Sumer Civilization Essay Example
Sumer, one of the earliest known civilizations in the world, is a part of Mesopotamia that, during 3000 B.C.E to 2300 B.C.E, developed several complex and impactful aspects of their civilization. Due to its location and and position near the the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the soil was fertile and agriculture flourished. In effect to their streamlined agricultural processes, Sumerian culture and political structures began to develop and become more complex and sophisticated. This essential progress in Sumerian civilization was able to influence later civilizations such as Egypt, Persia, and India. Sumer's technological advancements in agriculture, complex religious and cultural beliefs, and the well-developed political and social structures provided a basis for several other Middle Eastern societies.
Sumer's intricate irrigation systems and technological development during this period allowed for the Sumerians to become a prosperous and influential civilization. One of the major technological developments of Sumer were their complex irrigation systems. Because Sumer was located between two rivers, flooding was frequent and required the Sumerians to develop irrigation systems such as canals and dams to aid in agricultural processes. The irrigation systems expedited farming and freed up some of their Sumerian people's times, which allowed them to focus on other issues and still produce a surplus of food. As a result of this, Sumerians were able to specialize labor and began to take up different occupations. As Sumeria became a wealthier society, there was an increase in the diversity of jobs and socioeconomic standings-not everyone was just a farmer anymore. Rather, there was now an upper class, which included religious and political officials, a middle class, which included farmers and merchants, and a lower class, which consisted of slaves. These variations allowed for some to become more wealthy than others and caused a divide in the Sumerian society and the rich and poor. As the division between the wealthy and poor increased, the economy began to grow and made Sumeria a strong civilization. The people that benefited from the economy's growth became an elite class of people, who enjoyed luxuries that a majority of the Sumerians did not have access to. In conclusion, Sumeria's technological advancements contributed to the growing wealth of Sumeria, but also began to cause a division among its people.
The Sumerian religious beliefs and values initially contributed to several aspects of their society, and later, several others'. As mentioned before, the specialization of labor opened up new jobs for the Sumerians; one of these jobs was to be a religious official, or priest. In the early Sumerian city-states, the people believed that the land belonged to the gods and the priests became the rulers. The priests were in charge of making sacrifices for the sake of worshipping their many gods, as the Sumerian people were polytheistic, and pray to the gods for a better agricultural harvest. Because Sumer made religion one of their priorities, their religious practices helped the religious officials to rise in power. Key architecture and monuments were constructed for the sake of aiding in Sumer's religious practices and ritual sacrifices. These monuments were essential and necessary for the Sumerian people's religion and even administrative work. For example, ziggurats were large-stepped pyramids that contain temples and altars that also allowed for administrative and governmental processes inside the building.These ziggurats undoubtedly influenced later Middle Eastern Civilizations, such as Egypt, who created pyramids that possess strikingly similar features and structures to a ziggurat. Another example of how Sumer influenced later civilizations is the Babylon, which was established around 1900 BCE. The Babylonians adopted several aspects of Sumer's religious beliefs and culture, and assimilated Sumer's gods and deities into their religion, and a majority of their myths and legends were written in a cuneiform script based off of the Sumerian's. The Religious beliefs and values of Sumer not only influenced later societies, but also literally left a mark on the world through their religious monuments.
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