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Background[edit | edit source]
The Sumerians are the earliest known civilization in southern Mesopotamia, and one of the first in the world. Due to the abundance of grain and other crops, they were able to establish a thriving civilization. They first settled in the fifth millennium BC, and, over time, founded the first Mesopotamian cities, such as Uruk and Jemdet Nasr, which led to Sumerian civilization becoming more complex. Proto-writing was a symptom of this more complex society, and the Sumerians developed an early form of Cuneiform, which went on to be used in several Mesopotamian languages under the rule of the Akkadians in the third millennium BC. The origins of the Sumerians are unknown and contested among historians, but what is certain is their legacy. Even under the rule of the Akkadians, they heavily influenced Akkadian culture, and the Sumerian language continued as an intellectual and sacred language, mirroring the use of Latin in Europe after the fall of the Roman Western Empire, although declining towards the end of the Empire's reign.
Sumer, the Sumerian land of southern Mesopotamia, was divided into many independent city-states, ruled over by kings and priests, which set the model for the Bronze Age city state. Despite being militarily overcome by the Akkadians, one cannot deny the cultural, historical and global significance of the Sumerian civilization, as they truly represented the birth of civilization in the Ancient Near East, ensuring that time would forever remember them for their impact on history.