History Begins at Sumer

Sumerian statuesI’m reading about the Sumarians (5,300 – 2,000 B.C.) FROM THE TABLETS OF SUMER: 39 Firsts in Man’s Recorded History. The Sumarians originated civilization as we know it, and their demise may look a lot like ours too. In case you missed the memo, Sumer was earliest Mesopotamia in southern Iraq.

Until the mid 19th Century, we didn’t know Sumerians from Adam. Their history is traced by now deciphered cuneiform writings on clay vessels. Now thanks to Bush’s Folly, we may learn very little more.

Until I have more to relate, I’ll treat you to the table of contents, where Princeton Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer lays out his thesis. You might be surprised at which cultural themes are apparently elemental.

From the Tablets of Sumer was published in 1956. The latest edition, History Begins at Sumer can be read online. Kramer also compiled an 18-volume Sumerian dictionary.

Thirty-Nine Firsts in Man’s Recorded History

1.     EDUCATION: The First School
2.     SCHOOLDAYS: The First Case of “Apple-Polishing”
3.     FATHER AND SON: The First Case of Juvenile Delinquency
4.     INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: The First “War of Nerves”
5.     GOVERNMENT: The First Bicameral Congress
6.     CIVIL WAR IN SUMER: The First Historian
7.     SOCIAL REFORM: The First Case of Tax Reduction
8.     LAW CODES: The First “Moses”
9.     JUSTICE: The First Legal Precedent
10.   MEDICINE: The First Pharmacopoeia
11.   AGRICULTURE: The First “Farmer’s Almanac”
12.   HORTICULTURE: The First Experiment in Shade-Tree Gardening
13.   PHILOSOPHY: Man’s First Cosmogony and Cosmology
14.   ETHICS: The First Moral Ideals
15.   SUFFERING AND SUBMISSION: The First “Job”
16.   WISDOM: The First Proverbs and Sayings
17.   “AESOPICA”: The First Animal Fables
18.   LOGOMACHY: The First Literary Debates
19.   PARADISE: The First Biblical Parallels
20.   A FLOOD: The First “Noah”
21.   HADES: The First Tale of Resurrection
22.   SLAYING OF THE DRAGON: The First “St. George”
23.   TALES OF GILGAMESH: The First Case of Literary Borrowing
24.   EPIC LITERATURE: Man’s First Heroic Age
25.   TO THE ROYAL BRIDEGROOM: The First Love Song
26.   BOOK LISTS: The First Library Catalogue
27.   WORLD PEACE AND HARMONY: Man’s First Golden Age
28.   ANCIENT COUNTERPARTS OF MODERN WOES:
        The First “Sick” Society
29.   DESTRUCTION AND DELIVERANCE: The First Liturgic Laments
30.   THE IDEAL KING: The First Messiahs
31.   SHULGI OF UR: The First Long-Distance Champion
32.   POETRY: The First Literary Imagery
33.   THE SACRED MARRIAGE RITE: The First Sex Symbolism
34.   WEEPING GODDESSES: The First Mater Dolorosa
35.   AU-A A-U-A: The First Lullaby
36.   THE IDEAL MOTHER: Her First Literary Portrait
37.   THREE FUNERAL CHANTS: The First Elegies
38.   THE PICKAXE AND THE PLOW: Labor’s First Victory
39.   HOME OF THE FISH: The First Aquarium

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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2 Responses to History Begins at Sumer

  1. Avatar Adnazel Daclag says:

    buti na lang may website na ganito kung ala ewan qu na lang kung papasa pa aqu sa A.P. namin!!…tanks God,talaga!!!!!!!!!…….kahit ganito,at least may natutunan aqu kahit paano..

  2. Avatar adnazel says:

    Translated from the Tagalog- “Thank God, actually! …even so, at least have learned somehow.”

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