Mesopotamia: An ancient region in western Asia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, comprising the lands of Sumer and Akkad and occupied successively by the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians: now part of Iraq.

ziggurat: A tiered temple from the Egyptian, Sumerian, or Babylonian times that had a pyramidal look to it. This shape was popular during the Art Deco era in buildings such as the Chrysler building.

Sumerian architecture: A monumental architecture developed by the Sumerians, who dominated southern Mesopotamia from the end of the 4th to the end of the 3rd millennium B.C.

c. 5400 BCE
The City of Eridu is founded.

Alulim became king; he ruled for 28800 years

Alalngar ruled for 36000 years

2 kings; they ruled for 64800 years

Then Eridu fell and the kingship was taken to Bad-tibira

Possession of Bad-tibira passed between Larsa, whose king Sin-Iddinam claims to have built the great wall of Bad-tibira, and Isin, whose king Lipit-Ishtar, “the shepherd of Nippur“, claimed to have built the “House of Righteousness” there.

c. 5000 BCE
Sumer inhabited by Ubaid people.

c. 5000 BCE
Godin Tepe settled

5000 BCE – 1750 BCE
Sumerian civilization in the Tigris-Euphrates valley.

c. 5000 BCE – 4100 BCE
The Ubaid Period in Sumer.

c. 5000 BCE
Evidence of burial in Sumer.


Uruk Period

c. 4500 BCE
The City of Uruk founded.

c. 4500 BCE
The Sumerians built their first temple.

4100 BCE – 2900 BCE
Uruk Period in Sumer.

c. 3600 BCE
Invention of writing in Sumer at Uruk.

c. 3500 BCE
First written evidence of religion in Sumerian cuneiform.

c. 3200 BCE
First instance of written language in Sumerian.

c. 3000 BCE
Sumer civilization in Mesopotamia use gold in jewelery manufacture.


1st Dynasty of Uruk
Mesh-ki-ang-gasher; son of the god Utu and founder of Uruk who received kingship from the 1st Dynasty of Kish
Dumuzid, the Fisherman
Gilgamesh (c. 2650 BC) – Gilgamesh was the fifth king of the Sumerian city of Uruk. He became known as a demigod with superhuman strength in later legends and tales such as the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Ur-Nungal, Udul-kalama, La-ba’shum, En-nun-tarah-ana, Mesh-he, Melem-ana, Lugal-kitun; little is known of these rulers, the final ruler was overthrown by Mesannepada of Ur, thus ending the first dynasty

2nd Dynasty of Uruk
Enshakushanna; re-established kingship over Sumer, however following his death kingship passed to Eannatum of Lagash
Lugal-kinishe-dudu, Argandea, Lugal-ure; served as ensi of Uruk under the 1st Dynasty of Lagash

3rd Dynasty of Uruk
Lugalzagesi (2296–2271 BC); originally of Umma, he made Uruk his new capital after conquering all Sumer

4th Dynasty of Uruk
Ur-ningin, Ur-gigir, Kuda, Puzur-ili; served as ensi of Uruk under the Akkadian Empire

5th Dynasty of Uruk
Utu-hengal (2119–2112 BC); an ensi of Uruk who overthrew the Gutians and briefly ruled Sumer until he was defeated by Ur-Nammu of Ur, thus ending the final dynasty of Uruk.


Jemdet Nasr Period, 3100 BCE – 2900 BCE


The Early Dynastic Period, 2900 BCE – 2334 BCE

2700 BCE
Hatti people establish trade with the city of Sumer.

c. 2600 BCE – c. 2000 BCE
The Royal Graves of Ur used in Sumer.

2500 BCE
First Dynasty of Lagash under King Eannutum is first empire in Mesopotamia.

c. 2500 BCE
Beginning of literature in Sumerian.

