Mezopotamya

CKM 2018-198 / Aziz Yardımlı


 

Mezopotamya




Sümerler uygarlığı yaratmak zorunda idiler.
Çünkü öykünecekleri hiçbir uygarlık yoktu. Uzun bir buzul çağından sonra, Tarih henüz bütünüyle boştu. Gerçekte, Tarih için hiçbir planları yoktu. Varolmanın şaşkınlığı ve hayranlığı içinde idiler. Uygarlığı yaratmak üzere olduklarını anlamadıar. Çevrelerinde model alacak hiçbir kent, hiçbir krallık, hiçbir kültür yoktu. İdealara öykündüler ve onlara ilk, dolaysız realitelerini verdiler. Kentler ve kent-devletleri, yasalar ve kurumlar, sayılar ve harfler, yontular ve şiirler ve mitler, tanrılar ve tapınaklar yarattılar.

 

En sonunda Pers tininde yoğunlaşan ve toparlanan Mezopotamya-Mısır uygarlıkları Tarihin gerçek açılışını yapar, çünkü Asya'da Çin ve Hint uygarlıkları pıhtılaşıp daha öte gelişime kapanırken, Mezopotamya uygarlıkları tam olarak geçiciliklerinde ve yiticiliklerinde Dünya Tininin gelişimi için zorunlu olan kültürel akışkanlığa izin verirler. Bu ilk "uygarlıklar" ortadan kalkmalıdır çünkü yeterince uygar değildirler.

Devletler, yasa dizgeleri, mülkiyet, tarım, işleyim ve tecim, sanatlar ve bilim ile tam donatımlı bir uygarlık ilk kez bu nehir vadileri bölgesinde doğar. Tin henüz Doğaya ve doğallığına bağımlıdır, yeterince tin değildir, ve bütün bir tarihinde kendi doğallığının üstesinden gelmeye çalışacaktır.

Mezopotamya kent-devletleri, krallıkları ve imparatorlukları homo sapiensin kültürel gelişiminde onun tüm estetik, etik ve entellektüel gizilliğini edimselleştirmeyen sınırlı ve sonlu evreleri oluşturdular ve zamanı geldiğinde ortadan kalkarak yerlerini daha yüksek kültürel biçimlere bıraktılar. Kültür doğal olarak sonludur. İnsanlığın tinsel gelişiminin biricik koşulu ulaşılan sınırlı kültürel aşamada takılıp kalmamaktır çünkü bu kültürel çoğulculuk yaratır. Ya da, insan tinsel gelişimini engelleyebilecek biricik koşul ulaşılan sınırlı aşamada, bir kültürler çoğulluğunda takılıp kalmaktır. Gelişimin güdüsü, enerjisi ve ereği yalnızca insan doğasında yatar, çünkü Tin özgürdür. Tarih istencin işidir ve istenç kültürü, dünya tininin reel türlülüğünü kendi ideasına yükseltmekten başka birşey istemez.

 
   

Asya'nın nehir vadilerinde doğan Çin ve Hint uygarlıkları, Mezopotamya uygarlıklarının tersine, değişime ve gelişime kapanan yapılar olarak modern döneme dek binlerce yıl boyunca yalnızca kendilerini yinelediler. Batı tini ile karşıtlık içinde, Asya o sağlam, aşırı sağlam kültürlerini ortadan kaldırcak bir Büyük İskender, bir özgürlük tini üretmedi. Herşey her zaman olduğu gibi kalmayı sürdürdü Bu despotik bölgede "İmparatorluklar doğar, gelişir ve çöker" biçimindeki anlak formülü de çürütüldü. Bu kültürler ancak daha sonra, ancak modern dönemin başlarında, Batının dışarıdan vuruşu ile yıkılma, bozulma ve ortadan kalkma sürecine girdiler.


Mezopotamya "uygarlığın beşiği" olarak görülür, daha yüksek, daha güçlü ve daha sağlam kültürel biçimlere ulaşmış Çin ve Hindistan değil. Beşik büyümeyi imler. Asya uygarlıkları devasa cüsseleri ile hiçbir zaman beşiklerinden çıkmayı başaramadılar.

 

Kültürler dizgesel yapılardır ve tüzel, moral ve etik bileşenlerinin birbiri ile bağdaşabilir olması gerekir. Bütünün içerisine yabancı, uyumsuz bir öğe girdiğinde ya bu öğe dışlanır, ya da kendini bu yeni ilkeye uyarlamak zorunda kalan kültürel dizge içeriden değişmeye ve çözülmeye başlar. Mezopotamyanın kent-devletleri aşağı yukarı türdeş kültürel yapılar idiler (Yunan kent-devletleri gibi), ve bütün tarihleri boyunca ortak sanatsal, dinsel ve entellektüel belirlenimler geliştirdiler. Politik olarak durum bütünüyle başka türlü idi. Birbirine düşman egemen güçler olarak aralarındaki savaşlar binlerce yıl boyunca sürdü ve barış ancak imparatorluklar bağımsız kent-devletlerini denetlediği zaman geldi.

SUMER, AKAD, BABİL, ASUR


Tarih-öncesi Mezopotamya'da yaklaşık olarak İÖ 6500-3800 arası dönem Semitik olmayan Ubaid kültürüne ayrılır. Bataklıkları kurutarak tarım ve hayvancılık ile başlayan dönem duvarsız büyük köy yerleşimleri ile, çok odalı kerpiç evleri ve ilk tapınaklar olarak görünen kamu yapıları ile kentlerin oluş sürecini temsil eder. Alüvyon metal ve taş yoksunluğu demektir ve buna göre kültür ilkin baştan sona bir kil kültürüdür.


 
   

Sümer yaklaşık olarak İÖ 3300 sıralarında Anadolu'dan gelen nüfus ile başladı. Yazıyı geliştiren ve ilk kentleri kuran Sümerler takvim, metal işleme, tekerlekli araba ve çömlek tekerinin gelişmesine de katkıda bulundular. Gılgamış Epiği'ni ürettiler. 18 kadar kent kuran Sümerler kendi aralarında aralıksız çarpışmalarına karşın, hiçbir zaman savaşçı bir kültür olmadılar ve yurttaşlardan oluşan orduları ancak tehlike zamanında toplanıyordu. İÖ 2340 yılında tarihe ilk imparatorlukları getirmenin zamanı geldiğini düşünen Akad kralı Sargon'a yenik düşseler de, Ur kentinin önderliğinde yeniden toparlandılar. İÖ 2150 ve 2050 arasında Sümer kültürü doruğuna ulaştı. Kısa bir süre sonra kentler bağımsızlıklarını yitirdi ve Sümerler bir halk olarak tarih sahnesinden silindiler. Sümer kültürü daha sonra Akad, Babil ve Asur kültürlerine soğruldu.

 

Semitik bir kültür olan Babil küçük bir kasaba iken (İÖ 1890'larda) bir süre sonra bütün bir Akad topraklarını yönetmeye başladı. Ve 1792'de tahta çıkan Hammurabi ile Babil yasa egemenliği üzerine dayanan bir politika temelinde bütün bir Mezopotamya'ya ve daha ötesine egemen oldu. Babil gökbilimin, matematiğin ve tüze biliminin gelişimine de katkıda bulundu.

 

Çok-halklı ilk imparatorluklardan biri olan Asurlular savaşçı yanları ile kendilerini gösterdiler. İlk süvari birliklerinin kuruluşu, etkili bir ulaşım ve iletişim dizgesinin geliştirilmesi Asur ile bağlıdır. Asur katkıları arasında mimari yapıtlar, ikonik insan-başlı kanatlı boğa ve kütüphaneler bulunur.

 

Mezopotamya kültürü kendini yinelemeye başlamışken, Kuzeyde İS birinci binyıl içinde uygarlık ile yeni tanışan Pers toplulukları bütün bir Mezopotamya kültürünü özümsemeye başladılar. Kurdukları Akhamenid İmparatorluğu Mezopotamya uygarlığının doruğu ve alabileceği en yüksek politik şekil oldu.

 

SİTE İÇİ ARAMA       

Human-Headed Winged Bull (lamassu), Palace of Sargon II (721-705 BC) at Khorsabad

Human-Headed Winged Bull (lamassu), Palace of Sargon II (721-705 BC) at Khorsabad (LINK)


Human-Headed Winged Bull (lamassu), Palace of Sargon II (721-705 BC) at Khorsabad, excavated by the Oriental Institute between 1928-1935 (D. 20003).

Description

Relief

Classification/Broad: Sculpture

Classification/Specific: Relief

Material/Broad: Mineral/Geological

Material/Specific: Gypsum

Measurements: 4.95 H x 4.91 W x 1 Depth m

Region: Ninawa governorate

Country: Iraq

Place/site: Khorsabad

Locus: Sargon's Palace, Southwest wall of Court VIII


Period: Neo-Assyrian


 



Description

Description

(LINK) This colossal sculpture of a winged-bull was one of a series that guarded the entrance to the throne room of Sargon II, king of Assyria (721-705 BC), in his palace at Khorsabad, the capital city of the Neo-Assyrian Empire during his reign. This figure, known as a lamassu from the textual sources, is a composite mythological being with the head of a human, the body and ears of a bull, and the wings of a bird. The winged-bulls of Sargon’s palace had five, rather than four, legs; from the side the bull appears to be striding and from the front it appears to be standing. Oriental Institute archaeologists excavating at Khorsabad in northern Iraq discovered the colossal sculpture in 1929. The bull had broken into more than a dozen pieces in antiquity. The fragments were generously given to the Oriental Institute by the Department of Antiquities of Iraq. With great difficulty, the pieces were transported to Chicago, inserted through the wall of the gallery as it was being built in 1930, and assembled and restored in place. The winged bull stands at 16 feet tall and weighs approximately 40 tons. Inscriptions in cuneiform, a wedge‐shaped writing system of Mesopotamia, were carved on the front and back of the lamassu. Written in Akkadian, the official language of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, both describe Sargon’s building of his new capital, giving thanks to several gods. Part of one inscription reads: “I planned day and night how to settle that city and how to raise its great shrines, the dwellings of the great gods, and my royal residential palaces. I spoke and commanded it to be built…” Another section reads: “…I built palaces of ivory, ebony, boxwood, musukkannu‐wood, cedar, cypress, juniper, burashu‐juniper, and pistachio‐wood for my royal dwelling. At their gates I constructed a portico patterned after a Syrian palace and roofed it with cedar and cypress beams. At their entrances, I erected animals made of white stone resembling beasts of the mountain and sea.” The lamassu, is probably one of these “animals of white stone.” Lamassus are described by a successor of Sargon as ones who “because of their appearance, turn back an evil person, guard the steps, and secure the path of the king who fashioned them.”

 



 






  🗺️ Mesopotamia Map

🗺️ Mezopotamia Map

 




  🕑 Ancient Near East Chronology

🕑 Ancient Syria and Mesopotamia

Ancient Syria and Mesopotamia (W)

 



🕑 Ancient Near East Periodization

Ancient Near East Periodization (W)

Ancient Near East periodization is the attempt to categorize or divide time into discrete named blocks, or eras, of the Near East. The result is a descriptive abstraction that provides a useful handle on Near East periods of time with relatively stable characteristics.

Copper Age Chalcolithic
(4500-3300 BC)
Early Chalcolithic 4500-4000 BC Ubaid period in Mesopotamia
Late Chalcolithic 4000-3300 BC Ghassulian, Sumerian Uruk period in Mesopotamia, Gerzeh, Predynastic Egypt, Proto-Elamite
Bronze Age
(3300-1200 BC)
Early Bronze Age
(3300-2000 BC)
Early Bronze Age I 3300-3000 BC Protodynastic to Early Dynastic Period of Egypt, settlement of Phoenicians
Early Bronze Age II 3000-2700 BC Early Dynastic Period of Sumer
Early Bronze Age III 2700-2200 BC Old Kingdom of Egypt, Akkadian Empire, early Assyria, Old Elamite period, Sumero-Akkadian states
Early Bronze Age IV 2200-2100 BC First Intermediate Period of Egypt
Middle Bronze Age
(2000-1550 BC)
Middle Bronze Age I 2100-2000 BC Third Dynasty of Ur
Middle Bronze Age II A 2000-1750 BC Minoan civilization, early Babylonia, Egyptian Middle Kingdom
Middle Bronze Age II B 1750-1650 BC Second Intermediate Period of Egypt
Middle Bronze Age II C 1650-1550 BC Hittite Old Kingdom, Minoan eruption
Late Bronze Age
(1550-1200 BC)
Late Bronze Age I 1550-1400 BC Hittite Middle Kingdom, Hayasa-Azzi, Middle Elamite period, New Kingdom of Egypt
Late Bronze Age II A 1400-1300 BC Hittite New Kingdom, Mitanni, Hayasa-Azzi, Ugarit, Mycenaean Greece
Late Bronze Age II B 1300-1200 BC Middle Assyrian Empire, beginning of the high point of Phoenicians
Iron Age
(1200-539 BC)
Iron Age I
(1200-1000 BC)
Iron Age I A 1200-1150 BC Troy VII, Hekla 3 eruption, Bronze Age collapse, Sea Peoples
Iron Age I B 1150-1000 BC Neo-Hittite states, Neo Elamite period, Aramean states
Iron Age II
(1000-539 BC)
Iron Age II A 1000-900 BC Greek Dark Ages, traditional date of the United Monarchy of Israel
Iron Age II B 900-700 BC Kingdom of Israel, Urartu, Phrygia, Neo-Assyrian Empire, Kingdom of Judah, first settlement of Carthage
Iron Age II C 700-539 BC Neo-Babylonian Empire, Median Empire, fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Phoenicia, Archaic Greece, rise of Achaemenid Persia
Classical Antiquity
(post-ANE)
(539 BC-634 AD)
Achaemenid 539-330 BC Persian Achaemenid Empire
Hellenistic & Parthian 330-31 BC Macedonian Empire, Seleucid Empire, Kingdom of Pergamon, Ptolemaic Kingdom, Parthian Empire
Roman & Persian 31 BC-634 AD Roman-Persian Wars, Roman Empire, Parthian Empire, Sassanid Empire, Byzantine Empire, Muslim conquests

 



🕑 Chronology of the ancient Near East

Chronology of the ancient Near East (W)

 



🕑 Mesopotamia Periodization

Mesopotamia Periodization (W)

Periodization

 



   

Chronology — relative and absolute

Chronology — relative and absolute (W)

The chronology of the ancient Near East provides a framework of dates for various events, rulers and dynasties. Individual inscriptions and texts customarily record events in terms of a succession of officials or rulers, taking forms like "in the year X of king Y". Thus by piecing together many records a relative chronology is arrived at, relating dates in cities over a wide area. For the first millennium BC, the relative chronology can be tied to actual calendar years by identifying significant astronomical events. An inscription from the tenth year of Assyrian king Ashur-Dan III refers to an eclipse of the sun, and astronomical calculations among the range of possible dates identify the eclipse as having occurred 15 June 763 BC. The date can be corroborated with other mentions of astronomical events and a secure absolute chronology established, that ties the relative chronologies into our calendar.

For the third and second millennia, the correlation is not so fixed. A key document is the Venus tablet of Ammisaduqa, preserving record of astronomical observations of Venus, as preserved in numerous cuneiform tablets during the reign of the Babylonian king Ammisaduqa, known to be the fourth ruler after Hammurabi in the relative calendar. In the series, the conjunction of the rise of Venus with the new moon provides a fixed point, or rather three fixed points, for the conjunction is a periodic occurrence. Astronomical calculation can therefore fix, for example, the first dates of the reign of Hammurabi in this manner either as 1848, 1792, or 1736 BC, depending on whether the "high" (or "long"), "middle" or "low (or short) chronology" is followed.

For the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC, the following periods can be distinguished:

  1. Early Bronze Age: A series of rulers and dynasties whose existence is based mostly on the Sumerian King List besides some that are attested epigraphically (e. g., En-me-barage-si). No absolute dates within a certainty better than a century can be assigned to this period.
  2. Middle to Late Bronze Age: Beginning with the Akkadian Empire around 2300 BC, the chronological evidence becomes internally more consistent. Essentially, for this period, a good picture can be drawn of who succeeded whom, and synchronisms between Mesopotamia, the Levant and the more robust chronology of Ancient Egypt can be established. The assignment of absolute dates is a matter of dispute; the conventional middle chronology fixes the sack of Babylon at 1595 BC while the short chronology fixes it at 1531 BC.
  3. The Bronze Age collapse: a "Dark Age" begins with the fall of Babylonian Dynasty III (Kassite) around 1200 BC, the invasions of the Sea Peoples and the collapse of the Hittite Empire.
  4. Early Iron Age: around 900 BC, historical data, written records become more numerous once more, with the rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, enabling the certain assignment of absolute dates. Classical sources such as the Canon of Ptolemy, the works of Berossus and the Hebrew Bible provide chronological support and synchronisms. An eclipse in 763 BC anchors the Assyrian list of imperial officials.

 



Chronological Framework

Chronological Framework (B)

The basis for the chronology after about 1450 BCE is provided by the data in the Assyrian and Babylonian king lists, which can often be checked by dated tablets and the Assyrian lists of eponyms (annual officials whose names served to identify each year). It is, however, still uncertain how much time separated the middle of the 15th century BCE from the end of the 1st dynasty of Babylon, which is therefore variously dated to 1594 BCE (“middle”), 1530 BCE (“short”), or 1730 BCE (“long” chronology). As a compromise, the middle chronology is used here. From 1594 BCE several chronologically overlapping dynasties reach back to the beginning of the 3rd dynasty of Ur, about 2112 BCE. From this point to the beginning of the dynasty of Akkad (c. 2334 BCE) the interval can only be calculated to within 40 to 50 years, via the ruling houses of Lagash and the rather uncertain traditions regarding the succession of Gutian viceroys. With Ur-Nanshe (c. 2520 BCE), the first king of the 1st dynasty of Lagash, there is a possible variation of 70 to 80 years, and earlier dates are a matter of mere guesswork: they depend upon factors of only limited relevance, such as the computation of occupation or destruction levels, the degree of development in the script (paleography), the character of the sculpture, pottery, and cylinder seals, and their correlation at different sites. In short, the chronology of the first half of the 3rd millennium is largely a matter for the intuition of the individual author. Carbon-14 dates are at present too few and far between to be given undue weight. Consequently, the turn of the 4th to 3rd millennium is to be accepted, with due caution and reservations, as the date of the flourishing of the archaic civilization of Uruk and of the invention of writing.

 








  MEZOPOTAMYA    

List of Rulers of Mesopotamia

List of Rulers of Mesopotamia (THE-MET)

Southern Mesopotamia

Early Dynastic Period 12
Gilgamesh of Uruk (legendary) 2700 B.C.
Mesanepada of Ur 2450 B.C.
Eannatum of Lagash 2400 B.C.
Enannatum of Lagash 2430 B.C.
Uruinimgina of Lagash 2350 B.C.
Lugalzagesi of Uruk 2350 B.C.

Dynasty of Akkad (Agade)
Sargon 2340–2285 B.C.
Rimush 2284–2275 B.C.
Manishtushu 2275–2260 B.C.
Naram-Sin 2260–2223 B.C.
Shar-kali-sharri 2223–2198 B.C.

Dynasty of Lagash
Gudea (59.2) 2150–2125 B.C.

Third Dynasty of Ur
Ur-Nammu 2112–2095 B.C.
Shulgi 2095–2047 B.C.
Amar-Sin 2046–2038 B.C.
Shu-Sin 2037–2029 B.C.
Ibbi-Sin 2028–2004 B.C.

Dynasty of Isin
Ishbi-Erra 2017–1985 B.C.
Shu-ilishu 1984–1975 B.C.
Iddin-Dagan 1974–1954 B.C.
Lipit-Ishtar 1934–1924 B.C.

Dynasty of Larsa
Rim-Sin 1822–1763 B.C.

Old Babylonian Dynasty
Sin-muballit 1812–1793 B.C.
Hammurabi 1792–1750 B.C.

Kassite Dynasty
Kadashman-Enlil I 1374–1360 B.C.
Burnaburiash II 1359–1333 B.C.
Kurigalzu II 1332–1308 B.C.

Babylonian Dynasty
Nabu-mukin-zeri 731–729 B.C.
Marduk-apla-iddina II 721–710 B.C.
Shamash-shum-ukin 667–648 B.C.

Neo-Babylonian Dynasty (32.143.4)
Nabopolassar 625–605 B.C.
Nebuchadnezzar II 604–562 B.C.
Amel-Marduk 561–560 B.C.
Neriglissar 559–556 B.C.
Labashi-Marduk 556 B.C.
Nabonidus 555–539 B.C.
Northern Mesopotamia

Old Assyrian Dynasty
Shamshi-Adad 1813–1781 B.C.

Dynasty of Mari
Zimri-Lim 1775 B.C.

Middle Assyrian Dynasty
Ashur-uballit I 1365–1330 B.C.
Enlil-nirari 1329–1320 B.C.
Adad-nirari I 1307–1275 B.C.
Tukulti-Ninurta I 1244–1208 B.C.
Ashur-dan I 1179–1134 B.C.
Tiglath-pileser I 1114–1076 B.C.
Ashur-bel-kala 1073–1056 B.C.

Neo-Assyrian Dynasty
Ashurnasirpal II 883–859 B.C.
Shalmaneser III 858–824 B.C.
Shamshi-Adad V 823–811 B.C.
Adad-nirari III 810–783 B.C.
Shalmaneser IV 782–773 B.C.
Ashur-dan III 772–755 B.C.
Ashur-nirari V 754–745 B.C.
Tiglath-pileser III 745–727 B.C.
Shalmaneser V 726–722 B.C.
Sargon II 721–705 B.C.
Sennacherib 704–681 B.C.
Esarhaddon 680–669 B.C.
Ashurbanipal 668–627 B.C.
Ashur-etel-ilani 626–623 B.C.
Sin-shar-ishkun 622–612 B.C.
Ashur-uballit II 611–609 B.C.


Mesopotamia United

Achaemenid Persian Dynasty
Cyrus II the Great 559–530 B.C.
Cambyses II 530–522 B.C.
Darius I 521–486 B.C.
Xerxes 486–465 B.C.
Artaxerxes I 465–424 B.C.
Darius II 423–405 B.C.
Artaxerxes II 405–359 B.C.
Artaxerxes III 358–338 B.C.
Artaxerxes IV 338–336 B.C.
Darius III 336–330 B.C.

 



 

The Sumerians and Akkadians (including Assyrians and Babylonians) dominated Mesopotamia from the beginning of written history (c. 3100 BC) to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, when it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire. It fell to Alexander the Great in 332 BC, and after his death, it became part of the Greek Seleucid Empire.

Around 150 BC, Mesopotamia was under the control of the Parthian Empire. Mesopotamia became a battleground between the Romans and Parthians, with western parts of Mesopotamia coming under ephemeral Roman control.

 

Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. It has been identified as having “inspired some of the most important developments in human history including the invention of the wheel, the planting of the first cereal crops and the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture.”

 

🗺️ Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia (W)



Map showing the extent of Mesopotamia. Shown are Washukanni, Nineveh, Hatra, Assur, Nuzi, Palmyra, Mari, Sippar, Babylon, Kish, Nippur, Isin, Lagash, Uruk, Charax Spasinu and Ur, from north to south.

The Sumerians and Akkadians (including Assyrians and Babylonians) dominated Mesopotamia from the beginning of written history (c. 3100 BC) to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, when it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire. It fell to Alexander the Great in 332 BC, and after his death, it became part of the Greek Seleucid Empire.

Around 150 BC, Mesopotamia was under the control of the Parthian Empire. Mesopotamia became a battleground between the Romans and Parthians, with western parts of Mesopotamia coming under ephemeral Roman control. In AD 226, the eastern regions of Mesopotamia fell to the Sassanid Persians. The division of Mesopotamia between Roman (Byzantine from AD 395) and Sassanid Empires lasted until the 7th century Muslim conquest of Persia of the Sasanian Empire and Muslim conquest of the Levant from Byzantines. A number of primarily neo-Assyrian and Christian native Mesopotamian states existed between the 1st century BC and 3rd century AD, including Adiabene, Osroene, and Hatra.

Mesopotamia is the site of the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BC. It has been identified as having "inspired some of the most important developments in human history including the invention of the wheel, the planting of the first cereal crops and the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture"


A Sumerian harvester's sickle, dated to 3,000 BC.

The Neolithic Revolution, Neolithic Demographic Transition, Agricultural Revolution, or First Agricultural Revolution was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an increasingly larger population possible. These settled communities permitted humans to observe and experiment with plants to learn how they grew and developed. This new knowledge led to the domestication of plants.

The earliest known civilization developed in Sumer in southern Mesopotamia (c.  6,500 BP); its emergence also heralded the beginning of the Bronze Age.

The Levant saw the earliest developments of the Neolithic Revolution from around 10,000 BCE, followed by sites in the wider Fertile Crescent.

 



The emergence of Mesopotamian civilization

The emergence of Mesopotamian civilization (B)

The Late Neolithic Period and the Chalcolithic Period. Between about 10,000 BCE and the genesis of large permanent settlements, the following stages of development are distinguishable, some of which run parallel: (1) the change to sedentary life, or the transition from continual or seasonal change of abode, characteristic of hunter-gatherers and the earliest cattle breeders, to life in one place over a period of several years or even permanently, (2) the transition from experimental plant cultivation to the deliberate and calculated farming of grains and leguminous plants, (3) the erection of houses and the associated “settlement” of the gods in temples, (4) the burial of the dead in cemeteries, (5) the invention of clay vessels, made at first by hand, then turned on the wheel and fired to ever greater degrees of hardness, at the same time receiving almost invariably decoration of incised designs or painted patterns, (6) the development of specialized crafts and the distribution of labour, and (7) metal production (the first use of metal—copper—marks the transition from the Late Neolithic to the Chalcolithic Period).
...
For the next millennium, the 5th, it is customary to speak in terms of various “cultures” or “ horizons,” distinguished in general by the pottery, which may be classed by its colour, shape, hardness, and, above all, by its decoration. The name of each horizon is derived either from the type site or from the place where the pottery was first found: Sāmarrāʾ on the Tigris, Tall Ḥalaf in the central Jazīrah, Ḥassūna Level V, Al-ʿUbaid near Ur, and Ḥājj Muḥammad on the Euphrates, not far from Al-Samāwah (some 150 miles south-southeast of Baghdad). Along with the improvement of tools, the first evidence for water transport (a model boat from the prehistoric cemetery at Eridu, in the extreme south of Mesopotamia, c. 4000 BCE), and the development of terra-cottas, the most impressive sign of progress is the constantly accelerating advance in architecture. This can best be followed in the city of Eridu, which in historical times was the centre of the cult of the Sumerian god Enki.

Originally a small, single-roomed shrine, the temple in the Ubaid period consisted of a rectangular building, measuring 80 by 40 feet, that stood on an artificial terrace. It had an “offering table” and an “altar” against the short walls, aisles down each side, and a facade decorated with niches. This temple, standing on a terrace probably originally designed to protect the building from flooding, is usually considered the prototype of the characteristic religious structure of later Babylonia, the ziggurat. The temple at Eridu is in the very same place as that on which the Enki ziggurat stood in the time of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (c. 2112-c. 2004 BCE), so the cult tradition must have existed on the same spot for at least 1,500 to 2,000 years before Ur III itself. Remarkable as this is, however, it is not justifiable to assume a continuous ethnic tradition. The flowering of architecture reached its peak with the great temples (or assembly halls?) of Uruk, built around the turn of the 4th to 3rd millennium BCE (Uruk Levels VI to IV).

 



History

History (W)

The people of Mesopotamia originally consisted of two groups, East Semitic Akkadian speakers (later divided into the Assyrians and Babylonians) and the people of Sumer, who spoke a language isolate. These peoples were members of various city-states and small kingdoms. The Sumerians left the first records, and are believed to have been the founders of the civilisation of the Ubaid period (6500 BC to 3800 BC) in Upper Mesopotamia. By historical times they resided in southern Mesopotamia, which was known as Sumer (and much later, Babylonia), and had considerable influence on the Akkadian speakers and their culture. The Akkadian-speaking Semites are believed to have entered the region at some point between 3500 BC and 3000 BC, with Akkadian names first appearing in the regnal lists of these states c. 29th century BC.

The Sumerians were advanced: as well as inventing writing, they also invented early forms of mathematics, early wheeled vehicles/chariots, astronomy, astrology, written code of law, organised medicine, advanced agricultureand architecture, and the calendar. They created the first city-states such as Uruk, Ur, Lagash, Isin, Kish, Umma, Eridu, Adab, Akshak, Sippar, Nippur and Larsa, each of them ruled by an ensí. The Sumerians remained largely dominant in this synthesised culture, however, until the rise of the Akkadian Empire under Sargon of Akkad circa 2335 BC, which united all of Mesopotamia under one ruler.

There was increasing syncretism between the Sumerian and Akkadian cultures and deities, with the Akkadians typically preferring to worship fewer deities but elevating them to greater positions of power. Circa 2335 BC, Sargon of Akkad conquered all of Mesopotamia, uniting its inhabitants into the world's first empire and spreading its domination into ancient Iran, the Levant, Anatolia, Canaan and the Arabian Peninsula. The Akkadian Empire endured for two centuries before collapsing due to economic decline, internal strife and attacks from the north east by the Gutian people.

Following a brief Sumerian revival with the Third Dynasty of Ur or Neo-Sumerian Empire, Mesopotamia broke up into a number of Akkadian states. Assyria had evolved during the 25th century BC, and asserted itself in the north circa 2100 BC in the Old Assyrian Empire and southern Mesopotamia fragmented into a number of kingdoms, the largest being Isin, Larsa and Eshnunna.

In 1894 BC the initially minor city-state of Babylon was founded in the south by invading West Semitic-speaking Amorites. It was rarely ruled by native dynasties throughout its history.

Some time after this period, the Sumerians disappeared, becoming wholly absorbed into the Akkadian-speaking population.

Assyrian kings are attested from the late 25th century BC and dominated northern Mesopotamia and parts of eastern Anatolia and northeast Syria.

Circa 1750 BC, the Amorite ruler of Babylon, King Hammurabi, conquered much of Mesopotamia, but this empire collapsed after his death, and Babylonia was reduced to the small state it had been upon its founding. The Amorite dynasty was deposed in 1595 BC after attacks from mountain-dwelling people known as the Kassites from the Zagros Mountains, who went on to rule Babylon for over 500 years.

Assyria, having been the dominant power in the region with the Old Assyrian Empire between the 20th and 18th centuries BC before the rise of Hammurabi, once more became a major power with the Middle Assyrian Empire (1391-1050 BC). Assyria defeated the Hittites and Mitanni, , and its growing power forced the New Kingdom of Egypt to withdraw from the Near East. The Middle Assyrian Empire at its height stretched from the Caucasus to modern Bahrain and from Cyprus to western Iran.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC) was the most dominant power on earth and the largest empire the world had yet seen between the 10th century BC and the late 7th century BC, with an empire stretching from Cyprus in the west to central Iran in the east, and from the Caucasus in the north to Nubia, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula in the south, facilitating the spread of Mesopotamian culture and religion far and wide under emperors such as Ashurbanipal, Tukulti-Ninurta II, Tiglath-Pileser III, Shalmaneser IV, Sargon II, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. During the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Mesopotamian Aramaic became the lingua franca of the empire, and also Mesopotamia proper. The last written records in Akkadian were astrological texts dating from 78 CE discovered in Assyria.

The empire fell between 612 BC and 599 BC after a period of severe internal civil war in Assyria which soon spread to Babylonia, leaving Mesopotamia in a state of chaos. A weakened Assyria was then subject to combined attacks by a coalition of hitherto vassals, in the form of the Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes, Scythians, Persians, Sagartians and Cimmerians beginning in 616 BC. These were led by Nabopolassar of Babylon and Cyaxares of Media and Persia. Nineveh was sacked in 612 BC, Harran fell in 608 BC, Carchemish in 605 BC, and final traces of Assyrian imperial administration disappeared from Dūr-Katlimmu by 599 BC.

Babylon had a brief late flowering of power and influence, initially under the migrant Chaldean dynasty, which took over much of the empire formerly held by their northern kinsmen. However, the last king of Babylonia, Nabonidus, an Assyrian, paid little attention to politics, preferring to worship the lunar deity Sin, leaving day-to-day rule to his son Belshazzar. This and the fact that the Persians and Medes to the east were growing in power now that the might of Assyria that had held them in vassalage for centuries was gone, spelt the death knell for native Mesopotamian power. The Achaemenid Empire conquered the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 539 BC, after which the Chaldeans disappeared from history, although Mesopotamian people, culture and religion continued to endure after this.

 



The character and influence of ancient Mesopotamia

The character and influence of ancient Mesopotamia (B)

Ancient Mesopotamia had many languages and cultures; its history is broken up into many periods and eras; it had no real geographic unity, and above all no permanent capital city, so that by its very variety it stands out from other civilizations with greater uniformity, particularly that of Egypt. The script and the pantheon constitute the unifying factors, but in these also Mesopotamia shows its predilection for multiplicity and variety. Written documents were turned out in quantities, and there are often many copies of a single text. The pantheon consisted of more than 1,000 deities, even though many divine names may apply to different manifestations of a single god. During 3,000 years of Mesopotamian civilization, each century gave birth to the next. Thus classical Sumerian civilization influenced that of the Akkadians, and the Ur III empire, which itself represented a Sumero-Akkadian synthesis, exercised its influence on the first quarter of the 2nd millennium BCE. With the Hittites, large areas of Anatolia were infused with the culture of Mesopotamia from 1700 BCE onward. Contacts, via Mari, with Ebla in Syria, some 30 miles south of Aleppo, go back to the 24th century BCE, so that links between Syrian and Palestinian scribal schools and Babylonian civilization during the Amarna period (14th century BCE) may have had much older predecessors. At any rate, the similarity of certain themes in cuneiform literature and the Hebrew Bible, such as the story of the Flood or the motif of the righteous sufferer, is due to such early contacts and not to direct borrowing.

