Chapter 2 – The Sudden Civilization

Mr. Sitchin on the Rosetta Stone….

…When Napoleon arrived in Egypt in 1799, he took with him scholars to study and explain these monuments (pyramids, temple-cities half buried in the sands, guarded by strange stone beasts called sphinxes). One of his officers found near Rosetta a stone slab on which was carved a proclamation from 196 B.C. written in the ancient Egyptian pictographic writing (hieroglyphic) as well as in two other scripts.

…The decipherment of the ancient Egyptian script and language, and the archaeological efforts that followed, revealed to Western man that a high civilization had existed in Egypt well before the advent of the Greek civilization. Egyptian records spoke of royal dynasties that began circa 3100 B.C. – two full millennia before the beginning of Hellenic civilizations. Reaching its maturity in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. Greece was a late comer rather than an originator.

…Was the origin of our civilization, then, in Egypt?

Image: Luigi Mayer

A Capture of a village near Rosetta, by Luigi Mayer.

Mr. Sitchin answers this question within his book;

…One of the greatest finds of Akkadian texts were the ruins of a library assembled in Nineveh by Ashurbanipal; Layard and his colleagues carted away from the site 25,000 tablets, many of which were described by the ancient scribes as copies of “olden texts”. A group of twenty tablets ended with the statement: “23rd tablet: language of Shumer not changed…..

…Except for mispronouncing the name – it should have been Shumer, not Sumer – Oppert was right (January 1869 Jules Oppert). Sumer was not a mysterious, distant land, but the early name for southern Mesopotamia, just as the book of Genesis had clearly stated: The royal cities of Babylon and Akkad and Erech were in “the Land of Shin’ar.” (Shinar was the biblical name for Shumer).

…The first significant excavation of a Sumerian site was begun in 1877 by French archaeologists and the finds from this single site were so extensive that others continued to dig there until 1933 without completing the job.

Mr. Sitchin dedicates extensive research on the subsequent findings, and has included graphics of seals, cuneiform writings, clay tablets, and pictures in his book. These speak of the rulers of Sumer and their customs as a civilization;

…As masterful as even the first Sumerian temples were, they represent but the tip of the iceberg of the scope and richness of the material achievements of the first great civilization known to Man.

The Sumerians invented writing and printing, the forerunner of our rotary presses, the cylinder seal.

More than with the divine and spiritual they concerned themselves with crops, measuring fields, calculating prices. They had a parallel system of mathematics. They invented the kiln. They achieved textile and clothing industries. They were well achieved in agriculture. Their culinary art was admirable. Mr. Sitchin:

…Cereals were turned into flour, to produce leavened and unleavened breads, porridge, pastries, cakes, and biscuits. Barley was also fermented to produce beer. Wine was obtained from grapes and date palms. Milk was available from sheep, goats, and cows, it was used as beverage, for cooking and for converting into yogurt, butter, cream and cheeses. Fish was a common part of the diet. Mutton was readily available and the meat of pigs was considered a delicacy.

Mr. Sitchin:

…Our admiration for the Sumerian culinary art certainly grows as we come across poems that sing the praises of fine foods. In deed, what can one say when one reads a millennia-old recipe for coq au vin:

In the wine of drinking,
In the scented water,
In the oil of unction—
This bird have I cooked,
and have eaten.”

Sumerians engaged in deep-water seafaring. They searched for metals, rare woods, and stones, and other materials unobtainable in Sumer. The wheel was first used in Sumer, being the first for using ox and horse power. Following are some “firsts” attributed to Sumerians (from a book by Samuel N. Kramer, one of the great Sumerologists), these are quoted by Mr. Sitchin in his book:

  • first schools
  • first bicameral congress
  • first historian
  • first pharmacopaeia
  • first farmer’s almanac
  • first cosmogony and cosmology
  • first “Job”
  • first proverbs and sayings
  • first library debates
  • first “Noah”
  • first library catalogue
  • first Man’s Heroic Age
  • first law code and social reforms
  • first medicine, agriculture and search for world peace and harmony.

Mr. Sitchin:

…Preceding the biblical book of Ecclesiastes by some two millennia, Sumerian proverbs conveyed many of the same concepts and witticisms;

Following are some Sumerian sayings regarding Law and Justice quoted by Mr. Sitchin:

If we are doomed to die— let us spend;
If we shall live long— let us save.

When a poor man dies, do not try to revive him.

He who possesses much silver, may be happy;
He who possesses much barley, may be happy;
But who has nothing at all, can sleep!

Man: for his pleasure: Marriage;
On his thinking it over: Divorce.

It is not the heart which leads to enmity;
it is the tongue which leads to enmity.

In a city without watchdogs,
the fox is the overseer.

Mr. Sitchin:

…The material and spiritual achievements of the Sumerian civilization were also accompanied by an extensive development of the performing arts. A team of scholars from the University of California at Berkeley made news in March 1974 when they announced that they had deciphered the world’s oldest song. What professors Richard L. Crocker, Anne D. Kilmer, and Robert R. Brown achieved was to read and actually play the musical notes written on a cuneiform tablet from circa 1800 B.C. found at Ugarit on the Mediterranean coast (now in Syria).

