They're back! We learned about the Assyrians in Chapter 8, and now they are making a re-appearance.
For those new to my site, this is part of my history series where I share supplementary activities for Story of the World history chapters. If you aren't using Story of the World, you can still use this page to supplement your lessons: Just skip over the "While Reading Story of the World" section, and browse my suggestions of books and scroll down to enjoy the Assyrian Banquet activity.
I almost always supplement our Story of the World reading with pictures from other books. Here's the books I used for this chapter. Your library may have other books that would work just as well.
DISCLAIMER: Here and elsewhere on the page, I include some links through which I can earn commission (but, I usually suggest looking for these in your library, which of course is free).
Mesopotamia - DK Eyewitness Book
This book has been one of the books I've used the most during the first half of Story of the World. It's been the best picture reference related to all things about the various civilizations in Mesopotamia which Story of the World talks about. The index makes it easy to find what I need (though since it's not organized by nation/city-state in most places they are scattered throughout the book). Still, this is one I'm glad I bought.
Bible Lands - DK Eyewitness Book
This is a great DK book about the various places mentioned in the Bible. It's a respectful secular book that I thought I would use much more than I did throughout Story of the World, but I just ended up finding better illustrations elsewhere most of the time. It did occasionally have something I used though, such as the illustration of Assyrian siege towers I used in this chapter.
The Assyrians by Elaine Landau
While I was really happy to find a book JUST on the Assyrians in my library, and this had some excellent pictures, it's not one I would feel the need to buy.
WHILE READING STORY OF THE WORLD
SECTION 1: Ashurbanipal's Attack
For this section we looked at several books. Really, DK Eyewitness Books: Mesopotamia would have provided sufficient pictures on it's own, but I had grabbed some other library books too, and picked the best pictures from each (it's nice sometimes too to have several books open at once so I don't have to flip pages). There are some slight changes between the revised and original version of SOTW you can find here.
We used the nice map in The Assyrians by Elaine Landau, which showed both the smaller area covered during early Assyria, and the vast area covered during the Assyrian empire.
In paragraph 3 there was one semi-error. It said "The Isrealites were never allowed to return back to their own land again." But later in SOTW it talks about how they were allowed to return under King Cyrus. That was over a hundred years later, so those people who were drivien out by Ashurbanipal wouldn't have returned (only their descendants), which is probably what the author meant. Still, I felt like it was confusing so I skipped that line.
DK Eyewitness Books: Mesopotamia pictures a carving of Ashurbanipal in his palace (pg 47), and an earlier Assryian king on a lion hunt (pg 44-45). I found a picture of smaller section of the banquet carving here (also included below, in the activities section).
DK Eyewitness Books: Mesopotamia has a large picture of a section of carving showing Assyrian soldiers in pairs with bows and shields attacking a city and climbing ladders over the walls (pg 42-43). I found this same carving online here. I've found better pictures online of the archers and shield bearers recently (see below. You can click on the pictures to see them larger.)
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Bible Lands, in it's section on the Siege of Lachish (pg 46-47), shows an amazing carving of Assyrian's using a siege tower and battering ram (and also has an artist's rendering of one), as well as pictures of Assyrian armor and weapons.
SECTION 2: The Library at Nineveh
The Assyrians had both artistic renderings of Nineveh and a picture of the formerly well-preserved ruins of the walls of Nineveh (sadly, I learned that Isis recently destroyed parts of these ruins recently, and also destroyed many other artifacts of Nineveh.) You can still see pictures of the gate that was destroyed Ninevah here. There are also some excellent photos, map, and reconstructions here (with pictures you can mouse over to enlarge).
We followed this by reading the Story of Jonah in a children's Bible.
This amazing digital recreation of the city of Nineveh is worth watching.
An Assyrian Banquet
This photograph by Mary Harrsch is licensed under the
A fun activity is to make an Assyrian style banquet using some of these recipes. I suggest making some or all of the dishes below with your children. You could even have a pretend banquet, decking the table with fancy tablecloths and dishes and enjoying food fit for a king. The passage suggested below would be a great piece to read to set the mood before you eat.
I don’t think that any of the recipes translated by Bottero are broths. Rather, they are general guidelines for the flavors of dishes that range from koreshes, curries and soups to braised meats and dry pilafs – it all depends on the relative proportions of liquid and solid ingredients. Amounts of ingredients are almost always absent, so the exact dish prepared is left up to the cook.
What I especially like about this one is the note down at the bottom that Coconut (an optional ingredient used), "might have been known by the neo-Assyrian period." The Neo-Assyrian period is exactly the period of our chapter, so you can imagine this new and exciting food from abroad being introduced to the Assyrian court.
Mesopotamian Wheat Bread
Easy recipe kids would enjoy eating and making, with common ingredients.