 



 

📹 The Ancient Middle East / Every Year (VİDEO)

📹 The Ancient Middle East / Every Year (LINK)

This video shows the history of the Middle East from the rise of the city-states in 2500 BCE to the fall of Egypt to Persia in 525 BCE. This covers such events as the conquests of Sargon of Akkad, Ur-Namu of Ur, and Hamurabi of Babylon, as well as the various Assyrian and Egyptian kingdoms, and other great powers, including the Hittites, Hurrian-Mitanni, and Israel.

 



📹 The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia (VİDEO)

The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia (LINK)


 

📹 Ancient Mesopotamia — Introduction (VİDEO)

Ancient Mesopotamia — Introduction (LINK)

 



📹 Ancient Mesopotamia 101 — National Geographic (VİDEO)

Ancient Mesopotamia 101 — National Geographic (LINK)

 



📹 Ancient Mesopotamia — Early Civilizations — World History — Khan Academy (VİDEO)

Ancient Mesopotamia — Khan Academy (LINK)

 



📹 Survey from Neo Babylonians to Persians — World History — Khan Academy (VİDEO)

Survey from Neo Babylonians to Persians — Khan Academy (LINK)

 



 

📹 Egypt 101 — National Geographic (VİDEO)

📹 Egypt 101 — National Geographic (LINK)

The Ancient Egyptian civilization, famous for its pyramids, pharaohs, mummies, and tombs, flourished for thousands of years. But what was its lasting impact? Learn how Ancient Egypt contributed to society with its many cultural developments, particularly in language and mathematics.

 








Arkeolojik bulgulara ve yazılı tablet bilgilerine göre —

  • Kuzey Mezopotamya’da tarih-öncesi Halaf ve Hassuna-Samara kültürleri (İÖ 6000 sıraları) güneydeki Sümer yerleşimlerini önceler.
  • Güneyde en erken yerleşim olan Eridu İÖ 5000 sıralarında geç Halaf döneminde kuruldu.
  • Güneyde Ubaid döneminde İÖ 3000’den kısa bir süre sonra yazı icat edildi ve bu olgu ile yazılı tarih başladı.
  • 3’üncü bin yılın tarihsel dönemleri (sıra ile): Erken Hanedan, Akad, Gutium ve 3’üncü Ur Hanedanı;
  • 2’nci bin yılın tarihsel dönemleri: İsin-Larsa, Eski Babil, Kassit ve Orta Babil;
  • 1’inci bin yılın tarihsel dönemleri: Asur, Yeni Babil, Akamenid, Seleukid ve Parthian.

  Halaf — Hassuna — Samarra
 

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (c. 9600-8000 BP)

Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (c. 11,500-10,000 BP)

 
 



(W) The Neolithic, also known as the "New Stone Age"), the final division of the Stone Age, began about 12,000 years ago when the first development of farming appeared in the Epipalaeolithic Near East, and later in other parts of the world. The division lasted until the transitional period of the Chalcolithic from about 6,500 years ago (4500 BC), marked by the development of metallurgy, leading up to the Bronze Age and Iron Age. In Northern Europe, the Neolithic lasted until about 1700 BC, while in China it extended until 1200 BC. Other parts of the world (the New World) remained in the Neolithic stage of development until European contact.



(W) The Chalcolithic (a name derived from the Greek: χαλκός khalkós, "copper" and λίθος líthos, "stone" or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic or Aeneolithic (from Latin aeneus "of copper") is an archaeological period that is usually considered to be part of the broader Neolithic (although it was originally defined as a transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age).


The Chalcolithic was a period in which copper is predominant in metalworking technology. Hence it was the period before it was discovered that adding tin to copper formed bronze (a harder and stronger metal).

 

The Copper Age in the Ancient Near East began in the late 5th millennium BCE and lasted for about a millennium before it gave rise to the Early Bronze Age. The transition from the European Copper Age to Bronze Age Europe occurs about the same time, between the late 5th and the late 3rd millennia BCE.


 

 

Halaf culture

Halaf culture (c. 6,100-5,100 BC) (W)


Period Neolithic 3 – Pottery Neolithic (PN)
Dates circa 6,100 -5,100 BC
Type site Tell Halaf
Major sites Tell Brak
Preceded by Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Followed by Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period, Hassuna culture, Samarra culture


The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 BC and 5100 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in south-eastern Turkey, Syria, and northern Iraq, although Halaf-influenced material is found throughout Greater Mesopotamia.

While the period is named after the site of Tell Halaf in north Syria, excavated by Max von Oppenheim between 1911 and 1927, the earliest Halaf period material was excavated by John Garstang in 1908 at the site of Sakce Gözü, then in Syria but now part of Turkey. Small amounts of Halaf material were also excavated in 1913 by Leonard Woolley at Carchemish, on the Turkish/Syrian border. However, the most important site for the Halaf tradition was the site of Tell Arpachiyah, now located in the suburbs of Mosul, Iraq.

The Halaf period was succeeded by the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period which comprised the late Halaf (c. 5400-5000 BC), and then by the Ubaid period.



Bowl fragment from Halaf, circa 5600-5000 B.C., Ceramic Metropolitan Museum of Art
Halaf Culture (5500-4800) (LINK)
Halaf Culture (5500-4800)

1. The Halaf range includes the northern parts of Mesopotamia, Syria and southern Anatolia. Ecnomy was based on dry farming and stockbreeding.

2. The elaborate Halaf pottery style spread across the entire northern region to the Mediterranean, indicating intensive sharing of stylistic concepts through cultural contact or trade although there appear to be different varieties of this style, indicating against any form of wider political unity.

3. Halaf was related to, and may well have grown out of, Hassunna and Umm Daghabiya in the north as part of a general cultural/ social Neolithic pattern whose most elaborate expression was seen at Catal Huyuk.

4. Halaf sites are in general small like those of the Hassuna Culture of North Iraq. Like Catal Huyuk, Umm Dabaghiya and Hassuna suggest no strong signs of administrative bureaucracy or social differentiation, except for its specialized pottery. This contrasts with the contemporary Samarra Culture further south.



(LINK)


 



Hassuna culture

Hassuna culture (c. 6000 BC) (W)


Period Neolithic
Dates circa 6000 BC
Type site Tell Hassuna
Major sites Tell Shemshara
Preceded by Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, Halaf culture
Followed by Ubaid period

The Hassuna culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia dating to the early sixth millennium BC. It is named after the type site of Tell Hassuna in Iraq. Other sites where Hassuna material has been found include Tell Shemshara.

By around 6000 BC people had moved into the foothills (piedmont) of northernmost Mesopotamia where there was enough rainfall to allow for "dry" agriculture in some places. These were the first farmers in northernmost Mesopotamia. They made Hassuna-style pottery (cream slip with reddish paint in linear designs). Hassuna people lived in small villages or hamlets ranging from 2 to 8 acres (3.2 ha).


Hassuna Culture (6000-5200 BC) (LINK)
Hassuna Culture (6000-5200 BC)

1. This archaeologically culture, defined by its ceramic style, encompasses a large number of small villages set largely just within the 250mm rainfall belt of Northern Iraq and easternmost Anatolia and sharing a number of cultural traits for first time. Its mixed economy generally includes greater reliance on cereal production.

2. Houses of mud slabs and thatch with 3-4 rooms, sometimes around courtyard with parching ovens and grain bins show the continuing development of Neolithic technology (used to separate husks from kernels)

3. A shared ceramic style - first crude like Umm Dabaghiya, later with coarse painting is distributed around its "culture area." and leads into Samarran and Halafian Cultures.

4. There is no evidence of social differentiation like the succeeding Samarran Culture – just small simple "rustic" villages of a few kin-linked family groups in the typical Neolithic pattern.



(LINK)



 



Samarra culture

Samarra culture (5500-4800 BC) (W)


Period Neolithic
Dates c. 5500-4800 BCE
Type site Samarra
Major sites Tell Shemshara, Tell es-Sawwan
Preceded by Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, Halaf culture, Hassuna culture, Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period
Followed by Ubaid period

The Samarra culture is a Chalcolithic archaeological culture in northern Mesopotamia that is roughly dated to 5500-4800 BCE. It partially overlaps with Hassuna and early Ubaid. Samarran material culture was first recognized during excavations by German Archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld at the site of Samarra. Other sites where Samarran material has been found include Tell Shemshara, Tell es-Sawwan and Yarim Tepe.

At Tell es-Sawwan, evidence of irrigation—including flax—establishes the presence of a prosperous settled culture with a highly organized social structure. The culture is primarily known for its finely made pottery decorated with stylized animals, including birds, and geometric designs on dark backgrounds. This widely exported type of pottery, one of the first widespread, relatively uniform pottery styles in the Ancient Near East, was first recognized at Samarra. The Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubaid period. At Tell Sabi Abyad and other Late Neolithic sites in Syria, scholars adopt increasingly vague terms such as Samarra "influenced", Samarra-"related" or even Samarra "impulses", largely because we do not understand the relationships with the traditional Samarra heartlands. The term may be extended to include sites in Syria such as Tell Chagar Bazar, Tell Boueid II, Tell Sabi Abyad or Tell Halula. Principal sites mentioned in the text. excavated in Pre-Halaf to Early Halaf Transitional contexts


Female statuette, Samarra, 6000 BCE


Samarran Culture (5500-4800) (LINK)
Samarran Culture (5500-4800)

1. The Samarran settlement distribution demonstrates that communities of settled farmers were moving into the fringes of the northern alluvium. This move necessitated simple irrigation to enable adequate food production in this dry area. There is progressive lessening in importance of hunting at the Samarran sites of Tell-es Sawaan and Chogi Mama.

2. The area of Samarran pottery distribution includes the entirety of northern Iraq north of Baghdad. It represents a style comprising brown-painted geometric style pottery.

3. Trade is indicated by turquoise, carnelian and obsidian. Alabaster and copper was also used.

4. Female figurines continue into the tradition. They are different from site to site, suggesting distinctive local forms of the same wide belief system. Elaborate burials offer greater evidence for social stratification.

Samarran Social Organization

1. Both Tell-es Sawaan and Chogi Mama were surrounded by large buttressed walls with indirect entrance. This suggests the presence of inter-site raiding. It also suggests emergence of the organizational systems required for raiding parties, labor, administration, and irrigation.

2. There is now a clear differentiation of house types with residential buildings being usually rectangular as opposed to a second house form that was used later by both private and religious institutions as the focus of their moves toward economic and political hegemony. This was a T-shaped building used for storage of grain and residence, containing elaborate female figurines which indicates ritual connection. This suggests that important kin-groups/families were communally owning produce and building their own status on such ownership.

3. This room-type later became the T-shape room that is better known on one hand as the temple form and on the other hand as the residence of the extended private family. This large family group was the forerunner of the feudal Sumerian households (oikos) headed by an important landowner and including his sons, their families and retainers. Samarran culture at 5500 was developing in a more hierarchical direction than contemporary Catal Huyuk.

4. Later, in Uruk and Early Dynastic Periods, this dichotomy between temple and important landowners grew into a contest for control that was ultimately won by the latter.



(LINK)






Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period

Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (c. 5500-5000 BC) (W)

Period Neolithic 3 – Pottery Neolithic (PN)
Dates c. 5500-5000 BC
Type site Tepe Gawra
Preceded by Halaf culture
Followed by Ubaid period

The Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (ca. 5500/5400 to 5200/5000 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. It lies chronologically between the Halaf period and the Ubaid period. It is still a complex and rather poorly understood period. At the same time, recent efforts were made to study the gradual change from Halaf style pottery to Ubaid style pottery in various parts of North Mesopotamia.

 



 

Female statuette, Samarra, 6000 BCE





  SUMER

Sumer

Sumer (W)



A group of votive statues from the Square Temple at Tell Asmar, carved in gypsum in the style of the Diyala River Valley region. Early Dynastic I-III period, ca. 2900-2500 BC.

📹 Standing Male Worshipper from Tell Asmar (VİDEO)

Standing Male Worshipper from Tell Asmar (LINK)

 




Sumer
is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, modern-day southern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze ages, and arguably one of the first civilizations in the world along with Ancient Egypt and the Indus Valley. Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, Sumerian farmers were able to grow an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus of which enabled them to settle in one place. Proto-writing in the prehistory dates back to c. 3000 BC. The earliest texts come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr and date back to 3300 BC; early cuneiform script writing emerged in 3000 BC.

Modern historians have suggested that Sumer was first permanently settled between c. 5500 and 4000 BC by a West Asian people who spoke the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc., as evidence), an agglutinative language isolate. These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called “proto-Euphrateans” or “Ubaidians,” and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia. The Ubaidians (though never mentioned by the Sumerians themselves) are assumed by modern-day scholars to have been the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery.

Some scholars contest the idea of a Proto-Euphratean language or one substrate language; they think the Sumerian language may originally have been that of the hunting and fishing peoples who lived in the marshland and the Eastern Arabia littoral region and were part of the Arabian bifacial culture. Reliable historical records begin much later; there are none in Sumer of any kind that have been dated before Enmebaragesi (c. 26th century BC). Juris Zarins believes the Sumerians lived along the coast of Eastern Arabia, today's Persian Gulf region, before it was flooded at the end of the Ice Age.

Sumerian civilization took form in the Uruk period (4th millennium BC), continuing into the Jemdet Nasr and Early Dynastic periods. During the 3rd millennium BC, a close cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians, who spoke a language isolate, and Akkadian-speakers, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian on Akkadian (and vice versa) is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the 3rd millennium BC as a Sprachbund. Sumer was conquered by the Semitic-speaking kings of the Akkadian Empire around 2270 BC (short chronology), but Sumerian continued as a sacred language. Native Sumerian rule re-emerged for about a century in the Third Dynasty of Ur at approximately 2100-2000 BC, but the Akkadian language also remained in use.

The Sumerian city of Eridu, on the coast of the Persian Gulf, is considered to have been the world’s first city, where three separate cultures may have fused: that of peasant Ubaidian farmers, living in mud-brick huts and practicing irrigation; that of mobile nomadic Semitic pastoralists living in black tents and following herds of sheep and goats; and that of fisher folk, living in reed huts in the marshlands, who may have been the ancestors of the Sumerians.

 



Origin of the term Sumerian

Origin of the term Sumerian (W)

Origin of name

The term Sumerian is the common name given to the ancient non-Semitic-speaking inhabitants of Mesopotamia by the East Semitic-speaking Akkadians. The Sumerians referred to themselves as ùĝ saĝ gíg ga (cuneiform: 𒌦 𒊕 𒈪 𒂵), phonetically /uŋ saŋ ɡi ɡa/, literally meaning "the black-headed people", and to their land as ki-en-gi(-r) (cuneiform: 𒆠𒂗𒄀) ('place' + 'lords' + 'noble'), meaning "place of the noble lords". The Akkadian word Shumer may represent the geographical name in dialect, but the phonological development leading to the Akkadian term šumerû is uncertain. Hebrew Shinar, Egyptian Sngr, and Hittite Šanhar(a), all referring to southern Mesopotamia, could be western variants of Shumer.

 




📹 Rise of Sumer — Cradle of Civilization (VİDEO)

Rise of Sumer — Cradle of Civilization (LINK)

 




📹 History of Sumer (3,000 years of Sumerian history) (VİDEO)

History of Sumer (3,000 years of Sumerian history) (LINK)

 



   

History of Sumer

History of Sumer (W)

The history of Sumer, taken to include the prehistoric Ubaid and Uruk periods, spans the 5th to 3rd millennia BC, ending with the downfall of the Third Dynasty of Ur around 2004 BC, followed by a transitional period of Amorite states before the rise of Babylonia in the 18th century BC.

The first settlement in southern Mesopotamia was Eridu. The Sumerians claimed that their civilization had been brought, fully formed, to the city of Eridu by their god Enki or by his advisor (or Abgallu from ab=water, gal=big, lu=man), Adapa U-an (the Oannes of Berossus). The first people at Eridu brought with them the Samarran culture from northern Mesopotamia and are identified with the Ubaid period, but it is not known whether or not these were Sumerians (associated later with the Uruk period).

The Sumerian king list is an ancient text in the Sumerian language listing kings of Sumer, including a few foreign dynasties. Some of the earlier dynasties may be mythical; the historical record does not open up before the first archaeologically attested ruler, Enmebaragesi (c. 2600 BC), while conjectures and interpretations of archaeological evidence can vary for earlier events. The best-known dynasty, that of Lagash, is omitted from the kinglist.

 



Historical Periods

Historical Periods (W)

The Sumerian city-states rose to power during the prehistoric Ubaid and Uruk periods. Sumerian written history reaches back to the 27th century BC and before, but the historical record remains obscure until the Early Dynastic III period, c. the 23rd century BC, when a now deciphered syllabary writing system was developed, which has allowed archaeologists to read contemporary records and inscriptions. Classical Sumer ends with the rise of the Akkadian Empire in the 23rd century BC. Following the Gutian period, there was a brief Sumerian Renaissance in the 21st century BC, cut short in the 20th century BC by invasions by the Amorites. The Amorite "dynasty of Isin" persisted until c. 1700 BC, when Mesopotamia was united under Babylonian rule. The Sumerians were eventually absorbed into the Akkadian (Assyro-Babylonian) population.[citation needed]

  • Ubaid period: 6500-4100 BC
  • Uruk period: 4100-2900 BC
    • Uruk XIV-V: 4100-3300 BC
    • Uruk IV period: 3300-3100 BC
    • Jemdet Nasr p. (Uruk III): 3100-2900 BC
  • Early Dynastic period
    • Early Dynastic I period: 2900-2800 BC
    • Early Dynastic II period: 2800-2600 BC
    • Early Dynastic IIIa p.: 2600-2500 BC
    • Early Dynastic IIIb p.: c. 2500-2334 BC
  • Akkadian Empire period: c. 2334-2218 BC
  • Gutian period: c. 2218-2047 BC
  • Ur III period: c. 2047-1940 BC

 





1) Ubaid period: 6500-4100 BC (Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic)

Ubaid period

Ubaid period

Ubaid period (c. 6500 to 3800 BC)

Ubaid period (c. 6500 to 3800 BC) (W)



Map of sites of the Ubaid culture
Period Chalcolithic
Dates c. 6500 — c. 3800 BC
Type site Tell al-'Ubaid
Major sites Eridu
Preceded by Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period, Hassuna culture, Samarra culture
Followed by Uruk period

The Ubaid period (c. 6500 to 3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from Tell al-'Ubaid where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall and later by Leonard Woolley.


Ubaid house
 
   

In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvial plain although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period.

In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC. It is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period.

Ubaid culture is characterized by large unwalled village settlements, multi-roomed rectangular mud-brick houses and the appearance of the first temples of public architecture in Mesopotamia.

During the Ubaid Period [5000-4000 BC], the movement towards urbanization began. "Agriculture and animal husbandry [domestication] were widely practiced in sedentary communities". There were also tribes that practiced domesticating animals as far north as Turkey, and as far south as the Zagros Mountains. The Ubaid period in the south was associated with intensive irrigated hydraulic agriculture, and the use of the plough, both introduced from the north.


Humanoid figures with lizard-like characteristics.


The Ubaid period as a whole, based upon the analysis of grave goods, was one of increasingly polarised social stratification and decreasing egalitarianism. This culture saw for the first time a clear tripartite social division between intensive subsistence peasant farmers, with crops and animals coming from the north, tent-dwelling nomadic pastoralists dependent upon their herds, and hunter-fisher folk.

 



Tall al-ʿUbayd (Archaeological Site, Iraq)

Tall al-ʿUbayd (B)

Tall al-ʿUbayd, also spelled Tell el-Ubaid, ancient site that gave its name to a prehistoric cultural period, the Ubaid, in Mesopotamia; it is located near the ruins of ancient Ur in present-day southeastern Iraq. Excavations have uncovered Ubaidian remains throughout southern Mesopotamia. The hallmark of the period was a painted pottery decorated with geometric and sometimes floral and animal designs in dark paint on a buff or drab clay. Many vessels seem to have been made on a slow wheel, and they had loop handles and spouts (the first historical occurrence of these).



Computer-enhanced photograph of a pottery jar on display in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (item number 1986.30), illustrating frieze group "THG". According to the MFA, it is from Southern Iraq in the Late Ubaid period (4500-4000 BC)
 
   

In the south the Ubaid period is dated from about 5200 to c. 3500 bc, but in the north Ubaidian characteristics do not seem to appear until c. 4300. Some scholars believe the characteristics of the northern Ubaid period may have been outgrowths of the preceding Halaf period rather than the result of cultural influences received directly from the south, but the overall picture is one of great homogeneity throughout the entire area from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.

 




 

 




2) Uruk period: 4100-2900 BC (Late Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age I)
 

Uruk period

Uruk period

Uruk period

Uruk period: 4100-2900 BC (W)


The last centuries of the 4th millennium BC: Archaeological sites of the "urukean expansion".

The Uruk period (ca. 4000 to 3100 BC) existed from the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, following the Ubaid period and succeeded by the Jemdet Nasr period. Named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia. It was followed by the Sumerian civilization. The late Uruk period (34th to 32nd centuries) saw the gradual emergence of the cuneiform script and corresponds to the Early Bronze Age; it may also be called the Protoliterate period. It was during this period that pottery painting declined as copper started to become popular, along with cylinder seals.


Uruk: The Eanna Ziggurat of the 21st century BCE


Reconstruction of part of a house from Habuba Kabira, with its mobile property, Pergamon Museum



Tablet from Uruk, dating to Uruk III (c. 3200-3000 BC) recording distributions of beer from the storerooms of an institution.



Proto-Cuneiform tablet with seal impressions: administrative account of barley distribution with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars.

Period: Jemdet Nasr
Date: ca. 3100-2900 B.C.
Geography: Mesopotamia, probably from Uruk (modern Warka)
Culture: Sumerian
Medium: Clay
Dimensions: 5.5 x 6 x 4.15 cm

 



Susa in Uruk Period

Susa (W1) (W2)


Elamite kingdom (in orange) and the neighboring areas. The approximate Bronze Age extension of the Persian Gulf is shown.


Susiana and the Iranian plateau (W1)


The region around Susa in the southwest of modern Iran, is located right next to lower Mesopotamia, which exercised a powerful influence on it from the 5th millennium BC, and might be considered to have been part of the Uruk culture in the second half of the 4th millennium BC, either as a result of conquest or a more gradual acculturation, but it did retain its own unique characteristics.

The Uruk period levels at Susa are called Susa I (c. 4000-3700 BC) and Susa II (c. 3700-3100 BC), during which the site became an urban settlement. Susa I saw the beginning of monumental architecture on the site, with the construction of a 'High Terrace', which was increased during Susa II to measure roughly 60 x 45 metres. The most interesting aspect of this site is the objects discovered there, which are the most important evidence available to us for the art of the Uruk period and the beginning of administration and writing. The cylinder seals of Susa I and Susa II have a very rich iconography, uniquely emphasising scenes of everyday life, although there is also some kind of local potentate which P. Amiet sees as a 'proto-royal figure,' preceding the 'priest-kings' of Late Uruk. These cylinder seals, as well as bullae and clay tokens, indicate the rise of administration and of accounting techniques at Susa during the second half of the 4th millennium BC. Susa has also yielded some of the most ancient writing tablets, making it a key site for our understanding of the origins of writing. Other sites in Susiana also have archaeological levels belonging to this period, like Jaffarabad and Chogha Mish.


Accounting tokens from Susa.


Susa (W2)

Susa (Greek: Σοῦσα) was an ancient city of the Proto-Elamite, Elamite, First Persian Empire, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires of Iran, and one of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East.

Susa I period

Shortly after Susa was first settled over 6000 years ago, its inhabitants erected a monumental platform that rose over the flat surrounding landscape. The exceptional nature of the site is still recognizable today in the artistry of the ceramic vessels that were placed as offerings in a thousand or more graves near the base of the temple platform.

Susa's earliest settlement is known as Susa I period (c. 4200-3900 BCE).

Susa II and Uruk influence

Susa came within the Uruk cultural sphere during the Uruk period. An imitation of the entire state apparatus of Uruk, proto-writing, cylinder seals with Sumerian motifs, and monumental architecture, is found at Susa. According to some scholars, Susa may have been a colony of Uruk.


Goblet and cup, Iran, Susa I style, 4th millennium BC — Ubaid period; goblet height c. 12 cm

 



 

Uruk period

Uruk period (LINK)

By the time of the Uruk period (4500-3100 B.C.E. calibrated), the volume of trade goods transported along the canals and rivers of southern Mesopotamia facilitated the rise of many large temple-centered cities where centralized administrations employed specialized workers. It is fairly certain that it was during the Uruk period that Sumerian cities began to make use of slave labor (Subartu) captured from the hill country, and there is ample evidence for captured slaves as workers in the earliest texts. Artifacts, and even colonies of this Uruk civilization have been found over a wide area - from the Taurus Mountains in Turkey, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and as far east as Central Iran.

The Uruk period civilization, exported by Sumerian traders and colonists (like that found at Tell Brak), had an effect on all surrounding peoples, who gradually evolved their own comparable, competing economies and cultures. The cities of Sumer could not maintain remote, long-distance colonies by military force.

The end of the Uruk period coincided with the Priora oscillation, a dry period from c. 3200-2900 B.C.E. that marked the end of a long wetter, warmer climate period from about 9,000 to 5,000 years ago, called the Holocene climatic optimum. When the historical record opens, the Sumerians appear to be limited to southern Mesopotamia—although very early rulers such as Lugal-Anne-Mundu are indeed recorded as expanding to neighboring areas as far as the Mediterranean, Taurus and Zagros, and not long after legendary figures like Enmerkar and Gilgamesh, who are associated in mythology with the historical transfer of culture from Eridu to Uruk, were supposed to have reigned.

 




Uruk is regarded as the era of primary state formation in Southwest Asia.

The Uruk period is regarded as the era of primary state formation in Southwest Asia. Cultural forces and processes probably in operation for thousands of years culminated in this interval in the appearance of the complete checklist of civilization: cities, warfare, writing, social hierarchies, advanced arts and crafts, and other elements.

The city was continuously inhabited from its founding until c. 300 CE when, owing to both natural and man-made influences, people began to desert the area. It lay abandoned and buried until excavated in 1853 CE by William Loftus for the British Museum.



Uruk was one of the most important cities (at one time, the most important) in ancient Mesopotamia. According to the Sumerian King List, it was founded by King Enmerkar sometime around 4500 BCE.

The city of Uruk is most famous for its great king Gilgamesh.

Uruk is considered the first true city in the world, the origin of writing, the first example of architectural work in stone and the building of great stone structures, the origin of the ziggurat, and the first city to develop the cylinder seal which the ancient Mesopotamians used to designate personal property or as a signature on documents.

Early Uruk [4000-3500 BC]

(LINK)
The Early Uruk period is signaled by an abrupt change in settlement pattern from the preceding Ubaid period [6500-4200 BC]. During the Ubaid period, people lived primarily in small hamlets or one or two largish towns, across an enormous chunk of the western Asia: but at the end of it, a handful of communities began to enlarge.

The settlement pattern developed from a simple system with large and small towns to a multi-modal settlement configuration, with urban centers, cities, towns and hamlets by 3500 BC. At the same time, there was a sharp increase in the total number of communities overall, and several individual centers swelled to urban proportions. By 3700 Uruk was already between 70-100 ha (175-250 ac) and several others, including Eridu and Tell al-Hayyad covered 40 ha (100 ac) or more.

Late Uruk [3500-3000 BC]


Mesopotamia diverged sharply about 3500 BC when the southern polities became the largest in Mesopotamia and began colonizing Iran and sending small groups into northern Mesopotamia. One strong piece of evidence for social turmoil at this time is the evidence of a huge organized battle at Hamoukar in Syria.

By 3500 BC, Tell Brak was a 130-hectare metropolis; by 3100 BC, Uruk covered 250 hectares. Fully 60-70% of the Mesopotamian population lived in towns (10-15 ha), small cities (25 ha, such as Nippur) and larger cities (50 ha, such as Umma and Tello).


End of Uruk

After the Uruk period between 3200-3000 BC (called the Jemdet Nasr period) an abrupt change occurred that, while dramatic, is perhaps better described as a hiatus, because Mesopotamia's cities roared back into prominence within a couple of centuries. The Uruk colonies in the north were abandoned, and the large cities in north and south saw a sharp decrease in population and an increase in the number of small rural settlements.

Based on investigations at the larger communities, particularly Tell Brak, climate change is the culprit. A drought, including a sharp rise in temperature and aridity over the region, with widespread drought which taxed the irrigation systems which were sustaining the urban communities.
     

 




3) Early Dynastic period (2900-2334 BC) (Early Bronze Age II-IV)

Early Dynastic period

Early Dynastic period (2900-2334 BC) (W)

Early Dynastic period

Early Dynastic period (W)

The Early Dynastic period (abbreviated ED period or ED) is an archaeological culture in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) that is generally dated to c. 2900-2350 BC and was preceded by the Uruk and Jemdet Nasr periods. It saw the invention of writing and the formation of the first cities and states. The ED itself was characterized by the existence of multiple city-states: small states with a relatively simple structure that developed and solidified over time. This development ultimately led to the unification of much of Mesopotamia under the rule of Sargon, the first monarch of the Akkadian Empire. Despite this political fragmentation, the ED city-states shared a relatively homogeneous material culture. Sumerian cities such as Uruk, Ur, Lagash, Umma, and Nippur located in Lower Mesopotamia were very powerful and influential. To the north and west stretched states centered on cities such as Kish, Mari, Nagar, and Ebla.

The ED was preceded by the Jemdet Nasr and then succeeded by the Akkadian period, during which, for the first time in history, large parts of Mesopotamia were united under a single ruler.

The entirety of the ED is now generally dated to approximately 2900-2350 BC according to the middle chronology or 2800-2230 BC according to the short chronology.

 



Periodization

Periodization (W)

The ED was preceded by the Jemdet Nasr and then succeeded by the Akkadian period. The entirety of the ED is now generally dated to approximately 2900-2350 BC according to the middle chronology or 2800-2230 BC according to the short chronology. The ED was divided into the ED I, ED II, ED IIIa, and ED IIIb sub-periods. ED I–III were more or less contemporary with the Early Jezirah (EJ) I–III in Upper Mesopotamia.

Period Middle Chronology Short Chronology
ED I 2900-2750/2700 2800-2600
ED II 2750/2700-2600 2600-2500
ED IIIa 2600-2500/2450 2500-2375
ED IIIb 2500/2450-2350 2375-2230

 



   


Map of the main cities of Lower Mesopotamia during the Early Dynastic period
History of research

Dutch archaeologist Henri Frankfort coined the term Early Dynastic (ED) period for Mesopotamia, the naming convention having been borrowed from the similarly named Early Dynastic (ED) period for Egypt

The ED was divided into the sub-periods ED I, II, and III. This was primarily based on complete changes over time in the plan of the Abu Temple of Tell Asmar, which had been rebuilt multiple times on exactly the same spot.

The end of the ED is not defined archaeologically but rather politically. The conquests of Sargon and his successors upset the political equilibrium throughout Iraq, Syria, and Iran. The conquests lasted many years into the reign of Naram-Sin of Akkad and built on ongoing conquests during the ED. The transition is much harder to pinpoint within an archaeological context. It is virtually impossible to date a particular site as being that of either ED III or Akkadian period using ceramic or architectural evidence alone.

Irrigated palm grove along the banks of the Euphrates River, in modern-day Southern Iraq. This landscape has remained unchanged since earliest antiquity.
 

 




4) Akkadian Empire period: c. 2334-2218 BC (Sargon)

Akkadian Empire (c. 2334-2154 BC)

Akkadian Empire

Akkadian Empire

Akkadian Empire (c. 2334-2154 BC) (W)

Capital Akkad
Common languages Akkadian, Sumerian (declining)
Religion Ancient Mesopotamian religion
Government Monarchy
šarrum
• c. 2334-2279 BC Sargon (first)
• c. 2170-2154 BC Shu-turul (last)
Historical era Bronze Age
Established c. 2334 BC
Conquests of Sargon of Akkad c. 2340-2284 BC
Disestablished c. 2154 BC
Area
2350 BC 30,000 km2
2300 BC 650,000 km2
2250 BC 800,000 km2
2200 BC 250,000 km2
Preceded by
Early Dynastic Period
Second Mariote Kingdom
Umma
Succeeded by
Gutian Period (Sumer)
Third Mariote Kingdom
Ebla


The Akkadian Empire was the first ancient Semitic-speaking empire of Mesopotamia, centered in the city of Akkad and its surrounding region, also called Akkad in ancient Mesopotamia in the Bible. The empire united Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule. The Akkadian Empire exercised influence across Mesopotamia, the Levant, and Anatolia, sending military expeditions as far south as Dilmun and Magan (modern Bahrain and Oman) in the Arabian Peninsula.

