Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Sumerians

Civilizations of the Fertile Crescent:  The Sumerians

The earliest people to grow into a flourishing civilization in the Fertile Crescent (or anywhere) were the Sumerians. Just northwest of the Persian Gulf, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, the Sumerians built a series of city-states that were later incorporated into an empire. Impressively, the Sumerians invented the wheel, irrigation, writing, trade, the sailboat, organized government, and a number system based on 60 (which we still use to measure time).

The Sumerians were a polytheistic society, believing in a few principal gods and thousands of lesser gods and goddesses. The had one well-known creation myth involving a great flood and a hero named Gilgamesh. This story may have been the inspiration for the Noah's Ark chapter of the Bible.

Some great sources for information about the Sumerians:
The British Museum
Wikipedia Entry
LookLex Encyclopedia
National Geographic Article


  1. Hey Mr.G,
    if they invented irrigation -> farming -> surplus -> trade and divisoin of labor. Doesn't that mean they invented civilization? I mean they invented two of the five things needed for one: A steady food supply and division of labor.

  2. Hi Mr. Guerriero!
    Thanks so much for making this it really helped me get going with my research!