The main difference between Sumerians and Babylonians is that Sumerians are known for their advancements in irrigation, agriculture, and the invention of the wheel, while Babylonians are known for their advancements in mathematics, astronomy, and the construction of the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Sumerians and Babylonians are two groups of people that inhabited Mesopotamia thousands of years ago. Mesopotamia is known as the cradle or birthplace of civilization. Mesopotamia means “land between the rivers” in Greek because the two rivers, Tigris and Euphrates, flow through it.
Key Areas Covered
Babylonians, Sumerians, Mesopotamia
Who are Sumerians
The Sumerians were the earliest group of people to settle in Mesopotamia. They began building cities along the rivers in Lower Mesopotamia about 5,500 years ago, and they worked together to achieve many technological advancements. Some of their notable achievements are the invention potter’s wheel, sailboat, seed plow, and cuneiform, the first system of writing. The Sumerian farmers also developed the technique of irrigation, which involved building levees to prevent floods and cutting canals to direct water to their fields.
The Sumerians shared a language and followed a polytheistic belief system with many gods and goddesses. Around 3100 B.C., the Sumerian language appeared in archaeological records and continued to dominate Mesopotamia for the following thousand years, making it the oldest known linguistic record. Furthermore, scholars consider the Sumerians to have produced a rich body of literary works, although only fragments of these documents exist.
Sumerians lived in seven city-states, each with its own king and a ziggurat, a temple dedicated to a specific deity. Even though the city-states had similarities, they often competed for control of the river water, a precious resource. To protect themselves, each city-state had its own army. In 2300 BC, Sargon the Great of Akkad conquered the independent city-states of Sumer, which the Sumerian king, Lugal-Zaggisi, once ruled. Sargon became the first empire builder and made Agade his capital city. However, the Akkadian Empire eventually fell and was replaced by the Old Babylonian Empire.
Who are Babylonians
The Babylonians were an ancient civilization that emerged in Mesopotamia around 1800 BC, succeeding the Sumerians. The Babylonians built their capital city, Babylon, on the Euphrates River, which became a cultural and commercial center. They were known for their impressive architectural achievements, such as the Ishtar Gate and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Babylonians are also popular for their advancements in mathematics, particularly in the development of a number system based on 60. They also made significant contributions to astronomy and astrology, recording astronomical observations and developing a zodiac system based on constellations. Moreover, the Babylonian king, Hammurabi, created the Code of Hammurabi, one of the oldest known legal codes, which established a set of laws and punishments for crimes.
The Assyrians conquered the Babylonians in the 7th century B.C. But they regained their independence under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar II in the 6th century B.C. Under Nebuchadnezzar II, the Babylonian Empire reached its height. The city of Babylon became one of the largest and most magnificent cities in the world at the time. However, the Babylonian Empire fell to the Persians in 539 BC, marking the end of the Babylonian civilization.
Difference Between Sumerians and Babylonians
The Sumerians were the earliest group of people to settle in Mesopotamia, while the Babylonians were an ancient civilization that emerged in Mesopotamia around 1800 BC, succeeding the Sumerians.
Settling in Mesopotamia
The Sumerians were the first to settle in Mesopotamia around 4000 BCE, while the Babylonians settled in Mesopotamia around 1800 BCE.
Sumerians made advancements in irrigation and agriculture and invented the potter’s wheel, sailboat, seed plow, and cuneiform, while Babylonians made advancements in mathematics and astronomy and constructed the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Sumerians were known for their invention of cuneiform writing, which is one of the earliest known forms of writing in human history, while Babylonians improved upon the Sumerian system of writing.
As languages, Sumerian was a language isolate, meaning it had no known relatives, while Babylonian (also known as Akkadian) was a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic.
The Sumerians were the earliest group of people to settle in Mesopotamia. Meanwhile, Babylonians were an ancient civilization that emerged in Mesopotamia around 1800 BC, succeeding the Sumerians. The main difference between Sumerians and Babylonians is that Sumerians made advancements in irrigation and agriculture, and invented the wheel, while Babylonians made advancements in mathematics and astronomy and constructed the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon.