10 Shocking and Surprising Facts About the Sumerians

10 Shocking and Surprising Facts About the Sumerians

One of the crucial controversial and enigmatic civilizations that mystifies us to this present day is that of historical Sumerians. Seemingly showing out of nowhere in the course of the Stone Age, their civilization displayed superior data within the group in addition to the financial and social stability of its residents. A few of the superb innovations attributed to them embody the oldest written language, the separation of time into minutes and seconds, the institution of enormous cities, the invention of the wheel, and the precise institution of commerce—oh, and don’t neglect… beer!

The truth is, the Sumerian civilization was so profitable that over ten city-states had already been established by the fourth millennium BC. Their customs, beliefs, and spiritual practices grew to become the blueprint for subsequent cultures and might be discovered weaved all through time into a lot of our customs to this present day, a few of which could shock you. So let’s check out ten of the strangest information concerning the historical Sumerians.

Associated: 10 Glimpses Into Life In Man’s First Civilization

10 Agency Perception in Vampires

Everybody loves a very good vampire story, however who knew that theirs was actually a story as outdated as time? The traditional Sumerians believed in two courses of demons that beloved the style of blood or human life drive: the Ekimmu and the Utukku.

The Ekimmu had been the enraged spirits of the useless who remained unburied, searching the earth and sleeping solely beneath the bottom—a favourite attribute on the subject of at this time’s conventional vampire lore. The Utukku, then again, had been the spirits of the useless who had been laid to relaxation with out choices at their tombs, those that had been missed and forgotten by their buddies and households.

As a consequence, the Utukku would come proper again from the afterlife to afflict everybody and the whole lot they encountered, at all times in search of nourishment from their victims. Similar to the Japanese European vampires, the Utukku is a continuing predator that’s close to unimaginable to annihilate. Whereas they had been evil and psychopathic, one of many Sumerian legends tells of an Utukku known as Ea-Bani who befriended Gilgamesh and ended up being his ally.[1]

9 Legends & Tales of Werewolves

In one of many first tales ever to be written on the earth (relationship again to 2100 BC), researchers discovered the earliest surviving narrative of people being remodeled into wolves in cuneiform script on 12 clay tablets at Nineveh (fashionable Kuyunjik) in 1853. Referred to as the Epic of Gilgamesh, the story facilities round Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk, who finds himself pursued by the goddess Ishtar. Nonetheless, he refuses to simply accept her advances, reminding her of the horrible destiny of her former lovers, whom she become wolves.

A number of consultants have acknowledged that perception in werewolves was a part of the traditional Sumerian worldview. The truth is, the broadly held perception in werewolves might effectively have contributed an excellent deal to the eventual demise of King Nebuchadnezzar II, who dominated from round 605 to 562 BC. He demolished the First Temple of Jerusalem and established one of many world’s unique seven wonders—the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Within the biblical e book of Daniel, we be taught that Nebuchadnezzar had endured a extreme sort of melancholy, which regressed over seven years to a complete psychosis. Throughout this time, he believed he had was a wolf, a dysfunction higher identified at this time as lycanthropy.[2]

8 Sumerians Had been “Flat-Earthers”

The traditional Sumerians considered the heavens as a sequence of three domes that lined a flat earth. Each dome was crafted from various kinds of uncommon and priceless stones. The bottom or first dome was believed to be the house of the celebs and product of jasper. The second dome was the house of the Igigi or the “gods of the heavens” and was product of saggilmut stone. The third and biggest dome was product of luludānītu stone and was the personification of the “god of the sky”—An.

