The Sumerians (non-Semites, probably from outside the region) were the first to develop "civilization" in Mesopotamia. They invented writing: collecting sayings, stories and laws, and also the wheel: for carts and potters.
Sumer centered on cities in the Tigris-Euphrates delta region Eridu, Nippur, Ur and Uruk (Erech in the Bible). Like all major civilizations in the region slave labor was basic to the economy. The Ziggurat of Ur as well as the metalwork of its royal tombs are famous.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
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