History Odyssey: Ancients Level 2 Study Guide

Required Resources and Alternative Book List

The following books must be obtained apart from the History Odyssey Ancients Level 2 Study Guide. You may use any version, eBook, or print edition of these books. This list includes both the required books and also alternate options (see the note **).

Disclosure: This list contains affiliate links. If you purchase after clicking one of the links, Pandia Press receives a small commission at no cost to you.

Main Reference Spine: The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (1999 or newer edition)

Optional Additional Reference Spine: The Story of Mankind * by Hendrik Willem Van Loon (optional) There is a free eBook edition of TSOM available at: www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/754.

Alternate or additional Reference Spine: History Quest: Early Times by Lisa Hawking. History Quest, created for young children as a read-aloud, is appropriate for middle school students as an independent read.

The History Odyssey Timeline from Pandia Press (or a homemade timeline)

Other Required and Alternate/Additional Books:

Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green

Alternate/Additional: Treasury of Egyptian Mythology: Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Monsters, and Mortals by Donna Jo Napoli and Christina Balit. A National Geographic book that is illustration-heavy and might be attractive to students on the younger end of this age group or for those who lie a lot of artwork in their books. 


The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Alternate/Additional: The Wadjet Eye by Jill Rubalcaba

Alternate/Additional: Pharaoh’s Daughter: A Novel of Ancient Egypt by Julius Lester

Alternate/Additional: Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw


The Children’s Homer by Padraic Colum

Alternate/Additional: Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff

Alternate/Additional: The Wanderings of Odysseus by Rosemary Sutcliff

More alternatives: If you have older kids or kids who love graphic novels, the following are a great summary of the story, but do contain some more mature imagery (graphic violence and nudity) that illustrate the story. 

Alternate/Additional: The Illiad by Gareth Hinds (A Graphic Novel Adaptation)

Alternate/Additional: The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds (A Graphic Novel Adaptation)


Greek Myths by Olivia Coolidge

Alternate/Additional: D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths


Theras and His Town by Caroline Dale Snedeker

Alternate/Additional: The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

Additions: The Eagle of the Ninth stands alone, but is part of a  trilogy, should your student want to continue the story.

Alternate/Additional: The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff

Alternate/Additional: The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff 


Caesar’s Gallic War by Olivia Coolidge

Alternate/Additional: City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction by David Macaulay


Additional books that could be added to Ancients Level Two

Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean and David Parkins

The Golden Bull by Marjorie Cowly

Pyramid by David Macaulay

Feathered Serpent Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico by David Bowles


The following link will take you to a suggested reading schedule for the alternate/additional literature selections: https://www.pandiapress.com/wp-content/uploads/Ancients-2-Alternative-Booklist.pdf


**A note from Samantha Matalone Cook, who has created our alternate/additional book list for History Odyssey: Middle Ages Level 2:

As the world changes, so does historiography. The approaches and methods used to tell the story of history are rapidly evolving to reflect a more inclusive, holistic view of world history. There are new resources, materials, and research that, even in just the past few years, have revealed how history as a subject has missed, marginalized, or distorted the past for many people and communities.

As I work on writing a new History Odyssey series, my goal is to present middle and high school students with a history education that embodies an intersectional, balanced, global experience that connects them with concepts and skills while underlining the impact the past has had on current events.

In the meantime, I’ve created a list of some alternative books to use with the current History Odyssey Level Two series that are more aligned with the goals mentioned above but still fit within the framework of the existing curriculum.

Thanks for choosing History Odyssey,

Samantha Matalone Cook, MAT


*The Story of Mankind: Due to the polarizing nature of The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Van Loon, it is optional reading in this level two course. It should be considered a possible resource for gathering information. If students choose not to read TSOM, they might need to seek out other resources on the Internet or at a library in order to complete some of the lessons.

General Resources for Ancient History

These are websites that have valuable information for your entire study of ancient history and, in many cases, other time periods as well.

