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Goodbye Jesus

Sumeria


Ravenstar

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I've been looking into Sumerian civilization, primarily their art and writing and I'm a little dazzled. They predate the Egyptians by about 1000 years, yet their art and culture is actually much more advanced than the early Egyptians.

 

I have huge respect for ancient Egyptian culture - they really were amazing, but in actuality the Sumerians blow them out of the water in many respects, medicine, law, technology, architecture (what we have found - so much is lost) art (I had the pleasure of seeing the Mesopotamia exhibit last summer at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.. got to see some of the items up close - FABULOUS). They gave us math, astronomy and the wheel, law, irrigation, etc, etc… Their art especially is highly advanced - their metalwork was unbelievable. I saw a few pieces that put the much later Minoan and the Greek stuff to shame. Their depictions of people and animals are very anatomically correct and naturalistic, not static like the Egyptian.

 

Their writing was also very advanced. The first examples we have are of tallies, economic tags for trade, but soon after we have treatises and laws and contracts, poetry and literature.

 

It's such a mystery… they just kind of popped up out of nowhere, by that I mean they seemed to spring up incredibly advanced from the paleolithic very primitive hunter/gatherers and early agriculturalists. What are we missing?

 

I'm absolutely fascinated by these people.

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Alien intervention zDuivel7.gif

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LOL  FrogsToadBigGrin.gif

 

 

 

 

 

Makes more sense than Biblegod though

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I think history shows that there were periods where we made a lot of progress, then regressed either a little bit or a lot. Usually because of war. It's interesting to see how such advanced concepts existed even in the earliest of times. Take for instance Calculus, discovered by Leibnitz and Newton in the 17th century is one of the greatest mathematical discoveries, but men like Archimedes in the 3rd century came to the brink of discovering it themselves. Pythagoras' theorem was known to the Babylonians well before he was alive, and devices like the Antikythera mechanism came into existence in ancient times and the ability to create them again were forgotten until the medieval period. I mean hell, even the concept of steam engines were touched upon during those periods, but the significance or utility of them were not appreciated at the time. Humans are incredibly intelligent, but unfortunately the leaps forward we make are almost up to luck. The right people being in the right places at the right time.

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Events like this are not all that uncommon in the history of human civilization.  The Europeans spent roughly 1000 years in the dark ages, but from the beginning of the Renaissance, only about 350 years passed before the beginnings of the industrial revolution.  It was only 100 years, almost to the month, from the date the final spike was driven into the transcontinental railroad to the date that Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

 

Many different cultures have gone through periods of stagnant progress followed by periods of unbelievably rapid advancement.  I'm pretty sure that this is another example of that.  For a culture as old as the Sumerians, a period of technological advancement that resulted in the types of archeological artifacts we are discovering today could have taken a thousand years and it would look to today's observer to have just sprung up from nowhere.

 

I'm not trying to disparage the amazing things that these ancient people were able to discover.  Far from it, I see things like this and it gives me continued hope for the human race.  If we have been capable of unimaginable innovation before, we can do it again and maybe we will be able to solve the problems we will find ourselves facing in the near future.

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But seriously, check this out, It's gorgeous  Circa 2500 BCE

 

 

 

 

This is dated 3500 to 3000 BCE

 

 

This is from Egypt about the same time, 3000 BCE

 

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They are clearly way ahead of their time.  The Egyptian artifact looks absolutely pathetic in comparison.  Not enough to convince me of aliens though.  wink.png

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Yep.  Definitely aliens. 1619459_10151856190506472_1292655230_n.j

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Want to know more about the economic tags for trade. What were they made of? Were they a precursor of coins? Over how wide an area would a given tag have been accepted? Who issued them? (someone told me that coins in Asia Minor started out from pieces of metal used by private individuals, since the state controlled large transactions) Were there images on them, so they could serve propaganda purposes like the coins we know from the Greek and Roman periods?

 

Fascinating.

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yaya!!!  Okay, the tags are the precursors to their writing. It seems they began with tallies.. numbers to keep track of their wealth.

 

 

 

You can see the progress here: http://www.richeast.org/htwm/cune/cune.html   3rd pic down I believe.

 

Then with little drawings.. like an bovine head with horns, for cattle I guess. Then some genius decided that a MARK would work, they used a wedge shaped stylus - though I'm sure the earliest ones were probably reeds.

 

"The writings on these tablets are simple pictures, or pictograms, which represent an object or an idea. Because clay is a difficult material on which to draw lines and curves, the Mesopotamians eventually reduced pictograms into a series of wedge-shaped signs that they pressed into clay with a reed stylus. This wedge-shaped writing is called cuneiform."

 

http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/MUS/ED/TRC/MESO/writing.html

 

 

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Money came after, but not long after: about 500 to 1000 years (of course it may have been there in a form we don't recognize, or something too fragile to have survived)

 

"For example, the oldest coin currency that we know is a Sumerian bronze piece dating from before 3000 BC. On one side of the coin is a representation of a sheaf of wheat, and on the other, Ishtar, the goddess of fertility. The Sumerians called it the "Shekel" where "She" meant wheat, "Kel" was a measurement similar to a bushel, hence this coin was a symbol of a value of one bushel of wheat. (The word "shekel" survives in modern Hebrew as Israel's monetary unit.) The original shekel had as its purpose payment for sacred prostitution at the temple of Ishtar, which was the temple of life and death. The temple, as well as being a ritual center, was the storage place for the reserves of wheat that supported the priesthood, and also the community in lean times. So farmers fulfilled their religious and social obligations by bringing their contributions of wheat to the temple, and receiving in exchange a shekel coin, entitling them to a visit with the temple prostitutes at the festival time. All this also must be understood in its cultural context: The sacred prostitutes were representatives of the goddess, and intercourse with them was intercourse with the goddess of fertility herself, nothing to take lightly. At that time fertility was truly a matter of life and death. If the crops failed, there was no alternative, and everyone starved or at least went hungry until next year. And, of course, completing the magic ritual properly insured the fertility in crops, animals and children that was necessary for future prosperity."

