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COMPARING CULTURES SUMERIAN AND AMERICAN By Sarah Brase INTERDICTION Is Mesopotamia a civilization? They need a stable food supply, a complex social structure, a government system, a religious system, and a highly developed arts, technology and a written language. Do they have these things to make a civilization? Read to find out. WRITING There are many reasons why Sumerian and American writing are the same and different. The similarities are that we both have characters (letters in English) used to form words and sentences in a highly developed written language. The differences are that they had up to 2000 symbols (pictographs), reduced to 700, to represent words and letters. In the English language we have only 26 letters used to make words. The Sumerians used pictographs to represent real objects. Cuniform is the writing of the Sumerians written by scribes using a stylus on wet clay. These are some similarities and differences of writing in American and Sumerian culture. SOCIAL STRUCTURE There are many reasons why American and Sumerian culture are alike and different in social structure. Some similarities are that we both have different jobs and social levels. For example the Sumerians had metal workers , farmers and fisherman and we have people who work in factories, farmers and fisherman expect ours are more advanced. They had people who were rich and people who were poor. Rich people like priests, land owners, and government officials. The common class included farmers and fisherman. In the American culture we have different classes, but sometimes it is not as easy to tell the rich from the poor. For example people in the middle class all seem about the same, but the people from the upper class and lower class are easier to tell apart. These are some of the social structure similarities and differences. RELIGION There are many similarities and differences between Sumerian and American religion. We both have a God except the Sumerians have multiple gods. We both have places to worship. The Sumerians called their places of worship temples or ziggurats. Ziggurats are large towers that could be seen from 20 miles away. The Sumerians believed their gods lived in the ziggurats so they would make stairs so their gods could climb down to earth. American Christian religion believes in one God. He saved us from our sins by dying on the cross. We have churches where we worship but no fancy towers for God to climb down to earth. These are some of the religion similarities and differences. GOVERNMENT There are many similarities and differences between Sumerian and American government. All civilizations have a system of government to direct peoples behavior. In Sumerian culture they believed Kings were chosen by the gods. In American culture we elect a president by voting. In Sumerian culture the king would lead the city state army which was a very important job to the king and the entire kingdom. The president leads the US military. In Sumerian culture they fought over land because land was very important to the Sumerians. In American culture sometimes we still fight over land but lots of times it is to keep world peace. ARTS/CULTURE There are many similarities and differences between Sumerian and American arts and culture. The Sumerians had practiced many arts some of the ways are painting , music and architecture. The metal workers and carpenters made the ziggurats for the gods. The Sumerians painted pictures of their gods on the front gates of their city state. The Sumerians loved music because they thought it pleased their gods. They played the lyre in the ziggurat daily to enjoy gifts from their gods. Americans also enjoy painting, music and architecture. In our culture painting is done for a lot of different reasons, for religion, for fun, for jobs, for decoration, and for art class at school. Music is played not just for gods but enjoyment , for music class and people who TECHNOLOGY There are many similarities and differences between Sumerian and American technology. The Sumerians had lots of tools. They made basic tools like hammers and screwdrivers but they also made the pottery wheel. They used basic tools for building. They made pottery for decoration and for eating and drinking. In American culture we also have lots of basic tools but our technology is more advanced. Today we have computers, Ipads, and Kindle Fires. In American culture we use pottery but we also have glass, plastic , paper and Styrofoam for plates and dishes. SUMMARY Was Mesopotamia a civilization? They had a stable food supply, a complex social structure, a government system, a religious system, and a highly developed arts , technology and written language. For these reasons the Sumerians were 1 of the first civilizations. They lasted up to 1500 years!!! America is still a living civilization today, and I hope that it will stay that way for millions of years.