political history of the Sumerian people or the nature of their social and The first chapter is introductory in character; it sketches briefly the archeological and two areas of Sumerian culture to which I have devoted almost all my scholarly. [] [pubterms] The Sumerians: Their History, Culture , and Character I. J. Gelb. book cover. Download Terms of Use. This volume. Read The Sumerians PDF - Their History, Culture, and Character by Samuel Noah Kramer Univ of Chicago Pr | The Sumerians: The history.

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Nels Bailkey; The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. By Samuel The American Historical Review, Volume 69, Issue 1, October , Pages 92– 93, This content is only available as a PDF. The Sumerians. Their history, culture, and character. Samuel Noah Kramer. The first page of the PDF of this article appears above. Science: (). cuneiform tablets proves that the Sumerian god Dumuzi (the Biblical Tammuz) “ stays dead.” It is a king The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character.

In particular, they brought their consonantal alphabetic system to Greece, perhaps as early as, or even before BC. The Greeks perfected the Semitic alphabet by adding letters for vowels—speech sounds in the articulation of which the breath channel is not blocked, like a, e, i, o, u. As a result the letter Greek alphabet improved the transcription of the spoken word, since all sounds were indicated.

The alphabet did not subsequently undergo any fundamental change. The Latin alphabet used in the western world is the direct descendant of the Etruscan alphabet Bonfante The Etruscans, who occupied the present province of Tuscany in Italy, adopted the Greek alphabet, slightly modifying the shape of letters.

The alphabet followed the Roman armies. All the nations that fell under the rule of the Roman Empire became literate in the first centuries of our era. Charlemagne AD had a profound influence on the development of the Latin script by establishing standards.

In particular a clear and legible minuscule cursive script was devised, from which our modern day lower case derives. The printing press invented in dramatically multiplied the dissemination of texts, introducing a new regularity in lettering and layout. The Internet catapults the alphabet into cyberspace, while preserving its integrity 6. Writing: Handling Data in Abstraction Beyond the formal and structural changes undergone by writing in the course of millennia, its evolution also involved strides in the ability to handle data in abstraction.

At the first stage, the token system antecedent of writing, already abstracted information in several ways. First, it translated daily-life commodities into arbitrary, often geometric forms. Second, the counters abstracted the items counted from their context. For example, sheep could be accounted independently of their actual location. Third, the token system separated the data from the knower.

That is to say, a group of tokens communicated directly specific information to anyone initiated in the system. This was a significant change for an oral society, where knowledge was transmitted by word of mouth from one individual to another, face to face. Otherwise, the token system represented plurality concretely, in one-to-one correspondence. Three jars of oil were shown by three tokens, as it is in reality.

At the same time, the fact that the token system used specific counters to count different items was concrete—it did not abstract the notion of item counted from that of number. Certain English numerical expressions referring to particular sets, such as twin, triplet, quadruplet and duo, trio or quartet, are comparable to concrete numbers.

When tokens were impressed on the envelopes to indicate the counters enclosed inside, the resulting markings could no longer be manipulated by hand. In other words, the transmutation of three-dimensional counters into two-dimensional signs constituted a second step in abstraction.

By doing away with tokens, the clay tablets marked a third level of abstraction since the impressed markings no longer replicated a set of actual counters. The invention of numerals, which separated the notion of numerosity from that of the item counted, was a crucial fourth step in abstraction.

The signs expressing the concept of oneness, twoness, etc.

[PDF Download] The Sumerians: Their History Culture and Character (Phoenix Books) Free Download

In turn, the phonetic units marked a fifth step of abstraction, since the signs no longer referred to the objects pictured, but rather the sound of the word they evoked. Phonetics allowed writing to shift from a representational to a conceptual linguistic system.

That is to say it enabled writing to leave the realm of real goods in order to enter the world of words and the ideas they stand for. Finally, the process that started with ideograms expressing concepts and phonetic signs referring to the sound of monosyllabic words reached the ultimate segmentation of meaning with letters. As Marshall McLuhan defined it, the alphabet consists of semantically meaningless letters corresponding to semantically meaningless sounds.

The alphabet brought data handling to a final double-stepped abstraction. Conclusion: The Stability of Writing Systems The origin of the Chinese script and the development of Mesoamerican writing are still obscure. The Mesopotamian script, however, offers a well-documented evolution over a continuous period of 10, years.

The system underwent drastic changes in form, gradually transcribed spoken language more accurately, and handled data in more abstract terms. The most striking universal feature of all writing systems, however, is their uncanny endurance, unmatched among human creations.

The Chinese script never needed to be deciphered because the signs have changed little during the years of its recorded existence Xigui It also always remained ideographic, merely inserting rebus-like phonetic complements in some characters. The Mesoamerican Maya phonetic glyphs preserved the symbolism initiated by the Olmecs in the previous millennium Coe and Van Stone Finally, when the last clay tablet was written in the Near East, c.

It replaced an age-old token system that had preceded it for over years; it was replaced by the alphabet, which we have now used for years. References Bagley, R. Anyang writing and the Origin of the Chinese writing system. Houston Ed. The First Writing pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Baines, J. Visual and Written culture in Ancient Egypt.

Black, J.

Bennet, S. Houston eds. The Disappearance of Writing Systems pp. London: Equinox.

