Ancient Sumerian literature refers to a collection of texts that were written in the Sumerian language between the 3rd and 1st millennia BCE This literature includes Sumerian creation myths, stories about ancient kings and gods, hymns of praise for the gods, and some incantations and laments. It also includes the earliest examples of written law, mathematical and astronomical texts, as well as some medical texts. This ancient literature has provided great insights into the beliefs and lifestyles of those who lived in Sumer thousands of years ago, and is still studied and analyzed today.
Below are five examples of Ancient Sumerian literature which provide excellent opportunities for analyses:
1. The Epic of Gilgamesh is arguably the most famous and well-known Sumerian literary work. It tells the story of a man's search for immortality and introduces characters such as Utnapishtim, the immortal man, and Enkidu, Gilgamesh's companion. Through its characters and plot, the Epic of Gilgamesh provides insight into the values of ancient Sumerian culture, such as strength, courage, and friendship.
2. The Sumerian King List is an ancient document that records the reigns of rulers over Sumerian cities and dynasties. This document provides an excellent resource for understanding the political, social, and economic structure of the Ancient Sumerian civilization.
3. The Sumerian Creation Epic is another well-known work of literature that provides insight into the religious beliefs of the Ancient Sumerians. It features gods such as An and Enlil, and tells the story of their struggle to create the world.
4. The Sumerian Lamentation Texts are a collection of songs and poems that lament the destruction of the Sumerian city of Ur. Through these texts, we can learn about the political turmoil of the time and the sorrow of those affected by the destruction of their city.
5. The Sumerian Instruction Texts, also known as Wisdom Literature, provide insight into the moral values of the Ancient Sumerians. These texts were written for the purpose of providing advice, instruction, and guidance to those in power, and are a great source of insight into the values of the people at the time.
These five examples of Ancient Sumerian literature each provide unique and interesting opportunities for analysis. From the Epic of Gilgamesh, we can learn about the values of Ancient Sumerian culture, while from the King List, we can learn about the political structure of the civilization. The Creation Epic tells us about the religious beliefs of the time, while the Lamentation Texts provide insight into the political turmoil of the period. Finally, the Instruction Texts are a great source of understanding the morals and values of Ancient Sumerian people. All these works offer an invaluable resource for furthering our understanding of this ancient civilization.