the Near East, Egypt, India, the Mediterranean civilizations: Crete, Mycenae, Greece, Rome, and in Judeo-Christian traditions. Flood Myths:  Flood Myths Flood myths are present on every continent Leeming: “The pattern behind the many forms that the flood myth takes is the archetype of the productive sacrifice…. The flood myth…reminds us that life depends on death, that without death there can be no cycle, no birth. Floods connected with cleansing, washing away of blunders or evil Spared survivors are heroes of a new life Ante- Diluvian Post- Diluvian:  Ante- Diluvian Post- Diluvian Blundered creation Error or evil by mankind Period of degradation Sacrifice and thanksgiving Salvation of survivors Retreat of gods from intimate relationship with mankind But: new and renewed relationship between humanity and divine consecrated Humans must work to live: learned arts and skills for survival Mesopotamian and Hebrew Flood Myths:  Mesopotamian and Hebrew Flood Myths Gilgamesh text: ca. 2000 bce Utnapishtim or Ziusudra Enlil annoyed by human noise Ea/Enki warns Utnapishtim in dream of oncoming flood Boat built in 7 days Contents: family, kin, animals, craftsmen, gold 6 days and 6 nights of rain and rising water Ishtar (Inanna) regrets divine council’s decision Boat lands on Mt. Nisir Dove, swallow and raven released Sacrifice and libation Ishtar’s necklace set in sky as token Genesis text: ca. 1000 bce Noah God dismayed by evil of mankind Noah chosen as righteous man Noah follows God’s directions to build ark Contents: family, 7 of clean beasts, 2 of unclean 40 days and 40 nights of rain All mankind perishes except Noah’s family Ark lands on Mt. Ararat Raven, dove, dove released\ Burnt offerings Rainbow sent in sky as token of new covenant between God and mankind.

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