The heavenly our bodies had been additionally equally related to particular deities. They believed the planet Venus to be Inanna, the goddess of conflict, love, and intercourse. The solar was the god of justice, her brother Utu, and the moon was Nanna—their father. Regular people would by no means go to heaven because the skies solely performed host to the gods. Quite than going to heaven, a human’s soul would go to Kur (later often called Irkalla), the underworld that may be discovered deep beneath the floor of the earth.[3]

7 Sumerian Tablets Mirror the Bible’s Creation Story

Tales of the world’s creation might be present in nearly each tradition on the earth. The truth is, many students think about the Bible to be a simplified and condensed model of the creation story found on the remaining fragments of Sumerian cuneiform tablets. Sumerians believed that the gods had at all times existed—even earlier than the world as we all know it was created. Sadly, solely a small quantity of Sumerian literature nonetheless stays from the third millennium BC, however they do make reference to a interval previous to the time of the gods when solely An (Heaven) and Ki (Earth) existed. Throughout this time, the whole lot was darkish, and no mild existed—there was no solar and no moon. The earth was inexperienced and had copious quantities of water, but it surely was devoid of life and vegetation.

The characters which can be discovered on the Sumerian cuneiform tablets are additionally strikingly much like these of the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and evidently the contents of the traditional cuneiform tablets overlap with a few of the Egyptian doctrines on the beginnings of life on earth. So far, over 5 hundred thousand cuneiform tablets have been excavated, but solely about 60,000 have been deciphered and their contents launched to most of the people. [4]

6 Constructed the First Pyramids

The Sumerians had been the one civilization near Egypt with step pyramids that performed a basic position of their non secular and social life. Ziggurats first appeared round 2200 BC. These outstanding pyramid-like temples had been both rectangular or sq., featured no inner chambers, and had been roughly 52 meters (170 toes) excessive. Ziggurats virtually at all times displayed sloping sides in addition to backyard walkways. Considered one of these was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Though ziggurats will not be as well-known or well-known because the pyramids of Giza, they had been the very first step-pyramids all through the world.

Though the Sumerian civilization invented virtually the whole lot that underpins civilization as we all know it at this time, the very first ziggurat step pyramid was constructed greater than 400 years earlier than step one pyramid in Egypt. Tepe Sialk might be discovered within the heart of Iran, near the Caspian Sea and Turkmenistan. There are a number of different ziggurats in Iran, however Tepe Sialk is the oldest. Although controversial, many students consider that the step pyramids and pyramids had been constructed by the identical folks, arguing that an invention that not solely required the revolutionary engineering abilities of the period but additionally represented the distinctive perception techniques would have been refined and repeated over time.[5]

5 Bloodthirsty Warriors

Sumer’s city-states regularly fought bloody wars in opposition to one another for territory, pure sources, and water. Alliances got here and went; nonetheless, all states had their very own unbiased rulers till the ascension of Eannatum of Lagash, who efficiently managed to convey all of Sumer’s city-states underneath his rule. The primary Sumerian empire was maintained till the arrival of Sargon the Nice in about 2234 BC. Sargon of Akkad (whom we’ll see once more later) was a navy genius and made use of each chariots and infantry. Whereas the infantry troops had been geared up with lethal mixtures of swords, spears, golf equipment, maces, and slings, his chariot troopers would make use of each bows and arrows and spears.

The near-constant frequency of conflict amongst Sumer’s city-states spurred the event of navy methods and applied sciences that had been the ultimate. The invention of the chariot was usually some of the important navy developments in antiquity. The Sumerian chariot sometimes had 4 wheels and needed to be drawn by no less than 4 onagers. A big attribute was that the Sumerians dealt with the onagers by way of rings via their nostrils, whereas their reins had been pulled via rein rings secured to the chariot itself, giving virtually good management.[6]

4 Their First Feminine Ruler Turned a Deity

Round 2500 BC, the one queen ever to rule the Sumerians, Kubaba (additionally Kug-Baba or Kubau), took the throne. It’s stated that her reign lasted for a century—and it was characterised by progress and concord. Her title might be noticed on the Sumerian King Record, which acknowledges all of the Sumerian rulers in addition to their accomplishments. Her son, Puzur-Suen, dominated after her. Kubaba’s rule over historical Sumerian residents was stated to have been accredited by the Annunaki gods, which was important by itself with out going into an excessive amount of element. After her demise, she was deified and have become revered by the Anatolian and Hurrian cultures.

