The influence of the Sumerian civilization on the West


Countless civilizations have risen and fallen over thousands of years, but which is the oldest on record? About 30 years ago, this question had a direct answer, which we will review in the following lines.

The civilizational rivalry between the Sumerians and the Pharaohs in ancient times

From about 4000 BC, the first phase of Sumerian culture arose as the oldest civilization in the Mesopotamian region, in what is now Iraq.ً

The Sumerians were named after the ancient city of Sumer, which was a few miles south of the modern city of Kut in eastern Iraq.

Archaeologists call the first Sumerian phase the Uruk Period. Many older Sumerian artifacts have been found, but evidence uncovered in the past few decades suggests that the Sumerians have a few contenders, most notably ancient Egypt, which vie for the title of "oldest civilization."

But in general culture must achieve several distinctive features, especially urbanization - that is, cities - irrigation and writing; As well as practicing religious rituals. 

Some scholars argue that other civilizations may be as old or older than the Sumerians. “I would say that Egypt and Sumer were essentially contemporary in their appearance,” said Philip Jones, associate curator and curator of collections in the Babylonian section of the Penn Philadelphia museum. 

The beginning of human civilization with the Sumerians

The 108-year-old Turkish Sumerian scholar, Muazzaz Ilmiyeh Ceg, said in an interview with Anatolia News Agency that human culture and civilization started from Sumer (southern Mesopotamia), and that the Sumerian civilization represented the “mother” of all cultures in the world.

The Sumerian civilization is one of the rich, diverse and ancient civilizations known in southern Mesopotamia, and its history is known from clay tablets written in cuneiform script.

The name Sumer appeared at the beginning of the third millennium BC, during the period of the emergence of the Hittites, but the beginning of the Sumerians was in the sixth millennium BC, where the Ubaid people settled in southern Iraq and built the main Sumerian cities such as Ur, Nippur, Larsa, Lagash, Kulab, Kish, Isin, Eridu, and Adab.

The Ubaidis mixed with the people of the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula through migration or raids against them, and after that they invented writing on clay tablets, which are manuscripts on clay tablets.

Sumerian writing remained the language of communication between the countries of the Middle East at that time.

The Sumerian scholar Moazaz Alijig, along with a group of foreign academics, wrote a group of important books that research the Sumerian civilization and dive into its secrets.

The researcher considered that there is not enough interest in the world in Sumerian science, even though human culture and civilization started from Sumer, and she cited this in a book titled “History Begins in Sumer.”

The history of the Sumerian civilization was recorded on clay tablets in cuneiform script in the regions of southern Iraq today. The Sumerians founded the cities of independent kingdoms, the most famous of which were Ur, Uruk, and Uma. They were known for the development of ancient arts, architecture, and sciences, the epic of the Sumerian king of Uruk, Gilgamesh, is considered one of the oldest literary and religious texts in history. 

Fields of influence of Greek civilization on the West

As for the fields in which the Greek civilization benefited from the Mesopotamian civilization - which historians truly consider the cradle of human civilization - there were many, and foremost among them was cuneiform writing, the invention of which by the Sumerians (about 3200 BC) constituted the decisive starting point in the progress of human civilization. Because all peoples used cuneiform in writing their languages.

The Greeks also benefited from the Mesopotamian heritage in the field of mathematics, both practical and theoretical. References confirm that the mathematician Pythagoras relied heavily in building his mathematical theories on the theories that had been reached by Mesopotamian scholars.

The Greeks learned from the Babylonians, and then the Chaldeans, the principles of astronomy, methods for observing celestial bodies and its tools, astronomical tables, geographical maps, and astronomical calendars, to the point that the Babylonian and Chaldean calendar became a model for the Greek and Roman calendars before the introduction of the Julian calendar.

The Greek scientist Thales predicted the solar eclipse that occurred on May 28, 585 BC. After he learned about the astronomical sciences of the Babylonians.

There is no doubt that the Greeks benefited from the Babylonians in the field of law, especially since the Code of Hammurabi (1750 BC) became a model for all laws that prevailed in the West and East in ancient times.

The Greeks were widely and deeply influenced by the epic literature that flourished in Mesopotamia, perhaps the most prominent example of this is the influence of the Greek poet Homer (who lived in the eighth century BC) in his epics “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” by the famous Mesopotamian epic of Gilgamesh.

Modern studies confirm that this Epic of Gilgamesh preceded the Epic of Homer by more than one thousand five hundred years, and is considered the oldest heroic epic in the history of civilizations, it addresses eternal human issues such as life, death, immortality, wisdom, knowledge, freedom, and heroism.

That is why Garudi was right when he said: “The Epic of Gilgamesh includes all the elements of Western thought, which is considered the heir to ancient Greek civilization.”

Ancient Greek mythological literature was also influenced by ancient Babylonian myths, especially those related to the story of the flood and creation.

This is in addition to the Babylonian myth of Ishtar and Tammuz, which influenced the Greek myth of Aphrodite and Adonis, this and other myths reached Greece through the Phoenicians.

One researcher believes that the people of Mesopotamia addressed basic problems with their myths, most of which became philosophical topics that Greek philosophers later addressed, and they added new additions to them that constituted a major development in the field of human thought.

Income tax was first imposed by the Sumerians and ancient Egyptians and alcohol consumption appeared among the Sumerian .people

Crete and Greece were the link for the civilizational influences in Europe coming from the Iraqi country of Sur, and communication was through trade or war, and Greece was the spoiled heir to the Sumerian civilization, as Will Derratt says, and Deorat adds, “If we had studied the history of the East in depth, we would have known how much we owe to the countries of the ancient East in Iraq and Egypt for the emergence, development and continuation of European .civilization

Most of the Sumerian men were bearded, and some of them were clean-shaven, they wore clothes made of sheep skins and wool. At first, their garments reached the middle of their bodies. With the development of industry, they covered their entire bodies until they reached their necks, they wore caps on their heads and shoes on their feet. 

While the women's clothes covered their shoulders and they wore leather shoes with laces like Greek women's shoelaces, and their adornment was represented by bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings and earrings.

In 2013 BC, Sumerian poets, writers, and composers  began writing about the beginning of creation and the existence of a paradise that was uprooted by the great flood.

These events were transmitted to the West and became part of Christian beliefs, but there are certain sayings that the events of the beginning of creation and the great flood were actually brought about separately in the heavenly books, but they were known and circulated in Sumerian literature before the religions came with them.

The Epic of Gilgamesh was the first global epic literary work to appear in Sumer before the well-known Greek and Roman epics, it was the oldest poem in human history written in cuneiform on a clay tablet dating back approximately to 4800 BC. This poem is in which a Sumerian poet laments the Sumerian deities that were swept away by the flood.

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