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Archive for the ‘Ancient World’ Category

The First Emperor’s Grave

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Thirty-some years ago, two farmers were digging.

“Look!” said one farmer. “There’s a clay man!”

As the farmers dug deeper, more clay men began to appear. Archaeologists soon heard of this news. They helped the farmers dig. Then the archaeologists noticed that all the clay men were facing east. And that is because they were guarding Shi Huangdi’s tomb.

SOTW, Chapter 32
31 May 2012

The Great Wall of China

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Shi Huangdi, which was Qin Zheng changed his name to, means “first emperor.” After he stamped out the rebellion in China, he began to worry about barbarians outside China, called Mongols. The people built small walls, but the small walls crumbled easily and the people were left with small, crumbly walls, and big gaps. Then, Shi Huangdi had an idea, “Maybe I can build a wall all along the north side of China.” He called all his engineers and builders and said, “Build a wall all along the north side.”

“But there is not enough stone,” they protested.

“Then find another way to build it,” Shi Huangdi ordered.

After a couple of weeks, the builders had an inspiration: they packed a wooden frame with dirt and discovered they could make dirt as sturdy as stone.

SOTW, Chapter 32
29 May 2012

Warring States

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Qin (“Chin”) Zheng united the six Chinese cities. He was very cruel because he wanted no one to overthrow him. He burned, destroyed, killed and even worse. He didn’t want writers to tell about his cruelty, so he ordered books to be burned. And even if you talked about books in public, you would be executed in the marketplace.

SOTW, Chapter 32
24 May 2012

Sam’s “Calligraphy”

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Sam made up her own chinese characters with a chart showing their evolution from pictograms to calligraphy:

Sam's pictogram chart

Lóng is a Dragon: Chinese Writing for Children by Peggy Goldstein


Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Calligraphy in China

The later Chinese wrote in calligraphy. Calligraphy is made out of seven different lines called “the Seven mysteries.” Three of the mysteries were the dot, the horizontal line and the vertical line. They made their paint brushes out of animal hair and bamboo. And it took a really, really long time to make a book–over a year even. The Chinese were the first people to invent printing. They printed by carving wood and dipping it in ink.

SOTW, Chapter 32
22 May 2012

The Mauryan Empire of India

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012


Asoka was the most famous Mauryan king. Asoka stopped fighting with an army after he saw the suffering of the people he attacked. He followed the Buddha’s religion. Asoka made a law against being cruel to animals, and he became a vegetarian so that no animals would have to be killed for his food.

Jakata Tales

There is a story about a hare who said he would give his life to any traveler who came by and asked for food. The moral is that people should behave generously.

SOTW, Chapter 31
17 May 2012


Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Sam loved Buddha by Demi

10 May 2012


Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Siddhartha was an Indian prince of King Suddhodana. His life in the palace was grand. Servants brought food in bed while poets read to him. When Siddhartha went out into the city for the first time, he saw an old man leaning on two sticks. “Who is that?” he asked the chariot driver.

“That is an old beggar. He needs the sticks to help him walk. Soon he will die.”

Siddhartha left the palace dressed as a beggar to find out how to stop this mysterious death. Suddenly Siddhartha understood. Everyone, no matter how poor or sick, could find happiness by leading a good life. His followers called him The Buddha.

SOTW, Chapter 30
8 May 2012

The Castes of Ancient India

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

The story about how life began was this: the gods of Ancient India made people, land and sky out of a huge man with 1000 heads, 1000 legs and 2000 eyes. They made five different types of people from this man: 1) priests, 2) warriors, 3) farmers and traders, 4) servants, and 5) the untouchables. If you were born in a priest caste, you had to be a priest when you grew up. If you were a warrior you had to be a warrior. But if you were born into an untouchable family, you had to do the dirtiest work in the city–picking up trash and cleaning fields–ugh!

SOTW, Chapter 30
1 May 2012

The Aryans of India

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Life on the Ganges

The new people who came into India were called the Aryans. They lived by the Ganges river. They grew crops to feed themselves. They worshipped the Ganges, and, like the Nile, it flooded every year.

The gods they worshipped were called Ganga and Shiva. Shiva was the god of life. Ganga was the goddess of water. Their religion was called Hinduism.

SOTW, Chapter 30
24 April 2012