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DeclineEdit

Eventually, however, like so many civilisations, the orderly existence of Sumer was soon to come to an end.

The biggest factor in the fall of Sumer, established around the 4th millennium BC was the extreme drought at about 2200 BC, that lasted between two and three hundred years. A fairly recent archaeological study in present-day Syria concluded that around the same time, 74% of settlements had been abandoned while the population was estimated to have shrunk by 93%. 

But the fabled Sumerian civilization, which gave the world such important firsts in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, writing, and so many others, had poor chances of survival from the beginning. Being the first civilization, there was no role model to follow in managing a large number of communities who were fighting with each other. The only source of order at the time was a temple for worship of the 2000 or so gods and goddesses. The priests of the temple were more concerned with collecting tribute for the gods than the constant warfare among the communities, and so never set up an army to maintain order. But each community had its own army, and strife prevented coming together to form a lasting nation. Even so, there was enough stability to allow the development of those firsts in culture, which led the way for subsequent civilizations.

A heavy blow to Sumer was the neighboring Akkadian empire, which had a army and a thirst for conquest. The Akkadians however didn't last long, and by 2000BCE, the empire split into two different polities: Assyria, which came to dominate the northern half of Mesopotamia from Nineveh (near present-day Mosul) and Babylon, whose influence spanned from its eponymous city all the way down to the old Sumerian lands. Soon after, the Sumerian language was replaced by Akkadian, and written cuneiform continued to be in use until about the 1st century A.D. but — as with Latin — the spoken language was considered extinct long before the writing system faded away. The last Sumerians were absorbed into the population, and Sumer became history.

ReferencesEdit

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