Essay on Gilgamesh: Sumer and Sumerian Culture

Submitted By steve69sac
Words: 895
Pages: 4

Gilgamesh is a great tale that portrays multiple tiers of ancient Sumerian culture. This paper demonstrates how those tiers influenced modern civilization while offering comparisons between the similarities and differences of the ancient characters to modern day archetypes. Some of ancient Sumerian’s greatest contributions to civilization are exhibited throughout this legendary tale. Sumerian’s are responsible for the creation of the wheel, government, art, mathematics, astronomy, and the first writing system known as cuneiform.

Gilgamesh’s tale presents unique values: The Sumerian people have a strong belief in their gods, having numerous encounters with them on earth. The Sumerian people also have an extremely negative view of the afterlife. This totality belief of the gods and afterlife portray the Sumerian unity as an entire culture and civilization which is not easy to find in today’s world with so much diversity and beliefs. “They believed that when people died, they went to an awful place where the spirits of men ate dust and crawled on their bellies. This place was known as the "house of dust" - and after a years time of ghostly existence, the soul of the deceased would fade away into oblivion.” (http://www.garone.net/tony/backgroundongilga.html , Tony Garone, PG.2)

Importantly, the Sumerians also created the First Pantheon of Gods. Many civilizations (Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Etc.) following the Sumerians made modifications to this system of belief, including alterations in names and powers, however the origination always is credited to this culture. Temples were made in honor for many of these gods and many of those very sacred places exist and/or are created in today’s world for various religions. This civilization just continues to amaze me in its contributions to the development of the human race as we know it. The Sumerian’s values are the very core to what we are today.

In addition, it is astonishing to know that many of the things humans still use today (Such as cars, government, astronomy, mathematics and writing) all derive ancient Sumerian civilization so many years ago, with so much less to use for guidance. Obviously the ways that people lived in the Sumerian culture were substantially different than our current time period (Pertaining to modern 1st and 2nd world countries). Simply put, people didn’t have showers, anti-bacterial soaps, toilets, toothbrushes, prescription drugs, etc. to live a healthier more sanitary lifestyle thus preventing long life spans within the Sumerian civilization. It would be easy to argue that a 3rd world country is very similar to the Sumerian Culture with their lack of so many amenities. In fact, there are still tribes that live deep within the Congo Rain Forest today and they too could be a close representation of the way the Sumerians lived. In a sense, hundreds of years ago, the Sumerians are still ahead of some modern civilizations in technology and civilization attributes. One could even go as far as making a joke with our current economical crisis and basically the recent elimination of the middle class in saying that we aren’t much different in those standards than the time of Kings and peasants. You still had the rich and the poor. Obviously, it is hard to fathom such a general and crazy opinion but when relating the differences between then and now, there are many similarities that can be analyzed.

Gilgamesh teaches us the value and meaning of friendship in a time so long ago and yet people in today’s world can still relate to his…