INFLUENCE ON EGYPT
For the Sumerian region "intelligible written records begin at about 3000 BC. From these, and from archaeological research, it is evident that even at this early period there were large cities with splendid temples and elaborately-planned houses.
Stone-carving was well-developed, also metal-working and the fashioning of jewelry. Extensive foreign trade contributed lapis-lazuli from Afghanistan, shells from the Persian Gulf and rare stones such as calcite, obsidian and diorite, none of which are found in southern Mesopotamia. But in the early Dynastic Period t here was no unified state of Sumer, unlike Egypt which had become unified by 3200 BC."
- Leonard Cottrell, The Quest for Sumer
In Sumer 'the crucial transition from village to city took place in the Early and Middle Uruk periods which, according to radiocarbon dating, probably lasted between 700 and 1,000 years (about 4300-3450 BC).'
The ancient site of Uruk was occupied for 5,000 years from early in the Ubaid period until the 3rd century AD. In the fourth millennium BC Uruk was the most important city in Mesopotamia and included two major religious centers: Kullaba, where there was a temple of An, the god of the sky, and Eanna, where the Goddess Inanna (later known as Ishtar) was worshipped.
The earliest known examples of writing are found on clay tablets from Uruk dating to about 3300 BC. Already it was a complete system with more than 700 different signs.The first tablets recorded the transfer of commodities such as grain, beer and livestock or were lists used by scribes learning how to write."
- Michael Roaf Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia
During the fourth millennium there were major developments in metallurgy.
Objects at Nahal Mishmar were an alloy of copper and arsenic, which was easier to cast and harder than pure copper and was often used before tin bronze in the second millennium BC.
The first use of the plow in the Near East also dates from the Urik period. Plows, wheels, boatsand donkeys were almost certainly in use before the Uruk period" in Northern Europe.
At a period approximately 3,400 years before Christ, a great change took place in Egypt, and the country passed rapidly from a tate of Neolithic culture with a complex tribal character to [one of] will-organized monarchy.
At the same time the art of writing appears, monumental architecture and the arts and crafts develop to an astonishing degree, and all the evidence points to the existence of a luxurious civilization. All this was achieved within a comparatively short period of time, for there appears to be little or no background to these fundamental developments in writing and architecture.
- Walter B. Emery Archaic Egypt
The inhabitants of Upper Egypt were on the whole of a smaller, gracile type with long narrow skulls, compared with the taller and more heavily built mesocephalic Lower Egyptians. On monuments, all men have dark curly hair and their bodies are dark red to indicate the heavily sunburnt light-brown skin (brown was absent from the palette of the Egyptian artist).
The conventional depiction of the lighter complexion of women was yellow. A similar picture of population stability of obtained from an analysis of the Egyptian language, even through the variety of current opinions is as great as in the case of physical anthropology. Connections exist with ancient and modern Semitic languages of western Asia, as well as Cushitic, Berber and Chado-Hamitic languages of Ethiopia, Libya and the western Sudan. These, however, suggest a common origin rather than a superimposition of one language upon another. The prehistoric inhabitants of Egypt and the historic Egyptians therefore spoke the same language in different stages of its development.
- Jaromir Malek In the Shadow of the Pyramids
The civilization of the Jemdet Nasr period of Mesopotamia and the archaic period of Egypt are apparently roughly contemporary, but the interesting point is that in Mesopotamia many of the features of civilization appear to have a background, whereas in Egypt they do not. It is on this basis that many authorities consider that Egypt owes her civilization to the people of the Euphrates. There is no doubt that there is a connection, but whether direct or indirect we do not know.
- Walter B. Emergy
The influence of Uruk even reached as far west as Egypt in the Naqada II (or Gerzean) period contemporary with the Late Uruk and Jemdet Nasr periods [about 3100-2900 BC]. Lugged and spouted jars were characteristic of Late Uruk pottery. Cylinder seals also first appeared in Egypt at that time. Some were imports from the east, but others had been made locally and used Mesopotamian or Iranian motifs.
Late Predynastic (before about 2920 BC) art from Egypt also showed some influence from Mesopotamia.
In particular, carved ivory knife handles and slate palettes contained Mesopotamian motifs, even though the objects themselves were typically Egyptian.
Michael Roaf Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia
There are certain elements in Egypt's Early Dynastic Period which seem to betray unmistakable Sumerian influence. Egyptian hieroglyphic writing may be one.
Another is the so-called 'paneled-facade' type of architecture found in Egyptian tombs from the First to the Third Dynasties (3200 to 2800 B.C.)."
The most remarkable evidence of cultural connection is that shown in the architecture of the Early Dynastic tombs of Egypt and Mesopotamian seal-impressions showing almost exactly similar buildings.
- Leonard Cottrell The Quest for Sumer
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