Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Debra M. Lucas
Sumerian civilization began in the flood plains between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. Deep beneath the land that now covers most of modern day Iraq lies the ancient country of Sumer where Sumerian civilization thrived. It covered approximately half of Mesopotamia. From 3500–2000 BC, this civilization flourished in the Mesopotamian land where the first cities began. The Sumerians were the first civilized people to maintain a writing system called cuneiform (meaning curved lines). With this invention, the Sumerians were able to record literature, common laws, and business transactions and eventually created educational systems to teach cuneiform writing. The Sumerians gave the modern world a legacy of inventions, including agricultural and irrigation methods, weights and measures, the wheel, and the plow. They created the first city-state known for its architecture and its complex political, social, and economic structure that organized a legal system, labor practices, trade, and burial rites. For ...