Ancient Mesopotamia 3 and offerings to the gods, not to mention state business. These temples were, the Sumerians believed, home to each city-state’s main god. (All Sumerian cities believed in the same pantheon of gods, and each city-state was home to one of them.) These gods were associated with environmental phenomena the Sumerians couldn’t control, such as the sky (An, later Anu), the sun (Unu), and the air (Enlil), as well as more human concerns, such as love and war (Innana/later Ishtar) and wisdom (Enki). The temples were homes to the gods, but so was the sky. The planets were asso- ciated with gods, and the Sumerian priests watched them carefully. The priests identified Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn with their gods. They left meticulous record of the movement of the planets, sun, moon, and stars across the sky. They recorded eclipses and identified many of the constellations known today. The records were kept on clay tablets, written in cuneiform. Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa One such record is the Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa, part of the Enuma Anu Enlil, a 70-tablet astrological text originally written in the mid-17th century BCE. On the tablet, priests recorded the movement of the planet Venus across the sky over a period of 21 years. The planet Venus was associated with the goddess Ishtar, who held great importance to the Mesopotamians as the goddess of love and war. Early city-states developed in Mesopotamia along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers because of the availability of water, fertile soil, and an abundance of wildlife. In fact, this region is nicknamed, "The Cradle of Civilization."
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