In Sumerian society there was slavery, but the number of slaves was small. Groups of nomads from the Syrian desert known as the Acadians dominated Sumerian city-states around 2300 BC.
The peoples of Sumer also excelled in metalwork, gemstone cutting and sculpture. The characteristic construction of this people is the ziggurat, then copied by the succeeding peoples in the region. It was a pyramid-shaped tower, made up of successive terraces and topped by a small temple.
The Sumerians were polytheistic and made the worship of the gods one of the main activities to perform in life. When they interrupted their prayers, they left stone statuettes before the altars to pray in their name.
Inside the temples were workshops for craftsmen whose products contributed to the prosperity of Sumer.
The Sumerians also deserve mention because they were the first to build wheeled vehicles. The Sumerian cities were autonomous, that is, each had an independent government. Only around 2330 BC, these cities were unified.
The unification process took place under the command of King Sargon I of the city of Acad. Thus arose the first empire of the region.
The empire built by the Acades did not last long. A little over a hundred years later, it was destroyed by enemy peoples.
The Babylonians (1900 BC - 1600 BC)
The Babylonians settled north of the Sumerian occupied region and gradually conquered several cities of the Mesopotamian region. In this process stood out King Hammurabi, who by 1750 BC had conquered all of Mesopotamia, forming an empire with capital in the city of Babylon.
Hammurabi imposed on all dominated peoples the same administration. Its legislation, based on the principle of talion (eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, arm for arm, etc.) became famous. The Hammurabi Code, as it became known, is one of the oldest written sets of laws in history. Hammurabi developed this set of laws in order to organize and control society. According to the Code, every criminal should be punished in a manner commensurate with the offense committed.
The Babylonians also developed a rich and accurate calendar, the main purpose of which was to learn more about the floods of the Euphrates River and also to obtain better conditions for the development of agriculture. Excellent observers of the stars and with great knowledge of astronomy have developed a precise sundial.
In addition to Hammurabi, another emperor who became known for his administration was Nebuchadnezzar, responsible for building the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which he made to satisfy his wife, and the Tower of Babel. Under his command, the Babylonians conquered the Hebrew people and the city of Jerusalem.
Hanging Gardens of Babylon
After Hamurabi's death, the Babylonian empire was invaded and occupied by people from the north and east.