The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character Samuel Noah Kramer

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This volume was aimed to filled the gaps in Kramer’s previous publications. It contains eight chapters. The first chapter is introductory in character; it sketches briefly the archeological and scholarly efforts which led to the decipherment of the cuneiform script, with special reference to the Sumerians and their language. The second chapter deals with the history of Sumer from the prehistoric days of the fifth millennium to the early second millennium B.C., when the Sumerians ceased to exist as a political entity. It presents the fullest and most detailed treatment of Sumer s political history available to date. The third chapter treats the social, economic, legal, and technological aspects of Sumerian city life. Chapters four and five treat Sumerian religion and literature, the two areas of Sumerian culture to which Kramer devoted almost all his scholarly career. Chapters six and seven, concerned with Sumerian education and character, were writer’s own "favorites." Chapter eight sketches what may be termed the "legacy" of Sumer to the world and its culture. Beginning with a review of the give-and-take between the Sumerians and the other peoples of the ancient Near East, it continues with a summary of some of the more obvious facets of modern life which may go back to Sumerian roots. It concludes with a sketch of a number of theological, ethical, and literary ideas of the Sumerians which seem to have their parallels in the Bible and which point to a far more intimate connection between the ancient Hebrews and Sumerians than has been suspected. Finally, there are the Appendixes, especially prepared for those readers who prefer going to the original sources whenever possible; they include translations of a number of the more important documents utilized in the chapter on history, as well as several miscellaneous items which are of special interest to a book on Sumer and the Sumerians.

  • Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963
  • Pp. xiv + 355; 23 plates, 6 figures, 1 map
  • Out of Print