During the 3rd millennium BC, there developed a very intimate cultural symbiosis between the Sumerians and the Akkadians, which included widespread bilingualism. Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as a spoken language somewhere between the 3rd and the 2nd millennia BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate).

The Akkadian Empire reached its political peak between the 24th and 22nd centuries BC, following the conquests by its founder Sargon of Akkad. Under Sargon and his successors, the Akkadian language was briefly imposed on neighboring conquered states such as Elam and Gutium. Akkad is sometimes regarded as the first empire in history, though the meaning of this term is not precise, and there are earlier Sumerian claimants.

After the fall of the Akkadian Empire, the people of Mesopotamia eventually coalesced into two major Akkadian-speaking nations: Assyria in the north, and, a few centuries later, Babylonia in the south.

Understanding of the Akkadian Empire continues to be hampered by the fact that its capital Akkad has not yet been located, despite numerous attempts.

The Akkadian Period is generally dated to either: c. 2334-2154 BC (according to the middle chronology timeline of the Ancient Near East), or c. 2270-2083 BC (according to the short chronology timeline of the Ancient Near East.)

The Akkadian Empire takes its name from the region and the city of Akkad, both of which were localized in the general confluence area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Although the city of Akkad has not yet been identified on the ground, it is known from various textual sources.

Timeline of rulers

Ruler Middle Chronology (All dates BC)
Sargon 2334-2279
Rimush 2278-2270
Manishtushu 2269-2255
Naram-Sin 2254-2218
Shar-Kali-Sharri 2217-2193
Interregnum 2192-2190
Dudu 2189-2169
Shu-turul 2168-2154
 

 



Sargon of Akkad (Sargon the Great)

Sargon of Akkad (Sargon the Great) (W)



Bronze head of a king of the Old Akkadian dynasty, most likely representing either Naram-Sin or Sargon of Akkad. Unearthed in Nineveh (height 30.5 cm).
 

Sargon of Akkad (Akkadian: Šarru-ukīn or Šarru-kēn, also known as Sargon the Great) was the first ruler of the Semitic-speaking Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC.

He was the founder of the "Sargonic" or "Old Akkadian" dynasty, which ruled for about a century after his death, until the Gutian conquest of Sumer. The Sumerian king list makes him the cup-bearer to king Ur-Zababa of Kish. His empire is thought to have included most of Mesopotamia, parts of the Levant. besides incursions into Hurrite and Elamite territory, ruling from his (archaeologically as yet unidentified) capital, Akkad (also Agade).

Sargon appears as a legendary figure in Neo-Assyrian literature of the 8th to 7th centuries BC. Tablets with fragments of a Sargon Birth Legend were found in the Library of Ashurbanipal.


2193 BC — The Gutians invade the Akkadian empire and destroy it.

Sargon was regarded as a model by Mesopotamian kings for some two millennia after his death. The Assyrian and Babylonian kings who based their empires in Mesopotamia saw themselves as the heirs of Sargon's empire. Sargon may indeed have introduced the notion of "empire" as understood in the later Assyrian period.

 



The Akkadian Period (c. 2350-2150 BC)

The Akkadian Period (c. 2350-2150 BC) (LINK)


The Akkadian Period (c. 2350-2150 BC) (LINK)
The Akkadian Period (c. 2350-2150 BC)

The period from approximately 2900 to 2350 B.C. in southern Mesopotamia (Sumer) is known as the Early Dynastic. During this time, Sumer was divided politically between competing city-states, each controlled by a dynasty of rulers. The succeeding period (ca. 2350–2150 B.C.) is named after the city of Agade (or Akkad), whose Semitic monarchs united the region, bringing the rival Sumerian cities under their control by conquest. The city of Agade itself has not so far been located, but it was probably founded before the time of Sargon (r. ca. 2340–2285 B.C.), the dynasty’s first king. Tradition credits Sargon with being the “cupbearer” of the king of Kish, at a time when Kish was an important and powerful city in the northern part of lower Mesopotamia. The name Sargon is a modern reading of Sharru-ken (“the king is legitimate”). Usurping power and assuming for himself the title of king, Sargon went on to conquer southern Mesopotamia and lead military expeditions to conquer further east and north.

Sargon was succeeded by two of his sons, Rimush and Manishtushu, who consolidated the dynasty’s hold on much of Mesopotamia. The Akkadian empire reached its apogee under Naram-Sin (r. ca. 2260–2223 B.C.), and there are references to campaigns against powerful states in the north, possibly includingEbla . At its greatest extent, the empire reached as far as Anatolia in the north, inner Iran in the east, Arabia in the south, and the Mediterranean in the west.

The ideology and power of the empire was reflected in art that first displayed strong cultural continuity with the Early Dynastic period. When fully developed, it came to be characterized by a profound new creativity that marks some of the peaks of artistic achievement in the history of the ancient world. A new emphasis on naturalism, expressed by sensitive modeling, is manifested in masterpieces of monumental stone relief sculpture. Although little large-scale art of the period remains, a huge corpus of finely carved Akkadian seals preserves a rich iconography illustrating interactions between man and the divine world.

Control of the empire was maintained under Naram-Sin’s successor, Shar-kali-sharri (r. ca. 2223–2198 B.C.), though at the end of his reign there appears to have been a power struggle for the throne. A number of city rulers reestablished their independence in southern Mesopotamia, and the territory ruled over by the last kings of Agade (Dudu and Shu-Turul) had shrunk back to the region directly around the city.

 


(LINK)



 



 
   

 

Collapse

The empire of Akkad fell, perhaps in the 22nd century BC, within 180 years of its founding, ushering in a “Dark Age” with no prominent imperial authority until Third Dynasty of Ur. The region's political structure may have reverted to the status quo ante of local governance by city-states.

Sargon Birth Legend

A Neo-Assyrian text from the 7th century BC purporting to be Sargon's autobiography asserts that the great king was the illegitimate son of a priestess.

Sargon's birth and his early childhood are described thus:


Sargon and Isthar.

"My mother was a high priestess, my father I knew not. The brothers of my father loved the hills. My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the banks of the Euphrates. My high priestess mother conceived me, in secret she bore me. She set me in a basket of rushes, with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose over me. The river bore me up and carried me to Akki, the drawer of water. Akki, the drawer of water, took me as his son and reared me. Akki, the drawer of water, appointed me as his gardener. While I was a gardener, Ishtar granted me her love, and for four and ... years I exercised kingship."


Similarities
between the Sargon Birth Legend and other infant birth exposures in ancient literature, including Moses, Karna, and Oedipus, were noted by psychoanalyst Otto Rank in 1909. The legend was also studied in detail by Brian Lewis, and compared with a number of different examples of the infant birth exposure motif found in European and Asian folk tales. He discusses a possible archetype form, giving particular attention to the Sargon legend and the account of the birth of Moses. Joseph Campbell has also made such comparisons.

 

 




5) Gutian period (c. 2218-2047 BC) (Early Bronze Age IV)

Gutian period (c. 2218-2047 BC)

Gutian period (c. 2218-2047 BC)

Gutian dynasty

Gutian dynasty (W)

The Gutian dynasty (Sumerian: 𒄖𒋾𒌝𒆠, gu-ti-umKI) was a dynasty that came to power in Mesopotamia c. 2135-2055 BC [short] after displacing the "Sargonic" dynasty. It ruled for roughly one century; however, some copies of the Sumerian King List (SKL) vary between 4 and 25 years. The end of the Gutian dynasty is marked by the accession of Ur-Nammu (founder of the Third Dynasty of Ur, which fl. c. 2112 BC [middle] or 2055 BC [short] ).

The Gutian people (Guti) were native to Gutium, presumably in the central Zagros Mountains, though almost nothing is known about their origin.


Gutian Dynasty of Sumer
circa 2135–2055 BC [short]

Capital
Akkad
Common languages Gutian language
Government Monarchy
énsí
• fl. c. 2135—2129 BC [short] Inkishush (first)
• fl. c. 2055—2055 BC [short] Tirigan (last)
Historical era Bronze Age
Established circa 2135
Disestablished 2055 BC [short ]
Preceded by Akkadian Empire
Succeeded by Third Dynasty of Ur

Gutian dynasty of Sumer, destruction of Akkad


The Gutians practiced hit-and-run tactics, and would be long gone by the time regular troops could arrive to deal with the situation. Their raids crippled the economy of Sumer. Travel became unsafe, as did work in the fields, resulting in famine.

The Sumerian king list indicates that king Ur-Utu of Uruk was defeated by the barbarian Guti, perhaps around 2150 BC. The Guti swept down, defeated the demoralized Akkadian army, took Akkad, and destroyed it around 2115 BC. However, they did not supplant all of Akkad, as several independent city states remained alongside them, including Lagash, where a local dynasty still thrived and left numerous textual and archaeological remains.

Ultimately Akkad was so thoroughly destroyed that its site is still not known. The Guti proved to be poor rulers. Under their crude rule, prosperity declined.

The historical Gutian people have been regarded by some as among the ancestors of the Kurdish people, who speak Kurdish languages of the Indo-European family.

 



The Guti Interlude

The Guti Interlude (W)

The Guti Interlude

In the closing chapter of the Akkadian story the Guti invaded southern Mesopotamia, ravaged the country, sacked the capital and then occupied Sumer and Akkad as the ruling group. However, they were few in number and apparently only able to occupy a few strategic locations such as Nippur and probably Ur. Most of the city-states were left to their own devices so long (presumably) as they continued to send tribute to the Gutian kings, and some, notably Lagash, thrived economically and culturally.

After almost a hundred years of dominance, the Guti were driven out in 2120 BCE. Within a few years, the ruler of Ur, called Ur-Nammu, had establishing himself as king of Sumer and Akkad.


Guti people (B))

Guti, mountain people of ancient Mesopotamia who lived primarily around Hamadan in the central Zagros Range. The Guti were a strong political force throughout the 3rd and 2nd millennia bc, especially about 2230, when they swept down into Babylonia (southern Mesopotamia), overthrowing the Akkadian empire (ruled at that time either by Naram-Sin or by his son Shar-kali-sharri), and traditionally took over control of most of the region. The Gutian rulers, in power about one century (until c. 2130), do not appear to have held all of Babylonia during this whole period; there is evidence of independent rulers in various parts of Babylonia, such as Gudea at Lagash. Very little is known about the Gutian domination, and the period appears to have been one of general political turmoil and cultural stagnation.

The dynasty of Guti traditionally ended about 2130 when Utu-khegal of Uruk defeated Tirigan, the last king of the Gutian dynasty. Although the Guti, from their home in the Zagros, continued to menace the subsequent dynasties and kingdoms, they were never again able to take control of southern Mesopotamia.

 




 



     

6) Ur III period (c. 2047-1940 BC) [Third Dynasty of Ur = Neo-Sumerian Empire]

 

Ur III period (c. 2047-1940 BC)

Ur III period

Third Dynasty of Ur

Third Dynasty of Ur (W)

The terms "Third Dynasty of Ur" and "Neo-Sumerian Empire" refer to both a 22nd to 21st century BC (middle chronology) Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians consider to have been a nascent empire. The Third Dynasty of Ur is commonly abbreviated as Ur III by historians studying the period.

The Third Dynasty of Ur was the last Sumerian dynasty which came to preeminent power in Mesopotamia. It began after several centuries of control by Akkadian and Gutian kings. It controlled the cities of Isin, Larsa and Eshnunna and extended as far north as the Jazira.


Empire of the Third Dynasty of Ur. West is at top, North at right.

Capital Ur
Common languages Sumerian language
Religion Sumerian religion
Government Monarchy
Ensí
• c. 2112–2095 BC (MC) Ur-Nammu (first)
• c. 2028–2004 BC (MC) Ibbi-Sin (last)
Historical era Bronze Age
• Established c. 2112 BC (MC)
• Lament for Ur c. 2004 BC (MC)
• Disestablished c. 2004 BC (MC)
Preceded by
Gutian dynasty of Sumer
Succeeded by
Old Elamite period
First Babylonian Dynasty
Dynasty of Isin
Old Assyrian Empire
Old Hittite Empire
Middle Kingdom of Egypt

The Third Dynasty of Ur arose some time after the fall of the Akkad Dynasty. The period between the last powerful king of the Akkad Dynasty, Shar-Kali-Sharri, and the first king of Ur III, Ur-Nammu, is not well documented, but most Assyriologists posit that there was a brief "dark age", followed by a power struggle among the most powerful city-states.

 



Third Dynasty of Ur — 2

Third Dynasty of Ur — 2 (W)


The Ur III state and its sphere of influence.

Timeline of rulers

Ruler Middle Chronology Short Chronology
Utu-hengal 2119-2113 2055-2048
Ur-Nammu 2112-c. 2095 2047-2030
Shulgi 2094-2047 2029-1982
Amar-Sin 2046-2038 1981-1973
Shu-Sin 2037-2029 1972-1964
Ibbi-Sin 2028-2004 1963-1940

The Third Dynasty of Ur arose some time after the fall of the Akkad Dynasty. The period between the last powerful king of the Akkad Dynasty, Shar-Kali-Sharri, and the first king of Ur III, Ur-Nammu, is not well documented.

Following Utu-Hengal's reign, Ur-Nammu (originally a general) founded the Third Dynasty of Ur, but the precise events surrounding his rise are unclear.

There are two stelae discovered in Ur that include this detail in an inscription about Ur-Nammu's life. Some scholars theorize that Ur-Nammu led a revolt against Utu-hengal, deposed him, and seized control of the region through force.

Ur's dominance over the Neo-Sumerian Empire was consolidated with the famous Code of Ur-Nammu, probably the first such law-code for Mesopotamia since that of Urukagina of Lagash centuries earlier.

Many significant changes occurred in the empire under Shulgi's reign. He took steps to centralize and standardize the procedures of the empire. He is credited with standardizing administrative processes, archival documentation, the tax system, and the national calendar. He established a standing army of Ur. Shulgi was deified during his lifetime, an honor usually reserved for dead kings.

With the fall of the Ur III Dynasty after an Elamite invasion in 2004/1940 BC (middle/short chronology respectively), Babylonia fell under foreign (Amorite) influence.

 



 

 



 

 


  Sumerian Kings

Urukagina

Urukagina (W)

Uru-ka-gina, Uru-inim-gina, or Iri-ka-gina (Sumerian: 𒌷𒅗𒄀𒈾 URU-KA-gi.na; c. 24th century BC, short chronology) was a ruler (ensi) of the city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia. He assumed the title of king, claiming to have been divinely appointed, upon the downfall of his corrupt predecessor, Lugalanda.

He is best known for his reforms to combat corruption, which are sometimes cited as the first example of a legal code in recorded history. Although the actual text has not been discovered, much of its content may be surmised from other references to it that have been found. In it, he exempted widows and orphans from taxes; compelled the city to pay funeral expenses (including the ritual food and drink libations for the journey of the dead into the lower world); and decreed that the rich must use silver when purchasing from the poor, and if the poor does not wish to sell, the powerful man (the rich man or the priest) cannot force him to do so.

He also participated in several conflicts, notably a losing border conflict with Uruk. In the seventh year of his reign, Uruk fell under the leadership of Lugal-Zage-Si, énsi of Umma, who ultimately annexed most of the territory of Lagash and established the first reliably documented kingdom to encompass all of Sumer. The destruction of Lagash was described in a lament (possibly the earliest recorded example of what would become a prolific Sumerian literary genre), which stressed that "the men of Umma ... committed a sin against Ningirsu. ... Offence there was none in Urukagina, king of Girsu, but as for Lugal-Zage-Si, governor of Umma, may his goddess Nisaba make him carry his sin upon his neck" (alternatively – "may she carry his sin upon her neck"). Lugal-Zage-Si himself was soon defeated and his kingdom was annexed by Sargon of Akkad.

 



Enmebaragesi

Enmebaragesi (W)

Enmebaragesi (cuneiform: 𒂗𒈨𒁈𒄄𒋛 EN.ME.BARAG.GE.SI, fl. c. 2500 BC) was a king of Kish, according to the Sumerian king list. The list states that he subdued Elam, reigned 900 years, and was captured single-handedly by Dumuzid "the fisherman" of Kuara, predecessor of Gilgamesh.

He is the earliest ruler on the king list whose name is attested directly from archaeology. Two alabaster vase fragments inscribed with his name were found at Nippur where, according to the Sumerian Tummal Inscription, he is said to have built the first temple. There are in all at least four surviving fragments bearing the abbreviated form 𒈨𒁈𒋛 Mebarag(e)si, describing him as the lugal of Kish.


Enmebaragesi (B)

Enmebaragesi, also spelled Enmebaragisi, also called Me-baragesi, (flourished c. 2700 bc), king of Kish, in northern Babylonia, and the first historical personality of Mesopotamia.

Enmebaragesi is known from inscriptions about him on fragments of vases of his own time, as well as from later traditions. He was the next-to-last ruler of the first dynasty of Kish. He “despoiled the weapons of the land of Elam,” one inscription asserts. His son, Agga, was the last king of the dynasty, owing to his defeat by Gilgamesh, according to the Sumerian epic Gilgamesh and Agga of Kish.

 



Ur-Nammu

Ur-Nammu (W) (LINK 2)



Ur-Nammu — king of Ur and king of Sumer and Akkad — initiated the so-called Ur III Period (2047-1750 BC) also known as the Sumerian Renaissance.


Ur-Nammu standing before Enlil.


Ur-Nammu
(or Ur-Namma, Ur-Engur, Ur-Gur, Sumerian: 𒌨𒀭𒇉, ca. 2047-2030 BC short chronology) founded the Sumerian Third Dynasty of Ur, in southern Mesopotamia, following several centuries of Akkadian and Gutian rule. His main achievement was state-building, and Ur-Nammu is chiefly remembered today for his legal code, the Code of Ur-Nammu, the oldest known surviving example in the world.


Ur Nammu code, Istanbul.


Among his military exploits were the conquest of Lagash and the defeat of his former masters at Uruk. He was eventually recognized as a significant regional ruler (of Ur, Eridu, and Uruk) at a coronation in Nippur, and is believed to have constructed buildings at Nippur, Larsa, Kish, Adab, and Umma. He was known for restoring the roads and general order after the Gutian period.

Ur Nammu was also responsible for ordering the construction of a number of stepped temples, called ziggurats, including the Great Ziggurat of Ur.

He was succeeded by his son Shulgi, after an 18-year reign. His death on the battle-field against the Gutians (after he had been abandoned by his army) was commemorated in a long Sumerian poetic composition.

 



Lugal-zage-si

Lugal-zage-si (W)

Lugal-Zage-Si (lugal-zag-ge4-si = LUGAL.ZAG.GI4.SI 𒈗𒍠𒄄𒋛; frequently spelled Lugalzaggesi, sometimes Lugalzagesi or "Lugal-Zaggisi") of Umma (reigned c. 2294-2270 BC short chronology) was the last Sumerian king before the conquest of Sumer by Sargon of Akkad and the rise of the Akkadian Empire, and was considered as the only king of the third dynasty of Uruk. He eventually united Sumer briefly as a single kingdom.



Lugal-Zage-Si's domains (red), c. 2350 BC

Lugal-Zage-Si pursued an expansive policy. He began his career as énsi of Umma, from where he conquered several of the Sumerian city-states — including Kish, where he overthrew Ur-Zababa; Lagash, where he overthrew Urukagina; Ur, Nippur,and Larsa; as well as Uruk, where he established his new capital. He ruled for 25 (or 34) years according to the Sumerian king list.

Lugal-Zage-Si claimed in his inscription that Enlil gave to him "all the lands between the upper and the lower seas", that is, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. Although his incursion to the Mediterranean was, in the eyes of some modern scholars, not much more than "a successful raiding party", the inscription "marks the first time that a Sumerian prince claimed to have reached what was, for them, the western edge of the world". (Historical accounts from much later tablets asserted that Lugal-Anne-Mundu of Adab, a slightly earlier king, had also conquered as far as the Mediterranean and the Taurus mountains, but contemporary records for the entire period before Sargon are still far too sketchy to permit scholars to reconstruct actual events with great confidence.)

According to later Babylonian versions of Sargon's inscriptions, Sargon of Akkad captured Lugal-Zage-Si after destroying the walls of Uruk, and led him in a neck-stock to Enlil's temple in Nippur.

 



   

📹 Sumerians and their Civilization (VİDEO)

Sumerians and their Civilization (LINK)

 



📹The Sumerian King List (VİDEO)

The Sumerian King List (LINK)

 








  BABYLONIA

📹 Babylon (VİDEO)

Babylon (LINK)

Babylon reconstruction made for the Mesopotamia exhibition of the Royal Ontario Museum & British Museum at ROM, Toronto.

📹 The Sound of the Ancient Babylonian Dialect Akkadian Language (Epic of Gilgamesh) (VİDEO)

The Sound of the Ancient Babylonian Dialect Akkadian Language (Epic of Gilgamesh) (LINK)

 



 

Babylonia

Babylonia (1895-539 BC) (W)


The extent of the Babylonian Empire at the start and end of Hammurabi's reign.

Capital Babylon
Common languages Akkadian
Religion Babylonian religion
History
Established 1895 BC
Disestablished 539 BC

Babylonia was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia. A small Amorite-ruled state emerged in 1894 BC, which contained the minor administrative town of Babylon. It was merely a small provincial town during the Akkadian Empire (2335-2154 BC) but greatly expanded during the reign of Hammurabi in the first half of the 18th century BC and became a major capital city. During the reign of Hammurabi and afterwards, Babylonia was called “the country of Akkad” (Māt Akkadī in Akkadian).

It was often involved in rivalry with the older state of Assyria to the north and Elam to the east in Ancient Iran. Babylonia briefly became the major power in the region after Hammurabi (fl. c. 1792-1752 BC middle chronology, or c. 1696-1654 BC, short chronology) created a short-lived empire, succeeding the earlier Akkadian Empire, Third Dynasty of Ur, and Old Assyrian Empire. The Babylonian empire, however, rapidly fell apart after the death of Hammurabi and reverted to a small kingdom.

Like Assyria, the Babylonian state retained the written Akkadian language (the language of its native populace) for official use, despite its Northwest Semitic-speaking Amorite founders and Kassite successors, who spoke a language isolate, not being native Mesopotamians. It retained the Sumerian language for religious use (as did Assyria), but already by the time Babylon was founded, this was no longer a spoken language, having been wholly subsumed by Akkadian. The earlier Akkadian and Sumerian traditions played a major role in Babylonian and Assyrian culture, and the region would remain an important cultural center, even under its protracted periods of outside rule.

The earliest mention of the city of Babylon can be found in a clay tablet from the reign of Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BC), dating back to the 23rd century BC. Babylon was merely a religious and cultural centre at this point and neither an independent state nor a large city; like the rest of Mesopotamia, it was subject to the Akkadian Empire which united all the Akkadian and Sumerian speakers under one rule. After the collapse of the Akkadian empire, the south Mesopotamian region was dominated by the Gutian people for a few decades before the rise of the Third Dynasty of Ur, which restored order to the region and which, apart from northern Assyria, encompassed the whole of Mesopotamia, including the town of Babylon.

 



 

Hammurabi (c. 1810-1750 BC)

Hammurabi (c. 1810-1750 BC) (W)


“Historical fgures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law.”
 

 

 

Hammurabi (c. 1810-1750 BC) was the sixth king of the First Babylonian Dynasty, reigning from 1792 BC to 1750 BC (according to the Middle Chronology). He was preceded by his father, Sin-Muballit, who abdicated due to failing health. During his reign, he conquered the city-states of Elam, Larsa, Eshnunna, and Mari. He ousted Ishme-Dagan I, the king of Assyria, and forced his son Mut-Ashkur to pay tribute, bringing almost all of Mesopotamia under Babylonian rule.

Hammurabi is best known for having issued the Code of Hammurabi, which he claimed to have received from Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. Unlike earlier Sumerian law codes, such as the Code of Ur-Nammu, which had focused on compensating the victim of the crime, the Law of Hammurabi was one of the first law codes to place greater emphasis on the physical punishment of the perpetrator. It prescribed specific penalties for each crime and is among the first codes to establish the presumption of innocence. Although its penalties are extremely harsh by modern standards, they were intended to limit what a wronged person was permitted to do in retribution. The Code of Hammurabi and the Law of Moses in the Torah contain numerous similarities, but these are probably due to shared background and oral tradition, and it is unlikely that Hammurabi's laws exerted any direct impact on the later Mosaic ones.

Hammurabi was seen by many as a god within his own lifetime. After his death, Hammurabi was revered as a great conqueror who spread civilization and forced all peoples to pay obeisance to Marduk, the national god of the Babylonians. Later, his military accomplishments became de-emphasized and his role as the ideal lawgiver became the primary aspect of his legacy. For later Mesopotamians, Hammurabi's reign became the frame of reference for all events occurring in the distant past. Even after the empire he built collapsed, he was still revered as a model ruler, and many kings across the Near East claimed him as an ancestor. Hammurabi was rediscovered by archaeologists in the late nineteenth century and has since become seen as an important figure in the history of law.

 



Hammurabi

Hammurabi (W)


Hammurabi (standing), depicted as receiving his royal insignia from Shamash (or possibly Marduk). Hammurabi holds his hands over his mouth as a sign of prayer (relief on the upper part of the stele of Hammurabi's code of laws.

Number 195: If a son strike his father, his hands shall be hewn off.
Number 196: If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out.
Number 218: If a patient died during surgery, the doctor’s hands would be cut off.


Laws covered

Slander
Ex. Law #127: "If any one "point the finger" at a sister of a god or the wife of any one, and can not prove it, this man shall be taken before the judges and his brow shall be marked (by cutting the skin, or perhaps hair)."

Trade
Ex. Law #265: "If a herdsman, to whose care cattle or sheep have been entrusted, be guilty of fraud and make false returns of the natural increase, or sell them for money, then shall he be convicted and pay the owner ten times the loss."
Slavery and status of slaves as property
Ex. Law #15: "If any one take a male or female slave of the court, or a male or female slave of a freed man, outside the city gates, he shall be put to death."[24]

The duties of workers
Ex. Law #42: "If any one take over a field to till it, and obtain no harvest therefrom, it must be proved that he did no work on the field, and he must deliver grain, just as his neighbor raised, to the owner of the field."[24]

Theft
Ex. Law #22: "If any one is committing a robbery and is caught, then he shall be put to death."[24]

Trade
Ex. Law #104: "If a merchant give an agent corn, wool, oil, or any other goods to transport, the agent shall give a receipt for the amount, and compensate the merchant therefor. Then he shall obtain a receipt from the merchant for the money that he gives the merchant."[24]

Liability
Ex. Law #53: "If any one be too lazy to keep his dam in proper condition, and does not so keep it; if then the dam break and all the fields be flooded, then shall he in whose dam the break occurred be sold for money, and the money shall replace the corn which he has caused to be ruined."[24]

Divorce
Ex. Law #142: "If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: "You are not congenial to me," the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father's house."[24]


One of the best known laws from Hammurabi's code was:

Ex. Law #196: "If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. If one break a man's bone, they shall break his bone. If one destroy the eye of a freeman or break the bone of a freeman he shall pay one gold mina. If one destroy the eye of a man's slave or break a bone of a man's slave he shall pay one-half his price."[24]


Hammurabi had many other punishments, as well. If a son strikes his father, his hands shall be hewn off. Translations vary.[25][26]

Adultery

Ex. Law # 129: "If the wife of a man has been caught lying with another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the waters. If the owner of the wife would save his wife then in turn the king could save his servant."[27]


Property law

The Code recognizes many ways of disposing of property: sale, lease, barter, gift, dedication, deposit, loan, or pledge, all of which were matters of contract. Sale was the delivery of a purchase (in the case of real estate, symbolized by a staff, a key, or deed of conveyance) in return for purchase money, receipts being given for both. Credit, if given, was treated as a debt, and secured as a loan by the seller to be repaid by the buyer, for which he gave a bond.

The Code only allows claims substantiated by documents, or in some cases the oath of witnesses. Saving contracts and receipts thus assumed a vital importance in Babylon - in fact it could literally be a matter of life or death. A buyer had to be sure of the seller's title. If he bought (or received on deposit) property from even a minor or a slave without witnessing contracts, he would be executed as a thief (§7). If purchased goods were stolen and the rightful owner reclaimed them, he had to prove his purchase by producing the seller and the deed of sale, or witnesses to it; otherwise, he would be adjudged a thief and die. If he proved his purchase, he had to give up the property but could pursue a remedy against the seller or, if the seller had died, could reclaim fivefold from his estate.

A man who bought a slave abroad might find that he had previously been stolen or captured from Babylonia; he would then have to restore him to his former owner without recompense. If he bought property belonging to a feudal holding, or to a ward in Chancery, he had to return it as well as forfeit what he paid for it. He could repudiate the purchase of a slave attacked by the bennu sickness within a month (later, a hundred days) and could hold a newly purchased female slave for three days "on approval". A defect of title, or an undisclosed liability, would invalidate a sale at any time.


Marriage

Marriage retained the form of purchase, but was essentially a contract to be husband and wife together. The marriage of young people was usually arranged between their relatives—the groom's father the bride-price, which, with other gifts, the suitor ceremonially presented to the bride's father. This bride-price was usually then handed over by her father to the bride upon her marriage, and so returned into the bridegroom's possession, along with her dowry, which was her portion of the family's inheritance as a daughter.


Punishment

In the criminal code, the ruling principle was the lex talionis. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, limb for limb was the penalty for assault upon an amelu.


Assyrian law was very similar to Sumerian and Babylonian law, although the penalties for offenses were generally more brutal. The first copy of the code to come to light, dated to the reign of Tiglath-Pileser I, was discovered in the course of excavations by the German Oriental Society (1903-1914).[citation needed] Three Assyrian law collections have been found to date.

Punishments such as the cropping of ears and noses was common, as it was in the Code of Hammurabi, which was composed several centuries earlier. Murder was punished by the family being allowed to decide the death penalty for the murderer.

 



📹 Hammurabi of Babylon —His Life, Laws and Legacy (VİDEO)

Hammurabi of Babylon — His Life, Laws and Legacy (LINK)


📹 The Rise and Fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (VİDEO)

The Rise and Fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (LINK)


🎨 René-Antoine Houasse / Nabuchodonosor et Semiramis fait élever les jardins de Babylone (Versailles) (TABLO)



René-Antoine Houasse's 1676 painting Nebuchadnezzar giving royal order to your subjects the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to Please his Consort Amyitis

 



Neo-Babylonian Empire

Neo-Babylonian Empire (626-539 BC) (W)


The Neo-Babylonian Empire (also Second Babylonian Empire) was a period of Mesopotamian history which began in 626 BC and ended in 539 BC. During the preceding three centuries, Babylonia had been ruled by their fellow Akkadian speakers and northern neighbours, Assyria. A year after the death of the last strong Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal, in 627 BC, the Assyrian empire spiralled into a series of brutal civil wars. Babylonia rebelled under Nabopolassar. In alliance with the Medes, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians, they sacked the city of Nineveh in 612 BC, and the seat of empire was transferred to Babylonia for the first time since the death of Hammurabi in the mid-18th century BC. This period witnessed a general improvement in economic life and agricultural production, and a great flourishing of architectural projects, the arts and science.

The Neo-Babylonian period ended with the reign of Nabonidus in 539 BC. To the east, the Persians had been growing in strength, and eventually Cyrus the Great conquered the empire.




Babylonian wall relief in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin

 



Nebuchadnezzar II

Nebuchadnezzar II (W)

Nebuchadnezzar II (from Akkadian 𒀭𒀝𒆪𒁺𒌨𒊑𒋀 dNabû-kudurri-uṣur; Hebrew: נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר, Modern: Nəvūkádne’ṣar, Tiberian: Neḇukáḏné’ṣār), meaning "O god Nabu, preserve/defend my firstborn son"} was king of Babylon c. 605-562 BC, the longest and most powerful reign of any monarch in the Neo-Babylonian empire.



Nebuchadrezzar II surveys the great city of Babylon


Nebuchadnezzar was the eldest son and successor of Nabopolassar, an Assyrian official who rebelled and established himself as king of Babylon in 620 BC; the dynasty he established ruled until 539 BC, when the Neo-Babylonian Empire was conquered by Cyrus the Great. Nebuchadnezzar is first mentioned in 607 BC, during the destruction of Babylon's arch-enemy Assyria, at which point he was already crown prince. In 605 BC he and his ally Cyaxares, ruler of the Medes and Persians, led an army against the Assyrians and Egyptians, who were then occupying Syria, and in the ensuing Battle of Carchemish, Necho II was defeated and Syria and Phoenicia were brought under the control of Babylon.

King Zedekiah of Judah attempted to organize opposition among the small states in the region but his capital, Jerusalem, was taken in 587 BC (the events are described in the Bible's Books of Kings and Book of Jeremiah).

In the following years, Nebuchadnezzar incorporated Phoenicia and the former Assyrian provinces of Cilicia (southwestern Anatolia) into his empire and may have campaigned in Egypt.

In his last years, Nebuchadnezzar seems to have begun behaving irrationally, "pay[ing] no heed to son or daughter," and was deeply suspicious of his sons.The kings who came after him ruled only briefly and Nabonidus, apparently not of the royal family, was overthrown by the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great less than twenty-five years after Nebuchadnezzar's death.




