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The Sumerians were an ancient people who lived in south-eastern Mesopotamia. The Sumerians undertook important early advances in agriculture, the division of labor, and writing. Sumerian civilization is thus widely considered to have been the first great civilization.


Sumerian civilization had a great influence (both direct and indirect) on other important Mesopotamian peoples (the Akkadians, the Babylonians, and the Assyrians). These civilizations in turn influenced the Persian Empire, which influenced the Greco-Macedonian Empire, which influenced the Roman Empire. Thus, the Sumerian civilization had impacts which reverberate to this day.


The Sumerians dwelled mostly in a chain of city-states running along the lower length of the ancient path of the Euphrates River[1]. This homeland is referred to by modern scholarship as Sumer or Sumeria.


Sumerian culture is thought to extend back at least to the 54th century BC, in the "Ubaid" period of Mesopotamian prehistory.

  1. The path of the Euphrates has changed considerably since ancient times. The river also has become extended at its lower end.