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littlekori's avatar

How did the Sumerian and Babylonian cultures influence eachother?

Asked by littlekori (676points) December 1st, 2010

How did these two cultures influence each other? This can include religion, social structure, agriculture, government, and art of music.
Does anyone know of anything?

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19 Answers

Qingu's avatar

The Babylonians were later than the Sumerians. iirc, the Sumerians got conquered by the Akkadians, and then the Akkadians evolved into the Babylonians. Sumerians used cuneiform as a written language; the Akkadians spoke a Semitic language (like Hebrew or Aramaic but different from Sumerian); cuneiform script and Akkadian language blended together and that’s what the Babylonians used.

Also, these were cultures spanning like 1,000 years and large areas, so there are going to be a lot of differences. The religions are similar in broad strokes—the Hebrews’ religion also fits into this mold. The Babylonians apparently preserved and adapted Sumerian myths, especially the Epic of Gilgamesh and the flood story within it.

They all believed in astrology, that the world had a certain shape (flat with a solid-dome sky), and thought the gods lived in the sky, but the head god changed. For a while the head god was Enlil, but the Babylonians around 1400 BC changed the head god to Marduk. (The Hebrews, in turn, changed it to their god, Yahweh).

tedd's avatar

hellllooooooo homework

littlekori's avatar

okay. well then do you know any good sites to read this stuff, tedd?

tedd's avatar

@littlekori Well the old classic is just plain old Wikipedia. To get the direct comparisons though you’ll have to read both articles, probably in depth, and possibly side articles it has on there.

Assuming this is homework, I’m going to go ahead and guess the best place to get the info you want is from whatever assigned materials you have.

littlekori's avatar

yeah, cant use wikipedia, and we have to list our sources.

tedd's avatar

@littlekori Sigh…. wikipedia links you to outside sources.

littlekori's avatar

well our teachers say that it is an unreliable source

crazyivan's avatar

@littlekori I disagree with your teacher. Wikipedia is usually as reliable as your average peer-reviewed journal and almost always more accurate than a text book. But I digress:

The Sumerian culture was one of the most fascinating periods in human history and any research you do will be well rewarded. The Babylonians essentially conquered the Sumerian civilization, but they were so impressed by what they’d accomplished that they more or less based their future civilization on the Sumerians. Most Babylonian gods can be traced directly to their Sumerian counterparts.

I could load you up with details (I’m passionately interested in Sumerian culture) but I’m guessing that if your prof won’t take wikipedia as a source he sure the hell isn’t going to accept “some dude on Fluther”.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Bollocks to “wikipedia is an unreliable source”: that’s just snobbery.

Like any encyclopaedia, it’s a great starting point for research into a topic you know little about.

simone54's avatar

You can’t use wikipedia but it’s okay to come on here?

fundevogel's avatar

@crazyivan ‘I’m guessing that if your prof won’t take wikipedia as a source he sure the hell isn’t going to accept “some dude on Fluther”.’

That’s what I was thinking. When I was in high school the teachers often forbid us from using internet sources. There was admittedly a lot less there back then but I think they were mostly afraid if we could rely on the internet we would wait until the last minute. With books at least you have to budget time enough to take library hours into account.

bkcunningham1's avatar

Wikipedia has some value in leading you to a source for a citation. Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source in and of itself. It is too incomplete and untrustworthy. Use the bibliographies in Wikipedia as a jumping off point to get more complete research material. It is important to learn about quality information, not just convenient information.

wundayatta's avatar

Your teachers are just plain wrong about Wikipedia. I’ve heard that is much more reliable than printed publications. It can respond almost instantly to changes in information. There are many, many reviewers of all the material. It’s hard to imagine how a printed publication could stay current, or as well reviewed. Also, I believe a large portion of the contributers have serious amounts of education.

But I don’t expect you to take on your teachers. As others have said, every entry has multiple references. Just click through on the reference to find the underlying material. Then you can quote that, too.

the100thmonkey's avatar

As I understand it, secondary sources are acceoptable as long as there’s a papertrail back to the primary sources they are based on.

This is why Wikipedia is no better or worse than any encyclopaedia – a good article is linked to its sources in a rigorous manner. A bad article isn’t, but is usually flagged as such.

I think the reason that academia frowns on it is that it does academia better, in some ways than academia. cue shitstorm. This is also its weakness. However, the mainstream topics related to academic inquiries are, from my experience, very good introductions to the subject written in plain English.

Anyway, don’t quote Wikipedia verbatim – don’t use any encyclopaedia this way. Go for the links – they’re usually publicly accessible papers written by eminent figures in the field. I suspect that the Sumerian/Babylonian/Akkadian links on the Wikipedia will be very useful.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think academia frowns on it. At least, not so much where I work. People are coming to have an appreciation that kids just find better information with Wikipedia. Wikipedia can help kids learn, in part because it is so easy, unlike using card catalogs that many professors had to use in their youth. Using a card catalog and wandering around in the stacks? I don’t miss it one bit. But then, I always was lazy. But laziness has taken me far. Go figure.

All we have to do is teach the proper use of Wikipedia. Wait a minute? Is that any different from teaching students the proper use of any other source? The weird thing is that student still try to plagiarize when, due to the internet, it is trivially easy to catch them. Pretty stupid when you think that due to the Internet, it is trivially easy to find the information that will allow you to do some original thinking. Aaaaaagh!

fundevogel's avatar

@wundayatta “Using a card catalog and wandering around in the stacks? I don’t miss it one bit.”

Funny, I never had to use a card catalog, but wandering the stacks fills me with the sort of wonder you’re suppose to get in church. Never did get it in church.

crazyivan's avatar

I do miss the smell of the library shelf. I’m really stoked that this thread morphed into support for wikipedia. Good luck with that whole Sumerian thing, @littlekori!

littlekori's avatar

well I have never though that there was anything wrong with wikipedia and I still use it anyways, but our schools here have a big problem with it, and there is nothing we can do to really change it. haha.

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