Chapter 5 and 6 Summaries for HST 100 Ancient Summarians

The first political congress met about 3000 B. C. It had two groups of people. One was the group of elders and wise men and the other was a group of warrior male citizens. There was, obviously, still the king of the city that had the final and absolute say in what was going to happen. In this record, the groups were trying to decide between peace with persecution or war and independence. The elders first said that they should try to maintain peace, but the king vetoed that decision and decided, along with the warrior class, that they should go to war.

The Sumerians took the first steps towards reducing the power of the kings by the use of a political assembly. The story above is a summary of the fight between the Kish and Erech city-states. Gilgamesh, the king of Erech, goes before his assembly of people and asks whether they should surrender to Kish or go to war. The elders suggest that they surrender to avoid needless bloodshed. But Gilgamesh doesn’t like that idea so he goes before his warriors and asks them what they should do. They decide to go to war and Gilgamesh approves.

Next, Kish launches a surprise attack on Erech and somehow Gilgamesh manages to convince Kish not to attack them anymore. Thus, we learn some interesting facts about the political assembly but many facts still remain unanswered. History is the study of change in a certain culture or group of people. The Sumerian never had any written histories because they thought that nothing ever changed. Therefore, they saw no reason to write down events. Sumerians were at a significant disadvantage because they had yet to discover the psychological tools of definition and generalization.

Without these seemingly elementary skills, most of the fields of study were incomplete. Linguistics has many grammatical lists but not a single grammatical rule or definition. In mathematics, there were many tables, problems, and solutions but there were no general principles or theorems. The Sumerians invented many different forms of written language such as epics, myths, and hymns. Through these writings, we can piece together the only historical information we know about the Sumerians.


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