The Structure of Ancient Mesopotamian Society

When you explore the structure of the Mesopotamian society, you will find a wealth of interesting facts that deal with topics. Below you will find a few fascinating aspects of the Mesopotamians, including priest-kings and astrology.


When the Sumerians ruled during early times of Mesopotamia, it was the priest kings who personally led the army and would serve as the go-between for the people and the gods. It is believed that the first kings and kingship was an evolution of powerful priest classes or people who showed favoritism in the eyes of the gods. During the early years, the economy was central and the responsibility of the kings and priests to manage. When trading, it was silver that the Sumerians used. These Sumerian ways of life would continue as Babylonian rule developed.


It was the Sumerians who first began to show interest in studying the stars and leading the way in astrology. They would create star charts, which would later evolve into the foundation of their calendars. Predictions were also made using the heavens as a guide, which often dictated the outcomes of many political disagreements, decisions, and agricultural advancements.


The agricultural aspect of Mesopotamia was not easy and familiarizing oneself with the precise knowledge of when to plant and when to irrigate was significantly important. Actually, agriculture was so important that the invention of writing by the priestly class came about because of farming. The writing helped catapult the people to greater power and helped to establish the mathematics that propelled their agriculture. Mesopotamian writing was considered hard to grasp and only a few had the time to learn how to execute this powerful tool. The writing style of these times was called “cuneiform” and it was performed on clay tablets. It was also known as “wedge writing.” It was also the priestly class that furthered the way of mathematics, which was also considered difficult to master.


The Gods of this time were seen as humans with human characteristics and associated with their own kinds of natural phenomenon. When it came to Mesopotamian religion, it seemed a bit dismal by today’s standards and heavily concentrated on predictions and the unknown. Since the Sumerians invented astrology to make sense out of gods’ will, it was something that only a fleet of well-trained scribes were able to decipher for the rest of the world.


In Mesopotamian life, religion was seen through various myths, where they even possess a creation myth quite similar to the one in the Old Testament , mentioning a great flood that killed most life of the land and early humans were removed from paradise because they ate forbidden fruit. Worship for Sumerians took place in temple towers (referred to as ziggurats), which were run by the priestly class and focused on honoring town deities.


Since the Sumerians had writing and many clay tablets were able to survive over the years, much is known regarding the lives of early Mesopotamians and their culture significances. In the article titled, “Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamian Religion,” you will learn a theory dealing with how and why humans were created.