Writing was first invented in Sumer about 5200 years ago with the use of pictograms, then it evolved into logograms, and finally to cuneiform a few hundred years later.
Ancient Greece and Roman Empire are fairly recent compared to Sumer civilization.
Writing is not all that Sumerians invented. Math, banking and finance, mythology, astronomy, firsts in architecture and engineering, astrology, state, democracy, the first schools, written songs, musical instruments and the first existential myth Bilgemesh (Gilgamesh) are among many other Sumer firsts.
They built the first city in the world, Eridu, located in Iraq.
The first revolution in history was done in Sumer, which set slaves free. In fact, the Sumerian word 'ama-gi', return to motherland, is a result of Ur Kagan's (Urukagina) reform.
The first legal code in history (code of Urukagina in 2400 BC) and then a more detailed code, the first extant law code (Ur Nammu in 2000 BC) are all Sumerian firsts.
24 hours in a day (updated by the Ancient Greeks from Sumer 12 hours/day), 60 minutes in an hour, and 360 degrees in a circle are all Sumerian conventions resulting from the sexagesimal (base 60) number system they used instead of the decimal system (base 10) we use in most everything else today.
Thinking that we use time and degree conventions invented by the Sumerians some 5000 years ago is fascinating, and certainly this is only a small, partial list of Sumer inheritance within our modern civilization. This is proof that history affects us deeply, even when we know nothing about it.
Apparently they were also fun loving people. They brewed the first beer made of barley and thanked beer God Ninkasi with a Hymn!
Even the concept of bullfighting is a Sumerian first, as mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh (Bilgemesh)!
The more people from different fields such as engineers, architects, and doctors dig into Sumerian civilization, the more they find out Sumerian influence in our modern life. First arches and canals, solar design in buildings, and the first pharmaceutical drugs are among many of their inventions.
They were the first advanced civilization on earth and many of their inventions are still in use!
Let us not forget that their civilization lasted around 2000 years, the longest of ancient civilizations and their language was still in use by scholars 2000 years after Sumerian civilization "ended".
Yet today almost no one knows about Sumerians nor their inventions 160 years after their discovery! This civilization is hardly mentioned anywhere!
Sumerians have largely influenced or founded ancient Egyptian, Akkadian/Babylonian, Greek, Roman and Indus civilizations.
(See an overview of some major Sumerian Inventions including astrology and astronomy, concept of time, map, plow, farming and irrigation by Joan Shelby)
Sumerian is the first known language! Anthropologists, linguists and scientists from different fields work on understanding how and when humans developed language capability. It's unfortunate that they do not analyze Sumerian language.
Sumerian language has influenced (is related to) almost all languages of the world!
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