Characteristics of a civilization
(Ancient Sumer addition)
Government and Social Structure
Sumer was divided into at least twelve major city-states. Each city had its own ruler and way of life and stuff. But the city-states still counted on each other for three reasons:
- To maintain and clean the river system/marine 'highways' that connect to the city-states of Mesopotamia.
- To max out the benefits of extensive trading.
- To serve their gods, who regularly met at the Assembly of the gods in the 'holy' city of Nipper on the upper Euphrates river.
The people in these city-states talked the same language, wrote the same and had a common religious believes.
Though social stratification seems to be less pronounced during the early centuries of Sumerian civilization, by the time of the Babylonian Empire had Hammurabi (1792–1750 B.C.) practically EVERYBODY knew what a social structure was, and who was in it. As time passed by, the peoples owning land—and all the political power that comes with—came to be focused on more and more in the hands of the few.
Writing and Arts
The Sumerians were one of the earliest urban societies to take place in southern Mesopotamia more than 5000 years ago. They came up with a confusing writing system whose edgy, curvy lines would influence the style of their writing for the next 3000 years.
Sumerians made sculptures and other cool, artsy stuff with alabaster, gypsum, lapis, limestone, marble, and wood. The Sumerian craftsmanship was valuable and pretty sweet. The details and extras were usually inlaid with seashells, lapis, red limestone, obsidian, and gold.