Cultural Traits From The Mesopotamian History Essay
Many cultural traits from the Mesopotamian, Hebrew, Greek, and Roman cultures still show up in our cultures today. Many of the religious traditions of these cultures are the base foundation of the religions we have today in our present culture. Another example would be the strict Roman government that they established; like in present culture governments use those ideas as a sort of basis for creating their own. Sumerian creation of writing was a great basis for the writing and types of literature we have in our culture today as well as their numerical calculation techniques and early agricultural ideas that were amazing for this time period. These are only a few of the whole but you can see how they are still used in present culture just might be improved on a touch.
First and foremost were would our world be if it wasn’t for the early works of the people from Mesopotamia such as the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians. Sumerian writing is the oldest full-fledged writing that archaeologists have discovered. They might have been introduced to the writing and calculations but they took it to a far more level with keeping up with trade and records of supplies. Sumerians used arithmetic in units of ten I’m guessing because they used their fingers to count things. With the concern of the star-gods they mapped the stars and divided them into a circle of sixty units. These units of sixty are where our own units of time are derived from such as seconds and minutes. The Sumerians had poetic writing that described the work of their gods, just like the piece of literature The Epic of Gilgamesh and the stories of his travels and victories. They believed there poetic writing was pleasing to the gods, at first they used picture representations by pressing them into wet clay. After this they began to develop spoken symbols that allowed them to become more advanced in there writing. If it weren’t for the early writing techniques of the Sumerians where would we be in today society because there cultural traits are still used today without a doubt.
The Sumerians had a very innovational and brilliant touch with agriculture for their time to be able to grow and produce like they did. They had very intensive agriculture and irrigation techniques. Sumerians cultivated crops such as barley and wheat along with livestock production such as cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. They were the first to come up with the idea of the irrigation of crops. The Sumerian farmers dug canals and water ways to flood there fields to water the crops and to be able to put a boat like structure in and use to float the products of the fields in to the cities for sale and trade markets. With the frequent flooding with the Tigris and the Euphrates River, the canals had to be repaired often; the new found ways of agriculture with the canals enabled the Sumerians to make the roads better for travel as well. Sumerian transportation was the use of donkeys along with oxen to plow up the fields, and with the long extensive process of oxen then pick axes, then to planting the Sumerian farmers created the foundation for farmers all over the world today. If it wasn’t for them then there is no telling how much further behind our technology would be. The surplus of storable food created by this economy allowed the population to grow steadily without the hassle of having to migrate to find grazing land and also more farm land after the crops were gone. However this resulted in a much higher population density and in turn required an extensive labor force and division of labor. The good part about the extensive labor force is that it led to the development of writing was started at this point. When the farmers couldn’t make ends meet with their crops they usually went to borrow from the more successful farmers in hope for a better year upcoming but if the next year wasn’t good either they were usually forced to sharecrop or might even be forced to surrender their land. Mostly all of these cultural traits are still evident or actually used in today’s present culture.
Sumerian people also started a sense of ranking social classes with their people very similar to how we divide the rich, middle, and poor class people in today’s society. Back in the Sumerian days when you accumulated divisions of wealth also meant a division of power, and power surpassed to an elite in their social class. Starting out, the priest who worked in the fields as laborers alongside others soon were separated from the rest making their way to the top and becoming the greatest land owners. The priest started hiring the poor to work their lands that actually belonged to the gods; they had become skilled scribes and even sat with the elders in some city councils that wielded great influence. Seeing how this culture developed their own sort of social class from field workers or laborers to working over the field workers all the way to landowners at the top of the list shows how a base foundation the other cultures to have social classes as well. It may be completely different social classes than there was then but it is still pretty much the same idea just put into a different format and time frame.
The Epic of Gilgamesh was only a Mesopotamian story that told the travels of the hero’s or gods and the struggles and victories they achieved. The epic also sets an example to the Sumerian literature. Without the Sumerian poetry there would have never been and epic of Gilgamesh or for that fact any written language at all. But credit to the Sumerians for developing a base knowledge of written literature, farming, and social class lifestyle for the rest of the world to help influence their cultures and add to the different ideas of the Mesopotamian Culture.
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