Considerably, there appears to be an fascinating twist to Kubaba’s historical past earlier than she grew to become queen. In keeping with students, Kubaba might have very effectively been a tavern keeper, because the place was thought of extraordinarily respectable (and one few girls really held) in historical occasions. At the moment, just one statue of her survives.[7]

3 Was Moses a Well-known Sumerian?

The Akkadian, Sargon the Nice, who got here to rule all of the city-states of Sumer after crushing their armies round 2334 BC, has a previous shrouded in thriller. In keeping with one, he was the hidden youngster of a excessive priestess who put him in a basket and deposited him in a river—a narrative virtually immediately according to the story of Moses within the Previous Testomony. Sumerian legends inform us he was a gardener’s son who finally grew to become the cupbearer of the king.

The cuneiform tablets, nonetheless, appear to have given us the most effective perception into his life and canopy each of the opposite claims. One inscription, often called “The Legend of Sargon,” states that he was the illegitimate youngster of a changeling—which may discuss with each a high-priestess or the goddess Inanna. His mom needed to conceal her being pregnant and couldn’t expose herself by elevating the kid, so he was positioned in a basket and launched into the Euphrates River. To maintain him secure, his mom insulated the basket with tar, and he was carried down the river to the place he was finally found by a person named Akki, the gardener for Ur-Zababa, King of the Metropolis of Kish.[8]

2 And Additionally Noah?

Legends of the Nice Flood might be discovered everywhere in the world, in numerous religions and cultures. Though we study Noah and his Ark within the Bible, the origins of the story definitely have pre-biblical roots in historical Mesopotamian cultures and civilizations. The Epic of Gilgamesh dates again practically 5 thousand years and is thought to be one of many world’s oldest written tales. In it, we be taught of Utnapishtim, a person warned of an impending flood about to be launched by indignant gods. He instantly units about constructing a large boat, strengthens it with pitch and tar, and masses his household, animals, and quite a lot of seeds into it simply in time. After quite a few days of storms and rain, Utnapishtim, similar to Noah, sends a chook into the wild to search for dry land.

Within the 19th century, the legend of the Mesopotamian Flood was confirmed to be the oldest on the earth after the interpretation of a number of historical cuneiform tablets. The similarities between the Hebrew and Mesopotamian tales are so apparent that the accepted view at this time is that the legend originated in Mesopotamia. The truth is, the Mesopotamian model offers us with specifics that would not fairly have been derived from the unique Hebrew legend.[9]

1 Was Gilgamesh’s Father a Demon?

The legends, tales, and myths of Gilgamesh had been based mostly on an actual king. It’s suspected that Gilgamesh dominated town of Uruk round 2500 BC. He’s additionally talked about on the Sumerian King Record. Over the course of a number of centuries, quite a few myths and legends had been shaped round his achievements and adventures, resulting in the writing of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

However he might have been rather more than a mere man. In keeping with a manuscript relationship from 2400 BC, Gilgamesh’s father was, actually, a Lillu-demon. This Lillu was amongst 4 demons that fell within the vampire class—the others had been often called Lilitus—the feminine vampire demon (which later grew to become Lilith within the Hebrew custom); Ardat Lilli (feminine)—who preyed on males in the course of the night time; and Irdu Lilli (male)—who preyed on girls in the course of the night time. Lilitu was thought of a sexually deviant but magnificent vampire, corresponding to sure literary variations revealed over the previous few a long time. The varied variations of those legends had been finally adopted by the Babylonians and Hebrews, and related legends finally discovered their means everywhere in the world.[10]

Initially Printed by – Jamie Frater

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Written by Harry Rosen

Harry Rosen is an accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author.

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