Today, I want you to learn more about the ancient land of Mesopotamia. Located in the same region as modern-day Iraq, Mesopotamia was crucial to Western development. Nothing indicates this more than its nickname: the cradle of civilization. Its key city, Babylon, was the epicenter of western civilization for over a thousand years.
In particular, we will examine the story…or myth…or historical account of Gilgamesh. In truth, we don’t know if he really existed. Still, the epic about him tells us so much about our own history. Our goal is decide whether Gilgamesh is primarily a political story (about politics and power), a religious story (about one culture’s beliefs about gods), or a human relationship story (about how humans relate to each other).
Here are the sources you may consult today.
- read the story of Gilgamesh on page 46 of your textbook.
- watch the opening 15 minutes of a video found at http://www.learn360.com/ShowVideo.aspx?SearchText=Mesopotamia&ID=235858
- this clip from Star Trek: the Next Generation presents the epic of Gilgamesh in two ways. First, Captain Picard tells the myth to a dying Tamarian; second, the relationship between the captain and the Tamarian is actually a retelling of the myth itself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoM_kPGfkw0
- This short video provides a briof overview of Mesopotamia: http://learn360.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=265005&xtid=6833
- If you’d like some additional visuals, visit the galleries at BBC history: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/cultures/mesopotamia_gallery.shtml
Finally, we will conclude with a brief discussion about my favourite acronym: SPEAR.