2600 Years of History in One Object | Student Handouts
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2600 Years of History in One Object: Cyrus Cylinder
Video on an Artifact of the Ancient Near East for High School World History
Here's an interesting video (19:33 in length) courtesy of Ted Talks. The presenter is Neil MacGregor of the British Museum, author of A History of the World in 100 Objects, discussing the role that a cylinder commissoned by Cyrus the Great thousands of years ago has played in global history. An interactive transcript is available here.

"A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script, damaged and broken, the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism. In this enthralling talk Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, traces 2600 years of Middle Eastern history through this single object."

Neil MacGregor's presentation is a terrific way to demonstrate to high school World History students the significant role which the past--in this case, an object from the past--can play in shaping and influencing the world of today.

Terms: Babylon, Balfour Declaration, Belshazzar's feast, cylinder, Cyrus the Great, Darius, empire, Hebrew, invasion, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jehovah, Jerusalem, Marduk, Middle East, multicultural, Persia, priestly appropriations, regime change, writing on the wall.

Note-taking exercise: Students are asked to list and describe the different roles and impacts of the Cyrus cylinder in 539 B.C.E., 1879, 1917, 1960s, 1979, and 2003.
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