 

 

Their writing might have been much different if they had paper or papyrus.. they had mud.

 

http://www.stim.com/Stim-x/10.1/origins/origins.html

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this is fascinating, Ravenstar, thank you for posting! I never knew much about the Sumerians, though in second grade my favorite civilization of the past was the nearby Babylonians.

 

To think that "shekel" comes from them!

 

I saw reports in the news that some fundamentalists are angry at the British Museum's publicity over the cuneiform story of the Flood.

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Really? It's been around..well.. forever. The Epic of Gilgamesh is the original classic.

 

Wow, they really get their panties in a know when you know, facts are made know. This tells me more than anything what their beliefs are based on. Wasn't there a story about building on rock or sand? ;p

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Is there a prevailing theory about what event that caused the massive flooding that prompted the stories of the earth being flooded? Like the Nile massively flooding or something like that? 

 

Edit: I apologize if this question takes the thread in a new direction. That is not my intention. I have been enjoying reading all the things you have been posting, Ravenstar, and I got to thinking about it. I can start a new thread if you like...

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It is possible that there were several large floods prehistory, especially in these areas as they are floodplains. (think about it - both the Mesopotamia region and the Nile area are flood plains).

 

My favourite hypothesis is that the Mediterranean Sea was once a dry basin (way back about 9000 years ago or more) at the end of the last Ice age and when the ice began to melt the basin was flooded.. along with the Black Sea and surrounding areas.. so it would seem to come from all directions. Our paleolithic ancestors would have been deeply traumatized by such large and rapid destruction and would have told that story for many, many generations, until it finally got written down in the first rudimentary Epic of Gilgamesh (which was probably sung or recited as poetry before writing), woven in with the creation story - which makes sense if you think about the antiquity of such a cultural memory.

 

This also corresponds with other flood stories from around the world, because the Ice Age flooding would have been widespread, but not necessarily at the exact times. Sea levels drop dramatically during Ice Ages.. because the water is bound up in the massive glaciers.

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I think that once you have a writing system you have the ability to start developing larger and more complex ideas. You can catalogue knowledge and create libraries rather than having to pass information down by speaking and listening.

 

My big question though, is how quickly they could transcribe their thoughts.

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From literal writing to abstract writing…  takes quite a while - hundreds of years to 'gel'. The ability is there, it's coming up with a system that everyone understands.

 

Oral tradition can be very detailed and rich, but it, like translating writing, will change over time with dialects and new concepts coming in, words changing meaning over time - exaggeration for dramatic effect, etc...

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My understanding was that the writing started to keep tabs on the taxes.   It was code that was kept "secret" for whatever purpose.  The earliest texts were little more then Bob owes 20 sheep.   Of course as is the case with anything, once the concept is out there others think of it too.

 

It is thought that the Noah myth was actually sumerian in orgin and it was a flood of the Tigri and Euphrates.  Of course there are other hypothosies. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_Impact_Working_Group

 

The use of money however was not new.  That concept has existed for a very long time before.  The actual coinage though was first exemplifed by the sumerians.

 

what also needs to be pointed out, is that the examples we have of art and writing and such exist because there was a concentration of them. Which implies a diversified economy, political stability, and a decently large population.  Thus we generally see these items from the height of the civiliazation.  Additionally, the desert environment helps.

 

On of the difficulties of reseaching Norse civilization is they made their settlements from wood, which decays in wet environments like the Baltic.  Similar is true for other celtic tribes, native americans, etc.  The whole reason we know some of what happened to the Anazazi Indians is because they lived in Arizona.

 

Anyway, just some thoughts.

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It is possible that there were several large floods prehistory, especially in these areas as they are floodplains. (think about it - both the Mesopotamia region and the Nile area are flood plains).

 

My favourite hypothesis is that the Mediterranean Sea was once a dry basin (way back about 9000 years ago or more) at the end of the last Ice age and when the ice began to melt the basin was flooded.. along with the Black Sea and surrounding areas.

I read this theory about the Black Sea; didn't know the Med. was included.

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Hey stryper!

 

Yes, that's a problem…preservation. We've lost so much, even more when the Library at Alexandria was destroyed by the christians (that really irks me). What they did to Hypatia… despicable.

 

It's amazing we know what we do about the early Europeans, and the South Americans, because of the climate.

 

"During the last Ice Age, when the sea level lay as much as 100 meters (330 feet) lower than now and the climate became locally wetter, rivers bordering the Mediterranean had cut deep valleys across what is now the continental shelf. As the sea rose to its present level, its waters invaded countless valleys and inlets. Thus, at the beginning of the Bronze Age, every coast became studded with perfect natural harbours."

 

http://barclay1720.tripod.com/hist/lost/undersea.htm

 

There would have been water(a sea) there, but not near as large or deep as today, and we all know people build near water, for food, transportation and trade. This is my own personal hypothesis, but I think it bears looking at.

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