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Sumerian civilization: innovations in the service of man


The Sumerian civilization is considered the oldest civilization that dwelled  in Mesopotamia and in all the territories of Western Asia (4000-2350 BC), the Sumerians' innovations and cultural achievements had a prominent influence on the development of global civilization, some of what they invented is still used to this day, the Sumerians were the ones who brought humanity - in Mesopotamia from the stage of barbarism to the era of civilization .

The wheels

Wheels first appeared in ancient Mesopotamia, modern-day Iraq, more than 5,000 years ago, they were originally used by potters to help shape clay.
 Later, wheels were fitted to carts, which made moving objects around much easier.

They  were invented in the 4th millennium BC in Lower Mesopotamia(modern-​​day Iraq), where the Sumerian people inserted rotating axles into solid discs of wood, it was only in 2000 BC that, the discs began to be hollowed out to make a lighter wheel.

The Sumerians used them to carry heavy loads over long distances, the wheel was also used for chariots for battle. The wheel helped them get into battle quicker, the oldest known wheel found in an archaeological excavation is from Mesopotamia, and dates to around 3500 BC.

The biomers invented the wheels that revolutionized transportation for the automobile industry, and the world is still enjoying its usefulness to this day, the Sumerians developed the closet in a useful way and spread it throughout the ancient world.


Plow, also spelled plough, most important agricultural implement since the beginning of history, used to turn and break up soil, to bury crop residues, and to help control weeds.

The Sumerians invented the plow, which plows the land and sows at the same time, they added to the ordinary plow a device consisting of a funnel-shaped bowl centered in the upper middle section of the plow, from which a tube extends downward, when the plow splits the ground with its fine head, the grains are placed in the funnel, and they descend one by one through the tube to the ground and are buried in the furrow that the plow has determined, this principle is still applied today in modern mechanized plows.

Medicine and chemistry

Among their scientific achievements was also the practice of some chemical industries. The Sumerians learned to distill perfumes and synthesize medicines.

Since the third millennium BC, a Sumerian healer placed a tablet on which he recorded more than a dozen prescriptions for treating various diseases, the doctor explained how to use the medications, and specified which ones were taken orally and which were for external use, he also mentioned the materials from which these medicines are composed, including cinnamon, myrtle, thyme, willow, pears, figs, dates, milk, snake skin, tortoise shell, salt, and potash nitrate.

This Sumerian achievement, recorded on that tablet in the late third millennium BC, took the science of chemistry a long way in progress .and development


The Sumerian civilization witnessed many primitive industries that spread in the various cities of Mesopotamia

At first, Sumerian houses consisted of a small number of rooms built of mud, then the construction industry developed greatly and the Sumerians learned to transform mud into bricks by baking them with fire, thus, making bricks became popular, like the manufacture of cement molds for building in our present time. 

Thanks to the hardness of the bricks, the Sumerians were able to build houses with two or more floors, and they were famous for building structures consisting of several floors.


The Sumerians excelled in the field of engineering, especially irrigation engineering due to the presence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in their kingdoms.

They planned canals and Water drains with great skill and dug them with great mastery to transport the surplus water of the Euphrates and Tigris to the thirsty regions.

This work was one of the most amazing examples of human success in the Stone Ages in controlling the elements of nature and changing the conditions of the physical environment through science.

Sumerian writing

Writing in any civilization is its first manifestation and the main witness to its progress, the eras before any people knew how to write are known as the prehistoric eras due to their ignorance.

Sumerian writing was one of the most wonderful things the Sumerians left behind.

The Sumerian people are considered one of the oldest peoples that invented a special way to write their spoken language between the fourth and third millennium BC.

The Sumerians wrote on tablets of soft clay with pens made of reed, wood, metal, or other hard materials, their writing was called cuneiform or wedge writing because the writer would press his pen on the clay and drag it, making the line appear broad at the beginning, then gradually thinning out and becoming pointed at the end, appearing like a nail or a wedge.

Upon completion of writing, the writer would press on the clay and re-level its surface if he wanted to erase what he had written. However, if he wanted to preserve what he had written for a long time, he would bake the painting in a special oven, so that it would turn into hard brick that would not crumble or break easily.

The Sumerians wrote down their myths, epics, letters, deeds, lists of goods and prices, and other things that needed to be recorded on tablets of this type.

Thanks to this soft material, their skilled scribes were able to keep records, write documents, and record property and judicial rulings.

Sumerian writing was read from right to left, and began pictorially, then developed and became syllabic.

The Sumerians paid great attention to learning writing, as it was one of the most important and revered arts for them.

 Scribes and copyists taught children writing alongside their other written works.

There were hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers in the cities of Sumer who devoted their lives to this work in the second half of the third millennium.

The cultured Sumerians were interested in literature, poetry, and language, and were artistic in expressing their feelings in various ways.

They create epics, myths, stories, love songs, praise and lamentations, proverbs, dictionaries, and more.

They addressed topics related to their religious beliefs that talk about gods, life, death, temples, and anything related to that.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, which was translated into many languages, is considered one of the most famous pieces of their literary heritage that have reached us.

As historian Philip Jones says: “It is not 100% certain that the Sumerians were the first to develop a writing system, but in any case it is clear that they used written communication beginning in 2800 BC, they did not write great literature, but they did In order to track the goods they were making and selling.”

Calendar and metrics

The calendar was the primary basis for people lives and interests in the civilizations of the ancient East.

The Sumerian calendar, like the Egyptian in Pharaonic times, was based on the lunar month, as their months begin with the appearance of the new crescent, and their year consists of twelve months. Their counting system was based on the unit “sixty.” Instead of saying, for example, six hundred, they would say ten sixties. On the basis of this unit, an hour was made into sixty minutes, a minute into sixty seconds, and the circle was divided into three hundred and sixty. degrees

The "mina", their unit of weight, was also divided into sixty parts, each of which was called a "shekel.."

The Sumerians believed that man's fate was linked to observing the planets and stars, and that his future could be predicted by observing celestial bodies and monitoring their movements.

Therefore, they carefully monitored the stars and were interested in increasing their knowledge of their nature and everything related to them.

This gave rise to the science of astrology, which played an important role in other civilizations, some of what they have achieved in this science is still accepted to this day, then astrology developed and was the predecessor to modern astronomy.


Some Sumerian societies knew the phenomenon of human sacrifice, as important relics were found in Sumerian tombs there are two interpretations of this Sumerian tradition:

- The members of the courtiers’ participation in their king’s fate after his death, the skeletons of the courtiers, men and women, were found in the graves, as well as the chariots and skeletons of the bulls that were pulling them, this is in addition to the presence of cups next to their owners, which they used to voluntarily drink the drug before the mass death.

- The connection of human sacrifice with the doctrine of fertility in its primary form, meaning that some priests and priestesses come forward by accepting death, representing the role of God and the gods in the sacred marriage that leads to the country’s fertility and goodness at the beginning of each year.

African and Egyptian societies were characterized in particular by the phenomenon of human sacrifice in the early stages of the beginning of the historical era, as well as at the end of pre-dynastic times, but on the basis of the doctrine of immortality and the king’s participation in the other world.

 Carthaginian society witnessed this phenomenon that continued until the Roman era, the Altai peoples also practiced an ancient custom of “providing servants for the deceased in the afterlife.”, therefore, when the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan died, the guards deliberately killed every stranger whose misfortune led him to pass in front of the imperial funeral procession, they slaughtered all the strangers they encountered and slaughtered their horses and bulls, saying: “Go and serve our master the Khan in the afterlife''.

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