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Sumerian Religion religious beliefs of the peoples of ancient Sumer The Sumerians believed that the universe was ruled by a pantheon comprising a group of living beings human in form but immortal and possessing superhuman powers These beings they believed were invisible to mortal eyes and guided and controlled the cosmos in accordance with well-laid plans and duly prescribed laws The Sumerians had four leading deities known as creating gods These gods were An the god of heaven Ki the goddess of earth Enlil the god of air and Enki the god of water Heaven earth air and water were regarded as the four major components of the universe The act of creation it was held was accomplished through utterance of the divine word the creating deity had merely to make plans and pronounce the name of the thing to be created To keep the cosmos in continuous and harmonious operation and to avoid confusion and conflict the gods devised the me a set of universal and unchangeable rules and laws that all beings were obliged to obey Other Sumerian gods included those in charge of rivers mountains and plains of the cities fields and farms and of tools such as pickaxes brick molds and plows Sumerians believed that human beings were fashioned of clay and were created for the purpose of supplying the gods with food drink and shelter so that the gods might have full leisure for their divine activities Life was considered humanitys most precious possession even though it is beset with uncertainty and haunted by insecurity for when human beings die it was believed their spirits descend to the netherworld where life is more wretched than on earth During the 5th millennium BC a people known as the Ubaidians established settlements in the region known later as Sumer these settlements gradually developed into the chief Sumerian cities After about 3250 BC another people migrated from its
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