Studying Ancient History Can Be Exciting!

Ancient History for Homeschool Doens’t Have to Be Dull!

Studying history has always been exciting for me, especially ancient history. I especially love it when archeologists and historians find out stuff that explains why we do what we do, why we call things certain names, where we get our language and so much more.

For example, why do we call some one who is not particularly bright and who is kind of mean a “nimrod”? Maybe because according to ancient historical accounts by an ancient historian named Flavius Josephus, there was a king named Nimrod, who decided to build a tower to heaven. Sound familiar?

How about another term “All roads lead to Rome”. Wha..? All roads lead to where? What like Rome in Italy? Well ancient history teaches us about the Roman Empire and how they built roads all over their empire to move their armies and settlers. But guess what!

The Romans weren’t the first to do that. The Persians had an extensive empire and they built the King’s Road that covered over 1,250 miles.

Did you know that nearly every civilization has some kind of flood story in their past? In what is now known as Iraq, there were people who lived in the marshes. They lived in houses built of reeds. Their story tells how a man named Utnapishtim (say that name three times fast) was told to turn his house upside down, to make a big boat for his family and the animals to live in because the gods were tired of all the noisy humans.

They were going to send a flood to drown them all out, but one of the gods thought that was a bad idea so he warned Utnapishtim. And so the story goes that afterwards the gods were sorry they’d done that and when they discovered Utnapishtim wasn’t dead they were happy and made him and his wife immortal.

Studying ancient history is good for another reason; it shows that people and human nature has always been the same. We sometimes look at the past, and think those people were so different.

We might ask ourselves why they did seemingly crazy things, like worshipping tons of different gods and statues. Or maybe we think they were barbarians, with wild ways and cruel hearts. Or maybe we think they must have been stupid because they didn’t know how to harness electricity, (personally I don’t know how to harness electricity either).

When you study ancient history you’ll find out that people weren’t stupid after all, and that they knew stuff we don’t . There were ancient libraries, that would be like the Smithsonian is to us today.

One was in Alexandria, Egypt and it was supposed to house knowledge gathered over 2,000 years. Sadly, it was completely destroyed. Another library was in Nineveh, the Assyrian capital (and of biblical fame thanks to Jonah). It too was destroyed but they wrote lots of stuff on clay tablets, many of which survived.

Studying history brings the past alive and makes today so much clearer. It doesn’t have to be dull and make your eyes glaze over, or drool dribble down your chin, really! It CAN be exciting.

Now that I have you interested you might be asking yourself, “How do I start” or “When and where do I start”. Well, there is no right or wrong answer really. I mean obviously you’ll need to pick a time and place that is of course ancient. But which time and which place is totally up to you! The world is huge and there have been billions of people living on it for thousands of years. My favorite time and place to start is the Fertile Crescent.

That is a quarter-moon shaped area that goes from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. It is there that our civilization sprang from, thousands of years ago. Just ask yourself why is it called the Mediterranean Sea? Why is it called the Persian Gulf? Go find your answers!

Which is western history association plans to cover some interesting topics ranging from wines and there table top wine openers and skateboarding and stuff. Get ready.