Characteristics of a Civilization

The characteristics of a civilization for Mesopotamia.


All civilizations had at least some form of government which was an empire. They started a government in the Sumerian time to make life more domesticated and with the thinking that it will strengthen the social order as well. The Sumerian kings enforced the laws of the government and started to collect taxes.They did all of this so their civilization could be more efficient with what they do. So the Sumerian Government and King Etana of Kish which was one of

the first kings that started the civilization so then he would rule Sumer or a part of Sumer.

Social Structure

A social structure in a civilization includes different jobs and social levels. So that means that people with higher paying jobs will most likely be on a greater social status than others in a civilization. So in Sumer the land owners would be on a greater social status than other people in the civilization that may not own any land at all. And also in Sumer there could be multiple different levels of social status in one civilization. And the three classes were the upper class,

the common class, and the bottom class were mainly considered to be "slaves".


One of the final characteristics that a civilization would make were writing. They had to create their own language and mainly in ancient times the civilizations of Mesopotamia would draw out pictures to communicate. The Sumerian would have to use tools like a wedge shaped stylus to carve out their drawings in clay tablets. They called this cuneiform. Some examples of what they would communicate about are about the goods they would exchange and how they might feel about something. If you click here you can see examples of the clay tablets they would carve into.


Most civilizations have special cultures, which mainly revolves around the civilization's art. A lot of Sumerian metalworkers would make practical objects such as weapons to be used and even jewelry like bracelets and necklaces for the Sumerian women and men. Arts of a civilization could sometimes even go up to temples that were built and designed by the Sumerian architects. And music is a piece of art as well, many Sumerians believed that music brought great joy to their gods and other people as well. An example of an instrument that Sumerians would use were lyres. They were wooden instruments and decorated to the Sumerian's liking. modern harps look very alike but are actually very different from Sumerian arts.


So a religious system in a civilization will mostly include a set of beliefs for every part and day in life. Even statues could be an example to represent their religion. In Sumer, they would build buildings and statues to represent their beliefs in their gods. They called their temples and statues ziggurats. The king always had to maintain the ziggurats to protect their beliefs. And their statues would also be maintained, but the statues would mainly resemble life and people worshiping for their gods above. So that would be how early civilization would represent their beliefs and religion.


In the earlier civilizations, technology was very limited. So in Mesopotamia and Sumer, They had to start out with making tools to help build temples and statues, so they had to think of tools that they could make to help their daily lives and make it easier. For example, they built the wheel that could move forwards and backwards so it would be easier for them to move things around so it isn't as heavy. They also built the arch. They built this for doorways and to move under things which again made it easier for them to move around in their daily lives. They built all these things for something, so if they built the wheel, they would use that wheel wisely since it is a piece of technology.

Stable Food Supply

All civilizations need a stable food supply. If a civilization has enough food to survive, then a civilization will have a better chance of thriving. So to help there be enough food, the Sumerians built irrigation systems. This helped the crops from being flooded so the crops get an even amount of water. And they also built levees to stop flooding to get to the crops. They also built plows. This made the soil turn over in preparation for more planting which would have a better chance of growing fresh crops. And this also helped so the preparation part of the farming would go by faster.


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