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History begins at sumer

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“history begins at sumer”

            Ancient civilizations play an important role in the history as well as the present situation of the world today. This is due to the fact that these civilizations are the foundation of the society that currently exists. Being the case, identifying where history all began is greatly debatable. A historian asserted long ago that “history begins at Sumer” and he outlined numerous “firsts” for the Sumerians. This historian’s argument poses a question as to what most people think bout this issue.

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Did history really begin at Sumer or Egypt? Putting it simply, which ancient civilization is more advanced?

            History indeed begins in Sumer. This is proven by the characteristics of this ancient civilization especially the numerous elements that originated in it. As stated in the book of Samuel Noah Kramer entitled the History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Recorded History, he presented a list of things that started in Sumer that substantially contribute to the important fields of human endeavour such as: politics, education, philosophy as well as societal factors.

These are observable in literature, ethics, law and justice, agriculture, medicine and even the family life of the Sumerians.[1] The civilization of Sumer that is situated in land that is presently known as Iraq has a huge contribution to the development of the present society.

            Nevertheless, if the concept of development would be the measurement, then Egypt is more advanced than Sumer. This is exemplified by the fact that Egypt had a more sophisticated form of livelihood through its agricultural sector that has flourished through its exceptional irrigation system that is synchronized with low and high tides of the Nile River. [2]    Furthermore, even their artistic style and architectural capabilities are more developed as compared with the Sumerians because they were able to employ geometrical measurements in their construction of intricate structures. [3]

            The discussions above prove that identifying Sumer as the cradle of civilization is indeed appropriate. This is clearly established through the numerous “firsts” that originated in this civilization. However, it should also be realize that even though Egypt is not the pioneer in the creation and implementation of many factors that the society adheres to, it was more advanced than Sumer in terms of agriculture, architecture and other related fields.


Kemp, Barry J. Ancient Egypt. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Samuel, N. K. History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Recorded History.

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1990.

[1] Kramer, S. N. History begins at Sumer. (University of Pennsylvania, 1990). 3, 30, 51, 56, 60, 75, 101.
[2] Kemp, B. J. Ancient Egypt. (Routledge, 2006). 74
[3] Kemp, B. J. Ancient Egypt. (Routledge, 2006). 69

Cite this History begins at sumer

History begins at sumer. (2016, Oct 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/history-begins-at-sumer/

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