… were able to have rights after being married.
They were able to own a business, own property, or
even testify in court. Punishment was common
because husbands were allowed to have more than
one wife if their first wife had no children.
Children could be adopted. The women were able to
have rights after being married. They were able to
own a business, own property, or even testify in
court. The Sumerians had a polytheistic religion.
The gods were considered to be anthropomorphic by
The gods were thought to have powers,
some of which were related to astronomical bodies.
These gods also had characteristics like that of a
human. They felt lust, love, anger, etc. The
Sumerians did believe in life after death. They
had realistic expectations of what their future
had in store. They also understood that their gods
were not always nice or polite. They did try to
understand what the gods had in store for them as
well as how they could please the gods.
number of gods were worshiped with prayers and
sacrifices. People would pray to them in both
times of praise and misfortune. The most important
god was known as Nanna Sin. His son was the son
god, Utu, and his daughter was the goddess Inanna.
Sacrifices of both oxen and sheep were made for
important people. Temples were the center of
religious activity within a city. Every temple
contained a shrine that was placed in an enclosed
The gods were also the subjects of many
legends and myths. “Enlil and Ninlil: the Birth of
the Moon-god” “The Creation of the Pickax.” Enki:
the organization of the earth.” The Sumerians were
an agricultural group that depended on their
surrounding environmental features. They grew many
crops such as peas, corn, wheat, turnips, and they
also fished. The Sumerians however had a problem
feeding their entire population. They sold their
extra grain and other rations for wood so that
they could build furniture and ships. The ships
were then used for trade with such places as India
When the ships would return, they
would be loaded with various types of wool, exotic
foods, unusual fabrics, and precious metals. The
craftspeople were also essential to their economy.
The metal workers would use copper, bronze, and
tin to make industrial and household materials.
They also created the weapons. The people would
use their animals in various ways to increase
their way of life. Donkeys would be used to pull
wagons and pigs would be used in many Sumerian
dishes. Sumerian astronomers studied the stars and
other scientist perfected the calendar. Music was
also important to the people and could be heard in
The music was used in various
rituals and was also a form of entertainment. The
Sumerians had a unique way of writing and
recording events. They used stone tablets with
numbers to record their history and everyday
events. The people would use a wide variety of
pictures and numbers. The writing style was called
cuneiform script. There were many scribes
throughout the summer region.
would learn cuneiform script during school. This
was usually limited to the wealthier families. The
process of learning the way of writing was long
and hard. Each individual was required to learn
large numbers of symbols and words so that they
could be scribes when they grew up. Eventually,
scribes enhanced the writing style making it more
efficient by creating a shorthand form using
wedged lines. The main character in the epic was
Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk.
Who is very strong,
he bosses people so they complain about him to the
gods. Gods will send Enkidu, stronger man to fight
Gilgamehs. They will become friends and they
search for fame so they decide to fight the giant
Humbaba. Finally they were able to kill this giant
and returned to Uruk. Ishtar the goddess of love
asks Gilgamesh to be her friend but he refuses so
she sends the bull of heaven to fight Gilgamesh.
Gilgamesh will be able to kill the bull with the
help of Enkidu but he losses his friend Enkidu
after that. The death of his friend frightened him
and he started to look for immortality facing the
difficulties but at the last he fails to be
immortal and he returns home for waiting death to
Uruk was one of summer cities that Gilgamesh
rolled. The land had two rivers and it was a rich
area and it had a few stones and rocks.
Priest-king ruled each city-state. He was in
charge of leading the military, administering
trade, and helping with religious ceremonies.
Bureaucrats who surveyed the land aided him.
Sumerian believed that law should be followed.
Some common laws were about marriage and
punishment. They had polysynthetic religions. They
grew many crops such as peas, corn, wheat,
turnips, and they also fished. They were
They used stone tablets with numbers
to record their history and everyday events. The
people would use a wide variety of pictures and
numbers. The writing style was called cuneiform
script. Theme of the story Many themes are
incorporated into the story line of Gilgamesh.
These include three very important concepts: death
is inevitable, immortality is unachievable, and
friendship is a necessity. One of the main themes
in the epic is that death is inevitable, which is
shown through Enkidu’s death. When Enkidu dies,
Gilgamesh becomes very worried, because he
realizes for the first time that everyone is going
to die at some point in time.
The fact that Enkidu
is a close friend makes it even more visible to
Gilgamesh that everyone is mortal. Then, along
with this realization, comes the theme of denial.
Gilgamesh does not want to accept the fact that he
will die. He denies the truth, because he does not
want to think about the truth or cope with the
tragedy that has struck him. “And he-he does not
lift his head. ‘I touched his heart, it does not
beat'” (Tablet VIII, Column II, 15-16). “‘Me!
Will I too not die like Enkidu? Sorrow was come
into my belly.
I fear death; I roam over the
hills. I will seize the road; quickly I will go to
the house of Utnapishtim, offspring of Ubaratutu.
I approach the entrance of the mountain at night.
Lions I see, and I am terrified. I lift my head to
pray to the mood god Sin: For…a dream I go to
the gods in prayer: …preserve me!'” (Tablet IX,
Column I, 3-12). The theme of death being
inevitable leads to another theme, similar to the
first. This is that immortality is unachievable,
shown through similar examples as the first theme.
Gilgamesh realizes that immortality is not
obtainable after his quest for it. He discovers
that the quest was pointless, because he will die
regardless of the steps to prevent his death in
“‘Never has a mortal man done that,
Gilgamesh'” (Tablet IX, Column III, 8). “‘The
fate of mankind overtook him… In fear of death I
roam the wilderness…Me, shall I not lie down
like him, never again to move?'” (Tablet X, Column
II, 3, 8, 13-14). “‘From the beginning, there is
no permanence'” (Tablet X, Column VI, 32). The
last main concept in the epic is that friendship
is a necessity, shown through the bond of Enkidu
and Gilgamesh. Both men are supportive of each
other, always looking out for and encouraging one
For example when Enkidu and Gilgamesh are
fighting the Bull of Heaven and Humbaba, they work
together. “‘Hurry up, step up to him, do not let
him go. Climb to the woods, [do not be afraid]'”
(Tablet IV, Column V, 43-44). “They cut off the
head of Humbaba” (Tablet V, Column VI, 47). Dani,
Daniel. “Assyrian Page”.
e/assyrisk.htm> (6. Dec. 1998) Landau, Elaine.
The Babylonians. Brookfield, Conn. : Millbrook
Press, 1997. Landau, Elaine.
Brookfield, Conn. : Millbrook Press, 1997. Manson,
Herbert. Gilgamesh. New York: Houghton Mifflin
Company, 1970. Odijk, Pamela.
Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Siver Burdett Press, 1989.
Payne, J. “Backgrounds”. 1998.
c.shtml> (5. Dec. 1998) Payne, J. “Graphics”.
Dec. 1998) Rivera, Larry J. “Four Bees
> (5. Dec. 1998) The Epic of Gilgamesh.
rev. ed. Translated by N.K. Sanders. New
York:Penguin Books Ltd, 1979 Thom, David. “Free
Web Art Animated Lines 2”.
www.lisp.com.au/~david t/fline2.htm> (29.Nov.
1998) Thom, David. “Free Web Art Backgrounds”.
t/back1.htm> (29 Nov. 1998) Woolley, Leonard.
The Sumerians. New York: Norton &
Research essay sample on A Glimpse Of Humanity Reaching Back To The Ancient Sumerians