What Was It Like to Live in the Ancient Civilization of Sumer?

Living in the ancient civilization of Sumer was an experience that is difficult to imagine today. The Sumerians were one of the earliest civilizations in human history and lived in Mesopotamia, which is modern-day Iraq.

They lived between 4000 and 2000 BCE and are credited with many inventions, including the wheel, the plow, and writing. In this article, we will explore what it was like to live in the ancient civilization of Sumer.

The Environment

The Sumerians lived in a region that was mostly desert-like with little rainfall. However, they were able to irrigate their crops using water from the nearby rivers such as the Tigris and Euphrates. The fertile land allowed them to grow crops like barley, wheat, and dates.

The City-States

The Sumerian civilization was divided into several city-states. Each city-state had its own ruler and government.

Some of the most prominent city-states were Ur, Uruk, Lagash, and Nippur. These cities were centers of trade and commerce.

The Society

The Sumerian society was divided into different classes with priests at the top followed by nobles, commoners, and slaves. The priests were responsible for conducting religious ceremonies and interpreting omens. The nobles were wealthy landowners who controlled much of the land while commoners worked as laborers or artisans.


Religion played a significant role in Sumerian society. They believed in a pantheon of gods who controlled every aspect of life on earth. Each city-state had its own patron god or goddess that they worshipped.


The Sumerians are credited with inventing one of the earliest forms of writing called cuneiform. Cuneiform involved making marks on clay tablets using a stylus made from reeds. This form of writing was used to keep records, write letters, and keep track of trade.


The Sumerians were skilled architects and built many impressive structures such as ziggurats (temple towers) and palaces. These structures were made from mud bricks and decorated with intricate carvings.


Living in the ancient civilization of Sumer was a unique experience. The Sumerians were one of the earliest civilizations in human history and made significant contributions to human progress.

Their inventions, such as writing and the wheel, have had a lasting impact on human civilization. Although their way of life may seem foreign to us today, it is important to remember that they were an advanced society with their own culture, beliefs, and customs.