Sumer Essay Sumer Essay Sumer is the name for the region of southern Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates modern-day southeastern Iraq and Kuwaitsettled during the third millennium b. The Sumerians were a non-Semitic people whose place of origin and ethnic identity remains unknown. The Sumerian civilization may have been the first to invent writing. Sumerian early writing, called cuneiform, consisted of drawing pictures on clay tablets with a writing instrument called a stylus.
Mesoamerican writing systems A stone slab with 3,year-old writing, the Cascajal Blockwas discovered in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and is an example of the oldest script in the Western Hemisphere, preceding the oldest Zapotec writing dated to about BC. The earliest inscriptions which are identifiably Maya date to the 3rd century BC, and writing was in continuous use until shortly after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century AD.
Maya writing used logograms complemented by a set of syllabic glyphs: Iron Age writing[ edit ] Cippus PerusinusEtruscan writing near PerugiaItalythe precursor of the Latin alphabet The Phoenician alphabet is simply the Proto-Canaanite alphabet as it was continued into the Iron Age conventionally taken from a cut-off date of Sumer mesopotamia writing and literature.
This alphabet gave rise to the Aramaic and Greek alphabets. These in turn led to the writing systems used throughout regions ranging from Western Asia to Africa and Europe. For its part the Greek alphabet introduced for the first time explicit symbols for vowel sounds.
The Brahmic family of India is believed by some scholars to have derived from the Aramaic alphabet as well. Several varieties of the Greek alphabet developed. The other variation, known as Eastern Greekwas used in present-day Turkey and by the Athenians, and eventually the rest of the world that spoke Greek adopted this variation.
After first writing right to left, like the Phoenicians, the Greeks eventually chose to write from left to right. Greek is in turn the source for all the modern scripts of Europe. The most widespread descendant of Greek is the Latin scriptnamed for the Latinsa central Italian people who came to dominate Europe with the rise of Rome.
The Romans learned writing in about the 5th century BC from the Etruscan civilizationwho used one of a number of Italic scripts derived from the western Greeks. Due to the cultural dominance of the Roman state, the other Italic scripts have not survived in any great quantity, and the Etruscan language is mostly lost.
Latin, never one of the primary literary languages, rapidly declined in importance except within the Church of Rome. The primary literary languages were Greek and Persianthough other languages such as Syriac and Coptic were important too.
The rise of Islam in the 7th century led to the rapid rise of Arabic as a major literary language in the region. Arabic script was adopted as the primary script of the Persian language and the Turkish language. This script also heavily influenced the development of the cursive scripts of Greek, the Slavic languagesLatinand other languages[ citation needed ].
The Arabic language also served to spread the Hindu—Arabic numeral system throughout Europe. Renaissance and the modern era[ edit ] By the 14th century a rebirth, or renaissancehad emerged in Western Europe, leading to a temporary revival of the importance of Greek, and a slow revival of Latin as a significant literary language.
A similar though smaller emergence occurred in Eastern Europe, especially in Russia. At the same time Arabic and Persian began a slow decline in importance as the Islamic Golden Age ended. The revival of literary development in Western Europe led to many innovations in the Latin alphabet and the diversification of the alphabet to codify the phonologies of the various languages.
The nature of writing has been constantly evolving, particularly due to the development of new technologies over the centuries. The penthe printing pressthe computer and the mobile phone are all technological developments which have altered what is written, and the medium through which the written word is produced.
Particularly with the advent of digital technologies, namely the computer and the mobile phone, characters can be formed by the press of a button, rather than making a physical motion with the hand. The nature of the written word has recently evolved to include an informal, colloquial written style, in which an everyday conversation can occur through writing rather than speaking.
Written communication can also be delivered with minimal time delay e-mailSMSand in some cases, with an imperceptible time delay instant messaging.
Writing is a preservable means of communication.
Some people regard the growth of multimedia literacy as the first step towards a postliterate society. Writing material There is no very definite statement as to the material which was in most common use for the purposes of writing at the start of the early writing systems.
In the latter case there is this peculiarity, that plaster siclime or gypsum was used along with stone, a combination of materials which is illustrated by comparison of the practice of the Egyptian engravers, who, having first carefully smoothed the stone, filled up the faulty places with gypsum or cement, in order to obtain a perfectly uniform surface on which to execute their engravings.
To the engraving of gems there is reference also, such as with seals or signets.In fact, anonymity is typical for the greatest portion of literature throughout ancient Mesopotamia.
In addition to those myths in which only gods and demons take part, there are those in which semi-divine heroes, or even humans, play important roles. With the invention of writing came the first recorded laws, called Hammurabi's Code, as well as the first major piece of literature called the Epic Tale of Gilgamesh.
Although archeologists don't know for sure who invented the wheel, the oldest wheel discovered was found in Mesopotamia. The scribes continued to hone their craft for 1, years, until the fall of Sumerian civilization in the year B.C. Afterwards their writing lived on in the form of Babylonian literature, which still used the Sumerian writing system in the centuries that followed.
In history of Mesopotamia: Babylonian literature The great Sumerian poems, whose origins or first written version, respectively, can now be traced back to about , were copied again and again. After , when Sumerian as a spoken language rapidly receded to isolated regions and eventually disappeared altogether, texts began to be translated.
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Sumerian cities united by King Sargon of Agade (Akkad) B.C. Agade Empire expands and declines B.C. Ur becomes the capital of a new empire B.C.
Ur destroyed by Elamites and Amorites B.C.
Akkadian becomes the First excavations in Mesopotamia A.D.