Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt: Ancient Cultures, Gilgamesh, and Egyptian Mythology
What better place to start your study of world literature than at the beginning? The Sumerians from Mesopotamia and the ancient Egyptians are two of the oldest cultures around and also two of the most fascinating! With the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh clocking in as the oldest written hero story and Egyptian mythology displaying some of the oddest gods and goddesses out there, your students are bound to be hooked by the creativity of these ancient cultures!
Below are some resources that will help you teach Mesopotamian civilization, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Egyptian mythology, and Egyptian culture in your own classroom.
MOVE TO SUNNY MESOPOTAMIA (SALE ITEM) This tongue-in-cheek worksheet presents factual information on Mesopotamia in a humorous manner while giving students a great example of satire. The citizens of Mesopotamia encourage outsiders to take advantage of the new comforts of "civilization." Also teaches the five elements of civilization.
THE CODE OF HAMMURABI Use this worksheet to teach your students the statues of one of the ancient world's most famous lawgivers.
"THE MAKING OF ENKIDU" FROM THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH (SCRIPT-STORY, PDF) This sample from The Epic of Gilgamesh script-story tells how the Mesopotamian king Gilgamesh angered the gods to the point that they created a new creature who could rival his strength: Enkidu, a beast-like man.
THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH (SCRIPT-STORY COLLECTION, PDF) This collection of three script-stories covers the entire Epic of Gilgamesh including Gilgamesh's contest against Enkidu, his struggle against Ishtar and the Bull of Heaven, and his quest for immortality. This is available as a digital download in the website store.
GILGAMESH END-OF-EPIC ANALYSIS QUESTIONS Use these questions to get your students thinking deep about this most-ancient of epics!
LIFE IN ANCIENT EGYPT (PDF) This handout gives a basic overview of Egyptian culture. This packet is available in the website store with student questions and a key! For the student questions and key click here.
"HYMN TO THE NILE" (PDF) This worksheet asks students to analyze an ancient poem composed in honor of the Nile River.
"THE CREATION OF THE WORLD" (SCRIPT-STORY, PDF) This preview from the Tales from Egyptian Mythology script-story collection dramatizes the creation of the world by the sun god Ra.
TALES FROM EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY: A SCRIPT-STORY COLLECTION This collection features three script-stories that adapt the popular story of the god Osiris, his devoted wife, Isis, and their son, Horus. Along the way, you will meet several of Egypt's most interesting characters: Ra the falcon-headed sun god, the deceptive and beast-like Set, Sobek the crocodile-headed Nile god, and Anubis the jackal-headed judge of the dead.
EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY ANALYSIS QUESTIONS (PDF) You can use these deep-thinking questions as writing prompts or class discussion questions. They ask students to think deeply about the themes and characters of Egyptian mythology.
"OZYMANDIAS" BY PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY Use this worksheet to teach your students "Ozymandias," a famous poem which references a real-life Egyptian leader and chronicles the temporality of power.
"OZYMANDIAS" BY ZEN PENCILS This amazing illustrated version of the poem captures the spirit of Shelley's imagery wonderfully.
And finally a ziggurat...