(LINK) From Nebuchadrezzar's inscriptions and from the number of temples erected or restored by this prince, it seems that he was a very devout man. What is known of his history shows him to have been of a humane disposition, in striking contrast with the display of wanton cruelty of most Assyrian rulers. It was due to this moderation that Jerusalem was spared repeatedly, until its destruction became a political necessity. Rebel princes easily obtained pardon, and even Judah's rebellious king Zedekiah would have been treated with greater indulgence had he manifested less stubbornness (Jer. 38:17-18). Nebuchadrezzar showed much consideration to Jeremiah, leaving him free to accompany the exiles to Babylon or to remain in Jerusalem and appointing one of the prophet's friends, Gedaliah son of Ahikam, to the governorship of Judah. He granted likewise such a share of freedom to the exiled Jews that some rose to a position of prominence at court and Jeremiah reportedly thought it a duty to exhort his fellow-countrymen to have the welfare of Babylon at heart and to pray for her king (Jer. 29). Babylonian tradition has it that towards the end of his life, Nebuchadrezzar, inspired from on high, prophesied the impending ruin to the Chaldean Empire (Berosus and Abydenus in Eusebius, Praep. Evang. 9.41).

 



 

🎨 “The Babylonian marriage market” by the 19th-century painter Edwin Long (TABLO)

“The Babylonian marriage market” by the 19th-century painter Edwin Long

(W) The Babylonian Marriage Market is an 1875 painting by the British painter Edwin Long of young women being auctioned into marriage. It received attention for its provocative depiction of women being sold and its attention to historical detail. It was inspired by a passage in the Histories by Herodotus,and the artist painstakingly copied some of the images from Assyrian artifacts.

It is currently held in the Picture Gallery of Royal Holloway College, after being bought by Thomas Holloway in 1882, where it fetched a then-record price for a painting by a living artist at £6,615.

 


In the 5 th century BC, Greek Historian Herodotus wrote about the customs and traditions he witnessed while in Babylon. One of the more controversial customs he reports on is the Babylonian marriage market in which young women were gathered up and an “auctioneer would get each of the women to stand up one by one, and he would put her up for sale”.

The writing of Herodotus inspired 19 th century British painter Edwin Long to produce his famous artwork ‘ The Babylonian Marriage Market’ . The painting took Long two years to complete and was unveiled at the Royal Academy summer exhibition in 1875. In the following year, it was sold for a sum of 6000 guineas, which, at that time, was the largest amount of money paid for a piece of work whose artist was still alive.

The Babylonian Marriage Market depicts women being auctioned off as brides (as opposed to, for example, slaves). Long drew his inspiration for this painting from Herodotus’ Histories, more specifically, from ‘Book 1’ of that piece of writing. Towards the end of ‘Book 1’, Herodotus wrote:

“I now turn to their customs, the most sensible of which, in my opinion, is also practised, I hear, by the Illyrian tribe. Once a year, in every village, this is what they used to do. They used to collect all the young women who were old enough to be married and take the whole lot of them all at once to a certain place. A crowd of men would form a circle around them there. An auctioneer would get each of the women to stand up one by one, and he would put her up for sale. He used to start with the most attractive girl there, and then, once she had fetched a good price and been bought, he would go on to auction the next most attractive one. They were being sold to be wives, not slaves. All the well-off Babylonian men who wanted wives would outbid one another to buy the good-looking young women, while the commoners who wanted wives and were not interested in good looks used to end up with some money as well as the less attractive women.” (LINK)

 



🎨 “The fall of Babylon; Cyrus the Great defeating the Chaldean” (TABLO)

“The fall of Babylon; Cyrus the Great defeating the Chaldean” (W)


The fall of Babylon; Cyrus the Great defeating the Chaldean army. Mezzotint by J. Martin, 1831.

John Martin's The Fall of Babylon (1831), depicting chaos as the Persian army occupies Babylon, also symbolizes the ruin of decadent civilization in modern times. Lightning striking the Babylonian ziggurat (also representing the Tower of Babel) indicates God's judgment against the city.

 








  ASSYRIAN EMPIRE    

🗺️ Map of Assyria

 



📹 Kings of Assyria, Babylon & Persia (Pt. 1-2) (VİDEO)

Kings of Assyria, Babylon & Persia (Pt. 1-2) (LINK)

 

 



📹 Kings of Assyria, Babylon & Persia (Pt. 2-2) (VİDEO)

Kings of Assyria, Babylon & Persia (Pt. 2-2) (LINK)

 

 




Assyria

Assyria (2500-609 BC) (W)


Capital Aššur, Nineveh
Common languages Akkadian, Sumerian, Aramaic
Religion Ancient Mesopotamian religion
Government Monarchy
King
• c. 2500 BC Tudiya (first)
• 612-609 BC Ashur-uballit II (last)
Historical era Mesopotamia
• Kikkiya overthrown 2500 BC
• Decline of Assyria 612 BC 609 BC
Currency Tekel/Shekel
Succeeded by
Median Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
Achaemenid Empire


Assyria
, also called the Assyrian Empire, was a major Semitic-speaking Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the ancient Near East and the Levant. It existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BC in the form of the Assur city-state, until its collapse between 612 BC and 609 BC, spanning the Early to Middle Bronze Age through to the late Iron Age. From the end of the seventh century BC (when the Neo-Assyrian state fell) to the mid-seventh century AD, it survived as a geopolitical entity, for the most part ruled by foreign powers such as the Parthian and early Sasanian Empires between the mid-second century BC and late third century AD, the final part of which period saw Mesopotamia become a major centre of Syriac Christianity and the birthplace of the Church of the East.


Assyrian Court


Centered on the Tigris in Upper Mesopotamia (modern northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and the northwestern fringes of Iran), the Assyrians came to rule powerful empires at several times. Making up a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian "cradle of civilization", which included Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, and Babylonia, Assyria was at the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements for its time. At its peak, the Neo-Assyrian Empire stretched from Cyprus and the East Mediterranean to Iran, and from what is now Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus, to the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and eastern Libya.

Assyria is named after its original capital, the ancient city of Aššur, which dates to c. 2600 BC, originally one of a number of Akkadian-speaking city states in Mesopotamia. In the 25th and 24th centuries BC, Assyrian kings were pastoral leaders. From the late 24th century BC, the Assyrians became subject to Sargon of Akkad, who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire, which lasted from c. 2334 BC to 2154 BC. After its fall from power, the greater remaining part of Assyria was a geopolitical region and province of other empires, although between the mid-2nd century BC and late 3rd century AD a patchwork of small independent Assyrian kingdoms arose in the form of Ashur, Adiabene, Osroene, Beth Nuhadra, Beth Garmai and Hatra.

The region of Assyria fell under the successive control of the Median Empire, the Achaemenid Empire, the Macedonian Empire, the Seleucid Empire, the Parthian Empire, the Roman Empire (only for a year) and the Sasanian Empire. The Arab Islamic Conquest in the mid-seventh century finally dissolved Assyria (Assuristan) as a single entity, after which the remnants of the Assyrian people (by now Christians) gradually became an ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious minority in the Assyrian homeland, surviving there to this day as an indigenous people of the region.

 



Pre-history

Pre-history (W)

In prehistoric times, the region that was to become known as Assyria (and Subartu) was home to a Neanderthal culture such as has been found at the Shanidar Cave. The earliest Neolithic sites in Assyria were the Jarmo culture c. 7100 BC and Tell Hassuna, the centre of the Hassuna culture, c. 6000 BC.

The Akkadian-speaking people (the earliest historically-attested Semitic-speaking people) who would eventually found Assyria appear to have entered Mesopotamia at some point during the latter 4th millennium BC (c. 3500-3000 BC), eventually intermingling with the earlier Sumerian-speaking population, with Akkadian names appearing in written record from as early as the 29th century BC.

During the 3rd millennium BC, a very intimate cultural symbiosis developed between the Sumerians and the Akkadians throughout Mesopotamia, which included widespread bilingualism. The influence of Sumerian (a language isolate) on Akkadian, and vice versa, is evident in all areas, from lexical borrowing on a massive scale, to syntactic, morphological, and phonological convergence. This has prompted scholars to refer to Sumerian and Akkadian in the third millennium BC as a sprachbund. Akkadian gradually replaced Sumerian as the spoken language of Mesopotamia somewhere after the turn of the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC (the exact dating being a matter of debate), although Sumerian continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific language in Mesopotamia until the 1st century AD, as did use of the Akkadian cuneiform.

The cities of Assur, Nineveh, Gasur and Arbela together with a number of other towns and cities, existed since at least before the middle of the 3rd millennium BC (c. 2600 BC), although they appear to have been Sumerian-ruled administrative centres at this time, rather than independent states.

 



Nineveh

Nineveh (W)



Royal palace in Nineveh, the oldest and most-populous city of the ancient Assyrian empire, situated on the east bank of the Tigris River. Wood engraving, published in 1886


Nineveh
(/ˈnɪnɪvə/; Akkadian: 𒌷𒉌𒉡𒀀 URUNI.NU.A Ninua; Syriac: ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ‎) was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. It is located on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, and was the capital of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Today it is a common name for the half of Mosul which lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris.

It was the largest city in the world for some fifty years until the year 612 BC when, after a bitter period of civil war in Assyria, it was sacked by a coalition of its former subject peoples, the Babylonians, Medes, Chaldeans, Persians, Scythians and Cimmerians. Its ruins are across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul, in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq. The two main tells, or mound-ruins, within the walls are Kouyunjik (Kuyuncuk), the Northern Palace, and Tell Nabī Yūnus.

Large amounts of Assyrian sculpture and other artifacts have been excavated and are now located in museums around the world. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) occupied the site during the mid-2010s, during which time they bulldozed several of the monuments there and caused considerable damage to the others. Iraqi forces recaptured the area in January 2017.



Nineveh was one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity. The area was settled as early as 6000 BC during the late Neolithic. The deep sounding at Nineveh uncovered layers now dated to early Hassuna culture period.

By 3000 BC, the area had become an important religious center for the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar. The early city (and subsequent buildings) was constructed on a fault line and, consequently, suffered damage from a number of earthquakes. One such event destroyed the first temple of Ishtar, which was rebuilt in 2260 BC by the Akkadian king Manishtushu.

 



 

The destruction of Nimrud — in 2015 A.D.

The destruction of Nimrud by ISIS in İS 2015 (W)


This image made from video posted on a militant social media account affiliated with the Islamic State group, April 11, 2015, purports to show a militant taking a sledgehammer to an Assyrian relief at the site of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, which dates to the 13th century B.C.

 








  NEO-ASSYRIAN EMPIRE  
  Old Persian and Armenian traditions indicate that Alexander the Great, upon seeing the great library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, was inspired to create his own library. Alexander died before he was able to create his library, but his friend and successor in Egypt, Ptolemy, oversaw the beginnings of Alexander’s library—a project that was to grow to become the renowned Library of Alexandria.  

📹 3D Digital Art Ancient Nineveh-Ashurbanipal, Assyria (VİDEO)

3D Digital Art Ancient Nineveh-Ashurbanipal, Assyria (LINK)

 



 

"The palaces of Nimrud restored", as imagined by the city's first excavator, A.H. Layard (A Second Series of the Monuments of Nineveh, London 1853, pl. 1 detail, after a sketch by James Fergusson).

 



Neo-Assyrian Empire

Neo-Assyrian Empire (911-609 BC) (W)

Capital Aššur 911 BC, Kalhu 879 BC, Dur-Sharrukin 706 BC, Nineveh 705 BC, Harran 612 BC
Common languages Akkadian, Aramaic, Sumerian (declining)
Religion Henotheism
Government Monarchy
King
• 911-891 BC Adad-nirari II (first)
• 612-609 BC Ashur-uballit II (last)
Historical era Iron Age
• Reign of Adad-nirari II 911 BC
• Battle of Nineveh 612 BC
• Siege of Harran 609 BC
Area 670 BC 1,400,000 km2
Preceded by
Middle Assyrian Empire
Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt
Kingdom of Israel (Samaria)
Elam
Succeeded by
Median Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire
Twenty-sixth Dynasty of Egypt


The Neo-Assyrian Empire was an Iron Age Mesopotamian empire, in existence between 911 and 609 BC, and became the largest empire of the world up till that time. The Assyrians perfected early techniques of imperial rule, many of which became standard in later empires, and was, according to many historians, the first real empire in history. The Assyrians were the first to be armed with iron weapons, and used tactics that made them unbeatable.

Following the conquests of Adad-nirari II in the late 10th century BC, Assyria emerged as the most powerful state in the known world at the time, coming to dominate the Ancient Near East, East Mediterranean, Asia Minor, Caucasus, and parts of the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, eclipsing and conquering rivals such as Babylonia, Elam, Persia, Urartu, Lydia, the Medes, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Israel, Judah, Phoenicia, Chaldea, Canaan, the Kushite Empire, the Arabs, and Egypt.

The Neo-Assyrian Empire succeeded the Old Assyrian Empire (c. 2025-1378 BC), and the Middle Assyrian Empire (1365-934 BC) of the Late Bronze Age. During this period, Aramaic was also made an official language of the empire, alongside Akkadian.

Upon the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate due to a brutal and unremitting series of civil wars in Assyria proper. In 616 BC, Cyaxares king of the Medes and Persians made alliances with Nabopolassar ruler of the Babylonians and Chaldeans, and also the Scythians and Cimmerians against Assyria. At the Fall of Harran (609 BC) the Babylonians and Medes defeated an Assyrian-Egyptian alliance, after which Assyria largely ceased to exist as an independent state. A failed attempt to reconquer Harran ended the Assyrian Empire. Although the empire fell, Assyrian history continued; there are still Assyrians living in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere, in the present day.

 



Fetihler

Fetihler (W)

Assyria was by then master of the largest empire the world had yet seen, stretching from the Caucasus in the north to North Africa and the Arabian peninsula in the south, and from Cyprus and the east Mediterranean in the west, to central Iran in the east. Ashurbanipal enjoyed the subjugation of a myriad of nations and peoples, including Babylon, Chaldea, Media, Persia, Egypt, Libya, Elam, Gutium, Parthia, Cissia, Phrygia, Mannea, Corduene, Aramea, Urartu, Lydia, Cilicia, Commagene, Caria, Cappadocia, Phoenicia, Canaan, the Suteans, Sinai, Israel, Judah, Samarra, Moab, Edom, Ammon, Nabatea, Arabia, the Neo-Hittites, Dilmun, Meluhha, Nubia, Scythia, Cimmeria, Armenia and Cyprus, with few problems during Ashurbanipal's reign. For the time being, the dual monarchy in Mesopotamia went well, with Shamash-shum-ukin accepting his position as the vassal of his brother peaceably.

 



Ashurbanipal

Ashurbanipal (685-627 BCE) (W)

Reign 669-c. 631 BCE
Predecessor Esarhaddon
Successor Ashur-etil-ilani

His name in Assyrian is "Ashur-bani-apli," meaning "Ashur has made a[nother] son."


Ashurbanipal
(Akkadian: Aššur-bāni-apli; Syriac: ܐܫܘܪ ܒܢܐ ܐܦܠܐ‎; 'Ashur is the creator of an heir'), also spelled Assurbanipal or Ashshurbanipal, was King of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 668 BC to c. 627 BC, the son of Esarhaddon and the last strong ruler of the empire, which is usually dated between 934 and 609 BC. He is famed for amassing a significant collection of cuneiform documents for his royal palace at Nineveh. This collection, known as the Library of Ashurbanipal, is now in the British Museum, which also holds the famous Lion Hunt of Ashurbanipal set of Assyrian palace reliefs.

Roman historian Justinus identified him as Sardanapalus, although the fictional Sardanapalus is depicted as the last king of Assyria and an ineffectual, effete and debauched character, whereas three further kings succeeded Ashurbanipal, who was in fact an educated, efficient, highly capable and ambitious warrior king.

(W) Ashurbanipal was known as a tenacious martial commander; however, he was also a recognized intellectual who was literate, and a passionate collector of texts and tablets.As an apprentice scribe he mastered both the Akkadian and the Sumerian languages. He sent scribes into every region of the Neo-Assyrian Empire to collect ancient texts. He hired scholars and scribes to copy texts, mainly from Babylonian sources.

Ashurbanipal was not above using war booty as a means of stocking his library. Because he was known for being a scholar and being cruel to his enemies, Ashurbanipal was able to use threats to gain materials from Babylonia and surrounding areas. Ashurbanipal's intense interest in collecting divination texts was one of his driving motivations in collecting works for his library. His original motive may have been to "gain possession of rituals and incantations that were vital to maintain his royal power."

Despite being a popular king among his subjects, he was also known for his cruelty to his enemies. Some pictures depict him putting a dog chain through the jaw of a defeated Arab king and then making him live in a dog kennel. Many paintings of the period exhibit his brutality; however, Assyrian harshness was reserved solely for those who took up arms against the Assyrian king, and neither Ashurbanipal nor his predecessors conducted genocides, massacres or ethnic cleansings against civilian populations.

 
   

Ashurbanipal inherited from Esarhaddon not only the throne of the empire but also the ongoing war in Egypt with Kush/Nubia. Ashurbanipal ended Egyptian interference in the Near East, destroyed the Kushite Empire, drove the Kushites/Nubians from Egypt, and conquered Egypt and Libya. However, the Nubians still had ambitions to regain control of Egypt and resurrect their empire.

 



Library of Ashurbanipal

Library of Ashurbanipal (W)

The Royal Library of Ashurbanipal, named after Ashurbanipal, the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, is a collection of thousands of clay tablets and fragments containing texts of all kinds from the 7th century BC. Among its holdings was the famous Epic of Gilgamesh.

Ashurbanipal's Library was buried by invaders centuries before the Library of Alexandria was erected and also gives modern historians information regarding people of the ancient Near East.

The materials were found in the archaeological site of Kouyunjik (ancient Nineveh, capital of Assyria) in northern Mesopotamia. The site is in modern-day northern Iraq, near the city of Mosul.

Old Persian and Armenian traditions indicate that Alexander the Great, upon seeing the great library of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh, was inspired to create his own library. Alexander died before he was able to create his library, but his friend and successor in Egypt, Ptolemy, oversaw the beginnings of Alexander's library—a project that was to grow to become the renowned Library of Alexandria.

The royal library consists of approximately 30,000 tablets and writing boards with the majority of them being severely fragmented. It can be gleaned from the conservation of the fragments that the number of tablets that existed in the library at the time of destruction was close to two thousand and the number of writing boards within the library can be placed at a total of three hundred. The majority of the tablet corpus (about 6,000) included colloquial compositions in the form of legislation, foreign correspondences and engagements, aristocratic declarations, and financial matters. The remaining texts contained divinations, omens, incantations and hymns to various gods, while others were concerned with medicine, astronomy, and literature. For all these texts in the library only ten contain expressive rhythmic literary works such as epics and myths.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, a masterpiece of ancient Babylonian poetry, was found in the library, as was the Enûma Eliš creation story, the myth of Adapa, the first man, and stories such as the Poor Man of Nippur.



Tablet containing part of the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet 11 depicting the Deluge).


"Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa" with astrological forecasts.


Tablet of synonyms.

 



 

📹 The Battle of Til Tuba and the Triumph of Ashurbanipal (VİDEO)

The Battle of Til Tuba and the Triumph of Ashurbanipal (LINK)

The Battle of Til Tuba and the Triumph of Ashurbanipal

This video shows a guided vision of the reliefs from Ninive commemorating the battle of Til Tuba and the triumph of Ashurbanipal over the Elamites. Pictures of these slabs have been placed into chronological sequence following the historical order of the represented episodes, including an audio commentary based on ancient inscriptions. This video is linked to an article: Girotto E., "Immagini in potenza. Immagini di potenza. La battaglia di Til Tuba e la narrazione continua..." in C. Antonetti, G. Masaro, L. Toniolo (a cura di), Comunicazione e linguaggi, Università Cà Foscari di Venezia. Contributi della scuola di Dottorato in Scienze Umanistiche, indirizzo: Storia antica e Archeologia, Padova 2011.

 



 

📹 Ashurbanipal hunting lions—KHAN ACADEMY (VİDEO)

Ashurbanipal hunting lions—KHAN ACADEMY (LINK)

 



 

🎨 “Sardanapalus” (Eugène Delacroix — La Mort de Sardanapale)

“Sardanapalus” (W)


Eugène Delacroix. Death of Sardanapalus. Oil on canvas. 12 ft 1 in x 16 ft 3 in. Louvre.

On the eve of the battle of Issus (333 BC), Alexander's biographers say, Alexander the Great was shown what purported to be the tomb of Sardanapalus at Anchialus in Cilicia, with a relief carving of the king clapping his hands over his head and an inscription that the locals translated for him as "Sardanapalus, son of Anakyndaraxes, built Anchialus and Tarsus in a single day; stranger, eat, drink and make love, as other human things are not worth this" (signifying the clap of the hands). Historically, there is no record of any Assyrian king dying or being buried in Cilicia. (W)

Sardanapalus

Sardanapalus (W)

Sardanapalus was, according to the Greek writer Ctesias, the last king of Assyria, although in actuality Ashur-uballit II (612-605 BC) holds that distinction. Ctesias' book Persica is lost, but we know of its contents by later compilations and from the work of Diodorus (II.27). In this account, Sardanapalus, supposed to have lived in the 7th century BC, is portrayed as a decadent figure who spends his life in self-indulgence and dies in an orgy of destruction. The legendary decadence of Sardanapalus later became a theme in literature and art, especially in the Romantic era.

The name Sardanapalus is probably a corruption of Ashurbanipal, an emperor of the Assyrian Empire, but Sardanapalus as described by Diodorus bears little relationship with what is known of that king, who in fact was a militarily powerful, highly efficient and scholarly ruler, presiding over the largest empire the world had yet seen.

 



Story according to Diodorus

Story according to Diodorus (W)

Diodorus says that Sardanapalus, son of Anakyndaraxes, exceeded all previous rulers in sloth and luxury. He spent his whole life in self-indulgence. He dressed in women's clothes and wore make-up. He had many concubines, female and male. He wrote his own epitaph, which stated that physical gratification is the only purpose of life. His lifestyle caused dissatisfaction within the Assyrian empire, allowing a conspiracy against him to develop led by "Arbaces". An alliance of Medes, Persians and Babylonians challenged the Assyrians. Sardanapalus stirred himself to action and routed the rebels several times in battle, but failed to crush them. Believing he had defeated the rebels, Sardanapalus returned to his decadent lifestyle, ordering sacrifices and celebrations. But the rebels were reinforced by new troops from Bactria. Sardanapalus's troops were surprised during their partying, and were routed.

Sardanapalus returned to Nineveh to defend his capital, while his army was placed under the command of his brother-in-law, who was soon defeated and killed. Having sent his family to safety, Sardanapalus prepared to hold Nineveh. He managed to withstand a long siege, but eventually heavy rains caused the Tigris to overflow, leading to the collapse of one of the defensive walls. To avoid falling into the hand of his enemies, Sardanapalus had a huge funeral pyre created for himself on which were piled "all his gold, silver and royal apparel". He had his eunuchs and concubines boxed in inside the pyre, burning himself and them to death.

 



Historical authenticity

Historical authenticity (W)

There is no king named Sardanapalus attested in the Assyrian King List. Parts of the story of Sardanapalus seem to be related in some degree to events in the later years of the Assyrian Empire, involving conflict between the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal and his brother Shamash-shum-ukin, who controlled Babylon as a vassal territory, on behalf of his brother. While Sardanapalus has been identified with Ashurbanipal, his alleged death in the flames of his palace is closer to that of his brother Shamash-shum-ukkin, who became infused with Babylonian nationalism and formed an alliance of Babylonians, Chaldeans, Elamites, Arabs and Suteans against his master in an attempt to transfer the seat of the vast empire from Nineveh to Babylon.

There is no evidence from Mesopotamia that either Ashurbanipal or Shamash-shum-ukin led hedonistic lifestyles, were homosexual or transvestites. Both appear to have been strong, disciplined, serious and ambitious rulers, and Ashurbanipal was known to be a literate and scholarly king with an interest in mathematics, astronomy, astrology, history, zoology and botany.

 



 



🎨 Assyria in Images (RESİMLER)

Assyria in Images


Assyrian royal palace at Nineveh

Nineveh, today ruin sites Kujundschik and Nebi Junus near Mosul (Iraq),
ancient Mesopotamian town; heydays as capital of the Assyrian Empire under Sanherib).
— “Assyrian royal palace at Nineveh”.
Woodcut, c. 1880, by Ernst Hayn after a reconstruction by A.H.Layard.

A temple in Nineveh

Nineveh, today ruin sites Kujundschik and Nebi Junus near Mosul (Iraq),
(Ancient Mesopotamian town; heydays as capital of the Assyrian Empire under Sanherib).

“A temple in Nineveh”.

(Reconstruction).
Woodcut, 1890.
   


Storming of Egyp. City / Relief / C7th BC

Late Assyrian,
7th century BC.

Storming of an Egyptian city (military campaign of Ashurbanipal against Egypt, 645 BC).

Stone relief from the palace in Nineveh.
London, British Museum.

Musicians / Assyrian relief / 7th-centBC

Assyrian,
7th-century B.C.

Army musicians with dulcimers and harps.

Relief on a limestone stele.
162 × 103cm.
From the palace of Aussurbanipal in Nineveh (Mesopotamia).
   

Siege of Lachish / Neo-Ass. Relief / c 8th BC

Neo-Assyrian,
8th century BC.

Siege of the Jewish town Lachish by the Assyrians under Sennacherib 701 BC: King Sennacherib on his throne in the camp.

Relief from the palace of Sennacherib in Nineveh (Iraq).
London, British Museum.


Warriors eating protected by guard / Assyria

Assyrian, C7 BC.

Warriors taking their meal protected by a guard with shield. Siege of the Elamite city of Hamanu.

Stone bas-relief (C7 BC) from the palace of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, Mesopotamia
(Iraq).
   

Nineveh, 7th Century BC / Illustration

Nineveh; ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia.

View of the city in the 7th Century B.C.

Illustration.

King Ashurbanipal’s campaign against Elam (653 BCE). Deportees being led into captivity. Gypseus alabaster relief from the palace in Niniveh.
   

Assyrian civilization, 7th century b. C. Relief with Ashurbanipal celebrating with his queen. Detail of the maid’s procession. From Nineveh

Assyrian palace at Nineveh

Nineveh (today the mounds of Kuyunijk and Nabi Yunis, near Mosul, Iraq).
Mesopotamian city that flourished as Assyrian capital under Sennacherib.

“Assyrian palace at Nineveh”.

Watercolour, c. 1880, after reconstruction drawing by A.H.Layard.
   

Storming of Egypt City / Relief / c 7th BC

Late Assyrian,
7th century BC.

Storming of an Egyptian city (military campaign of Ashurbanipal against Egypt, 645 BC).

Stone relief from the palace in Nineveh,
Mesopotamia (Iraq).
London, British Museum.

Assyrian royal palace

Reception hall of an Assyrian palace in ancient Mesopotamia. Hand-colored woodcut of a 19th-century illustration

 



🎨 “Semiramis Called to Arms” (TABLO)

“Semiramis”

Interrupted at her toilette by news of a revolt, Semiramis, the legendary queen of Assyria, demonstrated her determination as a ruler by refusing to finish combing her hair until she had led her army to crush the rebels. In the present work, Guercino illustrates the story of Semiramis called to Arms at the precise moment at which the Queen is interrupted at her toilette by a messenger bearing the news of the revolt of the Babylonians. According to Valerius Maximus, in keeping with her imperious and war-like nature, she immediately abandoned her toilette, with her hair in disorder, and rushed to take up arms to quell the revolt.

GUERCINO (b. 1591, Cento, d. 1666, Bologna)
Guercino (a nickname meaning "the squinter", originally Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), Italian painter of the Bolognese school. He was self-taught but developed precociously. Despite the fact that he spent much of his life in Cento, a small provincial town between Bologna and Ferrara, he managed to become one of the major artists of his day. He was early inspired by the classical reforms of Lodovico Carracci but his pictures were full of movement and intense feeling.

Semiramis (Sammu-ramat)

Semiramis (Sammu-ramat)

(B) Sammu-ramat, Greek Semiramis, (flourished 9th century bc), Assyrian queen who became a legendary heroine.

Sammu-ramat was the mother of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari III (reigned 810-783 bc). Her stela (memorial stone shaft) has been found at Ashur, while an inscription at Calah (Nimrūd) shows her to have been dominant there after the death of her husband, Shamshi-Adad V (823-811 bc). Sammu-ramat was mentioned by Herodotus, and the later historian Diodorus Siculus elaborated a whole legend about her. According to him, she was born of a goddess, and, after being married to an Assyrian officer, she captivated the king Ninus by her beauty and valour and became his wife. Soon afterward, when Ninus died, Sammu-ramat assumed power and reigned for many years. In that time she built Babylon and turned to the conquest of distant lands.


(W) Semiramis (Greek: Σεμίραμις) was the legendary Lydian-Babylonian wife of Onnes and Ninus, succeeding the latter to the throne of Assyria. The legends narrated by Diodorus Siculus, who drew from the works of Ctesias of Cnidus describes her and her relationships to Onnes and King Ninus, a mythical king of Assyria not attested in the far older and more comprehensive Assyrian King List. The indigenous Assyrians of Iraq, northeast Syria, southeast Turkey, and northwest Iran still use Semiramis (also Shamiram) as a given name for female children.

The real and historical Shammuramat (the original Akkadian and Aramaic form of the name) was the Assyrian wife of Shamshi-Adad V (ruled 824 BC-811 BC), king of Assyria and ruler of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and its regent for five years until her son Adad-nirari III came of age and took the reins of power. She ruled at a time of political uncertainty, which is one of the possible explanations for why Assyrians may have accepted her rule (as normally a woman as ruler would have been unthinkable). It has been speculated that ruling successfully as a woman may have made the Assyrians regard her with particular reverence, and that the achievements of her reign (including stabilizing and strengthening the empire after a destructive civil war) were retold over the generations until she was turned into a mythical figure.

The name of Semiramis came to be applied to various monuments in Western Asia and Asia Minor, the origin of which was forgotten or unknown. Various places in Assyria and throughout Mesopotamia as a whole, Media, Persia, the Levant, Asia Minor, Arabia, and the Caucasus bore the name of Semiramis, but slightly changed, even in the Middle Ages, and an old name of the Armenian city of Van was Shamiramagerd (in Armenian it means created by Semiramis). Nearly every stupendous work of antiquity by the Euphrates or in Iran seems to have ultimately been ascribed to her, even the Behistun Inscription of Darius. Herodotusascribes to her the artificial banks that confined the Euphrates and knows her name as borne by a gate of Babylon.

 




🎨 Semiramis: The illustrious Queen of Babylon

 

Semiramis: The illustrious Queen of Babylon

Semiramis: The illustrious Queen of Babylon (LINK)

Semiramis

Semiramis’s Assyrian name was Sammuramat. Sammuramat is one of the ancient world’s most famous rulers. However, her true story remains elusive. Sammuramat was regent of Assyria for five years, but the Greeks have found her story to be very fascinating. Her name became Hellenized as Semiramis. However, as time passed, her story left the world of known facts and into a realm of myth. In a time where women did not rule, Sammuramat has been celebrated for a being a wise queen.

Not much is known about Sammuramat. She was the wife of King Shamsi-Ada V, who ruled from 824-810 BCE.[1] She gave birth to a son named Adadnirari (the future King Adadnirari III). Her husband’s reign was weak and unstable because of a rebellion that took place two years prior to becoming king. In 826 BCE., King Shamsi-Ada V’s older brother, Ashur-danin-pal, launched a rebellion against his father. King Shamsi-Ada V fought for his father. It took him six years to defeat the rebellion. When King Shamsi-Ada V ascended the throne, he had very few resources. Thus, the empire was in a frail state.

When King Shamsi-Ada V died in 811 BCE, Sammuramat assumed the regency of her son, King Adadnirari III because he was too young to rule. This may be because she had considerable influence in the Assyrian court. Thus, in a time when women did not have positions of power, and it was impossible for a female to rule, Sammuramat proved to be a wise and capable woman.

As the regent of the Assyrian empire, she did what her husband could not do. She was able to stabilize the nation.[4] Sammuramat’s accomplishments during her regency are largely unknown. However, historians believe that she initiated a number of building projects. This was unusual for a woman to undertake because it is normally considered to be a duty solely for kings.[5] Sammuramat also led military campaigns.[6] It is known that she defeated the Medes (a group of ancient Iranians) and annexed their nation.[7] She may also have conquered the Armenians as well.[8] She was also known as an able administrator.[9] Thus, through Sammuramat’s abilities, her empire was strengthened.

Historians believe that she may have been regent for 5 years.[10] Sammuramat was powerful enough that a memorial stela was placed in the city of Ashur.[11] It reads:

“Stele of Sammuramat, queen of Shamshi-Adad, King of the Universe, King of Assyria, Mother of Adad Nirari, King of the Universe, King of Assyria, Daughter-in-Law of Shalmaneser, King of the Four Regions of the World.”[12]

An inscription of Sammuramat is also placed in Calah. This suggests she was dominant there after the death of her husband.[13]

Even though Sammuramat only ruled for five years as regent, Sammuramat became a larger than life figure sometime during her reign. Her legend has been mythologized so that it is hard for historians to know her actual history. Her mythological story is more romantic than her actual history. She is even worshipped as a deity, whom some historians believe to be Ishtar.[14]

In her mythological story, Semiramis was the daughter of a Syrian goddess and a young Assyrian man. When she was exposed by birth, the doves fed and took care of her until she was found by shepherds.[15] She married King Ninus, the alleged builder of Babylon. When King Ninus died, she became sole ruler of the Assyrian empire. She irrigated Babylon, expanded her territories, and led campaigns as far as India.[16] She ruled for forty-two years until her son overthrew her.[17] When she died, she transformed into the shape of a dove and became a goddess.[18]

Thus, while Sammuramat’s true story is different from her mythological counterpart, some details still remain the same. She ruled after the death of her husband, she stabilized her kingdom, and led military campaigns. Because of Sammuramat’s accomplishments, it is no wonder why Greek historian, Diodorus of Sicily calls Semiramis, “the most renowned woman of whom we have any record.”[19] Sammuramat was a queen who has become a popular icon for millennia. She has been mentioned in the Bible, worshiped as a goddess, and was the basis of an opera. The most surprising aspect of her story is that she achieved a position of power and authority which was unthinkable for women of her time.



Sources Cited:

“Sammuramat (fl. 8th c. BCE).” Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the

Ages, edited by Anne Commire and Deborah Klezmer, vol. 2, Yorkin Publications, 2007, p.

1658. Accessed 3 Feb. 2018.

“Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”. Ancient History Encyclopedia.

Accessed 3 Feb. 2018.

“Sammu-ramat (queen of Assyria)”. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Accessed 3 Feb. 2018.

“Sammuramat, [Semiramis].” The Palgrave Macmillan Dictionary of Women’s Biography, edited

by Jennifer S. Uglow, et al., Macmillan Publishers Ltd, 4th edition, 2005. Credo Reference,

Accessed 04 Feb 2018.

“Semiramis.” Dictionary Plus Classical Studies. : Oxford University Press. Oxford Reference.

2017. Date Accessed 3 Feb. 2018.

“Semiramis.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, Paul Lagasse, and Columbia University, Columbia

University Press, 7th edition, 2017. Credo Reference, Accessed 04 Feb 2018.

[1] “Sammuramat, [Semiramis].”, para. 1
[2] “Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”, para 5
[3] “Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”, para. 2
[4] “Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”, para. 6
[5] “Sammuramat (fl. 8th c. BCE).”, para. 2
[6] “Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”, para. 7
[7] “Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”. para. 8
[8] “Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”, para. 8
[9] “Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”, para. 9
[10]“Semiramis.”, para. 1
[11]“Sammu-ramat, Queen of Assyria”, para. 2
[12]“Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth”, para. 6
[13]“Sammu-ramat, Queen of Assyria”, para. 2
[14]“Semiramis.”, para. 1
[15]“Semiramis.”, para. 1
[16]“Sammuramat, [Semiramis].”, para. 1
[17]“Sammuramat, [Semiramis].”, para. 1
[18]“Semiramis.”, para. 1
[19]“Sammuramat (fl. 8th c. BCE).”, para. 2


 



 



🎨 Semiramis Is Told of the rebellion in Babylon

Semiramis Is Told of the rebellion in Babylon (LINK)

 
Luca Ferrari, called Luca da Reggio (Reggio 1605-1654 Padua). Bolognese school. Semiramis Is Told of the rebellion in Babylon. 1652. Oil on canvas.

 



🎨 Semiramis receives word of the uprising in Babylon


Semiramis Receives News of the Babylonian Revolt. Backer, Adriaen (ca 1635-1684). Oil on canvas. Baroque. 1669. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. 122x166. Painting.
 

Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis

Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis (LINK)

Assyrian Queen Sammu-Ramat and the Goddess, Semiramis

Sammu-Ramat is thought to have lived around the transition period from the 9th century to the 8th century BCE, with her heyday approximately from 811-806 BCE. She was the wife of one Assyrian King and the mother of the next. In this, Sammu-Ramat is not very different from other powerful women leaders who existed both before and after her. For example, Queen Tiye or Tiy (lived in the 14th century BCE), also gained great power and influence in her country by being an extremely shrewd adviser and asset to her husband (Amenhotep III) and her son (Akhenaten) in Egypt. Though numerous other women reached incredible heights of power in the ancient world, few could match Sammu-Ramat in her most impressive feat. She reigned supreme in her (likely unintentional) creation of a cult of personality that, after death, raised her to godhood and distributed her legend out of Assyria and into neighboring regions.

Sammu-Ramat was made into a widespread legend under the name Semiramis, but even so, the actual living and breathing woman at the heart of it all remains fairly obscure. As her legend and cult grew, her story transitioned from history, to mythology, and eventually resembled a tall-tale. The facts, as far as historians and archeologists have been able to accurately uncover, should be clearly noted before moving from the human Queen Sammu-Ramat, to the mythological goddess, Semiramis. For full disclosure, some deny that Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis are related, but the majority believes that Sammu-Ramat served as either the archetype, or a significant inspiration, of the legendary Semiramis.

Sammu-Ramat began her rise to power at the start of Assyria’s long-awaited ascendance to dominance. She was wed to the Assyrian King Shamshi-Adad V (ruled approximately 823-811 BCE). Her husband ruled in a difficult time; his reign began after a civil war between his own father and brother. The Assyrian Kingdom was not stable, and Shamshi-Adad gladly accepted any advise that Sammu-Ramat provided. Queen Sammu-Ramat gladly took the opportunity to aid and influence the governing of the Assyrian Kingdom. She was reported to have been very active in her husband’s court. She participated in government and religious ceremony, court and even accompanied the Assyrian military on campaigns. The scale of her involvement in these government activities was never described in depth, but most sources imply that she was heavily involved in the governance of Assyria during her husband’s kingship.

Shamshi-Adad died around 811 BCE, and the Assyrian crown passed to the heir, Adad-Nirari III, who would lead an effective rule from 811-783 BCE. In 811, however, Adad-Nirari was too young to govern the kingdom. While the young king matured, Queen Sammu-Ramat was able to seize the position as regent ruler of the Assyrian people. She was able to maintain her authority and keep the kingdom stable until her son took the throne. Most historians propose two possible theories of Sammu-Ramat’s success; the Assyrians either both respected and admired her, or they were deathly afraid of her. The route of admiration and respect seems likeliest based on the facts that Sammu-Ramat was a trusted adviser to the late king, and had maintained a constant presence in court, ceremony and military campaigns.

As a regent, Queen Sammu-Ramat did not dawdle. She had no intention of simply waiting for the young king to grow old enough to rule. No, as far as we can tell, the regent Queen was very active during her period of rule. She reportedly gathered her fighting men and marched successfully against the Medes and the Armenians to her north. She created new roads and started construction on embankments for the Euphrates River near Babylon. She is thought to have funded the creation of at least one new temple, and erected a stela or obelisk. Many other miscellaneous structures and monuments were later attributed to Sammu-Ramat’s mythical incarnation, Semiramis.

Around 806 BCE, King Adad-Nirari III was at an age where he could take on the full responsibility of the Assyrian throne. In his reign, the Assyrian Kingdom continued to grow, following the example of Queen Sammu-Ramat. Under the rule of multiple successive kings, the Assyrians went on to expand their way outward into the Iranian plateau and down towards the Persian Gulf, and also spreading westward into Egypt. The Assyrian Kings did not besmirch Queen Sammu-Ramat’s name; quite the opposite occurred. Her historical regency transformed into a legendary tale of a conquering warrior queen, Semiramis of Assyria.

The mythology of the Assyrian warrior queen, Semiramis, spread all around the eastern Mediterranean. Her story permeated throughout the lands of the extensive Assyrian Kingdom, and moved up through Armenia and other Annatolian peoples to reach the Greek city-states. Numerous writers of antiquity wrote about Semiramis, including Ctesias, Herodotus, Strabo, Polyaenus, Plutarch and Justinus. Even the major Christian writer, Eusebius (263-339 CE), wrote about the legendary warrior queen of Assyria. Her story went on to inspire countless people; some wanted to worship her, and others, like Alexander the Great, wanted to exceed her in conquest. The brief, but admirable, reign of the regent Queen Sammu-Ramat became immortal in the cult and mythology of the warrior queen goddess, Semiramis.

When it is stated that the story of Semiramis was mythological, the statement is accurate; the tale of Semiramis acquired many of the common features found in Greek mythology. Storytellers took the life of Sammu-Ramat, added a divine origin story, increased her conquests, and amplified her sexual activities—the story was a hit, and a legend was born.

The legend of Semiramis began when a fisherman, headed to the water to haul in his daily catch. Instead of wrangling a fish, however, the fisherman found a fish goddess named Derceto. The goddess had somehow earned the wrath of Aphrodite—suffice it to say, Derceto was much more lusty than she would have been in usual circumstances. From the encounter between the fisherman and the fish goddess, Semiramis was born. There is no happy ending for Derceto, however, as mythology often has more tragedy than contentment. Feeling shameful and guilty for what she did under Aphrodite’s spell, Derceto committed suicide shortly after she gave birth to Semiramis.

Yes, Semiramis was alone and abandoned, but do not fret. A flock of doves fluttered to the newborn demi-god, giving little Semiramis comfort, warmth and food. Soon, a group of farmers stumbled upon the baby goddess and the doves relinquished Semiramis into their care. The farmers took the abandoned girl back to their village and raised her as their own. From this point of her myth, Semiramis begins the events that occurred in the life of Sammu-Ramat. A government official found his way to the farming village and instantly wanted to marry Semiramis. She agreed to marry him, and she helped him with his governing duties. Semiramis’ advice proved to be very wise and effective, resulting in her every word and suggestion being trusted and implemented in her husband’s politics.

Eventually, Semiramis, and her husband relocated to the court of the Assyrian King. Unfortunately for her husband, the King, too, wanted to marry the astute goddess. Semiramis’ husband, trapped between love and loyalty, fell into despair and committed suicide. The widowed Semiramis agreed to marry the Assyrian King. She and the King held court jointly, went on military campaigns together and shared the decision of government policy, just as Sammu-Ramat and Shamshi-Adad V seemed to work together as partners. The Assyrian King eventually died, and Semiramis, like Sammu-Ramat, was able to keep power through the respect of the people or the fear of her wrath. Some versions of the legend claim that Semiramis had the Assyrian king executed, which is plausible considering the King’s actions had forced Semiramis’ former husband into suicide.

With the Assyrian kingdom under her control, the legend claims that Semiramis personally went on to conquer the same lands that Sammu-Ramat conquered, as well as the lands historically conquered by King Adad-Nirari III (Sammu-Ramat’s son) and the succeeding Assyrian kings. The legend of Semiramis claims she conquered even more territory than what was held by historical Assyria. From the Assyrian lands in Egypt, her legend claims that she pushed into Libya. From her Persian territory, Semiramis was supposed to have launched a failed campaign against India (a claim known to Alexander the Great while he was in the region). In true Greek god fashion, the legend of Semiramis claims that she slept with many of her soldiers, but had them all executed afterwards, fearing the political ramifications of having a lover.

The military expeditions of Semiramis ended with her failed campaign into India. She returned back to Assyria and died shortly, thereafter. On her deathbed, however, Semiramis did not simply die and decay like a normal mortal. No, in the true fashion of a goddess of antiquity, Semiramis transformed into a dove, and flew away from the world of mortals and into the realm of the divine.

Mortals and Myths

There are immense differences between the historical life of Sammu-Ramat and the Semiramis of legend and myth. Despite the divine origin story, and the exaggerated conquests of land and lust, the legend of Semiramis had at its core the history of Sammu-Ramat—a formidable woman who was able to gain the respect of the Assyrain people, stabilize the Kingdom and usher the Assyrians on their path to becoming an empire. Sammu-Ramat ruled with brilliance and skill in an ancient world where women leaders were few and far between. Queen Sammu-Ramat left the Assyrian Kingdom, and others surrounding Assyria, in a state of bafflement. The only explanation they could find for Sammu-Ramat climbing to such a height in life was that she was descended from gods and, upon death, ascended back to the heavens.

Written by C. Keith Hansley
thehistorianshut.com

 



 



Semiramis by William Wetmore Story at the Dallas Museum of Art

Semiramis by William Wetmore Story (at the Dallas Museum of Art) (LINK)

 

Semiramis by William Wetmore Story





 



 



 








  AMORITES — HURRIANS — ELAM — GUTIANS — KASSITES — CHALDEANS — EBLA — MARI

Amorites

Amorites (W)

The Amorites (Sumerian 𒈥𒌅 MAR.TU; Akkadian Tidnum or Amurrūm; Egyptian Amar; Hebrew אמורי ʼĔmōrī; Ancient Greek: Ἀμορραῖοι) were an ancient Semitic-speaking people from Syria who also occupied large parts of southern Mesopotamia from the 21st century BC to the end of the 17th century BC, where they established several prominent city states in existing locations, notably Babylon, which was raised from a small town to an independent state and a major city. The term Amurru in Akkadian and Sumerian texts refers to both them and to their principal deity.

The Amorites are also mentioned in the Bible as inhabitants of Canaan both before and after the conquest of the land under Joshua.

They appear as an uncivilized and nomadic people in early Mesopotamian writings from Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria.

From the 21st century BC, possibly triggered by a long major drought starting about 2200 BC, a large-scale migration of Amorite tribes infiltrated southern Mesopotamia.

In the earliest Sumerian texts, all western lands beyond the Euphrates, including the modern Levant, were known as "the land of the mar.tu (Amorites)."

The Martu people arose in Sumer and Akkad (southern Mesopotamia), necessitating the building of a wall to protect Uruk.

By the time of the last days of the Third Dynasty of Ur, the immigrating Amorites had become such a force that kings such as Shu-Sin were obliged to construct a 270-kilometre (170 mi) wall from the Tigris to the Euphrates to hold them off.

the Akkadian- and Sumerian-speakers of Mesopotamia viewed their nomadic and primitive way of life with disgust and contempt:

“The MAR.TU who know no grain.... The MAR.TU who know no house nor town, the boors of the mountains.... The MAR.TU who digs up truffles... who does not bend his knees (to cultivate the land), who eats raw meat, who has no house during his lifetime, who is not buried after death[.]”


There was not an Amorite invasion of southern Mesopotamia as such, but Amorites ascended to power in many locations, especially during the reign of the last king of the Neo-Sumerian Empire, Ibbi-Sin. Leaders with Amorite names assumed power in various places, usurping native Akkadian rulers, including in Isin, Eshnunna and Larsa. The small town of Babylon, unimportant both politically and militarily, was raised to the status of a minor independent city-state, under Sumu-abum in 1894 BC.

(B) Almost all of the local kings in Babylonia (such as Hammurabi of Babylon) belonged to this stock.

 



The Hurrians

The Hurrians (B)



The Louvre lion and accompanying stone tablet bearing the earliest known text in Hurrian

The Hurrians enter the orbit of ancient Middle Eastern civilization toward the end of the 3rd millennium BCE. They arrived in Mesopotamia from the north or the east, but it is not known how long they had lived in the peripheral regions. There is a brief inscription in Hurrian language from the end of the period of Akkad, while that of King Arishen (or Atalshen) of Urkish and Nawar is written in Akkadian. The language of the Hurrians must have belonged to a widespread group of ancient Middle Eastern languages. The relationship between Hurrian and Subarean has already been mentioned, and the language of the Urartians, who played an important role from the end of the 2nd millennium to the 8th century BCE, is likewise closely related to Hurrian. According to the Soviet scholars Igor M. Diakonov and Sergei A. Starostin, the Eastern Caucasian languages are an offshoot of the Hurrian-Urartian group.

It is not known whether the migrations of the Hurrians ever took the form of aggressive invasion; 18th-century-BCE texts from Mari speak of battles with the Hurrian tribe of Turukku south of Lake Urmia (some 150 miles from the Caspian Sea’s southwest corner), but these were mountain campaigns, not the warding off of an offensive. Proper names in cuneiform texts, their frequency increasing in the period of Ur III, constitute the chief evidence for the presence of Hurrians. Nevertheless, there is no clear indication that the Hurrians had already advanced west of the Tigris at that time. An entirely different picture results from the 18th-century palace archives of Mari and from texts originating near the upper Khābūr River. Northern Mesopotamia, west of the Tigris, and Syria appear settled by a population that is mainly Amorite and Hurrian; and the latter had already reached the Mediterranean littoral, as shown by texts from Alalakh on the Orontes. In Mari, literary texts in Hurrian also have been found, indicating that Hurrian had by then become a fully developed written language as well.

The high point of the Hurrian period was not reached until about the middle of the 2nd millennium. In the 15th century, Alalakh was heavily Hurrianized; and in the empire of Mitanni the Hurrians represented the leading and perhaps the most numerous population group.

Hurrians (W)



The Hurrians (/ˈhʊəriənz/; cuneiform: 𒄷𒌨𒊑; transliteration: Ḫu-ur-ri; also called Hari, Khurrites, Hourri, Churri, Hurri or Hurriter) were a people of the Bronze Age Near East. They spoke a Hurro-Urartian language called Hurrian and lived in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia. The largest and most influential Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni, the Mitanni perhaps being Indo-Iranian speakers who formed a ruling class over the Hurrians. The population of the Indo-European-speaking Hittite Empire in Anatolia included a large population of Hurrians, and there is significant Hurrian influence in Hittite mythology. By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples. Their remnants were subdued by a related people that formed the state of Urartu. According to a hypothesis by I.M. Diakonoff and S. Starostin, the Hurrian and Urartian languages shared a common ancestor and were related to the Northeast Caucasian languages. The present-day Armenians are an amalgam of the Indo-European groups with the Hurrians and Urartians.

 



Elam

Elam (W)



Elam
(Elamite: 𒁹𒄬𒆷𒁶𒋾 haltamti, Sumerian: 𒉏𒈠𒆠 NIM.MAki) was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumerian transliteration elam(a), along with the later Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature, Elam was also known as Susiana, which is a name derived from its capital, Susa.



Choqa Zanbil, Ziggurat, Dur Untash, 13th century BC.


Elam was part of the early urbanization during the Chalcolithic period (Copper Age). The emergence of written records from around 3000 BC also parallels Sumerian history, where slightly earlier records have been found. In the Old Elamite period (Middle Bronze Age), Elam consisted of kingdoms on the Iranian plateau, centered in Anshan, and from the mid-2nd millennium BC, it was centered in Susa in the Khuzestan lowlands. Its culture played a crucial role during the Persian Achaemenid dynasty that succeeded Elam, when the Elamite language remained among those in official use. Elamite is generally considered a language isolate unrelated to the much later arriving Persian and Iranic languages. In accordance with geographical and archaeological matches, some historians argue that the Elamites comprise a large portion of the ancestors of the modern day Lurs, whose language, Luri, split from Middle Persian.

The Old Elamite period began around 2700 BC. Historical records mention the conquest of Elam by Enmebaragesi, the Sumerian king of Kish in Mesopotamia. Three dynasties ruled during this period. Twelve kings of each of the first two dynasties, those of Awan (or Avan; c. 2400-2100) and Simashki (c. 2100-1970), are known from a list from Susa dating to the Old Babylonian period. Two Elamite dynasties said to have exercised brief control over parts of Sumer in very early times include Awan and Hamazi; and likewise, several of the stronger Sumerian rulers, such as Eannatum of Lagash and Lugal-anne-mundu of Adab, are recorded as temporarily dominating Elam.

The Middle Elamite period began with the rise of the Anshanite dynasties around 1500 BC. Their rule was characterized by an "Elamisation" of Susa, and the kings took the title "king of Anshan and Susa".

Neo-Elamite I (c. 1100-770 BC)

Very little is known of this period. Anshan was still at least partially Elamite. There appear to have been unsuccessful alliances of Elamites, Babylonians, Chaldeans and other peoples against the powerful Neo Assyrian Empire (911-605 BC); the Babylonian king Mar-biti-apla-ushur (984-979) was of Elamite origin, and Elamites are recorded to have fought unsuccessfully with the Babylonian king Marduk-balassu-iqbi against the Assyrian forces under Shamshi-Adad V (823-811).

Neo-Elamite II (c. 770-646 BC)

The later Neo-Elamite period is characterized by a significant migration of Indo-European speaking Iranians to the Iranian plateau. Assyrian sources beginning around 800 BC distinguish the "powerful Medes", i.e. the actual Medes, Persians, Parthians, Sagartians, Margians, Bactrians, Sogdians etc.. Among these pressuring tribes were the Parsu, first recorded in 844 BC as living on the southeastern shore of Lake Urmiah, but who by the end of this period would cause the Elamites' original home, the Iranian Plateau, to be renamed Persia proper. These newly arrived Iranian peoples were also conquered by Assyria, and largely regarded as vassals of the Neo-Assyrian Empire until the late 7th century.

In a tablet unearthed in 1854 by Henry Austin Layard, Ashurbanipal boasts of the destruction he had wrought:

"Susa, the great holy city, abode of their Gods, seat of their mysteries, I conquered. I entered its palaces, I opened their treasuries where silver and gold, goods and wealth were amassed … I destroyed the ziggurat of Susa. I smashed its shining copper horns. I reduced the temples of Elam to naught; their gods and goddesses I scattered to the winds. The tombs of their ancient and recent kings I devastated, I exposed to the sun, and I carried away their bones toward the land of Ashur. I devastated the provinces of Elam and on their lands I sowed salt."

 

Neo-Elamite III (646-539 BC)

The devastation was a little less complete than Ashurbanipal boasted, and a weak and fragmented Elamite rule was resurrected soon after with Shuttir-Nakhkhunte, son of Humban-umena III (not to be confused with Shuttir-Nakhkhunte, son of Indada, a petty king in the first half of the 6th century). Elamite royalty in the final century preceding the Achaemenids was fragmented among different small kingdoms, the united Elamite nation having been destroyed and colonised by the Assyrians.

 



Gutian people

Gutian people (W)

An inscription dated c. 2130 BCE. "Lugalanatum prince of Umma ... built the E.GIDRU [Sceptre] Temple at Umma, buried his foundation deposit [and] regulated the orders. At that time, Siium was king of Gutum [or Qutum]." (Collection of the Louvre Museum.)


The Guti or Quti, also known by the derived exonyms Gutians or Guteans, were a nomadic people of the Zagros Mountains (on the border of modern Iran and Iraq) during ancient times. Their homeland was known as Gutium (Sumerian: 𒄖𒌅𒌝𒆠,Gu-tu-umki or 𒄖𒋾𒌝𒆠,Gu-ti-umki)

Conflict between people from Gutium and the Akkadian Empire has been linked to the collapse of the empire, towards the end of the 3rd Millennium BCE. The Guti subsequently overran southern Mesopotamia and formed a royal dynasty in Sumer. The Sumerian king list suggests that the Guti ruled over Sumer for several generations, following the fall of the Akkadian Empire.

By the 1st Millennium BCE, usage of the name Gutium, by the peoples of lowland Mesopotamia, had expanded to include all of western Media, between the Zagros and the Tigris. Various tribes and places to the east and northeast were often referred to as Gutians or Gutium. For example, Assyrian royal annals use the term Gutians in relation to populations known to have been Medes or Mannaeans. As late as the reign of Cyrus the Great of Persia, the famous general Gubaru (Gobryas) was described as the "governor of Gutium".

Little is known of the origins, material culture or language of the Guti, as contemporary sources provide few details and no artifacts have been positively identified. As the Gutian language lacks a text corpus, apart from some proper names, its similarities to other languages are impossible to verify.

The historical Guti have been regarded by many scholars as among the ancestors of the Kurds.

 



Kassites

Kassites (W)

The Babylonian Empire under the Kassites, c. 13th century BC.

Historical era Bronze Age
Established circa 1531 BC
Sack of Babylon circa 1531 BC
Invasions by Assyria and Elam circa 1158 BC
Disestablished circa 1155 BC


The Kassites were people of the ancient Near East, who controlled Babylonia after the fall of the Old Babylonian Empire c. 1531 BC and until c. 1155 BC.

They gained control of Babylonia after the Hittite sack of the city in 1595 BC (i.e. 1531 BC per the short chronology), and established a dynasty based first in Babylon and later in Dur-Kurigalzu. The Kassites were members of a small military aristocracy but were efficient rulers and not locally unpopular, and their 500-year reign laid an essential groundwork for the development of subsequent Babylonian culture. The chariot and the horse, which the Kassites worshipped, first came into use in Babylonia at this time.

The Kassite language has not been classified. What is known is that their language was not related to either the Indo-European language group, nor to Semitic or other Afro-Asiatic languages, and is most likely to have been a language isolate although some linguists have proposed a link to the Hurro-Urartian languages of Asia Minor. However, the arrival of the Kassites has been connected to the contemporary migrations of Indo-European peoples. Several Kassite leaders and deities bore Indo-European names, and it is possible that they were dominated by an Indo-European elite similar to the Mitanni, who ruled over the Hurro-Urartian-speaking Hurrians of Asia Minor.

The original homeland of the Kassites is not well-known, but appears to have been located in the Zagros Mountains, in what is now the Lorestan Province of Iran. However, the Kassites were—like the Elamites, Gutians and Manneans who preceded them—linguistically unrelated to the Iranian-speaking peoples who came to dominate the region a millennium later.

In spite of the fact that some of them took Babylonian names, the Kassites retained their traditional clan and tribal structure, in contrast to the smaller family unit of the Babylonians. They were proud of their affiliation with their tribal houses, rather than their own fathers, preserved their customs of fratriarchal property ownership and inheritance.

 



Chaldeans

Chaldeans (W)


Chaldea and neighboring countries

 


Chaldea
or Chaldaea was a Semitic-speaking nation that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BC, after which it and its people were absorbed and assimilated into Babylonia. It was located in the marshy land of the far southeastern corner of Mesopotamia and briefly came to rule Babylon.

During a period of weakness in the East Semitic speaking kingdom of Babylonia, new tribes of West Semitic-speaking migrants arrived in the region from the Levant between the 11th and 9th centuries BC. The earliest waves consisted of Suteans and Arameans, followed a century or so later by the Kaldu, a group who became known later as the Chaldeans or the Chaldees.

The short-lived 11th dynasty of the Kings of Babylon (6th century BC) is conventionally known to historians as the Chaldean Dynasty, although the last rulers, Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar, were from Assyria.

These nomad Chaldeans settled in the far southeastern portion of Babylonia, chiefly on the left bank of the Euphrates. Though for a short time the name later commonly referred to the whole of southern Mesopotamia in Hebraic literature, this was a geographical and historical misnomer, as Chaldea proper was in fact only the plain in the far southeast formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending about four hundred miles along the course of these rivers, and averaging about a hundred miles in width.

 



Ebla

Ebla (W)


Ebla' (c. 3000 BC-c. 2340 BC) first kingdom at its height.

Ebla was one of the earliest kingdoms in Syria. Its remains constitute a tell located about 55 km (34 mi) southwest of Aleppo near the village of Mardikh. Ebla was an important center throughout the 3rd millennium BC and in the first half of the 2nd millennium BC. Its discovery proved the Levant was a center of ancient, centralized civilization equal to Egypt and Mesopotamia and ruled out the view that the latter two were the only important centers in the Near East during the early Bronze Age. The first Eblaite kingdom has been described as the first recorded world power.



Second Eblaite Kingdom (c. 2300 BC-c. 2000 BC)


Starting as a small settlement in the early Bronze Age (c. 3500 BC), Ebla developed into a trading empire and later into an expansionist power that imposed its hegemony over much of northern and eastern Syria. Ebla was destroyed during the 23rd century BC; it was then rebuilt and was mentioned in the records of the Third Dynasty of Ur. The second Ebla was a continuation of the first, ruled by a new royal dynasty. It was destroyed at the end of the 3rd millennium BC, which paved the way for the Amorite tribes to settle in the city, forming the third Ebla. The third kingdom also flourished as a trade center; it became a subject and an ally of Yamhad (modern-day Aleppo) until its final destruction by the Hittite king Mursili I in c. 1600 BC.

Third Eblaite Kingdom (c. 2000 BC-c. 1600 BC)


Ebla maintained its prosperity through a vast trading network. Artifacts from Sumer, Cyprus, Egypt and as far as Afghanistan were recovered from the city's palaces. The kingdom had its own language, Eblaite, and the political organization of Ebla had features different from the Sumerian model. Women enjoyed a special status, and the queen had major influence in the state and religious affairs. The pantheon of gods was mainly north Semitic and included deities exclusive to Ebla. The city was excavated starting in 1964 and became famous for the Ebla tablets, an archive of about 20,000 cuneiform tablets found there, dated to around 2350 BC. Written in both Sumerian and Eblaite and using the cuneiform, the archive has allowed a better understanding of the Sumerian language and provided important information over the political organization and social customs of the mid-3rd millennium BC's Levant.

 



Mari

Mari (c. 2500 BC-2290 BC) (W)


Second Mariote kingdom. Mari at the time of Iblul-il.

Mari was an ancient Semitic city in modern-day Syria. Its remains constitute a tell located 11 kilometers north-west of Abu Kamal on the Euphrates river western bank, some 120 kilometers southeast of Deir ez-Zor. It flourished as a trade center and hegemonic state between 2900 BC and 1759 BC. As a purposely-built city, the existence of Mari was related to its position in the middle of the Euphrates trade routes; this position made it an intermediary between Sumer in the south and the Levant in the west.

Mari was first abandoned in the middle of the 26th century BC but was rebuilt and became the capital of a hegemonic East Semitic state before 2500 BC. This second Mari engaged in a long war with its rival Ebla and is known for its strong affinity with Sumerian culture. It was destroyed in the 23rd century BC by the Akkadians, who allowed the city to be rebuilt and appointed a military governor bearing the title of Shakkanakku ("military governor"). The governors later became independent with the rapid disintegration of the Akkadian Empire and rebuilt the city as a regional center in the middle Euphrates valley. The Shakkanakkus ruled Mari until the second half of the 19th century BC, when the dynasty collapsed for unknown reasons. A short time after the Shakkanakku collapse, Mari became the capital of the Amorite Lim dynasty. The Amorite Mari was short-lived as it was annexed by Babylonia in c. 1761 BC, but the city survived as a small settlement under the rule of the Babylonians and the Assyrians before being abandoned and forgotten during the Hellenistic period.



The third kingdom during the reign of Zimri-Lim c. 1764 BC.

(Established c. 2266 BC; Disestablished c. 1761 BC)


The Mariotes worshiped both Semitic and Sumerian deities and established their city as a center of old trade. However, although the pre-Amorite periods were characterized by heavy Sumerian cultural influence, Mari was not a city of Sumerian immigrants but rather a Semitic-speaking nation that used a dialect similar to Eblaite. The Amorites were West Semites who began to settle the area before the 21st century BC; by the Lim dynasty's era (c. 1830 BC), they became the dominant population in the Fertile Crescent.

Mari's discovery in 1933 provided an important insight into the geopolitical map of ancient Mesopotamia and Syria, due to the discovery of more than 25,000 tablets that contained important information about the administration of state during the 2nd millennium BC and the nature of diplomatic relations between the political entities in the region. They also revealed the wide trading networks of the 18th century BC, which connected areas as far as Afghanistan in Southern Asia and Crete in the Mediterranean region.

The founders of the first city may have been Sumerians or more probably East Semitic speaking people from Terqa in the north.

The first and second kingdoms were heavily influenced by the Sumerian south. The society was led by an urban oligarchy, and the citizens were well known for elaborate hair styles and dress. The calendar was based on a solar year divided into twelve months, and was the same calendar used in Ebla "the old Eblaite calendar". Scribes wrote in Sumerian language and the art was indistinguishable from Sumerian art, so was the architectural style.

 



 





  Sumerian Questions and Answers

Sumerian Questions and Answers

Sumerian Questions and Answers (LINK)
Sumerian Questions and Answers

1. Hebrew and Sumerian
2. Permission to Use Cuneiform Writing Sample
3. Timeline of Mesopotamian History
4. Sumerian Version, Biblical Story of Job
5. Sumerian True Type Font
6. "pukku" and "mekku" in Gilgamesh
7. Sumerian Language ba- Prefix
8. Sumerian Eden?
9. Hungarian and Sumerian
10. Enable Sumerian True Type Font
11. Development of Cuneiform From Pictographs
12. Sumerian Word for Venus
13. Sumerian Alphabet?
14. Sumerian "mashkim" as Demons?
15. Zecharia Sitchen; Sumerian Language Suppressed?
16. Hebrew ELOHIM
17. Sumerian Proverbs Page
18. Sumerian Audio File?
19. "The Sumerian Problem"
20. The Deity Ningishzida
21. Organization of the Sumerian Lexicon
22. Cuneiform Symbols in Sumerian Lexicon?
23. Poetry to Woo a Sumerian Girl?
24. Translate Sumerian Alphabet?
25. Letters of Sumerian Alphabet?
26. Importance of Sumerian Invention of Cuneiform Writing
27. Sumer, Not Sumeria
28. Could Sumerian "ur" Mean Ox or Cow?
29. Pronunciation and Meaning of Sumerian Words
30. Is Sumerian the Earliest Written Language?
31. Preflood Mythology - Ziusudra, the Sumerian Noah
32. How to Interpret "dirig-...-she"?
33. The Planet Nibiru
34. Zechariah Sitchin and Extraterrestrials
35. Name of Sumerian Religion?
36. The Sumerian People
37. Meaning of Sumer?
38. Sumerian Speech from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
39. Sumerian Planet Names
40. Who Were the Sumerians?
41. Annotated Version of Lexicon?
42. Origin of Picture of Counting Tokens
43. Another Translation into Sumerian
44. Vowels in Sumerian Writing?
45. Did Sumerian Have Vowel Harmony?
46. Sumerians Live During or Before the Time of Biblical Moses?
47. Different Dialects? - Text Partially in Sumerian
48. Where Does One Learn Sumerian?
49. What is the Relation of Sumerian to Other Language Families?
50. Sumerian Money
51. The Greatest Sumerian Ruler?
52. Vinca Culture Writing - Tartaria Tablets in Romania
53. Sumerian Determinatives
54. Sumerian Vocabulary from a Woman's Viewpoint
55. Sumerian Words in CAPITAL Letters
56. English to Sumerian Dictionary?
57. Sumerian Origins
58. Out-of-Print Jacobsen Book
59. 'I Love You' in Sumerian
60. Determinative Before Month Names
61. Sumerian Words in Akkadian and Hebrew
62. Teachings of Suruppak to His Son Ziusudra
63. Sumerian Freedom Tattoo
64. Age/Location of Sumerian Vocabulary
65. Hungarian Roots
66. Dilmun, Lemuria, and Sumer
67. Need Background for Novel that I Am Writing
68. Disputing the Etymology of the Sumerian Word for 'Breast'
69. Symbols for Mesopotamian Gods?
70. Sumerian and Babylonian Holy Days
71. Yet Another Translation into Sumerian
72. Permission to Use Tokens Picture
73. How Did Writing Start?
74. Books to Study Day-to-Day Life of Sumerians?
75. Necronomicon; Learning Sumerian
76. Sumerian Tenses?
77. Cuneiform Words?
78. Letters or Sounds Missing from Sumerian
79. Sumerian Pictographic Writing
80. History of Bookkeeping and Sumerian Term "shubati"
81. Sumerian "danna" and Akkadian "beru"
82. Dilmun, Paradise, Bahrain, Eridu, Enki
83. How Reliable Is John M. Allegro?
84. Definite Article in Sumerian?
85. Which Style of Cuneiform to Learn?
86. Info on Sumerian Music?
87. What Did the Sumerians Call Themselves?, Sumerian Predecessors?
88. Swastika in Sumerian?
89. Sumerian for Lion?
90. ama, 'mother', a Semitic loan?
91. Creditors and Debits
92. Difference Between Akkadian and Sumerian Languages?
93. Sumerian on Voyager "Golden Record"?
94. Pentagram Symbol?
95. Beer and Travel Proverb?
96. Should I Study Sumerian?
97. Igigi and Anunnaki?
98. Marijuana in Sumerian?
99. Purpose of the Human Race?
100. The Oldest Written Story?
101. Cuneiform for Love?
102. Antiquity of Star Constellations in Sumer?
103. View Cuneiform Text on Clay Tablets at the CDLI
104. Sumerian Dimensional Prefixes and Personal Affixes?
105. Completeness of Sumerian Lexicon?
106. Sumerian Proverb in Cuneiform?

Copyright Notice
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1. Hebrew and Sumerian

>Is Hebrew a daughter language of Sumerian?

No. Hebrew belongs to the Afro-Asiatic language family. Sumerian is a different language family.

>How different are the following languages. Akkadian, Phoenician, Egyptian
>It is believed that Jesus (on the cross) said, Eli eli lama shabatani ( I
>think this to be Aramaic) in Hebrew it would be Eli Eli lama azaftani,
>consequently could I assume that Hebrew is a branch of Aramaic.?

The languages mentioned are all sister languages, spoken simultaneously in different places. Egyptian is related to Semitic languages such as Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Phoenician.

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2. Permission to Use Cuneiform Writing Sample

>i am working on an old testament commentary & i would like to include a
>sample illustration of cuneiform script. i was wondering if i might be able
>to use the sample sumerian proverb at url
>https://www.sumerian.org/proverbs.htm

Sure, that is just a scan of a page in Gordon's book on Sumerian Proverbs, and it did not have a copyright notice on it.

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3. Timeline of Mesopotamian History

> I am a student who studies at [snip]. I've recently been given
>a task to research for a timeline based on Mesopotamia in my history
>class. Since I am new to the net, I need some help from u. Could u pls
>suggest me good sites for timelines based on Mespotamia?

Look at the bottom of the Mesopotamia links on my links page, for a site called A Chronology of the Ancient Near East.

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4. Sumerian Version, Biblical Story of Job

>Any idea where I might find a copy of the story, legend of the
>Sumerian Job? thanks.

Samuel Noah Kramer translated a text that he described as a Sumerian Job text starting on page 127 of his book The Sumerians, Their History, Culture, and Character, 1963.

I do not know where the cuneiform text or its transliteration was published or even its museum number.

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5. Sumerian True Type Font

>I love your Sumerian page. By chance do you have a Sumerian True Type Font?
>If so, where did you acquire it?

I don't think that you got to the bottom of the overview page, where it says that the downloadable Winword file archive includes a Sumerian TrueType Font, which I created deliberately with no copyright notice.

The most recent version of the sumerian.ttf font file is dated April 21, 2005 and has a size of 55 KB.

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6. "pukku" and "mekku" in Gilgamesh

>I have read a Swedish translation of the Gilgamesh epos published in
>1965. In the 12th tablet Gilgamesh makes and loses a tambukku and a
>mikkû (the diacritic sign of the last letter should be turned upside
>down, but I cannot get it correct). The translator remarks that it is
>unknown what these things are; they are probably instruments or weapons.
>Do you know whether scholars have been able to establish the meaning of
>these words?

I read the Sumerian version of Gilgamesh and Enkidu going down to the underworld at UCLA last spring with Dr. Englund. We understood the terms to be pukku and mekku and, while it is not completely certain, that they involve a stick and ball or stick and hoop, with which the young men played in a game in the central street, at which it was rather important to win, for some ritualistic or other social reason. It sounded as if at sunset they left the ball or hoop in position, and resumed the next day.

Wolfram von Soden's Akkadisches Handworterbuch has a different point of view from that of Benno Landsberger, who is primarily responsible for the view above. He translates pukku(m) as 'drum' and mekku as 'clapper' or 'drumstick'.

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7. Sumerian Language ba- Prefix

>I am trying to study the Sumerian language.
>So far I know about two main views about the prefix ba-: 1. reflexive,
>medial or passive ("used when there is no transitive subject", as you
>have written in the LSL) and 2. like bi- , expressing a simultaneous,
>logically connected or finished "perfektivisch" process (if I have got
>Victor Christian, Bertraege zur Sumerische Grammatik correctly). But
>this is an old book (from the 1950's, the only one available in
>Bulgaria). I've got the impression that Thomsen's The Sumerian Language
>is "currently the standard text" , expressing the most modern views
>about Sumerian. However, I don't have the book and can't get it for now.
>So could you please tell me which one of these two views is defended in
>Thomsen's and if neither of them - what?

Thomsen, page 179:

"/mu-/ is preferred with animate and agentive subjects, that means that /mu-/ occurs mostly in transitive forms.
"/ba-/ is preferred when the subject is inanimate and/or non-agentive, i.e. most often in intransitive/one-participant verbal forms."

/bi-/ has been claimed to have locative-terminative force as opposed to purely locative force for /ba-/, but Thomsen says on p. 184, that it "is most probably not automatically employed for the reason of concord with a loc.-term. or loc. noun, but it rather serves the semantic differentiation of the verb. It seems to be used with certain verbs or in a specific sense of the verb...."

Peter J. Huber, a scholar of Akkadian and ancient astronomy, sent me the following:

>ba(I): has a separative function. In OBGT it closely correlates with
>Akkadian t-stems. (Thomsen, following Jacobsen, confuses t-stems
>with the Akkadian perfect.) Its position is immediately after the ventive
>marker m and then the b is assimilated: m-ba- > m-ma, and if this is
>followed by a 2nd person pronoun, it becomes m-ma > m-mu (so ba
>is not always straightforward to recognize). In the absence of the
>ventive marker it occupies the first position in the chain, and then it
>cannot always be distinguished from ba(II). A clear case is
>ba-ne-su8-be2-en-de3-en = ni-it-tal2-lak cu-nu-ci = we go away
>to them (OBGT VII, 305).
>
>ba(II): has a stative/passive function. In OBGT VI, it is rendered by
>a C-stem stative/passive, or an Nt-stem passive. Apparently, ba(II)
>occupies the first position in the chain. Note the subtle distinction
>made in OBGT VI, lines 79-84, between the ordinary G-stem stative
>and the C-stem stative/passive: an-gar, an-gar-re-en = cakin,
>caknaku = he is placed, I am placed, vs. ba-ab-gar, ba-ab-gar-re-en
>= cuckun, cuckunaku = he has been placed / I have been placed
>(by somebody unnamed). The forms ba-gar, ba-gar-re-en, ..., ba-na-gar,
>ba-na-gar-re-en in OBGT VI, lines 160-165, are ambiguous; they can
>alternatively be interpreted as ba(I), especially the second series,
>which is two-participant, and the OB grammarian, who rendered them
>by Nt-stem passives, nicely preserved the ambiguity.
>
>Your statement clearly applies to ba(II), but I don't think it is merely a
>question of preference, once one has set ba(I) apart. Of course, it is
>way outside of my resources and my competence to check my above
>syntactical/lexical claims through the unilingual texts.
>
>With my best regards,
>Peter J. Huber

Peter,

Have you read John Hayes' summary on page 256 of his version 2 manual?

I was thinking of the many intransitive sentences that end with ba-ROOT, such as ba-gul, "it was destroyed". As you say, those fall in the category of ba(II).

Thank you for taking the time to try to clarify this issue. I will try to summarize what Hayes has on pages 162 and 256: He agrees that scholars have speculated that there may be two ba- conjugation prefixes that are homonyms. "One is seen chiefly in passive sentences, the other in less definable contexts." Also, the conjugation prefix bi2- sometimes occurs with nominal phrases in the locative-terminative case and the conjugation prefix ba- sometimes occurs with nominal phrases in the locative case. "It is this pattern of co-occurrence which has led several scholars to conclude that bi2- and ba- are not of the same rank as the other conjugation prefixes, and are probably composed of more than one element." So one form of ba- may include an element that signifies the locative case. For a separative meaning, you would expect to find Sumerian nominal phrases ending with the ablative postposition -ta.

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8. Sumerian Eden?

>I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. I have read somewhere
>that the name "Eden" was a Sumerian word. I would have thought it was a
>Hebrew word, but then again, I don't know the relationship of the Sumerian
>language and the Hebrew language.
>
>At any rate, if Eden, Adam, and/or Eve are Sumerian words, would you
>please tell me if they have a translation/meaning?

EDIN is a Sumerian word, but it refers to the steppe land between the two rivers, where the herd animals grazed.

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9. Hungarian and Sumerian

>I am trying to identify the modern and archaic Hungarian words which
>have their alleged origin from the Sumerian logograms on your site.
>
>I would like to publish (a set of) web page(s) of my comparisons. I
>cannot claim to be a professional linguist so my work will have faults
>and mistakes. The pages will simply have the logogram and its meaning
>together with the Hungarian words which I believe 'evolved' out of the
>Sumerian.
>
>I have already examined a few hundred of the logograms and the results
>are interesting. I would like permission to use your information
>concerning the Sumerian logograms on my personal web pages at
>[snip]

Please e-mail to me in advance your proposed use of my material.

Have you seen the similar work by Fred Hamori? There is a link to his Ural-Altaic comparison pages in my links page.

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10. Enable Sumerian True Type Font

>"When you open the SUMERIAN.DOC file, ensure that at File,
>Templates, there is a valid path to the enclosed
>SUMERIAN.DOT template file."
>
>I did all that and added the Sumerian true font file, but it
>seems to make no difference, am I doing something wrong.
>What should it look like?

It should have the tilde over some of the letters g, and it should have the dish under the letter h. Those characters in particular make the special font necessary.

Did you go to Start, Settings, Control Panel, Fonts, and select File and Add New Font?

When you scroll down in the Fonts listbox, does it show you the Sumerian font?

>How kind of you to care.
>
>I have it working now, thank you.

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11. Development of Cuneiform From Pictographs

>Is there another author like Labat that shows
>the early development of cuneiform from pictographs and have
>his identifications been universally accepted?

Labat was a good scholar who worked in the mainstream of Assyriology. His book is not controversial.

Other books that you could check out:

M.W. Green and H.J. Nissen, Zeichenliste der Archaischen Texte aus Uruk [ZATU] (Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft in Uruk-Warka, 11; Archaische Texte aus Uruk, 2); Berlin 1987.

P. Steinkeller, review of M.W. Green and H.J. Nissen, Bibliotheca Orientalis 52 (1995), pp. 689-713.

R. K. Englund & J.-P. Grégoire, The Proto-Cuneiform Texts from Jemdet Nasr, Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin, 1991.

A. Deimel, Die Inschriften von Fara I: Liste der archaischen Keilschriftzeichen, WVDOG 40, Leipzig 1922.

Y. Rosengarten, Répertoire commenté des signes présargoniques sumériens de Lagas, Éditions E. de Boccard, Paris, 1967.

K. Volk, A Sumerian Reader, vol. 18 in Studia Pohl: Series Maior; Rome 1997 (this practical, inexpensive book includes a nice, though incomplete, sign-list).

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12. Sumerian Word for Venus

>What is the sumerian word for venus?

Most often, Venus as a planet is called Ninanna, the lady of heaven. But Inanna, Sumer's most popular goddess, who had many functions, was identified with the planet Venus, both as the war-like morning star and as the love goddess evening star.

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13. Sumerian Alphabet?

> I am trying to find a Sumerian alphabet. Does one exist? Or is it all
>symbols meaning whole words. If you can help me or direct me to a web site
>that can help I would greatly appreciate it. Thanking you in advance,

When the Sumerians invented their writing system around 5400 years ago, it was a pictographic and ideographic system like the Chinese, and as you know, the Chinese have over a thousand characters to their writing, so it is not alphabetic.

At my web site you can order the book, A Manual of Sumerian Grammar and Texts, by John L. Hayes which will introduce you to the Sumerian writing.

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14. Sumerian "mashkim" as Demons?

>Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Sumerian word "Maskim" mean one of
>seven demons that were said to devour blood at night. If or if not, could you
>possibly tell me a little about these demons?

Possibly the later Babylonians used the word in this way, by which time Sumerian had been dead as a spoken language for centuries. When the language was spoken, mashkim meant "inspector, monitor, sheriff, commissioner".

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15. Zecharia Sitchen; Sumerian Language Suppressed?

>Zecharia Sitchen translates Sumerian and writes extreme thought provoking ideas.
>I have read all his works, and have read others opinions of his
>translations and conclusions, but not another scholar on Sumerian
>language. What do you make of his translations and conclusions, I am too
>old to learn Sumerian as I am still learning English.

You know the saying, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing?

When looking at early materials, it really helps if you know what their writings meant in the context of their culture, which Sitchen neither knows nor cares about.

>One more question.
>How could Sumerian not be related to any other language? It was my
>understanding that there was a commonality with all spoken languages.

What is the source of your information? And whatever your source is, how could he or she know that?

>Sitchen's books answer a lot of
>questions, and of course, raise many others. Still, looking at the
>Sumerian religious beliefs, and knowing how civilized they were, why
>wouldn't their religion be the most mainstream? I read that there are
>many untranslated Sumerian texts, and that there are many hundreds still
>in museums unnoticed in basements, how was this knowledge suppressed?
>Why are we now just reading about the Sumerians? The Church takes some
>blame, but what of the scientist and linguist? How was it so long ignored?

Not everything is a conspiracy. The Sumerian language was actually remembered in Mesopotamia for 2,000 years after it stopped being spoken. But the Greeks did not know about it, so the existence of the Sumerians was forgotten. The latest cuneiform clay tablet to be dated astronomically was written in the late 1st century A.D. Scholars have been trying to figure out the Sumerian language for about 140 years now. You can find some good introductory books by Samuel Noah Kramer at an on-line bookseller.

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16. Hebrew ELOHIM

>Does the hebrew word ELOHIM have sumerian origins?

There is an Afro-Asiatic root `ilay, which means 'to be high'. In Semitic and Hebrew, it manifests as elow, which is probably the origin of elohim, 'gods'.

So the answer is no, the word does not have Sumerian origins.

Follow-up:
> - the word El in hebrew means god, how would that be of afro-asiatic root?
> where would "ohim" come from when u already have the El? or where El come
>from in the 1st place?

In Hebrew, one adds -im to form the masculine plural.

EL in Hebrew means 'a strong, mighty one, a hero, a god'.

There is no word EL in Akkadian, but there are many Akkadian words beginning with EL that mean 'high, above, over'.

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17. Sumerian Proverbs Page

>I was very pleased to see your page on Sumerian. I'm currently building
>proverb pages at http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Discourse/Proverbs/ and wondered if
>you had trouble uploading the proverb page at
>https://www.sumerian.org/proverbs.htm or if it is simply
>under construction.

>Your page of Sumerian proverbs at https://www.sumerian.org/proverbs.htm is
>unfortunately truncated; it looks like the upload process was interrupted.
>Your readers would very much appreciate a full version!

Sorry there aren't more proverbs there, but it is intended more as an illustration of Sumerian writing and language than as a list of proverbs.

To understand why it ends the way that it does, you have to try clicking on some of the signs in the graphic - different parts of the graphic are mapped to hidden labels for each Sumerian word on its own line.

The page was in the nature of an exercise for me to demonstrate a sample of cuneiform writing and Sumerian sentences to a curious public. If you are interested in Sumerian proverbs, Bendt Alster has published a comprehensive, authoritative book in 2 volumes, Proverbs of Ancient Sumer, 1997, available from Eisenbraun's, to which there is a link at my links page.

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18. Sumerian Audio File?

>Dear sirs, navigating I came about your pages in the net. Actually what
>I need to find is an audio file for sumerian and ancient egyptian languages,
>are there any?
>could you give your advise.

Order the CMAA audio tape of the Joan Goodnick Westenholz lecture, Enheduanna: Princess, Priestess, Poetess, from May 10, 1999 in which the lecturer read quite a bit of Sumerian, tape WAW99-2 in the California Museum of Ancient Art audiotape catalog.

There is also a link at my links page of brief Sumerian and possibly Egyptian greetings from the Voyager spacecraft record.

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19. "The Sumerian Problem"

>I was just wondering what your take on "the Sumerian problem" was. I am in a
>class at NC State on Civilizations of the Ancient near East and I have been
>trying to gather opinions on the so-called Sumerian problem. I have read
>through Tom Jones' book the Sumerian problem and am frankly stumped. There is
>evidence to suggest that they were indigenous to the area and there is also
>evidence to suggest some outside influence...even a migration, perhaps from
>the Indus Valley.

I think that the Sumerian 'problem' is an illusion. The Sumerian lexicon indicates continuity within Mesopotamia and then coexistence with the Akkadians. The map at my web site shows you what I think about the origin of the Sumerians.

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20. The Deity Ningishzida

>Isn't the word Ningishzida a sumerian word for the serpent-god???
>Please enlighten me.

Ningishzida was a guardian of the door to the underworld who has a horned snake as his symbol.

He appears to have been associated with trees, fertility, and snakes. Thorkild Jacobsen wrote that the roots of the tree draw nourishment from deep underground and have the appearance of entwining snakes.

>I do appreciate the information. Is Ningishzida a Sumerian word??

Yes, it means lord of the good tree (or faithful tool). Sometimes there is some interplay between the word for tree and the word for penis, so he could be a god of fertility also.

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21. Organization of the Sumerian Lexicon

>A very basic question/complaint: why not give the Akkadian translations as
>well? I realize of course that not every student of Sumerian knows Akkadian;
>and that your emphasis is on Sumerian; and rightly so. Nonetheless, in my
>opinion a strong case for including the Akkadian translations would be that
>one can gain access to a much wider range of meaning, and therefore a
>more precise understanding of the Sumerian word's specific meaning(s),
>by looking up the Akkadian translations in AHw or CAD.

I would be unnecessarily duplicating the information that is now available at the ISL/Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary web site, which recently added complete cross references to the AHw. There is a link at my web site. Give that a try. You will see that there can be 20 Akkadian words that correspond to a single Sumerian word. There is not a one-to-one mapping between the two languages. What you want is a Sumerian-Akkadian lexicon, equal in size to the Sumerian-English lexicon.

>And, finally, it might be helpful, in the introduction, to explain how the
>CVC words are alphabetized. I think I have it figured out, but I don't
>understand the reasoning behind it.

Since the lexical material is presented in a single document that can be scanned, instead of via a look-up database, the method of sorting by the final consonants allows words with related meanings and forms to often be listed adjacently, e.g., gub3, hab, and hub2 are related words that are listed next to one another.

>But, with these remarks, I don't intend to criticize. You've presented an
>impressive piece of work and an admirable way of 'publishing' it. I will be
>using it and, though silently, thanking you for it!

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22. Cuneiform Symbols in Sumerian Lexicon?

>I have downloaded you Sumerian Lexicon as a Word for Windows 6.0 version. I
>am able to view the document, but cannot see cuneiform symbols. The symbols
>seem to appear as our regular alphabet but with various accent marks etc.
>
>I was able to load the TrueType Sumerian font into windows and I made sure
>that the template had a correct path to the Sumerian.dot file.

The Sumerian true type font is needed for specialized transliteration symbols, such as the g with the tilde over it and the h with the dish under it.

It would take many more than the 256 spaces available in a true type font to display cuneiform.

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23. Poetry to Woo a Sumerian Girl?

> Dear John, What a beginning, eh? Without great ignorance, I've just
>begun a relationship with a beautiful, young Sumerian girl and would love
>to show some devotion to her heritage. I wished to make a prose in her
>native language (I, obviously have no idea of the Sumerian tongue) and
>ventured into your site. I (honestly) was looking for a quick fix, but am
>willing to make the grade. Without getting into ancient texts, is there
>any such poetry I may find upon the net or in the local library, which
>will include beautiful prose? I ask this in all humble nature.

She is putting you on.

There have been no Sumerians for almost 4,000 years.

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24. Translate Sumerian Alphabet?

>hello, i need to translate the sumerian
>alphabet to english alphabet letter please help me .

The Greeks invented the alphabet long after Sumerian had ceased to be a living language. Sumerian writing did not use an alphabet. Sumerian writing started with pictographs and progressed to ideographs and logographs.

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25. Letters of Sumerian Alphabet?

> Can you give me the main letters of the alphabet? Thanks, this is for a
>project.

The Sumerians did not have an alphabet. They wrote with pictograms in a manner similar to the Chinese.

At my links page you will find a link to the Signs of Old Sumerian.

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26. Importance of Sumerian Invention of Cuneiform Writing

>1. Do you think the invention of Sumerian Cuneiform was a major turning point
>in history? Why?

Yes, for the same reasons that A&E Biography put Gutenberg at the top of its list of the most important 100 people of the last millenium.

>2. How was Sumerian cuneiform a big influence and building block for the written
>language over time?

Writing on clay was an inexpensive yet permanent way of recording transactions. The fact that the Sumerians shared their land with Semitic-speaking Akkadians was important because the Akkadians had to turn the Sumerian logographic writing into phonetic syllabic writing in order to use cuneiform to represent phonetically the spoken words of the Akkadian language.

>3. How was Sumerian cuneiform tracked through other cultures as they developed
>their own written language?

The cultural influence of the Sumerians upon later Mesopotamian peoples was enormous. Cuneiform writing has been found at Amarna in Egypt, in the form of an alphabet at Ugarit, and among the Hittites who used it to render their own Indo-European language.

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27. Sumer, Not Sumeria

>Thank you for the proverbs and the cuneiform writing. I teach 6th grade
>social studies and we are presently doing Sumeria. This was interesting to
>read and I will share the site with my students.

Thank you. You will help your students by teaching them that the country is called Sumer, not Sumeria.

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28. Could Sumerian "ur" Mean Ox or Cow?

>I'm very much interested in things Sumerian and enjoying your Sumerian
>Language page.
>Your page suggests that the word Ur means dog or other carnivorous
>animal.The other day, I enjoyed talking with Mr. [snip],who is a
>friendly acquaintance of mine and also a writer, He insisted that the
>Sumerian word Ur means ox or cow according to his own source. I insisted
>the word definitely denotes dog !! So, I would appreciate it if you
>would give me a kind explanation which is right. Is there any
>possibility that the word means ox or cow ? He is now planning to write
>on Sumer and other ancient civilizations, and he also would like to know
>the true meaning of the word. Please help him !! Thank you very much for
>your kind advice in advance.

There is no possibility that ur means ox or cow.

Previously, there was no complete modern lexicon of Sumerian available, so it was possible for proponents of different theories relating Sumerian to this or that language family to quote mangled definitions of Sumerian words and no one would know any better.

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29. Pronunciation and Meaning of Sumerian Words

>I have a question for you; I am a student of languages interested in
>Sumerian. How do people who translate Sumerian cuneiform know how the
>words were pronounced?

Certain Sumerian cuneiform signs began to be used to represent phonetic syllables in order to write the unrelated Akkadian language, whose pronunciation is known from being a member of the Semitic language family. We have a lot of phonetically written Akkadian starting from the time of Sargon the Great (2300 B.C.). These phonetic syllable signs also occur as glosses indicating the pronunciation of Sumerian words in the lexical lists from the Old Babylonian period. This gives us the pronunciation of most Sumerian words. Admittedly the 20th century saw scholars revise their initial pronunciation of some signs and names, a situation that was not helped by the polyphony of many Sumerian ideographs. To the extent that Sumerian uses the same sounds as Semitic Akkadian, then, we know how Sumerian was pronounced.
Some texts use syllabic spelling, instead of logograms, for Sumerian words. Words and names with unusual sounds that were in Sumerian but not in the Semitic Akkadian language can have variant spellings both in Akkadian texts and in texts written in other languages; these variants have given us clues to the nature of the non-Semitic sounds in Sumerian.

>For that matter, how do you know what the words
>mean besides referring to Sumerian/Assyrian bilingual dictionaries?

In fact, bilingual Sumerian-Akkadian dictionaries and bilingual religious hymns are the most important source for arriving at the meaning of Sumerian words. But sometimes the scholar who studies enough tablets, such as the accounting tablets, learns in a more precise way to what a particular term refers, since the corresponding term in Akkadian may be very general.

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30. Is Sumerian the Earliest Written Language?

>i am doing some research, and was wondering if you knew of the earliest known
>written language. is there anything known to exist before the egyptians,
>sumerians, or mesopotamians?

The Sumerians were the first to write spoken language.

The report that writing in Egypt is older than in Sumer is based on archaeologists in Egypt who use calibrated Carbon-14 dating, whereas Sumerologists are a conservative lot who keep quoting the conventional 3100 B.C. date for the invention of writing, when it should be 3400 B.C. according to calibrated C-14 dates.

The last major overview dealing with Mesopotamia as a whole that I know of which collected the various calibrated C-14 dates was that by Mellaart in Antiquity 53 (1979), with important comments in Antiquity 54 (1980) - these comments acknowledged that the extremely high Mesopotamian chronology that resulted should be reduced by an average 100 years due to calibrated dates for wood/timber being too high by that average. The end result was still to support a high chronology rather than a middle chronology, especially for the transition between Uruk IV and Uruk III (AKA Jemdet Nasr). This transition appears to have occurred around 3300 BC using calibrated dates with the 100 year reduction.

You will also find pictures and discussion of a repertoire of symbols in Marija Gimbutas' publications on 'Old Europe', predating Sumerian. But the Vinca culture 'writing' appears more to have been tribal or family heraldic emblems like tatoos, found engraved on pots, with no indication that it represented the words of spoken language.
For so-called writing before the Sumerians, check out works by Alexander Marshack on calendar type markings (Stone Age Europe) and Marija Gimbutas on the Vinca culture writing (Neolithic Europe). Despite such precursors though, it is clear that Sumerian writing was the first in which there was a correspondence between the words of the spoken language and the written symbols.

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31. Preflood Mythology - Ziusudra, the Sumerian Noah

>Could you give me any information on sumerian mythology relating to preflood
>times on the earth. This would be of great help to me. Thank you very much.

A search at https://www.google.com for Ziusudra turns up 1,420 documents.

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32. How to Interpret "dirig-...-she"?

>i am very interested about the sumerian language, i
>have been reading the Sumerian Lexicon and much other sumerian
>related-topics. Now, i was wondering if you could fill a doubt of mine. In
>the lexicon i read the sumerian word for "beyond" is "dirig-...-se" , and i
>do not understand what the middle space with
>the 3 points means. If it isn't much trouble could you explain me why is
>that or give me another sumerian word for "beyond".

The dots substitute for the noun that is there in actual speech. So if you say, dirig-kur-s^e, you are saying 'beyond those mountains'. The kur-s^e in this case indicates 'those mountains there within view', so the speaker says 'exceeding or greater than those mountains there'.

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33. The Planet Nibiru

>I am writing a paper on God, for a philosophy class. I am trying to prove
>that the creation story is a story about the birth of an individual, each and
>every one of us are our own God. I have read all of Zecharia Sitchin's books
>and believe that what he wrote could be true, but I believe that the physical
>world is only a reflection of our collective inner or spiritual world. I am
>curious of how you would translate - Nibiru. I have used your dictionary and
>some other ones and Sitchin translates it as "The Planet of crossing". I get
>the planet or body part but not the crossing. I think that maybe it has
>something to do with a lessening of the physical to equal the spiritual.
>Could that be plausible?

The Sumerians were smart about ethical and practical concerns, but I don't think that they were as abstract as you are being. Neberu is an Akkadian word, not a Sumerian word. It referred to a river crossing, ford, or a ferry (boat). The city of Nippur was probably located at such a spot. The planet Jupiter, which we know was later called Neberu, belonged to the chief deity in the Babylonian pantheon, Marduk. We don't have proof, but earlier it may have belonged to the Sumerian Enlil, the temple god of Nippur and chief deity in the Sumerian pantheon. There is a possibility that Neberu also referred to the North Star. The Sumerians tended to project what they knew on earth onto the heavens.

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34. Zechariah Sitchin and Extraterrestrials

>I am attempting to find an expert in the Sumerian language who can
>verify or debunk Zechariah Sitchin's claims of Sumerian translation. As
>far as I can tell, no one with a scholarly and reputable background has
>ever verified or denied his claims.

>His eight books on the subject of the Annunaki have gone unchallenged
>for years. If you are unfamiliar with his works, it is his contention
>that sumerian texts verify that the human race was genetically altered
>to service a superior extraterrestrial race called the annunaki.

>Can you verify or refute these claims?

>Thank you for your attention to this matter.

I am very familiar with the Sumerian language and culture. There is nothing extraterrestrial about it.

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35. Name of Sumerian Religion?

>what was the name of the sumerian religion

You mean, like Southern Baptists or Roman Catholics?

The Sumerians did not have a word for religion, because worshipping the gods at their temples was basic to their existence.

As you can imagine, it is difficult to have a name for their religion, when they don't even have a word for religion.

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36. The Sumerian People

>I would like to ask you a question concerning the sumerian people. First , were
>they indoeuropeen

I believe that the proto-Sumerian language predates the proto-Indoeuropean language.

> and second, were they blonde people with nordic white skin.

Probably not. They described themselves as the black-headed people and the book by Cavalli-Sforza et al., The History and Geography of Human Genes, suggests that their modern day descendants are the people of Kuwait.

Postscript added January 21, 2014. A 2011 study of the DNA of 143 Marsh Arabs and a large sample of Iraqi controls arrived at the following conclusions: "Evidence of genetic stratification ascribable to the Sumerian development was provided by the Y-chromosome data where the J1-Page08 branch reveals a local expansion, almost contemporary with the Sumerian City State period that characterized Southern Mesopotamia. On the other hand, a more ancient background shared with Northern Mesopotamia is revealed by the less represented Y-chromosome lineage J1-M267*. Overall our results indicate that the introduction of water buffalo breeding and rice farming, most likely from the Indian sub-continent, only marginally affected the gene pool of autochthonous people of the region. Furthermore, a prevalent Middle Eastern ancestry of the modern population of the marshes of southern Iraq implies that if the Marsh Arabs are descendants of the ancient Sumerians, also the Sumerians were most likely autochthonous and not of Indian or South Asian ancestry." "In search of the genetic footprints of Sumerians: a survey of Y-chromosome and mtDNA variation in the Marsh Arabs of Iraq", Nadia Al-Zahery1, Maria Pala1, Vincenza Battaglia1, Viola Grugni1, Mohammed A Hamod23, Baharak Hooshiar Kashani1, Anna Olivieri1, Antonio Torroni1, Augusta S Santachiara-Benerecetti1 and Ornella Semino, BMC Evolutionary Biology 2011, 11:288.

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37. Meaning of Sumer?

>I just wanted to know what the word Sumer itself means
>in the Sumerian language. Could you kindly let me know ?

It is not known why the Akkadians called the southern land Shumeru. The Sumerians called it ki-en-gir15 (literally, 'place of the civilized lords'). The etymology of the Akkadian term is unknown. It could possibly be a dialectal pronunciation of the Sumerian word kiengir. This possibility is suggested by the Emesal dialect form 'dimmer' for the word 'dingir'.

In March 2007, Dr. Nicholas Postgate (University of Cambridge) corresponded with me about the Sumerian term for Sumer, ki-en-gir15.

I wrote to Dr. Postgate,
>>Did you write in your book Early Mesopotamia: Society and Economy at the
>>Dawn of History that ki-en-gi means 'land of the Sumerian tongue'? If so,
>>is that because you think that eme, 'tongue; language' became en, 'dignitary;
>>lord; ancestor (statue); high priest', through vocal assimilation?

He responded with an affirmative,
>Admittedly Sumerologists haven't gone much for consonantal assimilation,
>but going from emegir to engir doesn't seem too far fetched, and it explains
>why it has -r as a final consonant. Aage Westenholz also suggested the same
>etymology independently. It also is Ok given the combinations like ki-unug
>"Warka land" which are also not genitival syntagms. It still seems to me an
>economical solution.

To which I replied,

It seems possible. It turns out that there are not many instances of ki-en-gi-ra2 that can be interpreted as a free-standing genitival syntagm - I only find a couple in The Victory of Utu-Hengal, ETCSL transliteration : c.2.1.6.

4. ki-en-gi-ra2 nij2-a-erim2 /bi2-in\-si-a

21. sig-ce3 ki-en-gi-ra2 {gana2} {(1 ms. has instead:) jic} bi2-kece2

So the paucity of these instances favors your interpretation. I had just never heard it or thought about it until this week.

If you look at my published lexicon's suggested reinterpretation of saj-ji6[gig2]-ga as having originally meant 'native persons', instead of its literal meaning of 'the black-headed', you will see that I am open to consonantal assimilation gradually changing words which were then reinterpreted in the popular understanding and writing.

To which, Dr. Postgate replied,
>Well in fact I think even both those instances can be taken as locatives:
>as suggested by the bi2- prefix in line 2, and by the ETCSL translation
>("in Sumer") in line 21.
>
>Do by all means cite me, I am still happy with it.

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38. Sumerian Speech from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

>This is probably going to sound really strange to you, but ...

>I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV and they said something
>in Sumerian. I wanted to know what they said so I hopped onto the net to
>see what I could find.

>I found someone else who was trying to find out what it meant and I found
>your dictionary site. I looked through your site, but wasn't too successful as
>I have no knowledge of the language at all. I was hoping you might be able
>to translate it for me.

>The other person who was trying to get a translation wrote the Sumerian
>as follows:

>Sha me-en-den

'we are heart'

>Gesh-toog me-en-den

'we are mind'

>Zee me-en-den

'we are spirit'

>Oo-kush-ta me-ool-lee-a ba-ab-tum-mu-de-en

'from the raging storm we bring the power of the primeval one'

>Im-a sheg-ab.

'heat/boil the wind'

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39. Sumerian Planet Names

>Yesterday, I came across the following words which are supposed to
>be the Sumerian names of the planets:

>Udu-idim-gu-ud = Mercury
>Nin-si4-an-na = Venus
'lady of the rosy dawn'

>Si-mu-ud = Mars
'dark or bloody horns/rays' is the probable translation, but unlike the others, I don't recall actually seeing this term used. Can you tell me where this term occurs?

>Mul-sag-me-gar = Jupiter
sag-me = mesu II = 'cult, rites' and gar = 'to establish', but it is usually written SAG-ME-GAR to show that we are not sure of the pronunciation, because it was also a logogram for Neberu, which calls to mind Nippur, the Sumerian's cult center.

>Udu-idim-sag-us = Saturn

>Of these 'gu-ud' means of course 'gu4-ud' (=bull of sun) and 'sag-us' is
>of course 'sag-us2' (=steady star), 'mul' is 'star' but I'm not sure about the rest.
>Would you be so kind as to point out the correct rendering of the five words?

udu-idim is 'wild sheep'. We have no textual gloss or actual evidence that the signs were read this way, instead of udu-bad, which, meaning 'dead sheep', would refer to the planets as omens, but Benno Landsberger with his extensive knowledge of Sumerian deduced that this is the most probable reading.

From the other meanings of gu4-ud I would infer that the Sumerians themselves knew the planet Mercury, and I may have seen nin-si4-an-na in a Sumerian textual context, but the other names only occur in later contexts, so I don't know how early they were invented and applied.

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40. Who Were the Sumerians?

>Is it possible that you could give more details concerning the Sumerians? Who
>are they? Where did they come from?

>I must admit that I have never heard of this race and I am eager to learn more.

There are some excellent books out there. My favorite introduction is by Samuel Noah Kramer, called History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Man's Recorded History.

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41. Annotated Version of Lexicon?

> I've just had a look at your site. It's a very impressive compilation.
>I'm wondering whether you have produced an annotated version of your
>lexicon, with references to the source-bibliography you list on your page?
>Such a version would be a very useful tool for scholarship. I'd be very
>interested to know whether one is in development or currently available.

No, that would have taken twice as long. If you look at Santag 5, A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, it doesn't have such references either.

The searchable PSD index has most of the source references. And it is very helpful how it now indexes all of the Sumerian references in the AHw. After you trace down all the PSD index references for a word, though, don't be surprised if you end up with basically the same range of meanings that are given in my version 3 lexicon.

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42. Origin of Picture of Counting Tokens

>I would like to use the pictures of the counting tokens that you used in your
>site (https://www.sumerian.org/tokens.htm) in a piece that I'm working on.
>
>Since I need to print what I'm designing, I need higher resolution pictures.
>Could you please do me the favor of telling me where you got the originals?
>Do you own them or high res. versions of them?

I paid the Louvre museum for black and white photographs back in the 1980s. I am not sure where the package with that photograph is right now.

I went through a library department at UC Berkeley that obtains things like that - you could do the same.

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43. Another Translation into Sumerian

>I've been doing this project where I've been translating the song Twiggy
>Twiggy into any language I can. I was trying to use your dictionary to make a
>Sumerian version but I'm not finding all the words I need and I think there
>may be tricks to it that I'm not aware of. The first 2 lines came out "ñe za
>es dana/ni ñe gul-lum" (I waited three hours/along with my cat) and then the
>next line I couldn't do because there doesn't seem to be a word that means
>'wearing'. If you're interested in helping with a translation, the song goes:
>
>I waited for three hours along with my cat

es danna-am3 su-a-gu10-da mu-da-tush

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44. Vowels in Sumerian Writing?

>Did the sumerians have vowels in their writings?

Yes. Some of the Sumerian ideograms gradually became used as syllabograms, which included the vowel indications.

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45. Did Sumerian Have Vowel Harmony?

> In your opinion, is that possible that the sumerians had vowel harmony
>in their language?

Very definitely the Sumerians had vowel harmony.

Here is the entry for zabar, the Sumerian word for the metal bronze.

zabar[UD.KA.BAR]: bronze (zil; zi; zé, 'to pare, cut', + bar6, 'bright, white'; Akk. siparrum, 'bronze' borrowed before vowel harmony changed Sumerian word; cf., barzil, 'iron') [ZABAR archaic frequency: 1].

It shows the transformation zilbar > zibar > zabar.

According to David Crystal's Dictionary of Language and Languages, Turkish and Hungarian are examples of languages that display harmony as a systematic feature of their sound system.

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46. Sumerians Live During or Before the Time of Biblical Moses?

>I am interested to know if Sumerian were exist as a people either during the
>time of Moses or before?

The Sumerians flourished before the time of Moses, who lived in the middle of the second millenium B.C.E.

The Sumerian language ceased to be spoken before the time of Moses.

In the book of Genesis 11:2, the Bible sets the story of the tower of Babel in the land of Shinar, which is how the Hebrews wrote Sumer. Shinar is also briefly mentioned in the Bible at Genesis 14:1, Isaiah 11:11, Zechariah 5:11, and Daniel 1:2.

In Genesis 11:28-31, the Bible describes how Abraham, the putative ancestor of Moses and all Hebrews, was a native of the Sumerian city of Ur.

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47. Different Dialects? - Text Partially in Sumerian

>I was wondering whether or not there were different dialects to Sumerian?
>I have read what I thought to be some Sumerian text and a lot of the words that
>I was interested in translating into English are not found in your lexicon and others.

>"DINGIR UD KALAMA SINIKU"

The first three words are Sumerian ideograms, and the fourth word is Akkadian. So it is Akkadian and the reader would have substituted the Akkadian words for the Sumerian ideograms, such as elu shamash matu, god sun land. I don't know Akkadian that well, but sanaku means 'to come near, approach'. The Sun god approached the land ?

There is the EME-SAL dialect, or women's dialect, which has some vocabulary that is different from the standard EME-GIR dialect that is in my on-line lexicon. Thomsen includes a list of Emesal vocabulary in her Sumerian Language book. The published version of my Sumerian Lexicon will include all the variant Emesal dialect words. Emesal texts have a tendency to spell words phonetically, which suggests that the authors of these compositions were farther from the professional scribal schools. A similar tendency to spell words phonetically occurs outside the Sumerian heartland. Most Emesal texts are from the later part of the Old Babylonian period. The cultic songs that were written in Emesal happen to be the only Sumerian literary genre that continued to be written after the Old Babylonian period.

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48. Where Does One Learn Sumerian?

>How's it going? I know this is a long shot, but do you know of any school or
>place that teaches one how to speak Sumerian? Thanks for your time.

Where do you live?

You can search the e-mail addresses of Assyriologists - I have a link to them at my links page. See at what universities they teach.

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49. What is the Relation of Sumerian to Other Language Families?

>I have a question: is Sumerian related with the Ural Altaic languages,
>or with the Indo European languages?
>
>Doesn't there exist any relation between Sumerian and the semitic
>language family?

There appears to be some slight relation between Sumerian and both Ural-Altaic and Indo-European. This may just be due to having evolved in the same northeast Fertile Crescent linguistic area.

I don't see any connection at all between Sumerian and Semitic.

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50. Sumerian Money

>During my rather cursory examination of your impressive
>work, I ran across several terms which could be construed
>as economic units of measure; gur, a unit of volume roughly
>equal to 26 bushels, kug or ku, silver or money, and gin or
>gig, a small axe head used as money roughly equal to a shekel.
>Did the Sumerians have a common unit of economic exchange
>@ 2400 to 2300 BC and, if so, what was it?

Our documentation is much better for the Ur III period starting 2100 BC than for the Old Sumerian Ur II, Girsu/Lagash/Adab period that you mention. From the Ur III period we have tablets from different places and times that give the silver equivalents of different quantities of different commodities. For the period that you mention, I know that there were standardized weights and measures, although they were slightly different from the later period.

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51. The Greatest Sumerian Ruler?

>i am a current student in 9th grade. i am doing an in depth research paper.
>and i was wondering if u knew who the greatest ruler was of the sumerians?????

That would probably be King Shulgi of the Third Dynasty of Ur. He reigned for 47 years during a time of great prosperity, from 2094 to 2047 B.C.

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52. Vinca Culture Writing - Tartaria Tablets in Romania

>What explanation can be given to the fact that three clay tablets
>containing sumerian pictographs made with local clay , but 1000 years
>older than the oldest tablets found in Mesopotamia , are found in a region
>where the surrounding cities have sumerian names , URASTIE ,
>SIMERIA ; KUGIR ? Is it possible that sumerian groups have migrated
>as far north as the western Rumania ?

It probably was the case that some early Sumerian-speakers from the Samarra culture made their way north instead of south.

The words that you quote do use the same combination of consonants and vowels as Sumerian, but I would also see if you can derive them from simpler Sumerian words, as is possible with the actual Sumerian lexicon.

Have you visited Fred Hamori's web site which makes many comparisons of Sumerian to Uralic and Altaic vocabulary? There is a link to it near the bottom of my mesopotamian links.

Do dictionaries of Romanian include scholarly etymologies for the words, as dictionaries of English do?

I am familiar with the Vinca culture 'writing', discussed by Marija Gimbutas in her books and the subject of a 1973 UCLA doctoral dissertation by Milton McChesney Winn. There were about 200 symbols used by the Southeast Europe Chalcolithic civilization. But just like the Indus culture script, they mainly occur on pottery. Personally, I believe that they are heraldic family emblems, and not attempts to render speech in written signs. They are not the same as Sumerian writing.

> Yes , the Tartaria tablets are included in the "Vinca" culture , and I
>am familiar with Maria Gimbutas remarkable work , but I have to disagree
>with your conclusion that those three clay tablets "are not sumerian writing" .
> I cannot explain the similarities , but the facts are that they contain
>pictograms absolutely identical with those found in Djemet-Nasr , they
>are carbon dated 1000 years before , and are made of local clay . And
>they definitely are clay tablets , no doubt about it , found in a burial place ,
>and very distinct from the more common pottery symbols found
>throughout southeastern Europe , both in function and in form .
> The problem is that the inclusion of just these three tablets in the
>"Vinca" culture seems , graphically , forced by the
>lack of a better explanation , yet another problem being the evident
>isolation and distant placement of the tablets from
>the rest ( if they indeed belong to a proto-mediterranean culture ,
>more widespread than it is ascertained today ) .

I wrote to an expert on the Jemdet Nasr script. He responded regarding the Tartaria tablets, "There are some graphic similarities, but not so many really, so a discussion of these tablets is not time well spent."

Postscript:

>I am also interested in the Vinca culture "writing" and I found, late, your researches regarding it.
>I will be curious to find out if Tartaria tablets were carbon dated,( by whom and when).

Gimbutas in The Language of the Goddess gives the reference for the three plaques found in the sacrificial pit of Tartaria, near Cluj, Transylvania, dated c. 5200-5000 B.C.

The reference is:

Vlassa, N.
1963 "Chronology of the Neolithic in Transylvania in the Light of the Tartaria Settlement's Stratigraphy." Dacia 7:1-10.

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53. Sumerian Determinatives

> Hello, Mr Halloran. I am in the process of comparing Egyptian and
>Sumerian determinatives. I found an Internet source for Egyptian
>determinatives. Could you please inform me of any Internet (or otherwise)
>source for Sumerian determinatives?

There is actually a decent list of determinatives at the Akkadian web site that is at the top of my links list.

However, the most complete list that I know of is on pages 152-153 of an inexpensive paperback book from Eisenbrauns by Douglas B. Miller and R. Mark Shipp, An Akkadian Handbook.

See also 60. Determinative Before Month Names

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54. Sumerian Vocabulary from a Woman's Viewpoint

>BTW also, I had a little trouble with your definition of the "l" sound. You
>stated "tireless producers of abundance, males". (?) That confuses me. I
>thought the producers were always the females, and the supervisors were the
>males.

You have to look at what are the actual Sumerian words that have just this one consonant. E.g.,

la: abundance, luxury, wealth; youthful freshness and beauty; bliss, happiness; wish, desire [LA archaic frequency: 20; concatenates 4 sign variants].
lá: to penetrate, pierce, force a way into (in order to see); to know; to look after; to have a beard (cf. also, lal) [LA2 archaic frequency: 57].
lu: n., many, much; man, men, people; sheep.
v., to be/make numerous, abundant; to multiply; to mix; to graze, pasture (reduplication class [?]) (cf., lug).
lú: grown man; male; human being; someone, anyone, no one; gentleman [LU2 archaic frequency: 85].
lù: to disturb, agitate, trouble; to fluster, embarrass; to stir, blend.

Males are associated with providing abundance and wealth from the woman's point of view. Don't these associations appear to be from a woman's point of view?

I think that a group of women were the original inventors of the Sumerian language. Although it seems like a big deal to us now, when they started it probably seemed to them like they were just playing an exciting new game, assigning different vowels and consonants as an abstract shorthand for things in their world.

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55. Sumerian Words in CAPITAL Letters

>BTW, what's the difference between the word you give a definition to, and the
>words that are in brackets with capital letters and periods between syllables
>after the word?

That's a reasonable question. The names in capital letters refer to the particular cuneiform sign, without prejudging how the sign is pronounced. That is the name that Assyriologists have given to the inscribed sign - usually its most common pronunciation.

One sign may have several lower-case pronunciations, each of which is a separate word in the spoken language lexicon.

The periods separate different signs. Sometimes one word in the spoken language is represented by multiple written signs.

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56. English to Sumerian Dictionary?

>I am presently studying Sumerian, and have been using the lexicon on your
>website. Do you have, or know where I can find a complete
>English-to-Sumerian/Akkadian dictionary, the opposite way around from yours?

Just download the lexicon in Word for Windows form and use Word's find function to find a particular English word. Or get the Adobe Acrobat Reader with Search and use that with the PDF file.

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57. Sumerian Origins

>Do you think Sumerians are native of Southern Iraq ?
>I dont think so, I think they colonized the UBAIDIAN people.

Why do you think that?

Archaeologists are now saying that Choga Mami ware is transitional between Samarra pottery and Ubaid pottery. This agrees with my belief that mastery of irrigation agriculture is what marked the Sumerians, that they moved down from the middle of Mesopotamia, site of the Samarra culture. The simplest words of Sumerian include words for dikes and channels.

>What do you think of their look ? they looked like mongols ?

Is that the main reason for your opinion about the Sumerians as late colonizers? What do you think, that the Sumerians came in on horseback? Their language is farming-oriented, not warfare-oriented.

The History and Geography of Human Genes by Cavalli-Sforza et al. finds distinctive genes in Kuwait and speculates that Kuwaitis are the genetic descendants of the Sumerians.

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58. Out-of-Print Jacobsen Book

>I am looking for an out of print book by Jacobsen. Title: Toward an Image
>of Tammuz and other Essays.
>Do you have any information on how to buy a copy.

I have only seen that out-of-print book in libraries. I don't own a copy. It is an excellent book, full of Thorkild Jacobsen's scholarly articles.

If your local university library does not have it, I would visit the Interlibrary Loan Department of your local public library. They can get it for you and then you can photocopy what interests you. This advice applies to getting any out-of-print book.

P.S., On June 3, 2008 I received an announcement from Dove Books that this is available as a $54.99 reprint by Wipf and Stock.

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59. 'I Love You' in Sumerian

>I am trying to find out how to spell "I Love You" as a man would say to a
>woman in the following languages but I'm having great difficulty with it.
>
>Sumerian

In Sumerian, you would say, za.e ki-ag2-gu10, which translates as "you are my beloved"

It would be pronounced, ze ki angu, where ang is as in English bong or dong.

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60. Determinative Before Month Names

>You have worked with this and the notations extensively. They are familiar
>to you, but I need a little clarification.
>
>One entry was as follows ...
>
>iti(superscripted)BARA-ZA-GAR -- calendar month 1 at Nippur during Ur III.
>Note that the example you provided above also included the "iti".
>
>I was scanning for the word 'month' in the document and each instance
>(at least up to the B's) contained the above superscript. What is its
>significance? Is it a reference to an article word (such as 'the') that
>separates or indicates that the word following is to mean a 'month' and not
>one of the other possible meanings?

itud, itid, itu, iti, id8; it4, id4: moon; month; moonlight (i3-, 'impersonal verbal conjugation prefix', + tud, 'to give birth; to be born, reborn').

Yes, certain Sumerian words are written before the noun or name as a 'determinative', such as dingir being written before divine names or lu2 being written before male profession names. iti is the determinative written before month names, so that the reader will know that the sign(s) that follow refer to a month. It is thought that determinatives were not pronounced in speech, but only appear in writing.

>The definitional references to the month number and city location and
>historic time period I understand. Is the purpose for providing the reference
>locations and timings to identify 'where' the particular word for the month
>has been encountered written down on a clay tablet?

No. As you may notice in the example, the same month name can refer to a different month depending on the city and period. So this information is provided so that the translator who knows where his tablet is from will know which number of month is referenced.

>In your studies, have any of the months seemed to be numbered, or the
>words that appear to be names of months intimate a numbering sequence?
> Example: the language root for the name of month X is the same as
>number X (numbers 1 through 12 or 13 only) even though the complete
>spellings end up as different.

No, I have not seen numerical Sumerian month names. They are usually the names of seasonal festivals that took place in that month.

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61. Sumerian Words in Akkadian and Hebrew

>As a linguist, a translator with a excellent background in Hebrew, I found
>your monograph utterly fascinating! I can see myself among those people,
>beginning to see things differently that they seem, trying to express my feeling,
>and pronouncing some vowels and consonants .... Like in a dream, you are
>trying to speak and words don't come out, or you speak a language, which
>you think is, say, German, but it is not ....
>
>Several words, or sounds, as you are certainly aware, have lived through the
>millenia and entered into Semitic languages, like "uz", a goat, the same as in
>Hebrew, or even "ga" milk, "khalav" in Hebrew, and "gala" in Greek. I was
>surprised, though, that "ur," does not appear to mean "city" or "town,"
>as in Chaldean and old Hebrew.

That would be:

uru(2)(ki), iri, ri2; iri11: city, town, village, district [URU archaic frequency: 101; concatenation of 5 sign variants; UNUG archaic frequency: 206; concatenates 3 sign variants].

which relates to:

uru3(-m)[ŠEŠ]: n., watch fire; light; glowing, luminous object.
v., to watch, guard; to protect.

As for broad-based connections between Sumerian and Afro-Asiatic, I don't see them.

I can see how the Sumerians created their vocabulary, and in M.L. Foster's article referenced in the footnotes to my Proto-Sumerian paper she appears to show how the Indo-Europeans created their vocabulary, but I don't know if anyone has determined the logic or pattern according to which the first Afro-Asiatic speakers created the words of their vocabulary.

Postscript: See now the salient.pdf abstract by the late L.O. Schuman at http://web.archive.org/web/20050314093817/http://people.zeelandnet.nl/treesello/.
This abstract of an unpublished manuscript has a very deep analysis of the Semitic and 'Afro-Asiatic' word creation process. If anyone reading this ordered Schuman's 356-page manuscript during the year that he offered it before dying in September, 2005, please write to me.

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62. Teachings of Suruppak to His Son Ziusudra

>Sir, according to the book "ATRA-HASIS: The Babylonian
>Story of the Flood by lambert & Millard, pg 19...
>"A literary work, of which copies contemporary with
>those of the King List are extant, professes to be the
>teaching of Suruppak to his son Ziusudra. It consists
>of admonitions of a quite general kind..."
>I'd like to find this record. Do you have any idea of
>where this came from. I found no references in the
>book to locate this.

The bibliography for the Sumerian lexicon at my web site includes the following:

B. Alster, The Instructions of Suruppak: A Sumerian Proverb Collection (Mesopotamia: Copenhagen Studies in Assyriology, Vol. 2); Copenhagen 1974.

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63. Sumerian Freedom Tattoo

>I recently got the following tattoo on my left shoulder (see the attachment).
>According to a company in the USA called Liberty Fund. Inc. This sign was a
>Sumarian design motif for the word "freedom" (ama-gi).
>
>Do you know anything about these motifs and if it actually is Sumarian?
>Would it be correct to say it was carved in a wall about 2000 BC?

Your information is correct. The term ama(-ar)-gi4 meaning 'freedom' is in my on-line lexicon. The jpg shows the transcribed signs ama and gi4 and yes they are in a form appropriate to 2000 B.C.

>Do you have any idea where this motif was found? If you don't know, maybe
>you known somebody who does.

It is not a motif. It is a word that the Sumerians used both in speech and in writing.

The jpg that you sent shows a transcription by a modern scholar. It does not show the actual ancient tablet or inscription that the scholar was looking at. The scholar used an ink pen to make that transcription. The Sumerians used reed styluses to make impressions in clay, so their tablets actually look quite different and are not as easy to read as is a modern scholar's transcription.

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64. Age/Location of Sumerian Vocabulary

>In relation to your Sumerian Lexicon 3.0, I'd need to
>know of what age/location is it.

It would be nice if the lexicon indicated the provenance for which particular words and meanings are attested, but I am just one person and did not have the time to do that. The majority of our texts are from the Ur III and Old Babylonian periods.

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65. Hungarian Roots

> after examining your site of Sumerian expressions, would like to ask
>you a question: ever heard of Dr Sándor Nagy? Specifically referring to
>his publication of "The Forgotten Cradle of the Hungarian Culture";
>(translated by László and Margaret Botos); Patria Publishing Co. Ltd.,
>Toronto, Canada 1973.
>
> In that book he promotes the idea that Hungarian language is a
>'descendant' of the Sumerian folks who populated the Danube basin prior
>to the Magyar conquest in the 9th century. Would appreciate your
>opinion.
>
> I'm supporting a genealogy list of Magyar descendants who are
>searching for their roots (speak, read and write Hungarian) and one of
>the list member sent me samples of Dr. Nagy's book, which I did not read
>- except a few pages - so far.

If you look at the map at my web site, you will see that trade routes head north from the Samarra culture sites. Hungarian does appear to share some simple vocabulary, but not the more complex words. Check out Fred Hamori's web page on Ural-Altaic language connections, on my links page, towards the bottom of the Mesopotamia links.

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66. Dilmun, Lemuria, and Sumer

> I have recently purchased the book, "Looking for Dilmun"

Is that by Geoffrey Bibby? If so, that's a great book. I read that a long time ago.

> and while reading it I came across info. on Sumeria

A lot of people who should know better call it that. The correct name is Sumer.

>....it brought back a book I read
>as a young girl...I can't recall the name of it but it intrigued me even
>back then...I'm sure it was already out of print, I borrowed it and its
>owner was adamant about its return...the book was about an ancient
>civilization, I think Sumeria....although also went by another name as I
>recall...people could communicate by thought and wrote tablets...I think I
>recall people thought it was the lost Atlantis at one time...

You are probably thinking about books regarding the hypothetical civilization of Mu or Lemuria, by Col. James Churchward. I read those books too when I was a kid. Of course, there is no place in actual human history for such a civilization. The only recent discovery that could possibly support the disappearance of such a civilization would be the discovery of the caldera volcano of Toba which erupted around 70,000 B.C.

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67. Need Background for Novel that I Am Writing

>Thank you very much for answering me. Well, the thing is that my novel
>starts in the first part of the summerian civilization, I mean even before
>Sargon I and the other ones.
>
>I speak about several aspects about religion. I already know that they
>didn't believe in a life after death, or inclusive that this "life" was
>really dark when dead. I want to know the name of the ancient gods, and
>specific aspects about their believings in how was suppose to be the life
>after death.
>
>Also if it possible to know some things about the first important cities in
>summerian civilization, how were suppose to be the houses, the palaces, the
>FOOD, or ANY domestic aspect, I will be VERY VERY pleassed.

I am sorry. I am used to answering more specific questions than this. I cannot do the job of educating you.

I suggest that you order and study a 1998 novel, Between the Rivers, by Harry Turtledove. This author already did the background research that you describe and it fills his book.

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68. Disputing the Etymology of the Sumerian Word for 'Breast'

> Hi: I have looked at your Proto-Sumerian Language Invention Process
>web-site again to see what elements would comprise compound words. The
>first word in the list is gaba 'breast' (ga 'milk' + ba 'to give'). It is
>not my intention to dispute the phonetic form and its meaning because
>'milk' can be semantically connected with women's breast and ga + ba seems
>to be a convincing combination at first glance. But it isn't so evident if
>one looks at the cuneiform signs of ga, ba and gaba. Neither ga or ba can
>be detected in the cuneiform sign of gaba which appears to be a unique
>individual sign by itself.

The spoken words were invented long before the written signs. The inventors of the written signs had learned the spoken words as unbroken phonemic sequences which were no longer analyzed into components.

> Could it possibly be that gaba was a neutral
>word used both for men and women?

Yes, that is what the word became.

> In that case milk would have nothing to
>do with the appellation, it simply meant part of the human body we call
>'chest'. This would be confirmed by the Hungarian kebel 'chest' and old
>Turkish gogoz 'chest'. Each o in the Turkish word is marked with dieresis.
>A possible common source for the roots gab, keb and gog may not be too
>difficult to find. The Sumerian gab is present in the Hungarian male
>forenames Gabi and Gabor, also in the surname Kabos (old form Kaba), which
>denote barrel-chested individuals. Thus the -a in the Sumerian gaba may be
>a suffix that forms adjectives. (Both -a and -os are adjectival suffixes in
>the Hungarian language).

Are there regular sound-change rules that connect Hungarian 'kebel' with Turkish 'gogoz'? For the root of the Hungarian words, note the root 'kopa II' meaning 'lungs' in Gyula Decsy's book The Uralic Protolanguage: A Comprehensive Reconstruction, Eurolingua, Bloomington, 1990. Turkish belongs to the Altaic language family.

The suffix -a forms nouns or participial phrases in Sumerian, so applying your logic, the breast or chest would be the thing that gabs, although Sumerian has no such verb, having hab, 'to stink', and gub, 'to stand'.

Personally, I think that the vocabulary of Sumerian is older and more conservative than the vocabulary of Hungarian or Turkish. This would mean that some Hungarian vocabulary could have evolved from an early form of Sumerian. Studies of the rates of lexical change have found that the vocabulary of farming cultures is especially conservative and resistant to change.

> It would be interesting to find out if the
>'milk' + 'to give' logic was applied by the Sumerians for 'udder'. They
>were engaged in animal husbandry, therefore, must have had a word for it.

ubur: female breast, teat (ub4, 'cavity', + ir(2), 'liquid secretion').

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69. Symbols for Mesopotamian Gods?

>I have been trying to find all the symbols for the different gods in
>Mesopotamia. I have only found one version of Anu, and I am not sure if
>it is correct. Do you know of anywhere I might be able to get this
>information?

I suggest the paperback book:

Gods, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia by Black and Green.

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70. Sumerian and Babylonian Holy Days

>I am a Pastor seeking information on Sumerian and Babylonian
>worship and ceremonies. - Do we have any knowledge of the
>actual ceremonies, the sights and sounds that would meet a visitor to an
>ancient temple in Sumer and Babylon?
>
>Especially I am trying to find information on the Shapatu, the holy day
>in the middle of every month in the Sumerian and/or Babylonian lunar
>calendar. According to my lexicon, it is the origin of the Hebrew Sabbath.
>I would like to find out as much as I can about what deity was attached to
>this date, and what cermonies and rituals were performed.
>
>I do not expect you to send me a lenghty thesis on this. But a hip shot
>answer from whatever knowledge you may possess would be of great help.
>Plus of course a possible reference to written sources on the subject.

Here is an entry in the recent book, A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian.

shapattu(m), shabattu "15th day of month" OAkk, Bab., OA [UD.15.KAM]; also "period of 15 days, fortnight"

The books that you might examine include:

Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendar, by Stephen Langdon
Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East, by Mark E. Cohen

Postscript added January 30, 2014. CDL Press has just announced the publication of:

Hemerologies of Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars
by Alasdair Livingstone
Price:$90; pp. 290; ISBN 9781934309520

Within Babylonian literature there is a widespread but specialized group of texts that deals with the days of the months one by one, the hemerologies, and with the months of the year, the menologies.

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71. Yet Another Translation into Sumerian

>The reason I'm emailing is with a somewhat lighthearted
>research question. I was assigned to write a story about a cat's
>travels through various underworlds and afterlifes. In the story, the
>cat is cast out of each underworld and into the next by being told,
>"Go to hell!"
>
>He makes a visit to a Sumerian netherworld, and is told (after
>wreaking some typically feline destruction), "Go to hell!" So my
>question is...how can we represent that statement in Sumerian?
>
>A quick troll through your paper "The Proto-Sumerian Language
>Invention Process" yields "urugal" (the netherworld) and a couple of
>verb possibilities (éd, è; i and èd, e11), but I am completely stumped
>as to conjugations and declensions, and whether there are any
>prepositional equivalents.

You could use:

urugal-ce3 ba-ra-ed3

where c can be transcribed as sh and you can drop the logogram numbers.

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72. Permission to Use Tokens Picture

> Hello John:
> I would like to use your picture of sumerian tokens for an article that I
>am submitting to [snip]. I am not getting any money for it, and
>plan to put your copyright notice on the figure caption along with your
>name. Sound OK?

The Louvre museum sold me permission to use that photograph about 15 years ago. I think that they retain the rights to it.

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73. How Did Writing Start?

>Intuitively, I imagine that the first kind of written language was
>pictographic, and that at some point there was a breakthrough in the
>discovery of a way of notating the sounds of words. This must sound crude
>and laughable to you, given the depth and specialty of your work, however I
>am genuinely interested in this, and I want to start with an overview of
>written language development worldwide before digging in deeper
>Can you help?

At an on-line bookseller look either for a book by Denise Schmandt-Besserat or for a book by Robert Englund and Hans Nissen.

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74. Books to Study Day-to-Day Life of Sumerians?

>For the past 6 months I have gathered internet
>resources, as far as the Sumerian language is
>concerned, and wish to know what books you would
>suggest for further reading. Due to circumstances, I
>do not have the resources to study at college, but
>wish to know more about the field of anthropology -
>primarily linguistic and cultural. I know of a few
>books that would be helpful, but would like to know
>more about the grammatical structure and day to day
>lives of these people. I would sincerely appreciate
>any information you would have to offer.

You need to get the Thomsen and Hayes books on Sumerian that I sell - and would need those textbooks even if you did study Sumerian at a university.

As far as daily life is concerned, the best books, listed in order of detailed information, are:

D.T. Potts, Mesopotamian Civilization: The Material Foundations; Ithaca, New York 1997.
D.C. Snell, Ledgers and Prices: Early Mesopotamian Merchant Accounts; New Haven and London 1982.
D.C. Snell, Life in the Ancient Near East: 3100-332 B.C.E.; New Haven and London 1997.

Thorkild Jacobsen's writings contain much insightful cultural and linguistic speculation about the Sumerians.

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75. Necronomicon; Learning Sumerian

>Hello. I'm merely 15 but I'm greatly intrigued with the Assyrians and Sumerians.
>This is concerning some Sumerian words from the Lexicon that I'd like to
>know about. You stated that Alal means water.....but in Necronomicon it
>says Alal means Destroyer. It confused me. Do you know much of anything
>about Necronomicon? It was written by Abdul Alhazred (The Mad Arab) in
>about the 8th century A.D. Anyway I'd like to know for sure if it had to do
>with the Sumerians or not and I figured you may know the answer to that
>as well. Is there any way I could buy tapes or books for learning all or
>a majority of the Sumerian language? Thanks for your time and patience.
>I hope to recieve a reply. Until then.....Farewell and Blessed Be.....

