The Rrise And Collapse Of Sumeria

1350 words - 5 pages

Ancient Mesopotamian societies had great shifts as cities and rulers rose and fell, rose and fell again, gaining land and enemies as they advanced The area Mesopotamia occupied is an immense, dry plain through which two rivers, the Euphrates and Tigris, course. These rivers rise from tributaries in the mountain ranges to the north before flowing through Mesopotamia to the sea. As they reach the land close to the sea, the land becomes swampy, with lagoons, mud flats, and reed banks, but in ancient times the sea advanced much further inland; and they poured into it as two separate streams, whereas today they join as one before reaching the sea. A close cultural cooperation was established between the Sumerians (who spoke a language that was more isolated) and the Semitic Akkadian speakers, which included extensive bilingualism in its culture. This took place around the third millennia BC and as the fourth millennia dawned Mesopotamia saw an increase in its population. By aspiring and adjusting to the changing world around them the people of Mesopotamia created government and states. Order began to develop in the territories, and due to the efficiency of its military and political structure their authority began to spread and empires grow. One of these city states Sumer was first permanently settled between c. 5500 and 4000 BC. Sumer a city-state coming to power in prehistoric time, prior to the cultures ability to leave much historical record, however in the twenty- third century BC writing came into being which has given historians their first glimpse into some of the earliest Mesopotamian cultures.
Increased agricultural production brought on by early irrigation techniques used on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers helped to support the growing empire, and increased the intricacies of the societies within it. Sumeria lay in the lowest, most well watered areas of Mesopotamia and irrigation could be more simply accomplished in this region, with each city-state probably building one irrigation system. Each state entailed a city, or multiple cities, with its adjacent land, this also included towns and villages and connected fields and irrigation works. In concept, each city-state was under the protection of its own divinity, and although multiple gods were worshipped, the total identification of each city with its god was both the defining and unifying feature of Sumerian civilization. The cities may have originally been governmental centers, marketing centers and within defensible zone. All of these centered on local irrigation sections which allowed for greater crop production. From time to time tragic floods overwhelmed the region. At Ur another Mesopotamian site there is a band of 1.5 m of clay between two layers of pottery. This is evidence of a major flood, and this event was perhaps the source for the flood story in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. Mesopotamians built very large dikes and diversion dams, to make reservoirs and to supply canals...

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