Ancient Mythologies Block: Babylon

This part of our ancient mythologies block was a departure from how I presented India and Persia. Taking the advice of Donna Simmons, we read Geraldine McCaughrean’s retelling of the epic of Gilgamesh. It is a fabulous book, and I would highly recommend it as a read aloud for anyone 9 and up – Waldorf homeschooling or not. McCaughrean is a new discovery for me, although now that I know her, she seems to pop up everywhere. Her writing is beautiful, deep and true. I have read Gilgamesh the Hero three times now, twice in preparation and once aloud during the block. It honestly gets better each time. She carries a theme of light and dark throughout the book that is a worthy study in and of itself. I reigned in my penchant to discuss these types of things to death (!) and just touched on it – linking the symbols of light and dark back to our study of Persia and also anticipating our study of Egypt come January.

I had planned (hoped) that Vincent would read this book on his own, but in the end I gave him the choice. He is a very quick reader with excellent recall and retention, however he never savours a book unless it is read to him. The reason he gave for wanting me to read it to him was “I read too fast.” So, I read it to him, and it was a wonderful shared experience. Gilgamesh personifies so much of what I see in my not-so-little boy. The bigness, the brashness, the fierce loyalty are all represented in broad strokes, but McCauhgrean’s story also captures the subtle undercurrents of this age: fear, tenderness and a longing for home. Once again I am thankful for the soul-synchronicity of the Waldorf curriculum. During the block, we also did some map work, touched on cuneiform and talked a little bit about Babylonian architecture, but mostly we kept to the story.

Story Resources:

  • Gilgamesh the Hero, Geraldine McCauhgrean
  • Ancient Mythology: India, Persia, Babylon, Egypt, Donna Simmons


  • Constructed a ziggurat out of styrofoam bricks and another one out of legos.

  • Painted necklace of Ishtar.

Additional Resources:

  • Uncle Josh’s Outline Map Collection (This is a CD that I bought when I first started homeschooling. It is not Waldorf, but it is a great resource for all kinds of map work.)
  • A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme, Heather Thomas (There are wonderful poems for all the ancient cultures in this book.)

4 thoughts on “Ancient Mythologies Block: Babylon

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve said hello, even though I visit every M, W, F. :) We enjoyed Gilgamesh very much, too. I can’t believe you read it three times! I had to wake up extra early one morning to finish it before my daughter’s main lesson. I love Ishtar’s necklace. What a terrific idea. Best, Rachel

  2. Pingback: Second Semester Adjustments | Sure as the World

  3. Pingback: Ancient Mythologies: Egypt | Sure as the World

  4. Pingback: Grade 5: Greek Mythology and History Block | Sure as the World

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