Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Unit Study: Mesopotamia

We've been doing ancient civilizations for our history segment. We finished up Ancient Egypt (and thoroughly enjoyed that one!) and have since moved on to Mesopotamia -- a Greek word which means "land between rivers". Mesopotamia is a fascinating land which included the Babylonians, Assyrians and other cultures (with lots of Biblical threads running back and forth).

Here are the resources we've used so far:

These three books are the Gilgamesh epic retold and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. They are fabulous retellings of this oldest epic ever told. Gilgamesh is half-god, half-man but learns to love humans through his friends, Enkidu and Shamat. Ishtar, a goddess who loves (but is thwarted by) Gilgamesh is the villain in these stories. The illustrations in this series are wonderful – funny, detailed and historically accurate. Great reading!

Eyewitness Books: Mesopotamia by Philip Steele this wonderful DK book includes a CD-rom of various images (including unlabeled maps) from the book. This is a great overview book and the CD was lots of fun to investigate! A wall-chart gives a quickie overview of the highlights of Mesopotamian history.

Ancient Mesopotamia (vhs) – led by “Arizona Smith”, the viewer is taken on a tour of Mesopotamia. This is a great video not only about the ancient culture, history and tales of Mesopotamian societies, but is also a great introduction to archaeology.

Hercule Poirot: Murder in Mesopotamia (dvd) – we are big Agatha Christie fans around here and I couldn’t resist adding this to our unit. Christie herself was a hobbyist-archaeologist (accompanying her husband on digs) and so the information contained in this story is very well done.


Michelle Waters said...

Thanks for the great resources - my kids LOVE anything dealing with the ancient world, so we'll utilize these for sure!

The Bookworm said...

I love that Gilgamesh trilogy. As you say, great illustrations. Unfortunately I have a feeling our library no longer has them all :(.