The Sumerians
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The Sumerians

 

The Sumerians

 

A Sumerian horseman      The Sumerians moved to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers about 3500BC, but we do not know where they came from. They were probably nomads who discovered the fertile land between the rivers. Nomads travel in small groups until they have eaten the food that grows wild and hunted the animals in the area. When food is no longer plentiful, they move to a new area. Some people continue to live like this in remote parts of the world to this day.

     Eventually the Sumerians developed a civilization. They learned that by planting seeds and plowing their land, they were able to grow crops. They learned to domesticate, or tame animals to help them plow their lands. The Sumerians learned to use irrigation, or a system of watering crops, to grow more food. The Sumerians also made a very important invention--the wheel. The invention of the wheel made it possible for to pull heavy loads.

     Sumeria was composed of several city-states, or nations the size of cities. Walls around each city-state protected the citizens from outside invaders. Farmland was usually outside the city walls, and people would seek protection from the walls of the city when under attack. A Sumerian ziggurat

     The Sumerians were polytheistic, which means they believed in many gods. They worshiped their gods at huge temples they called ziggurats. Each ziggurat was dedicated to a specific god, whom the Sumerians believed ruled over their city. Often when a rival city attacked, the invaders would force the conquered people to accept their gods. Most people in the Western Hemisphere today are monotheists, which means they believe in only one god. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are all monotheistic faiths.