…”We always knew”, the Berkeley team explained, “that there was music in the earlier Assirio-Babylonian civilization, but until this deciphering we did not know that it had the same heptatonic-diatonic scale that is characteristic of contemporary Western music, and of Greek music of the first millennium B.C.” Until now it was thought that Western music originated in Greece; now it has been established that our music – as so much else of Western civilization – originated in Mesopotamia. This should not be surprising for the Greek scholar Philo had already stated that the Mesopotamians were known to “seek worldwide harmony and unison through the musical tones.”

…There can be no doubt that music and song must also be claimed as a Sumerian “first”.

…Like so many other Sumerian achievements, music and song also originated in the temples. But, beginning in the service of the gods, these performing arts soon were also prevalent outside the temples. Employing the favorite Sumerian play on words, a popular saying commented on the fees charged by singers: “A singer whose voice is not sweet is a ‘poor’ singer indeed.”

…Many Sumerian love songs have been found, they were undoubtedly sung to musical accompaniment. Most touching, however, is a lullaby that a mother composed and sang to her sick child:

Come sleep, come sleep, come to my son.
Hurry sleep to my son;
Put to sleep his restless eyes…

You are in pain, my son;
I am troubled, I am struck dumb,
I gaze up to the stars.
The new moon shines down on your face;
Your shadow will shed tears for you.
Lie, lie in your sleep….

May the goddess of growth be your ally;
May you have an eloquent guardian in heaven;
May you achieve a reign of happy days….
May a wife be your support
May a son be your future lot.

…What is striking about such music and songs is not only the conclusions that Sumer was the source of Western music in structure and harmonic composition. No less significant is the fact that as we hear the music and read the poems, they do not sound strange or alien at all even in their depth of feeling and their sentiments. Indeed, as we contemplate the great Sumerian civilization, we find that not only are our morals and our sense of justice, our laws and architecture and arts and technology rooted in Sumer, but the Sumerian institutions are so familiar, so close. At heart, it would seem, we are all Sumerians.

Finding the First Temple Dedicated To Enki;

…In 1919, H. R. Hall came upon ancient ruins at a village now called El-Ubaid. The site gave its name to what scholars now consider the first phase of the great Sumerian civilization. Sumerian cities of that period -ranging from northern Mesopotamia to the southern Zagron foothills -produced the first use of clay bricks, plastered walls, mosaic decorations, cemeteries with brick-lined graves, painted and decorated ceramic wares with geometric designs, copper mirrors, beads of imported turquoise, paint for eye-lids, copper-headed “tomahawks,” cloth, houses, and, above all, monumental temple buildings.

…Farther south, the archaeologists found Eridu – the first Sumerian city, according to ancient texts. As the excavators dug deeper, they came upon a temple dedicated to Enki, Sumer’s God of Knowledge, which appeared to have been built and rebuilt many times over. The strata clearly led the scholars back to the beginnings of Sumerian civilization: 2500 B.C., 2800 B.C., 3000 B.C., 3500 B.C.

…The spades came upon the foundations of the first temple dedicated to Enki. Below that, there was virgin soil – nothing had been built before. The time was circa 3800 B.C. That is when civilization began.

“It was not only the first civilization in the true sense of the term. It was a most extensive civilization, all-encompassing, in many ways more advanced than the other ancient cultures that had followed it. It was undoubtedly the civilization on which our own is based.”

…Having begun to use stones as tools some 2,000,000 years earlier, Man achieved this unprecedented civilization in Sumer circa 3800 B.C. And the perplexing fact about this is that to this very day the scholars have no inkling who the Sumerians were, where they came from, and how and why their civilization appeared.

…For its appearance was sudden, unexpected, and out of nowhere.

H. Frankfort (Tell Uquir) called it “astonishing.” Pierre Amiet, (Elam) termed it “extraordinary.” A. Parrot (Sumer) described it as “a flame which blazed up so suddenly.” Leo Oppenheim (Ancient Mesopotamia) stressed “the astonishing short period” within which this civilization had arisen. Joseph Campbell (The Masks of God) summed it up in this way: “With stunning abruptness … there appears in this little Sumerian mud garden … the whole cultural syndrome that has since constituted the germinal unit of all the high civilizations of the world.”

I sincerely believe that Mr. Sitchin has chosen the order of the chapters in The 12th Planet in a splendid manner. First he has showed us, through vast research, that the people of Sumeria were not much different than we are today. But most important they showed feelings, emotions, sorrow, desire to contact the sacred and these may only manifest when reason points to inner self, like in the relationship of the sorrowful mother who composed a lullaby to comfort her son and direct her own petitions high above, for the well being of the child.

I believe these perceptions of Mr. Sitchin are vital to offer the complete picture of what is to follow.

Continue to Chapter 3: Gods of Heaven and Earth

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