Welcome to the ANCIENT WORLD
People, welcome to the Ancient World. You are about to navigate yourself through an ancient adventure like never before. This is a subject not for the faint of heart, but for the brave and courageous. Along your path, you will encounter people and things that will make you laugh and cry, things that will scare you and gross you out, things that will challenge you, and things that will test you. Above all, you will experience the ancient world.
The first stop in our journey will be in the Stone Age. This time period has been made popular by such movies as 10,000 B.C. and Ice Age. Those two movies give the viewer a good idea of what it might have been like back in these prehistoric times, but not quite. Take the movie 10,000 B.C. for example. All the people in this movie, presumably representing cavemen, have white teeth. I can GUARANTEE that people of the Stone Age did not have white teeth. While we are in the Stone Age, we will discover some of the Stone Age animals that roamed the landscape such as the saber tooth cat, the woolly mammoth, and the giant ground sloth. We will learn about a different species of human beings called Neanderthals and why they died out after the arrival of the Cro-Magnon (modern human being). We will also discover the oldest body ever found, a guy by the name of Otzi. We will learn about what Otzi was like and some theories about how he may have died. Also, we will study cave art to figure out what life was like during the Stone Age.
Stop number two on this adventure brings us to a desert with a funny name: Mesopotamia. Today, Mesopotamia is known as the Middle East, which includes Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. However, back then it was known as Mesopotamia because of the location. You see, Mesopotamia means “land between two rivers” which is exactly where this place was: right between the Tigris and Euphrates. This area of land was called the Fertile Crescent because of the shape and because of the fertile soil which was very good for farming. If you know anything about Iraq, you would know that it’s a desert. So, that might lead you to think “how could a desert be a good place to farm? Mesopotamians used a method known as irrigation, which allows you to control when and how much water your crops get. Very important for farming in a desert where rain seldom comes. Irrigation is similar to a sprinkler system some people have for their yards.
After we complete Mesopotamia, and hopefully make it out alive, we will then land on one of the most fascinating places that existed during the ancient world: Egypt. Ancient Egypt is by far more well-known than Mesopotamia and for good reason. We will talk about mummification, which is when the dead body is preserved. Have you ever heard of the Pyramids? The pyramids look really cool and are very big but did you know that they were actually just tombs? Mummification is cool, the Pyramids are cool, and even their writing system of Hieroglyphics is cool, but the most important thing of ancient Egypt is the Nile River. If the Nile didn’t exist, Egypt wouldn’t exist either. The ancient Egyptians used the Nile to irrigate their crops.
Once we complete ancient Egypt, we will move a short distance to the west to a place called Ancient India. Buddhism was started by a guy named Siddhartha Gautama and Hinduism, which has no founder. Home building vastly improved in ancient India, specifically in a place called MohenjoDaro. They began building homes out of stronger material, adding drainage system, garbage system, flat roofs, and constructing homes in a grid format, which made it easier to get around. Smart people. When we are in ancient India, there will be one thing that we for sure won’t miss and that’s Mt. Everest, which is the tallest mountain in the world. We will also meet members of each level of the Caste System, which is a social order everybody in ancient India was born into and stays for the remainder of their life.
After we leave India, we will find ourselves in ancient China, which also contains some fascinating things. Ancient China was ruled by dynasties, which are families that hold all the power. Shang, Zhou, Qin, and Han are some of the dynasties we will learn about. The first emperor of China is a guy by the name of Shi Huangdi, who, to be honest, was a real nut job. He was crazy. His goal in life was to live forever. So, he devised a plan. He decided that in order to live forever, he would drink mercury, which is the red stuff in thermometers. What do you think happened? Yep, you guessed it. He died. Anyway… Perhaps the most important and well-known feature of ancient China is the Great Wall. Did you know that the great wall was built for protection? However, it was not very effective. While we are studying about ancient China, we will take a trip along the Silk Road which was a long path from China to Europe that was used to trade with the Europeans. The most common trade item was….you guessed it: silk. Ancient China is also well known for its contribution to the world through inventions. The ancient Chinese invented many things such as paper, gunpowder, and wheel barrow. However, the most important invention from the Chinese is, in my opinion, toilet paper. Whew! Thank you, ancient Chinese.
Ancient Greece, in my opinion, is fascinating and I think you will come to agree with me, especially with Greek Mythology. Perhaps you have seen Percy Jackson movies or read the books. It is all very interesting, learning about the king of the gods, Zeus, or Medusa who could turn anyone into stone with her glare, or Athena who was born out of Zeus’s forehead as a full grown woman. Perhaps you have heard of a Cerberus, which is a three headed dog whose job was to guard the gates of the underworld. Speaking of the underworld, that is where Hades resides. Back to Percy Jackson, if you remember, his dad was Poseidon, the god of the Sea. Mythology is not the only noteworthy thing, however, because ancient Greece also introduced to the world Democracy, which is a form of government in which the people rule. In America, we live in a democracy.
By far, my favorite feature of ancient Rome are the Gladiators and their arena, called the Colosseum. Gladiators were all sorts of people, slaves, criminals, or volunteers. They would train endlessly, preparing for their shot in the Colosseum, in which they would fight to the death against other gladiators, animals, or both. While we are studying ancient Rome, we will head south about 200 miles and visit a place called Pompeii, which was part of the Roman Empire. Why this visit? Well, catastrophic event took place there, which we will experience first hand….
Our 8th and final ancient world, is called the Medieval Times. The Medieval Times is full of excitement and danger. Knights, castles, Kings, Queens…it's all here. We will learn about another new religion, Islam. People who believe in Islam are called Muslims and they fought the Christians in a very bloody war called the Crusades. The most deadly and horrific topic of the Medieval Times is the Bubonic Plague, which was nicknamed the Black Death and caused massive death. We will experience this plague and see how it ravaged the European countryside.