Monday, July 29

City of the Plague God + Mesopotamian Mythology

Between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in the area of modern-day Iraq, the Babylonian, Assyrian, Akkadian, and Sumerian civilizations all together formed ancient Mesopotamia.  Their mythologies differ a little bit, but mostly share the same stories.

This is an area of the first known human civilizations, dating to nearly 5,000 BC.  It is where three of the major world religions - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism - began.

The story of human creation begins with people coming from the mother goddess Mami.  They were created to lighten the gods' workload, and were made of clay, flesh, and the blood of a slain god.  Much later, the god Enlil tries to control their population through famine, flood, and drought.  They are saved, though, by Atrahasis, who built a boat to escape the great flood.  This is similar to the Christian story of Noah and his ark.

Another story that is similar to one in Christianity is the story of Adapa.  He was a very intelligent Sumerian who made the south wind mad.  When called forth to be judged for his actions, he was tricked by An, who offered him the food of immortality.  He had been warned not to eat or drink anything before his judgment, and so he turned down the offer.  Because of this, he never became immortal and all men had to stay mortal.  It is the explanation for man's mortality.

The original book for this post was The Golden Bull.  When City of the Plague God was released as part of the Rick Riordan presents series, it was updated.  Both books make a good base for the study of Mesopotamian mythology.  If you are very interested in this subject, you may want to explore our high school curriculum Empires of the Ancient Near East.

Access the complete unit study in the World Mythology Unit Studies Bundle!

Includes sixteen unit studies covering world mythologies. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning ancient through modern history.
  • Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.
  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!


  1. the more I hear the stories of ancient people the more I see how the truth of God and his actions are interwoven throughout history, even if through, people being people and sin existing, those stories get perverted.

  2. I love the Lego piece in your first image! Have you ever been to the University of Penn Museum in Philly? I love seeing all the items they have from Ur on display.

    1. I haven't....if we get back that way, we'll have to check it out!


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