2350 BCE
First code of laws by Urukagina, king of Lagash.


Akkadian Empire

2334 BCE – 2218 BCE
The Akkadian Empire rules Sumer.

Sargon of Akkad (2334 BCE – 2284 BCE)
Rimush, King of Akkad (2279 BCE – 2270 BCE)
Manishtushu, King of Akkad (2270 BCE – 2255 BCE)
Naram-Sin, King of Akkad (2254 BCE – 2218 BCE)
Shar-Kali-Sharri, King of Akkad (2217 BCE – 2193 BCE)

After Shar-Kali-Sharri’s death in c. 2193 BC, Sumer fell into anarchy, with no king able to achieve dominance for long.[5] The king list states:

“Then who was king? Who was not the king? IgigiImiNanumIlulu: four of them ruled for only 3 years.”

Dudu of Akkad, rules for 21 years

Shu-turul, King of Akkadian Empire, last King of Akkad


Gutian Period

As the Akkadians went into decline, the Gutians began a campaign, decades-long of hit-and-run raids against Mesopotamia. Their raids crippled the economy of Sumer. Travel became unsafe, as did work in the fields, resulting in famine. The Gutians eventually overran Akkad, and as the King List tells us, their army also subdued Uruk for hegemony of Sumer, in about 2147–2050 BCE. However, it seems that autonomous rulers soon arose again in a number of city-states, notably Gudea of Lagash.

The Gutians seem also to have briefly overrun Elam at around the same time, towards the close of Kutik-Inshushinak‘s reign (c. 2100 BCE).[14] On a statue of the Gutian king Erridupizirat Nippur, an inscription imitates his Akkadian predecessors, styling him “King of Gutium, King of the Four Quarters”.

The Weidner Chronicle (written c. 500 BCE), portrays the Gutian kings as uncultured and uncouth:

Naram-Sin destroyed the people of Babylon, so twice Marduk summoned the forces of Gutium against him. Marduk gave his kingship to the Gutian force. The Gutians were unhappy people unaware how to revere the gods, ignorant of the right cultic practices.

Utu-hengal, the fisherman, caught a fish at the edge of the sea for an offering. That fish should not be offered to another god until it had been offered to Marduk, but the Gutians took the boiled fish from his hand before it was offered, so by his august command, Marduk removed the Gutian force from the rule of his land and gave it to Utu-hengal.

2218 BCE – 2047 BCE
The Gutian Period in Sumer.

c. 2150 BCE – c. 1400 BCE
The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh written on clay tablets.

2100 BCE
The Reign of Utu-Hegal at Uruk in Sumer and creation of Sumerian King List.

Utu-Hengal (2055 BCE – 2047 BCE), The Sumerian ruler Utu-hengal of Uruk is similarly credited on the King List with defeating the Gutian ruler Tirigan, and removing the Guti from the country (ca. 2050 BCE (short)).

Following this, Ur-Nammu of Ur had their homeland of Gutium devastated, though according to one lengthy Sumerian poem, he died in battle with the Gutians, after having been abandoned by his own army.


Third Dynasty of Ur Period (2112 BC – 2004 BC)

The Third Dynasty of Ur was the last Sumerian dynasty which came to preeminent power in Mesopotamia. It began after several centuries of control by Akkadian and Gutian kings. It controlled the cities of IsinLarsa and Eshnunna and extended as far north as the Jazira.

2047 BCE – 1750 BCE
Ur III Period in Sumer.

2047 BCE – 1750 BCE
The Ur III Period in Sumer. Great Wall of Uruk still standing.

2047 BCE – 2030 BCE
Ur-Nammu’s reign over Sumer.

2047 BCE – 1750 BCE
The Ur III Period in Sumer, known as the Sumerian Renaissance.

c. 2038 BCE
King Shulgi of Ur builds his great wall in Sumer.

2030 BCE
The Gutians rise again against Sumer. Ur-Nammu killed in battle.

c. 1990 BCE
Construction of the Great Wall to keep the Amorites from Sumer.

c. 1772 BCE
The Code of Hammurabi: One of the earliest codes of law in the world.

Code of Hammurabi: A Babylonian legal code instituted by Hammurabi in the mid-18th century B.C., based on principles absorbed from Sumerian culture.


1750 BCE
Elamite invasion and Amorite migration ends the Sumerian civilization.

c. 1120 BCE
The Sumerian Enuma Elish (creation story) is written.


Also see Architecture index.