The Cradle of Civilization – Sumer
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As far as archaeologists are concerned, Sumer was the cradle of civilization because the Sumerians invented the wheel, invented writing, found wheat growing in the wild and established agriculture, had an understanding of astronomy, built cities, irrigated farmland, established the use of contracts and a basic legal system, had a system of bicameral government; generally, a way of life which was handed down from generation to generation, and the basis on which civilization grew into our experience of it today. The Sumerians had their religion and gods they worshipped and prayed to, and such gods were also worshipped by the later Babylonians, where the creation story known as the Enuma Elish dates back to.
Archaeologists have been able to reconstruct from their discoveries what Sumer, and life for the Sumerians was probably like. Not only did Sumer rise quickly, it also declined and by 2000BC, was in ruins. By then, the Sumerians had dispersed, or become scattered far and wide. The peak of the Sumerian civilization was around 4500BC. The main cities of Sumer were Ur, Nippur, Uruk, and Girsu, each city built beside either the Euphrates or Tigris rivers, which coursed through the countryside differently then than they do today.
Using artistic licence, the following documentary reconstructs Sumer and its cities, and brings to life what everyday life for the Sumerians entailed. It is like taking a journey into the past being the observer watching from the sidelines as people do things and interact, all the while being given a guided tour by the narrator. For those interested in what life for the Sumerians was like, this documentary, titled Mesopotamia – The Sumerians, is really interesting and absorbing: