Activities and Critical Analysis
Joanne Dufour, Seattle Washington
in: World History classes, Art History classes (30 minute lesson)
Mesopotamia or modern Iraq, as it is now known, was conquered and reconquered
throughout history by many outsiders. Among them were the
Assyrians [1400-1200 BCE],
Babylonians [1950-1600 BCE], under Hammurabi et. al.
Persians [539 - 500 BCE],
Macedonians [331 - 323 BCE], under Alexander the Great
Parthians [171-138 BC],
Arabs [700-1,000 AD],
Ottomans [1453-1520 AD],
British [1917-1958 AD]
borne the imprint of the various empires in its history and their consequent
accomplishments. Indeed the lessons of history are all around. Soldiers
of Coalition forces engaged in current operations are facing this reality.
five thousand years ago, the valleys between the Tigris and Euphrates
Rivers in Iraq known as Mesopotamia saw the rise of developments which
earned the title: "cradle of western civilization." These included: monumental
architecture, domesticated wheat and barley with the use of plows, domesticated
cattle and sheep, some of the earliest writing systems [cuneiform], some
of the earliest urban dwellings and in time, astronomy, bleaching and
dying, calendars, city building, cobblestone streets, a 24 hour day, irrigation,
canals and dams, a legal system, wheeled vehicles, urban plumbing, measuring
and surveying instruments, medical writing, metal working, pottery, religion
and mathematics based on base 60.
of archaeology and antiquities, this region has been one of the culturally
richest on earth with the layers of contributions by succeeding empires.
NewsHour with Jim Lehrer report on Iraq's history of war and how
its legacy affects the battlefield today:
read the transcript,
view the video,
listen to the RealAudio
to National Standards
to the video interview of Seyyed Hossein Nasr and the presentation of
Past and Present by Jeffrey Brown, aired on 4-7-03 (or read the transcript).
- On a
map of Iraq locate the cities [in bold type above] with references made
to the historic sites found in each: Baghdad, Najaf, and Ur
dilemma has been raised by lovers of archaeology regarding these historic
sites? How have military leaders tried to address these concerns? What
concerns were raised by townspeople in Najaf? [troops getting too close
to sacred mosque] By military leaders concerning Ctesiphon? [Accusation
that Iraqis placed military equipment next to the site.]
the information given above, match the following sites with the ruling
empire at the time:
_____Ziggurat at Ur
_____Sabor Arch at Ctesiphon
3. _____Mosque of Ali in Najag
_____Ruins of Babylon near Baghdad
to Matching: 1 d; 2c; 3a; 4b
lesson posted of 3/31/03: "Najaf
- A Holy city Caught in the Crossfire"; and accompanying reading,
"U.S. Forces Encircle the Holy City of Najaf"
the World Heritage sites at the Web site of UNESCO.org.
Which sites in Iraq have already been designated World Heritage Sites?
Which ones has the Iraqi government applied for designation in recent
additional information on Ur, Babylon and Ctesiphon - the best known
antique sites in Iraq - along with the Thousand and One Nights, the
Tower of Babel, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon-- the 7th wonder of the
of art objects was a very serious problem after the first Gulf War.
Check current news sources to see what efforts are being made to prevent
National Council for the Social Studies Thematic Strands:
Continuity and Change
Authority and Governance
- Understands major characteristics of civilization and development
of civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Indus Valley
Era 3 - Understands how major religions and large scale empires arose
from 500 BCE to 300 CE
Era 4 - Understands causes and consequences of development of Islamic
civilization between 7th and 10th centuries
Art Standard 4 - Understands the visual arts in relation to history and
Joanne Dufour has been a classroom teacher, teacher
trainer and curriculum developer in the New York and Seattle area and
an educational consultant to the United Nations, Newsweek Educational
Division and a host of non governmental organizations in the educational
field. She is currently on the faculty of Heritage College in their Seattle
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