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Sumerian Mythology Paperback – October 1, 1998


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Sumerian Mythology + The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character (Phoenix Books) + Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press; Revised edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812210476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812210477
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A real addition to the body of world mythology."—American Anthropologist



"No people has contributed more to the culture of mankind than the Sumerians, and yet it has been only in recent years that our knowledge of them has become at all accurate or extensive. [This book is] our first authoritative sketch of the great myths of the Sumerians, their myths of origins, of creation, the nether world, and the deluge. The book . . . makes entrancing reading and for the general reader it opens up a whole new vista undreamed of before."—Theophile J. Meek

About the Author

Samuel Noah Kramer was Clark Research Professor Emeritus of Assyriology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was also Curator Emeritus of the Tablet Collections.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By ilmk on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Any piece of scholarship that has a preface that baldly states that quite a bit of the following translations are wrong immediately throws out warning signals.
However, this is quite a useful handbook, even if the author pointedly tells the reader that "History begins at Sumer" is more accurate. It has that touch that encompasses all ancient historical secondary sources written in the early part of the twentieth century - a narrative style, whereby it is just as important to provide both a description of actions and a background of the people and methods that got the several thousand clay tablets translated.
Given today's somewhat dry "facts, facts, facts" attitude of most ancient historians, it is most refreshing because understanding those who compiled the work gives a better understanding of the translation.
The book excellently gives a rundown of the pantheon of Sumerian Gods, the acculturation of Sumerian mythology into Semitic and translates a goodly portion (sometimes inaccurately as the preface warns!) of the tablets.
Whilst any serious Sumerian scholar must move on to latter translations and works, this is a good starting point, particularly for those wanting to see a 'decipherment' in progress.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James on May 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
while i find this book a good read, i was left very unsatisfied. i felt there was much left out of this book that could have been touched on. also i found myself bored to death through the authors commentary on what little translation of the sumerian texts there were. while i was led to believe that this book would discuss much of their religious customs,myths, and beliefs, it touches on very little of any. while this is not a terrible read i am sure there is much better than this.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brandon B. on March 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a very refreshing introduction to Sumerian mythology.

However, like the author states some of the translations are not that accurate. Also, I wish this book was longer.

Besides those two things, this book is awesome and I recommend it to anyone just beginning to study Sumerian mythology.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SELDAB on August 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book for anyone studying the RELIGION of the Sumerians. This book is a collection of some of their religious beliefs/myths with a few notes helping the reader connect them together. It is a good read and not too dry... you should be able to finish it in a day. I liked this book much better than his book "HISTORY BEGINS AT SUMER", but I say if you are looking to buy one book on the Sumerians in general then you need to purchase Mr. Kramers book "THE SUMERIANS" instead. It contains most of the same information found in this book and a lot more on their daily lives, history, and etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard on December 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great portable sized book. It contains many pictures of artifacts, ancient symbols and ancient texts. It contains the Sumerian writing system in a very organized chart for easy interpreting. Highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you love Greek mythology you'll recognize everything they wrote about in the first few pages of this book. The running logic is that Sumerians disappeared, just vanished all of a sudden leaving behind all of this incredible history and knowledge but when you compare it to the Greek you realize instantly that they simply moved on to more fertile grounds around the Mediterranean.

There, I said it out loud; Sumerians are Greeks are Celts are Caucasians. The story of creation itself proves it, "An" the male deity unties with "Ki" the female and they create "Enlil," the earth.

Uranus and Gaia. "Ur" is Sumerian for "Man" Gaia is simply Enlil's brother Ea and Ki; "mother and child" "Madonna and Child" ie: Mother Mary and Jesus. Incidentally the name "Mary" comes from a merger of the Sumerian words for "Sea" and "God-child."

Over long periods or time the words and meanings change to have more or less significance but the basic story remains the same and the basic characters remain as well. So that over time Heaven and Earth (Annunaki) would be responsible for the creation of the earth "Iapetus" and the Oceans "Oceanus" and the weather "Hyperion" and the Dinosaurs or giants "Coeus" and the land itself "Crius" and "Mnemosyne" which is "Eve" or fertility, the fructifying bounty of earth throughout time ie: the living things in nature which are recorded in memory by their descendants.
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By s. berger on May 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
while I'm no expert in the culture of ancient Sumer, I found the book interesting and informative and a fine adjunct to the other books by Kramer.
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