From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Sumer [1]

In the Old Testament, Sumer is the territory referred to as Shinar ( Genesis 10:10 ) or Chaldea ( Jeremiah 50:10 ). See Shinar.

Archaeologists believe the inhabitants of ancient Sumer developed humanity's first high civilization about 3000 B.C. Perhaps the most important Sumerian contribution to civilization was the invention of cuneiform writing, a wedge-shaped script formed by pressing a reed stylus into wet clay tablets, which were later dried, baked, and stored in libraries. The Babylonians and other surrounding peoples adapted the cuneiform script to their own languages so that for centuries, cuneiform was the dominant mode of writing in ancient Mesopotamia. Most Sumerian tablets contain economic and administrative records, but others include mythology, history, hymns, wisdom texts, law, and much more. Of special interest to biblical scholars are: the law code of Ur-nammu, the Sumerian king list, the flood story of Zuisudra, the paradise myth of Enki and Ninhursag, early forms of the Gilgamesh epic, and the descent of Inanna to the underworld.

Originally, Sumer consisted of a number of city-states, each with its own protective god. Political power was held by the free citizens of the city and a governor, called ensi. As the city-states vied with one another for power and as pressures from outside invaders increased, the institution of kingship emerged, whereby the ruler of one city-state dominated others.

About 2100 B.C., Sumer was conquered by invading tribesmen from the west and north. A mighty warrior named Sargon (later known as Sargon I, Sargon the Great, and Sargon of Akkad), conquered this area and extended his empire from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. He founded a new capital city, Agade, which was, for more than half a century, the richest and most powerful capital in the world.

Sumer enjoyed a brief revival at Ur (about 2050 B.C.) only to decline before the rise of the Elamites, a people to their east. Finally, in about 1720 B.C., Hammurabi of Babylon united Sumer (the southern division of ancient Babylon) into one empire. This conquest by Hammurabi marked the end of ancient Sumer, but the cultural and intellectual impact of the Sumerians continued until after the Persians became the dominant force in this part of the ancient world.

Rich Murrell