My lexicon has alal as 'pipe for making libation offerings to the deceased'. In this way it is associated with death.

Are you sure that the Necronomicon is not a modern invention?

I would go to https://www.google.com and put in the search words Necronomicon and Author.

All I know about it is that it has attracted a number of people with an occult bent to learn Sumerian who would not otherwise. I don't personally own a copy of it.

A number of students of Sumerian are starting by ordering the John Hayes book that I sell from my web site.

>Alright I understand the whole thing about Alal being associated with Death now.
>
>I'm pretty sure that Necronomicon isn't a more common invention but I'll
>do a little more research to make sure. It says on the back cover that it was
>written in the 8th Century A.D. around the area of Damascus by Abdul Alhazred.
>
>Alhazred was known as a hermit who was very well learned for the times
>and bragged about knowing so many languages. He was a philosopher of sorts
>as well as an Astronomer.
>
>That's how I got into Sumerian.....was from Necronomicon. It started out
>that I decided I didn't entirely believe in Christianity and somehow I heard
>about Necronomicon and decided to buy it and check it out. It seemed to make
>more sense to me and I follow the beliefs but I haven't done any of the rituals
>or anything because I can't get the items needed. I still read on more religions
>though.

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76. Sumerian Tenses?

>saw the site--does sumerian have tenses and if so are they past present
>future or something else

Sumerian had two sets of verbal forms, which the Akkadians called hamtu and maru, "quick, sudden" and "fat, slow".

Quoting from the Manual by John L. Hayes, "The difference in function between the two has been interpreted in various ways. It has been argued that the difference was one of tense (past ~ present/future); one of aspect (perfect ~ imperfect); one of Aktionsart (punctual ~ durative, and so on). An explanation in terms of aspect seems to fit the evidence best, and they will be called aspects here." p. 46.

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77. Cuneiform Words?

>Does Your Website have any words in Cuneiform?

Only what you see on the Proverbs page.

Cuneiform refers to a type of writing, not to a language. In the Ancient Near East, different, unrelated languages such as Akkadian, Sumerian, Hittite, and Elamite were written in cuneiform writing.

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78. Letters or Sounds Missing from Sumerian

>In studying your list of Sumerian words, the following letters
>seem to not be in their alphabet:
>c,f,j,o,q,v,w,x,y (although the "x" is there in a different font).
>Am I correct?

The Sumerians had a syllabary, not an alphabet. They may have had the o sound, but the Akkadians from whom we have our knowledge of Sumerian did not and represented it with the u sound.

You are basically correct about the Sumerians not using those sounds.

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79. Sumerian Pictographic Writing

>I am looking for any information
>on the full Sumerian picture
>writing that they used around
>3000 bc. If you know of any
>websites or books that would
>help I'd appreciate it.

For information on proto-cuneiform pictographic writing, at my links page, click on Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative.

Also, if you have the patience for the pages to load or you are on a fast connection, check out the link to Old Sumerian Signs copied from Labat.

See also 11. Development of Cuneiform From Pictographs

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80. History of Bookkeeping and Sumerian Term "shubati"

>Looking for information about the history of money resp.
>the history of bookkeeping, I discovered the interesting
>babylonian word "shubati", mentioned in a publication of
>'The Banking Law Journal'; What is money? by A. Mitchell
>Innes 1913 (*) . Innes translated 'shubati' as "received"
>It seems, that this expression 'shubati' appeared very often
>on babylonian clay tablets, used as records of economic
>transactions.
>
>I would kindly ask you: Could You let me know Your opinion
>resp. Your translation regarding the exact meaning of the word
>'shubati'?

This Sumerian term is well understood. You will find the verb in question in my Sumerian Lexicon in the compound words section under shu...ti, 'to receive'. shu means 'hand' and ti means 'to approach', so the compound means 'to receive'.

ba- is the simplest of the verbal prefixes, used when the subject is inanimate and/or non-agentive (intransitive).

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81. Sumerian "danna" and Akkadian "beru"

>Why can't I find the word beru? Can the word ever signify a "day" or a
>"double-day"?

That is an Akkadian word. Look in the Sumerian Lexicon under danna in the DAN section. beru is the Akkadian equivalent, translated 'double-hour; league'. Never 'day' or 'double-day'.

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82. Dilmun, Paradise, Bahrain, Eridu, Enki

> Thank you for your informative reply. My question pertains to
>Dilmun's location. Some records which you certainly know affirm that Dilmun
>is "30 beru away" from Mesopotamia itself. I have found reasons for
>believing that Dilmun was located in the East Indies, as Dr. Kalyanaraman
>argues in some detail in his Sarasvati site.

I had responded, "I know of no reason to doubt the traditional Sumerological identification of Dilmun as the island of Bahrain. You will find Dilmun, Magan, and Meluhha all referenced in my lexicon."

> You may be right, after all. But it is hard to believe that anyone would
>ever equate this region with Paradise.

If you want to research this further, the one thing that comes to mind is the Sumerian tradition of the antiquity of the city of Eridu (etymologically, 'city' + 'sweet, good; beautiful; favorable; pleasing; fresh (water)'). The god of Eridu, Enki, was the lord of the sweet underground waters for which Dilmun was renowned, according to Geoffrey Bibby in The Search for Dilmun. That tradition of Eridu's antiquity combines with the reputation of Enki as having been the Sumerian Prometheus, bringer of the arts of civilization to Sumer.

Perhaps the Sumerians saw Bahrain as Enki's natural home and hence as the mother land for Sumerian civilization.

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83. How Reliable Is John M. Allegro?

>I've read John M. Allegro's Book "The sacred mushroom and the cross"
>and I want to proove his theses for my interpretation of his book.
>
>Hence I'm not a scientiest for early languages it is quite difficult to
>me to proove his interpretation of sumerian words (which are his points of
>start for several causally determinations).
>
>I tried to find equivalents between Allegros sumerian words in your sumerian
>lexicon - some fit other not - but maybe I'm not familiar enough to proove
>it this way.
>
>So - if you have a position to John M. Allegro it would be very interest in it.

Allegro was not a Sumerologist.

Read:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/10583

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84. Definite Article in Sumerian?

>I thought Sumerian did not have the definite article. You have "a" as the
>article. Can you tell me your source.

On page 241, Thomsen calls /-a/ the subordination suffix, explaining that this is her preference and that most Sumerologists since Falkenstein have called it the nominalization suffix. John Hayes uses the term 'nominalizer' for .a or /a/ throughout versions 1 and 2 of his book. The published version of the Sumerian Lexicon will not use the term 'definite article' for -a:

"nominalization suffix for a verbal form or clause, creating a noun - placed after pronominal suffix and before post-positions or possessive suffixes; also understood as a particularizer, at the end of a relative clause - 'the Noun that Verbs' - ThSLa §483".

"R(hamtu)-a or Adj.-a: either of these forms makes the preceding noun definite - ThSLa §503 quotes a [1978] study by Krecher."
Krecher has a newer article in Acta Sumerologica 15(1993): 81-98, in English, with Yoshikawa's response on pp. 157-183 of that same journal issue.

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85. Which Style of Cuneiform to Learn?

>I wonder if you could help me out here. I am trying to find a kind of
>cuneiform to learn. There seems to be more than one. Which one is the most
>common, and which one is the best? Is it Ugaritic, Old Persian, Sumerian
>etc.? I am a little confused about why they are different from each other.

Cuneiform refers to using reed styluses to render the sounds of the language. They are all descended from Sumerian pictographs.

Which signs and styles of writing to learn depend on which spoken language you want to learn.

The standard cuneiform signs are usually considered to be those of the late Assyrians, which are good mainly for reading Akkadian language tablets from the first millenium B.C. The library of Assurbanipal, king of Assyria, was the first huge library to be discovered, so that is why those are the standard signs. But also the Assyrians were to the Babylonians what the practical-minded Romans were to the Greeks, they organized and standardized the Babylonian signs. The Assyrian signs are the style of cuneiform signs that you will learn from Daniel C. Snell, A Workbook of Cuneiform Signs, available on my Undena Publications order form.

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86. Info on Sumerian Music?

>I have become obsessively interested in sumerian life and culture.
>This came about after seeing a picture of a sumerian 'harp' (actually a lyre)
>that was reconstructed from remains found in the great death pit of
>lady pu-abi (queen shub-ad). My interest has spiralled far beyond the
>question of ancient music.

On the subject of harps and music, I would ask if you have discovered the Reallexikon Der Assyriologie articles on those topics, e.g., A.D. Kilmer, "Musik. A. I. In Mesopotamien." [Music in Mesopotamia: article in English], Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie, Bd. 8, ed. D.O. Edzard (Berlin & New York, 1993-1997), pp. 463-482.?

Dr. Anne Kilmer has a lecture tape/CD, ISF#12. "Music of the Ancient Near East: World's Oldest Song", June 21, 1989, during which Sumerian music was demonstrated, at:

https://www.sumerian.org/cmaacat.htm

And have you discovered the incredibly extensive Music bibliography under the letter M at:

http://web.tiscali.it/ranesorg/issues.htm

Finally, there is a link on my Links page for Musical Theory in the Ancient World - the Mesopotamian Precursors of Pythagoras

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87. What Did the Sumerians Call Themselves?, Sumerian Predecessors?

>I've been reading The Sumerians: Their History, Culture and Character,
>by Samuel Noah Kramer and he mentions on page 40 that the names for
>the cities and the two rivers (rivers: idiglat and buranun - cities: Eridu, Ur,
>Larsa, Isin, Adab, Kullab, Lagash, Nippur and Kish) are not Sumerian words.
>I've read that remnants of a Ubaid civilization have been found below the
>Sumerians and that it is thought a Halef (not sure if I got the spelling right
>on that one) civilization may have predated the Ubaid one. So then is it known
>whether the city and river names are possibly Ubaid or Halef in origin? Like I know
>that where I grew up that many names came from the Native American tribes that
>lived in the area and not English.

>Secondly, I was wondering what the Sumerians called themselves
>and Sumer in their own language. I see in your lexicon that there is kalam
>and ki-en-gir/gi (r) or ki-en-gi(r) for Sumer; dum-gir/gi - for a Sumerian; and
>eme-gir/gi for the Sumerian language. Do I interpret this correctly?

The late S.N. Kramer was very proud of his idea that the Sumerians came from somewhere else and enjoyed a Heroic Age in Sumer which he believed had parallels among other migratory peoples. The idea that the Sumerians were late invaders is, however, probably wrong. There are actually good Sumerian or Akkadian etymologies for most of those city names and if you look in my lexicon you can see the Sumerian etymologies for the Tigris and the Euphrates river names. Nippur comes from an Akkadian word that means "ferry-boat", so it was the site of a river crossing. Thorkild Jacobsen wrote an article about the Sumerian etymologies of Eridu, Ur, and some other cities.

The Halaf culture of northern Mesopotamia was characterized by colorfully glazed pottery that is completely different from Ubaid pottery, so I don't know anyone who thinks that it was a predecessor other than chronologically to the southern Ubaid culture.

The Sumerians either called themselves the 'civilized children' or the 'black-headed people'.

sag-gi6(-ga): black-headed people; Sumerians ('head' + 'black' + nominative; cf., dumu-gir15/gi7 and ki-en-gi(-r); ki-en-gir15/gi7(-r)).

un sag-gi6: black-headed people = Sumerians ('people' + 'heads' + 'black').

dumu-gir15/gi7: freeborn man, Sumerian [in contrast to slaves from foreign countries] ('child' + 'native group').

It seems like originally it may have been sang-gi7, but consonant harmony changed gi7 to ngi6, thereby changing the meaning from 'civilized, native group' to 'black'.


Here is a relevant exchange from the now defunct Language Evolution mailing list:


Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 18:24:40 -0400
From: "Peter T. Daniels"
Subject: Re: EvolLang: Proper nouns

Sent by: "Peter T. Daniels"

> Robert Whiting wrote:
> >>And it was Landsberger's impression that many of these names were
> >>non-Sumerian in origin that led him to postulate a pre-Sumerian
> >>proto-population in the area.
> >
> >And Landsberger was so influential that he affected the thinking
> >of a whole generation of Assyriologists. I saw for myself that
> >he was wrong a long time ago. Now others are seeing it.
>
> Gosh, John, don't hurt yourself trying to pat yourself on the
> back :). I think if you research it, you will find that there
> was immediate and continuous opposition to his position. At
> least Jacobsen, Gelb, and Edzard have written against it,
> probably before you were even born. Look especially at
> Albright's position in _Cambridge Ancient History_ I/1 (1970,
> but originally published in fascicle form earlier) where he
> strongly denies Landsberger's proposed substratum. I don't think
> you can claim that he "affected the thinking of a whole
> generation of Assyriologists" except in the sense that he gave
> them something to argue against.
>
> I didn't say that Landsberger's postulate was correct. What I
> said was that the starting point was non-Sumerian place names.
> And even if one dismisses Landsberger's reconstruction as a
> complete fabrication, one is still left with them.

I believe it was Hans Guterbock (who was in Ankara with Landsberger
when he wrote the above-alluded-to articles -- in Turkish, with only
an extensive summary in German, which summary alone is what was
translated by Ria Ellis into English --) who said that Landsberger
invented the highly implausible "Proto-Euphratians," about whom
there was nothing to be said, as an authochthonous substratum in
Sumerian, to make Ataturk happy -- so that he could think there
really were "Turks" in the land before anyone else.

Surely it was here that I mentioned that Michael Astour took one
look at the list of "Proto-Euphratic" words I handed out with a
paper once, and said they're all Semitic loanwords in Sumerian. (I
think it was 1986.) That seems to be communis opinio these days.

- --
Peter T. Daniels grammatim@worldnet.att.net

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88. Swastika in Sumerian?


>I can't remember if I was told or I read it somewhere, but I think
>I heard it. That the sumerian symbol for Fall/or "The Harvest"
>was the same as the sanskrit symbol svastika. Is this true?
>If so do you know where any documentation on this might be found

One finds the swastika as a symbol on pre-Sumerian pottery in northern Mesopotamia. The swastika is not part of Sumerian pictographic written language.

Marija Gimbutas in The Language of the Goddess which collects the signs of Old Europe says that swastikas, whirls, and spirals represent the life-force.

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89. Sumerian for Lion?

>Hi, Could you tell me the word for LION in Sumerian ... and what the idea
>was derived from / what root ideas?


There were three words:

ur-mah: lion ('carnivorous beast' + 'mighty').

pirig(3): lion (poetic); light (bar6/7, 'to shine', + níg, 'thing') [PIRIG archaic frequency: 103; concatenation of 5 sign variants].
pírig: bright.

ug(2): n., rage, anger, fury; storm(-demon); lion; wild animal; lamentation.
adj., furious, strong.
ug4,5,7,8: n., death; dead person.
v., to kill; to die (singular and plural marû stem; plural ‹am#u, which is sometimes reduplicated; cf., úš).
ug6, u6[IGI.É]: n., amazement; gaze, glance (['EYE' + 'HOUSE']).
v., to look at; to stare at, gaze; to be impressed.
adj., astonishing.


The second word may have been related to a myth about how when the bull of the moon gets close to the sun, that is protected by the bright planet Venus, seen as a lion, it gets killed and dies. pirig3 is written with the UG sign.

If you want to read numerous examples of the lion in Sumerian literature, order from Eisenbrauns the new book Animal Symbolism in Mesopotamia, A Contextual Approach, by Chikako E. Watanabe. I just received my copy today. The English is clearly written so the book is easy to read.

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90. ama, 'mother', a Semitic loan?

>Is "ama" (mother) a loanword from Akkadian? (It sounds like
>Semitic words that mean "mother".)

Actually, it is well known among linguists that there is world-wide similarity of words for mother, these are assumed to stem from baby-talk, so one cannot make any conclusions about language relatedness or borrowing from the words for mother.

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91. Creditors and Debits

>"ugu" -- debits part of an account tablet
>
>I'm assuming that only a creditor would be interested in keeping
>a tablet of this nature and that "ugu" refers to payments on account
>from the borrower?

During the Ur III period, the state was the main creditor. The state supplied so much land or so many animals to the individual, who then had to pay the state back.

My teacher at UCLA, Robert Englund, has specialized in Ur III accounting terminology. There is not much in print, but we did use the following book in class:

Snell, Daniel C., Ledgers and Prices: Early Mesopotamian Merchant Accounts. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982.

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92. Difference Between Akkadian and Sumerian Languages?

>What is the difference between the Akkadian and the Sumerian language?

Speakers of the Sumerian language coexisted for a thousand years with speakers of 3rd millenium Akkadian dialects, so the languages had some effect on each other, but they work completely differently. With Sumerian, you have an unchanging verbal root to which you add anywhere from one to eight prefixes, infixes, and suffixes to make a verbal chain. Akkadian is like other Semitic languages in having a root of three consonants and then inflecting or conjugating that root with different vowels or prefixes.

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93. Sumerian on Voyager "Golden Record"?

>I am trying to discover what precisely was said in Sumerian on the
>Voyager-1 space probe's "golden record" for a story I'm writing. You can hear it at
>
>http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/languages/audio/sumerian.au
>
>But the written version I cannot seem to find. I need to know how
>to transliterate it into English.
>
>Wondering if you could possibly help...

silim-ma he2-me-en is translated as 'Welcome!' in line 201 of Nanna-Suen's journey to Nibru at:

http://www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk/section1/c151.htm

It literally means, 'May you be healthy.'

From my lexicon:

silim[DI], sim3

to be healthy, complete, perfect; to be/ make in good shape; to restore (usually considered Akk. loanword, root means 'peace' in 18 of 21 Semitic languages, but Sumerians used word in greeting and root not in Orel & Stolbova's Hamito-Semitic Etymological Dictionary; cf., sil5, 'pleasure, joy', + lum, 'to grow luxuriantly').

silim...dug4/du11/di/e

to greet, say "Hello" ('health' + 'to speak').

silim-še3 gu3...de2

to greet, say "Hello" ('health' + 'regarding' + 'to call, say').

silim-ma he2-me-en

"Welcome" ('may you be healthy').

silim...sum

to greet, say "Hello" ('greeting' + 'to give').

So the Sumerian word silim is related to Hebrew shalom and Arabic salaam, and may be the origin of them. The Sumerian traders who spread the Ubaid culture throughout the Near East starting around 6,000 BC (calibrated) would have used this greeting word.

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94. Pentagram Symbol?

>I have, on many occult websites, come across the claim that the pentagram
>was used in ancient Sumer as a hieroglyph for the word UB, and also for AR.
>How legit is this claim?

That is true. The original sign was a five-pointed star, sign #306 in Labat. ub means 'corner'.

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95. Beer and Travel Proverb?

>http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/07/0723_020724_cuneiform.html
>
>This article mentions a proverb that would roughly translate to "travel is
>hard, but the beer is worth it." Can you show me what that would look like?

That is proverb 2.123 in the 2-volume collection by Bendt Alster, referenced in the bibliography to my on-line Sumerian lexicon.

Alster translates, The pleasure -- it is the beer! The discomfort -- it is the journey!

The key to the proverb is the similarity between kaskal, 'road, journey', and kash, 'beer'.

nam-sa6-ga kash-am3 nam-hul kaskal-am3

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96. Should I Study Sumerian?

>John: I understand most of your email. So do you think it would be a
>good idea to study Sumerian? Do you think I would like it? From what I read
>in your email you are saying that I should do it as a personal interest and
>that it is unlikely I can make a career out of it correct? Why do you like
>it? What do you get from it? Derek

I like being able to read the original texts. I have corresponded with scholars of Sumerian religion who do not know the language, who must rely on secondary sources, and although they are intelligent people they have and are unable to correct misconceptions caused by not understanding the multiple meanings of Sumerian words. To understand the Sumerian religion and culture it helps to be familiar with their language. What I like the most is making a connection with people who lived so long ago through their language. Since we have such a large corpus of texts, we will eventually understand the Sumerians much better than we can the Egyptians or any other ancient people. Also, unlike the Atlanteans or other New Age claims, the Sumerians were real. I learn about the specialized occupations and life of the Sumerians through their language. I recently added the following entry to the lexicon:

(lú)su-si-ig: knacker, a year round collector of hides and other parts of dead/dying animals, who partly tanned the hides before bringing them into town for use in other crafts ('body' + 'to strike down; to silence'; cf., sìg, 'to strike, hurt, beat, flatten, remove, divide'; Akkadian šušikku or šusikkum).

Although 'knacker' is a word in English, I had never heard it before.

I made an effort to attend classes in Sumerian at UCLA, but I cannot say what other people would want to do.

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97. Igigi and Anunnaki?

> Hi John,
> If I read Sitchen's name one more time trying to find the answer to this -
>I am going to scream.
>
> I am collecting information about a particular ancient group of people. I
>am not sure, but, the Anunnaki may be a historical reference to them. Let
>me just say, I am NOT looking for aliens.
>
> Would you please break down the word Anunnaki so that I can understand it.

My lexicon has:

a-nun-na(-k): noble stock; fear, dread ('offspring' + 'master' + genitive).

da-nun-na(-ke4-ne): the gods as a whole; the gods of the netherworld, as compared to the dnun-gal-e-ne, the great gods of heaven.

Search in Google for "a-nun-na".

> The term igigi - how does that translate?

That is under item 861 in Borger's new Mesopotamisches Zeichenlexikon, as dingir i2-gi3-gi3. It looks like a phonetic reading of the signs for 5 1 1, perhaps symbolic of the number 7, which is a number that meant 'uncountable, infinite' in Mesopotamian religion. It can also be interpreted as 5 x (60 + 60) = 600, which was the number of great gods in some traditions.

The Concise Dictionary of Akkadian has Igigu with a circumflex over the u. "the (ten) great gods; the gods of heaven" where it shows the Sumerian as dingir NUN.GAL.MESH.

It appears to be more of an Akkadian word than a Sumerian word, although apparently with its origins in Sumerian cuneiform writing as mentioned above.

There is a good discussion of the Igigi and the Anunnaki at:

http://www.sron.nl/~jheise/akkadian/mesopotamia.html

> Do you think there could be a connection with the later Seven Sages?

Yes. In A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian under apkallu appears "wise man, expert; epith. of gods; of Adapa etc.; pl. "the (seven) sages".

Then if you look up apkallu in the new Borger, he refers to item 143, NUN-ME, read abgal in Sumerian. Note the similarity to NUN.GAL(.MESH) read as Igigu. NUN and ABA/AB 'lake, sea' both relate to the god of wisdom, Enki. The signs for Eridu, city of the god Enki, were NUN.KI.

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98. Marijuana in Sumerian?

> I have heard instances of cavemen using cannabis sativa for religious purposes. Did the Sumerians use cannabis (I don't see why they would as prepackaged food was unavailable to them)?

u2 a-zal-la2 : a medicinal plant, probably distilled into a narcotic (described as "a plant for forgetting worries"); cannabis sativa, hashish (?) ('liquid' + 'to have time elapse' + nominative).

From a period 2000 years later, we know the Akkadian word shim qunnabu. There are many references in Google to qunnabu.

The best reference in Google for a-zal-la is at:

http://www.ukcia.org/research/abel/1ref.htm

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99. Purpose of the Human Race?

>i have read from a book by zecharia sitchin that the sumerian people
>believed that the human race was created for the purpose of gold mining for
>the gods. have you read any information to verify this was indeed a sumerian
>belief? thank you.

Not gold mining in particular, but the Sumerians did believe that the gods created humans in order to work for them. Of course, the ability of the temples to organize mass labor was key to survival in Sumer, where mass labor was needed for irrigation and dredging projects.

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100. The Oldest Written Story?

>Hi! My name is chad I am doing a reseach paper on the oldest written story
>ever found, could you please help me? I have found lots of information but no
>story. Thanks for your time and help.

I refer you to the page:

http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/edition2/general.php

where it is stated that,

"The literature written in Sumerian is the oldest human poetry that can be read, dating from approximately 2500 BCE onwards. It includes narrative poetry, praise poetry, hymns, laments, prayers, songs, fables, didactic poems, debate poems and proverbs."

Narrative poems are stories.

Then, if you look at the page:

http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/edition2/literature.php

there is an overview of Sumerian literature, and the cataloguing system is explained, in which "An initial 1 indicates compositions with a high narrative content, 1.1 to 1.7 being ones in which deities are the principal protagonists and 1.8 ones in which legendary heroes such as Lugalbanda play that role."

There is a catalog at:

http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/edition2/etcslbynumb.php

A Sumerologist discussed your topic in the following scholarly article:

Alster, Bendt. 1976. "On the Earliest Sumerian Literary Tradition." In Journal of Cuneiform Studies 28. 109-126.

If you want my advice, the story Lugalbanda and the Anzud bird is in excellent condition and looks early. You can find this one at:

http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.1.8.2.2#

Lugalbanda is mentioned in the Sumerian King List as ruling in Sumer before the famous king Gilgamesh. The Anzud bird was a mythological thunderstorm bird depicted with the roaring head of a lion and the flying body of an eagle.

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101. Cuneiform for Love?

>Good morning Mr. Halloran. If you can, please help me. I am in search of the oldest written symbol for Love. I thought it might be in Cuneiform. Thank you for your time and assistance.

The compound word ki...ag2 means 'to love' and the compound word ki-ag2 means 'beloved', but it is very unusual to find evidence for a noun that means 'love'. I just find one instance of nam-ki-aga2, the abstract noun 'love'.

Attached is a gif image file nam-ki-aga2.gif which has this word in the form of three Sumerian period cuneiform signs.

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102. Antiquity of Star Constellations in Sumer?

> Would you know how far back a recognition of the constellations of Aries
>and Triangulum go in Sumerian knowledge?
> Is this right?
>
> Aries as The Hired Man
> LÚ.HUN.GÁ = argu
>""; Aries
>
> and Triangulum as The Plow:
> APIN = epinnu
>""; Triangulum Boreale with gamma Andromedae
>
> http://www.astronomy.pomona.edu/archeo/outside/starlog.html

There is an article by Wayne Horowitz in the 2005 Jacob Klein festschrift An Experienced Scribe Who Neglects Nothing, "Some Thoughts on Sumerian Star-Names and Sumerian Astronomy", pp. 163-178. He presents the text of The Nippur Forerunner to Tablet 22 of Urra = hubullu, which lists star names. Line 396 has mul gisz apin and line 410 has mul lu2.hun.ga2. Dr. Horowitz surmises that these Sumerian constellation names were in use in third millenium Sumer and Akkad.

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103. View Cuneiform Text on Clay Tablets at the CDLI

>Is there a place that one can type in a word - i.e., "liberty" or
>"Amagi"- and see a picture of the actual cuneiform symbol written in
>clay?
>
>There are websites I have found that have taken the Sumerian symbol for
>Amagi and redrawn it and digitized it, so I know what the Sumerian
>symbol looks like. I'm just curious what it looks like in clay.

You will be able to see those images by searching the cdli texts for ama-gi4.

The cdli site has been experiencing some search incompatibility problems with modern web browsers, but searches work fine with the Opera web browser (which is a free download, and which has some interesting differences from other browsers, and which is a good fallback browser when a site crashes your regular web browser).

ama-gi4 is the older, less complete writing. The fuller Ur III period writing is ama-ar-gi4.

ama(-ar)-gi4
freedom; liberation; manumission; exemption from debts or obligations (early texts omitted the -ar) ('mother' + dative -ra + 'to restore'; cf., dumu-gir15).

Robert Englund gave me the following advice for searching the cdli,

>The search is case sensitive, so to reach archaic attestations type
>"SANGA*". You have 34 sanga in ED IIIa, of course, but apparently the
>person. Search to be complete "*sanga*" (asterisks as wild cards).

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104. Sumerian Dimensional Prefixes and Personal Affixes?

>I was wondering if you could help me. I am going through Hayes'
>Manual of Sumerian Grammar and I am having difficulty grasping
>the concept of the dimensional prefixes (DP) and the personal affixes (PA)
>in his book. He says that they take the place of English pronouns
>and cross-reference or register other grammatical aspects in the
>preceding sentences. I do not understand their function. I am about
>halfway through the book and I feel like this is slowing me down.
>Can you please explain this to me?

The pronominal infixes in the verbal chain normally refer back to an animate singular or plural or an inanimate that occurred earlier in the same sentence, not in preceding sentences. There is a good discussion of these slots towards the end of:

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumerische_Sprache

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105. Completeness of Sumerian Lexicon?

>Thank you for sharing your Sumerian Lexicon. Judging
>from the Questions and Answers section of your web
>page, you occasionally respond to questions from
>novices... My question concerns the accuracy of our
>understanding of the Sumerian Lexicon and how complete
>that understanding is. This simple question is driven
>by my ignorance of many things but certainly
>including:
>
>1) How complete are the Akkadian / Sumerian
>dictionaries ( what percentage of the logograms and
>compound words found in the clay tablets are covered
>by the dictionaries)

If you are asking about the coverage of Sumerian words by the ancient Akkadian word lists, my seat of the pants reaction is that 80 to 90 percent of Sumerian has one or more known Akkadian equivalents. We are heavily dependent on the ancient bilingual lists. The online Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary, I have noticed, tends not to list Sumerian lexemes for which there is no Akkadian equivalent, but my lexicon has many lexemes where the meaning is known only from context. My lexicon tends to have more words that are known only from texts because I worked with so many text publications, gathering words from their indexes. The PSD includes in its collection a large number of Sumerian words that are known only from lexical lists, but for which we have Akkadian equivalents. Someone wrote to me in February, 2006 to tell me that the PSD has 5,666 words. Between the 1999 version 3 of my lexicon and the version 4 that will be published in December, 2006, the number of words in my lexicon grew from 3,766 to 6,400, an increase of 70%. Of course, the number of my sources grew from 36 to 96. As more texts are studied, it would not surprise me if a lexicon of the future is able to define several thousand more compound words and idiomatic expressions.
>
>2) How well do we understand Akkadian?

There will always be room for improvement. I anticipate some future give and take between Sumerian studies and Akkadian studies as Sumerian lexicography comes of age, meaning that sometimes Sumerian fills in a gap in our understanding of an Akkadian lexeme. As you may know, the 26-volume Chicago Assyrian Dictionary of Akkadian is just now being completed. The first volume came out in the mid-1950s. The editors of these volumes were under unwelcome time pressures, so they could not give as much thought to entries as they would have liked. At some point, the earlier CAD volumes should be revised and reissued. You can read the history of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary project at Google Books now - they host the full text of Erica Reiner's 140-page book, "An Adventure of Great Dimension".
>
>3) How can we determine changes in logogram meanings
>over time given the length of time between the bulk of
>the writing and the creation of the dictionaries?

The bulk of Sumerian literature is actually from the same Old Babylonian Nippur school as are the bilingual dictionaries, so there is little time/space separation there. The problem comes when investigating the older administrative texts, of which we have a lot from the NeoSumerian/Ur III period. I spent quite a bit of time researching these texts when I was working on Sumerian metal-related words, enough to encounter words and phrases that had to be defined from use in context. Fortunately, there are Sumerologists who have specialized in studying these texts, to whose works I was able to turn.
>
>4) Is our lexicon complete enough to have known words
>for the entire Sumerian material culture as we
>understand it from excavations. ( nouns to name the
>items, verbs for usage and manufacturing etc.)

The answer to your question is no, but if you are interested in this subject, I recommend to you the book D.T. Potts, Mesopotamian Civilization: The Material Foundations; Ithaca, New York 1997. This book tries to match vocabulary with archaeology.

Beer making is an example of a manufacturing technology which I had to investigate in order to understand Sumerian technical terms related to it. Here is a sample entry which tries to illuminate the process by referring to terms for different stages or elements in the beer brewing process.

titab(2)
kiln-dried germinated malt for crushing into beer mash (cf., bappir; munu4; sun2; a-si3-ga) (til3/ti, 'life', + tab, 'to burn').

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106. Sumerian Proverb in Cuneiform?

>I have seen many places the Sumerian proverb:
>Whoever has walked with truth generates life.
>I have never seen a clear depiction of this in it original
>Cuneiform. I have seen a picture of the clay tablet but I
>can't discern which part is this particular proverb. Would
>you have or do you know where I could obtain a
>Cuneiform version of this?

That is the Sumerian Proverb 1.1 in Bendt Alster's collection.

It is the first proverb at:

http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/proverbs/c.6.1.01.html

Apparently the most complete tablet with that proverb is CBS 8044, which is Plate 7.i reproduced in Gordon's book on Proverbs as a photograph.

Alster translates it differently from the classic translation by Gordon. Alster translates it as "Who compares with Justice? It creates life."

Sign 736 DI can be read in multiple ways:

di(-d): n., lawsuit, litigation, case; judgment, decision, verdict; sentence [DI archaic frequency: 99].
v., to judge, decide; to conduct oneself; to go.

sá[DI]: n., advice, counsel.
v., to approach or equal in value; to attain, reach; to do justice; to achieve; to compare with; to yoke together; to compete (with -da-)

The bottom line is that the proverb is celebrating:

níñ-gi-na, níñ-gin6-na, níñ-gen6-na: justice; stability; trustworthiness; truth ('thing' + 'true, reliable' + nominative).

Jon Taylor's review article, THE SUMERIAN PROVERB COLLECTIONS, which does not mention this particular proverb, can be found here: https://www.cairn.info/load_pdf.php?ID_ARTICLE=ASSY_099_0013

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Last modified on August 28, 2018.

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