Week Five – The First Sumerian Dictator

This week focused primarily on Sumer and the rise of Sargon who attempted to conquer the various city-states within Mesopotamia.

Story of the World:

Listened to The First Sumerian Dictator and completed the review questions and narration exercise. M1 and M2 completed the Sargon drawing page and M1 did the Sumer word jumble.

Read Together:

Unlike Ancient Egypt, Sumer doesn’t have a lot going for it with regard to children’s literature. So, we relied on SotW to provide some recommendations. Within their lesson plan were:

The Golden Sandal (A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story), by Rebecca Hickock. Both M1 and M2 enjoyed reading this book and instantly picked up the themes from the Cinderella story. This story is actually based on the Iraqi folktale of The Little Red Fish and the Golden Clog, but doesn’t necessarily take place during the time of Ancient Sumer. The illustrations are great and the morals are a bit stronger than the Disneyfied version.

The Three Princes: A Tale From the Middle East, by Eric Kimmel. I read this to M1 and I saw her pick it up a few more times on her own to read. She indicated that she really liked the bold colors in the story, especially those of the garments worn by the Three Princes. The story is actually based on a folktale from Africa called The Search, which leaves the reader with an open-ended conclusion to the story. Three Princes on the other hand has a firm conclusion, highlighting the selflessness of one of the Princes.

The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History, pages 110 to 113 focus on the development of Mesopotamia from the development of cities to the flourishing of maritime trade and the rise of Sargon.

Watch Together:

We watched Crash Course in History’s Mesopotamia episode on Youtube on three occasions. Because Sumer was one of the first locations to develop pottery and the potter’s wheel, we watched several videos on making clay pots. Most focus on making pottery using electric potters wheels, so we really enjoyed this one, which was human driven.

Listen Together:

Although probably geared towards older students, I recently came upon a podcast focused on Maritime History. The first three episodes provide a great overview of the history of maritime trade, which flourished in Mesopotamia. Trade in Sumer was extremely important as the region contained little in natural resources to include metal or strong wood, but was rich in grain, wool, finished metal objects and pots. Boating through Mesopotamia’s canals and rivers brought about the first world trade. The Maritime History Podcast episodes I would recommend are:

Additionally, I would recommend listening to the BBC’s History of the World in 100 Objects podcast on The Standard of Ur.