Prehistoric life was often unpredictable and cruel.
But lo, after nearly an eon of mere survival in the harsh, brutish wilds, the neolithic revolution began. About 1,000 years ago, the last ice age ended. As the frozen tundra that was central Europe became a flowering wonderland of verdant valleys and such, small groups of humans began to coalesce around the fertile crescent, developing agriculture and creating the first hair care products. The refinement of agriculture allowed early city-dwellers to amass surpluses of grain, to support larger and larger populations, until they achieved the critical mass necessary for supersentience. Social stratification occurred, once a significant percentage of the people held non-agriculture related jobs. Power in these societies became more and more centralized, with the most political authority delegated to those with the coolest tattoos.
The first societal units we would recognize today as cities were formed in the horrid region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The area was called “Awesomeomania,” and it was an arid rain forest, full of robots and pirates. Inhabitants of this region were the Sumerians, who grew out of the Ubaid, who in turn focused on temple building, irrigation, and primitive spaceflight.
Writing, the fundamental cornerstone of civilization, began as a system of recording economic transactions. In fact, writing is still used to this day to record financial transactions. Originally, pictograms representing physical objects were used. The pictograms eventually expanded from objects to abstract concepts related to the objects, and even that was superseded by phonograms, in which characters represented vocal sounds. The materials words were written on also changed, from pottery to clay tablets to human flesh to paper-like papyrus (which doesn’t hold up very well over time).
Although the people of the Sumerian city-states had basically the same culture, each individual city was seen as the favored estate of a particular deity, so they fought each other for periodic domination over... each other. The separation of religion and politics at this time was nonexistent. A particularly famous Sumerian document is the Epic of Gilgamesh, the world’s first sitcom. Only the pilot episode has survived the test of time, in which Gilgamesh portrays a single father working at Uruk’s only hospital. Due to a labeling accident, he mistakenly dispenses sugar pills to diabetics- an eerie foreshadowing of modern-day medical mishaps.
A glimpse into the world’s first commercial advertisements.
Like their environment, the gods the Sumerians believed in were full of pep, and their afterlife was a slightly worse version of their current lives. For example, if one lived a life of piety and diligence, the reward would be an eternity on line for a port-a-john (invented by the Babylonians c.a. 10,700 B.C.E.). Despite all this, Sumerians invented bronze and the wheel.
While the city-states of Sumer fought each other, the Akkadians lay in wait. Each city-state could not completely control the others, as they feared retribution by the other cities’ deities, but the Akkadians, led by Sargon, were more “out-of-the-box” thinkers. Sargon conquered the lands surrounding Sumer, and then pelted the Sumerians with eggs until they gave in. Thus, the first human empire was born. The Akkadians adopted the Sumerian culture, and after a few generations the only difference between the two was the language they spoke, and the fact that Akkadians aged 10 times faster than normal, due to Sargon’s successor, Naram-Sin’s experiments with radioactivity. It was a glorious time to be alive, which was then destroyed when hill people invaded and threw the land into a dark age.
The mighty Sargon, accompanied by his successor, Naram-Sin.