Friday, January 4, 2013


Gilgamesh is the oldest story I know, and the oldest one you know, too, with one caveat: it’s the oldest written story we know. Of course others predate it. We were telling stories before we had words. Then again, there probably isn’t much in those earlier tales that didn’t show up in this one: friendship, death, romance, natural disasters, battle, family, giant monsters with four heads and sixteen feet, mortals spurning the advances of goddesses . . . . . okay, some of this is pretty original, after all.

What strikes me about Gilgamesh is that it is ultimately a story of humility on the part of an arrogant man. That is a bold message for a time when rulers were considered divine. Gilgamesh himself claimed to be two-thirds god. (If you can figure out the ancestral map of that, let me know.)

Gilgamesh at Summers-Knoll has been a village-wide effort. Every sixth, seventh and eighth grader was in it; most of the fifth grade; half of the third and fourth grade. Every staff member pitched in, wasdisrupted, stepped up when asked to and kindly stepped aside when it was time to monopolize the kids’ time. Their support of the production was unwavering.

Our first theme of the year was Farm-to-Table; our second, Ancient Civilizations. We chose Gilgamesh in that spirit. Farming first occurred in Mesopotamia; therefore, the world’s most ancient civilization was created there. Thematic work on display to see how our SK students and staff have explored these topics.

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