Archery

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Early African warfare – mercenaries and catapults

By |2018-02-21T11:50:43+00:00October 3rd, 2017|Africa, War|

Early African warfare: Nubian archers in the Middle Kingdom (from the Nubian museum in Aswan, Egypt) The beginnings of war There has been fighting in Africa since the early Stone Age, when one group of people fought and killed another group in order to take over their land along the shore of a [...]

West Asian games – Mesopotamia and Iran

By |2018-04-25T23:40:39+00:00September 13th, 2017|Games, West Asia|

Earliest known dice (Iran, ca. 2600 BC) See that the six is already opposite the one, as on modern dice? But check out this Harappan die. The people of West Asia really liked gambling games. The earliest dice in the world are from a backgammon set from ancient Persia (modern Iran), from about 3000 BC. Backgammon probably came from even [...]

Rustem’s death in the Shahnameh

By |2018-04-07T17:04:30+00:00July 26th, 2017|India, Literature|

Rustem kills the treacherous Shaghad When he was an old, old man, Rustem really did die (according to the story in the Shahnameh). Rustem died from treachery and betrayal, by his own half-brother Shaghad. One day Rustem was riding through the forest on his horse Rakhsh, when suddenly they fell into a pit. Shaghad had dug [...]

Medieval Islamic games

By |2018-05-08T15:25:26+00:00July 23rd, 2017|Africa, Games, Islam, West Asia|

Medieval Islamic games: Muslims playing chess in Spain Chess from India The big new game of the Islamic Empire was chess. The Arabs learned to play chess from the Sassanians when they conquered them, and probably the Sassanians learned chess from people in India. Indian people themselves seem to have learned at least some version [...]

When did people start to ride horses?

By |2018-04-19T14:24:19+00:00June 20th, 2017|Central Asia|

Riding horses: Assyrian archer on horseback, ca. 650 BC Near the beginning of the Iron Age, about 800 BC, people in Central Asia began riding horses more instead of just having them pull wagons. Once some people were riding horses, everybody wanted to do it. On horseback, you could go much faster than anybody [...]

Assyrian reliefs – West Asian project

By |2017-06-11T23:53:00+00:00June 11th, 2017|Art, Crafts, West Asia|

Siege of Nineveh When the Assyrian kings of what is now Iraq and Syria (ancient Mesopotamia) built their great palaces in the 700s and 600s BC, artists carved long stories into the walls, like stone comic books. These stories showed the wars that the kings fought - marching out to war, besieging cities, [...]

A day in the Islamic Empire – Activities, food, costumes

By |2017-06-11T10:14:37+00:00June 11th, 2017|Games, Islam, West Asia|

Islamic archery contest If you're a teacher, parent, or day camp counselor thinking of spending a week or so on ancient Islam, here's some ideas other people have found useful: You could organize the day around a human chess game, or around bicycle polo, or an archery contest if you can arrange for [...]

Archery contest – Medieval Islam projects

By |2017-06-11T01:11:39+00:00June 11th, 2017|Games, Islam, Medieval|

Ottoman archer on horseback Archery competitions were very popular in the Islamic Empire. You could sign up for an archery class through your local community center or college. Or you could try to find a volunteer from a local archery club to bring in some bows and arrows and do a demonstration. If [...]