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What you think the Sumerians' opinion was of the character of their gods—whether all gods seemed to have a similar character, how their gods seemed to feel about people?

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Ancient Sumerians provided the earliest written record of an organized belief system, elements of which are outlined in The Epic of Gilgamesh. Since Sumerian civilization evolved over nearly 2,500 years, some of the beliefs attached to the pantheon of deities shifted over time. However, the qualities of the gods and goddesses in their culture were influenced by the oral traditions of polytheistic cultures preceding them, just as Sumerians influenced the cultures that would follow.

It's difficult to say what Sumerians' opinions would be about the character of their gods, since the role of the believer was to accept the actions of the deities regardless of suspected motivation. Early Sumerian writings suggest that deities were separate from humans; their actions were not motivated by or dissuaded by humans. They simply acted as they chose, and humans accepted the consequences. As the civilization evolved, fetishes cropped up around certain deities, because of the belief that appealing to particular gods for particular favors would yield results. This particular belief—that making an offering would secure divine favor—is a common theme throughout all subsequent religions and suggests a desire for communication between the human and divine.

Gods seemed to have a similar character in that they all had patronage over some aspect of nature or society (wind, water, art, music, etc.) and that they sought favor and/or power from gods higher in the pantheon. The Sumerians believed that the heavens and the afterlife were separate entities; all humans were sent to the same underworld after death, and none interacted with deities in life or death.

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