3450BC The first cities appeared along the banks
of the Tigris and Euphrates just north of what is now the Persian
Gulf. The cities made up the Uruk culture named after the principal
city of Uruk, which corresponds to the Biblical Erech. The culture
invented writing, the lunar calendar, used metal and built
monumental architecture. The cities remained independent for almost
a thousand years.
3300BC Around this time the inhabitants of Sumer
in present day Iraq adopted the practice of storing tokens in sealed
clay jars. The tokens represented the counts of foodstuffs,
livestock , and land. The stored tokens provided a more permanent
record but required that jars be broken in order to examine the
record. Then someone hit on the idea of making marks in the soft
clay covers of the jars to represent the tokens inside.
Archeological evidence shows that the marked jars led almost
immediately to a system of marks on clay tablets.
(I&I, Penzias, p.42)
3300BC Archaic cylinder seals [of Sumeria] of this
time were later collected by financier Pierpont Morgan.
(SFC, 2/15/97, p.D1)
3200BC Archeological evidence indicates that the
Sumerians used wheeled transportation.
3200BC The Sumerians developed pictographic
writing about this time.
(SFEC, 11/14/99, p.A6)
3100BC Writing was related to Sumerian language.
2700BC The Sumerian King, Gilgamesh, ruled the
city of Uruk which had grown to a population of over 50,000.
Gilgamesh was the subject of many epics, including the Sumerian
“Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Nether World” and the Babylonian “Epic
2320BC Sargon conquered the independent
city-states of Sumer and instituted a central government.
2300BC Sumerian cuneiform texts mention the land
of Magan (possibly Oman) as a source of copper and diorite for the
states of Mesopotamia.
(AM, May/Jun 97 p.49)
2200BC In what is now Bahrain settlements and
temples of the city state of Dilmun, known as the city of the gods
in ancient Sumerian literature, were found by Danish archaeologists
in the 1950s.
(AM, May/Jun 97 p.48)
2113BC Ur's golden century began when King
Ur-Nammu expanded the Sumerian empire and made his capital the
wealthiest city in Mesopotamia.
2100BC The Sumerian King List was written. It
recorded all the kings and dynasties ruling Sumer from the earliest
times. Eridu was named as the earliest settlement and archeological
evidence seems to confirm the claim.
c2000BC The goddess Inanna was a fertility figure.
(SFEC, 9/27/98, BR p.7)
2000-1600BC In Mesopotamia the Old Babylonian
period began after the collapse of Sumer, probably due to an
increase in the salt content of the soil that made farming
difficult. Weakened by poor crops and lack of surplus goods, the
Sumerians were conquered by the Amorites, situated in Babylon. The
center of civility shifted north. The Amorites preserved much of the
Sumerian culture but introduced their own Semitic language, an early
ancestor to Hebrew, into the region.
c1900BC The “Epic of Gilgamesh” was redacted from
Sumerian sources written in the Babylonian semetic. The legend was
written about 1,600 BC.
(eawc, p.3)(SFC, 11/18/99, p.C6)
1900BC-1500BC During this period a semetic group
of nomads migrated from Sumer to Canaan and then on to Egypt. They
were led by a caravan trader, the Patriarch Abraham, who became the
father of the nation of Israel.
1763BC Hammurabi, the Amorite King, conquered all
of Sumer. He wrote a “Code of Laws” that contained 282 rules
including the principles of “an eye for an eye” and “let the buyer
beware.” It was one of the first codes of law in world history,
predated only by the Laws of Lipit-Ishtar.
1400BC Sumerian writing remained pictographic
until about this time.
(SFEC, 11/14/99, p.A6)