A journey back in time – Sumerian civilization

We are in circa 4000 BCE. About 6000 years back in time. Far calmer than today. Business as usual though.

We are located in the fertile plains of Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). A way more greener than today. The crystal water from Euphrates and Tigris have transformed the region into an oasis.

A couple of hundreds of families inhabit in the place named Eridu. 1 of the major towns in the region. Around 65 kms away from Uruk, the metro city of its time with thousands of inhabitants.

Agriculture is the main occupation apart from fishing. Wheat and barley crops are cultivated. Barter system exists. Copper utensils, clay sculptures, domesticated animals and agricultural produce are traded big time. The trading is not just limited to Eridu but extended to other settlements like Ur, Lagash, Uruk, Kish, etc.

There is no currency however, the trading between the parties is captured on clay tablets called cuneiform. This serves as a proof when credit with respect of goods is dispensed.

Eridu has a big complex where the god reside. This complex called ziggurat is a multi level temple and it is an architectural masterpiece of the settlement. Just like Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The temple is used for communal activities to please the god. Regular offerings are made to please the god. A separate storage area is available to store the agricultural produce.

Each settlement has a unique god to please. For Eridu, its Enki (Ea). The lord of the sweet waters.

The society is divided mainly into 4 classes. The priests generally form the elite class, followed by officials, craftsman and peasants.

Eridu also has its own mystic hero who stopped the wind from blowing for 7 days. He is the fisherman who refused the gift of immortality. His name is Adapa. He is a household name. His name is used to ward off evil spirits.

The lofty ziggurat today looks nothing more than a pile of rubble. Time annihilates it all. The settlements lost under the dunes. The area dry, barren and arid.

We have come a long way since Sumer. Today, we can instantly communicate over WhatsApp, transport in self driving cars or trains, pay for everything by simply tapping a card and eat canned food without worrying about the details. Life has come a long way. On the flip side, we are in the time where the suicide rates are the highest. Work pressure is the highest. Relationships are name sake. Millions of people can be exterminated instantly using a nuclear weapon. Human greed has no bounds. Use of sleeping pills and drugs is off the charts.

How should we measure progress? Worthy of a thought. Time is unforgiving. Todays grandiose will be a relic of the past tomorrow.

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