Bonfante, G. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Coe, M. Malafouris L, Grasping the concept of number: How did the sapient mind move beyond approximation, in: I. Renfrew eds. Mesoamerican Writing Systems. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Moos, M. Amsterdam:Overseas Publishers Association. Nissen, H. From Mesopotamia to Iraq. Parpola, A. Powell, B. Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization. London: Wiley Blackwell. Rogers, H. Writing Systems, A Linguistic Approach. London: Blackwell. Salomon, R. Some Principles and Patterns of Script Change. Houston ed. The Shape of Script. Sass, B. Schmandt-Besserat, D. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. How Writing Came About.

Before Writing. Xigui, Q. Glossary Abstraction: Consider the property of an item dissociated from any specific instance. Abstract counting: When numbers are considered separately from the items counted.

Alphabet: A writing system based on a set of letters, each standing for a single spoken sound. Concrete counting: the use of different sets of numbers to count different set of items.

Cuneiform: The writing system developed in Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC.

The script was written with a triangular stylus, which gave the stroke their characteristic angular shape. Logography: a sign refers to one word. Numeral: a sign to write a number.

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Paul Kriwaczek. Sumerian Mythology Illustrated. Samuel Noah Kramer.

The Invention of the City. Gwendolyn Leick. The Sumerians: Hourly History. Product details File Size: University of Chicago Press; Revised ed. September 17, Sold by: English ASIN: Enabled X-Ray: Not Enabled. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review.

Customer images. See all customer images. Read reviews that mention samuel noah noah kramer years ago dated back interesting book read for anyone highly recommend great work sumerian culture source of information anyone interested must read well worth reading the book life in the sumerian ancient sumerians tablets found ancient mesopotamia great book ancient sumer.

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Paperback Verified download. The ancient Sumerians, particularly prior to the unification of the Sumerian city-states by Sargon of Akkad and the rise of the Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian empires, are a fascinating people to study for their wholly pragmatic and spiritual worldviews. In many ways their contributions represent the birth of civilization, yet the scholarship on them is all over the place in terms of quality.

Kramer does an excellent job of examining the primary source evidence, having done a wealth of original research himself, and providing evidence-based analyses of Sumerian cultural achievements, particularly in the areas of language, medicine, and education.

The lack of postmodern trash academic gobbledygook jargon is also refreshing.

Kramer has an incredible eye for and love of detail, which is both a strength and a weakness in the prose. When the details he uses to support his analyses are themselves interesting, the work is at its greatest value. However, when he includes details on a topic just for the sake of including them, such as in his historiographical treatment of Sumerian archaeological, linguistic, and historical scholarship going back several centuries, one's mind starts to wander. You can pretty much skip that whole section at the beginning of the book unless you're really, really, really interested in every major and minor contribution made by every academic on Sumerian scholarship.

I recommend this work for anyone interested in learning more about these ancient peoples, from ancient history neophytes to the well-read. Still THE reference to learn about the Sumerians.

Complete, well written, informative, captivating. site Edition Verified download. Do you want to read a few hundred pages of a pompous archeologist from the early 20th century rambling about how great other archeologists are? Do you want an understanding of the history of the Near East that was current when JFK was president? Do you want a lot of uncomfortable racial undertones. Then this is the book for you! Otherwise don't bother. Two stars for at least being well researched, if 50 years out of date.

By Niam Shah and Aneesh Kashalikar

I've always been interested in the Sumerian culture, and this book contains a wealth of information about the Sumerians. It provides a detailed account of the discovery of the Sumerian culture, as well as details of the archaeological digs in which Sumerian artifacts have been found. Luckily for us, the Sumerians left quite a bit of writing behind, which leaves evidence of their religion, culture, daily practices, and knowledge of the world.

The author is obviously a very intelligent man who has personal experience in Sumerian archaeology, so his accounts are from his own knowledge and not just random research.

His writing is somewhat academic, and while I as a lay reader have found the book interesting and understandable, it may turn some casual readers off. A great read for anyone who is seeking to learn about the ancient Sumerians.

Written by one of the first archaeologists to dig in what was once Sumer. This tells you more about The Sumerians than you ever thought was known. This was state of the art Middle East History in the s.

The Sumerians : their history, culture, and character

There are many new findings and upgrades to the information now. However, this volume is reliable for much about ancient Sumeria, Babylonia, Assyria, and points inbetween.

See all 91 reviews.Article activity alert. Glossary Abstraction: Consider the property of an item dissociated from any specific instance. Kramer has an incredible eye for and love of detail, which is both a strength and a weakness in the prose. On the other hand it is quite as obvious that for the history of the progress of our civilization as we see and know it today, it is the tone and temper, the word and spirit of the ancient mythologies, those of the Greeks and Hebrews, of the Hindus and Iranians, of the Babylonians and Egyptians, which are of prime significance.

The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character

The signs expressing the concept of oneness, twoness, etc. As Marshall McLuhan defined it, the alphabet consists of semantically meaningless letters corresponding to semantically meaningless sounds. Sumerians cherished and valued goodness and truth, law and order, justice and freedom, wisdom and learning, courage and loyalty.

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See my other articles. I have always been a very creative person and find it relaxing to indulge in nail art. I do relish studying docunments lazily .