A fabulous website with primary sources for all ancient history (and other time periods as well) https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/ancient/asbook.asp

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Timeline of art history including ancient art history: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/

Timeline of ancient history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_ancient_history

This BBC site has been archived and is no longer being updated and some links may not work, but it does still have lots of interesting links: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/


Lessons 1-2. Civilization

Video about the domestication of dogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCLQ_8I1paY&feature=youtu.be

Video about the first farmers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhzQFIZuNFY&feature=youtu.be

PBS series First Civilizations (requires a PBS passport or may be available on YouTube): https://www.pbs.org/show/first-civilizations/

Lesson 3. Megalithic Monuments

Stonehenge site including a virtual tour, pictures of items found near Stonehenge, a timeline of the site, and lots of other information: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/history-and-stories/

The photo gallery of ancient megalithic tombs is really interesting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalith

Megaliths other than Stonehenge: https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/travel/stonehenge-not-alone-7-ancient-megaliths-youve-never-seen

Lesson 4. The Sumerians
Lesson 5. Fertile Crescent

Fertile Crescent overlay on a modern map of the area: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=16w3ZL9Pk2a2lDNYl_TmSqeBIc4k&ll=31.283889961010804%2C39.77632723693817&z=5

Fertile Crescent: https://www.history.com/topics/pre-history/fertile-crescent

A nice broad overview of Ancient Mesopotamia, including Sumerians, Assyrians, Persians, and Babylonians to get a grasp on the relative timeline of the civilizations in this region of the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZedmncHt3OQ&feature=youtu.be

Lesson 6. The Hittites
Lesson 7. The Babylonians
Lesson 8. Hammurabi

Information about Hammurabi including some of the laws from Hammurabi’s Code: https://www.biography.com/political-figure/hammurabi

Lesson 10. Egyptian Society

Explore Ancient Egyptian Mythology: https://mythopedia.com/egyptian-mythology/

Egyptian Hieroglyphics: https://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/ancient-egyptian-hieroglyphics.html

Video from the Metropolitan Museum of Art about the Tomb of Perneb, who was a dresser of the king. Gives a virtual tour of the tomb: https://www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/video/collections/egyptian/tomb-of-perneb

Lesson 13. Pyramids

Pyramids of Giza

Khan Academy article about the Great Pyramids of Giza: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/ancient-mediterranean-ap/ancient-egypt-ap/a/old-kingdom-the-great-pyramids-of-giza

You can look around in this BBC travel inside the Great Pyramid of Giza: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMzouTzim0o&feature=youtu.be

A video of more of what is inside Egypt’s Great Pyramids: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zn4XOi-QPG0&feature=youtu.be

Lesson 14. Egypt's New Kingdom

PBS information on the New Kingdom and the rulers of the time: https://www.pbs.org/empires/egypt/newkingdom/index.html

Lessons 15-16. Ancient Africa

The Kingdom of Kush: https://www.ancient.eu/Kush/

Djenne-Djenno (also spelled as Jenne-Jeno): https://www.ancient.eu/Djenne-Djenno/

Short video of Meroë: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkIWfFYGa8g&feature=youtu.be

Archeological site of Meroë, information from the World Heritage Centre: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1336

Beautiful photography of the remains of the pyramids of Meroë: https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2015/05/the-forgotten-pyramids-of-meroe/392312/

The Bantu: https://www.ancient.eu/Bantu_Migration/

BBC documentary The Rise of Aksum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4OSEpexs_Q&feature=youtu.be

The PBS series Africa’s Great Civilizations has a lot of great information about ancient Africa. It is available through PBS for a fee or possibly can be found on other services such as YouTube.  If you can find it, highly recommend: https://www.pbs.org/show/africas-great-civilizations/

Lessons 17-18. The Assyrians
Lesson 19. The Revival of Babylon
Lesson 24. The Qin Dynasty

TEDEd video about the terra-cotta warriors: https://youtu.be/mP5p4QbvPtc

Lesson 25-26. The Han Dynasty

Overview of the Han Dynasty (Also has lots of other good information about Chinese history through other time periods): https://totallyhistory.com/han-dynasty/

Buddhism in China: https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/buddhism.htm

History of Buddhism in China: https://www.learnreligions.com/buddhism-in-china-the-first-thousand-years-450147

Confucius: https://www.biography.com/scholar/confucius

Who was Confucius? TEDEd video: https://ed.ted.com/lessons/who-was-confucius-bryan-w-van-norden

Lessons 27-28. The Hebrews
Lessons 33-34. The Phoenicians
Lesson 46. Mycenaeans

Video about the Mycenaeans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq42a1014c0&feature=emb_logo

Mycenaean civilization (scroll down for lots of great photos): https://ancient-greece.org/archaeology/mycenae.html

Lesson 48. Homer

Crash Course Literature telling the story of the Odyssey (there is some discussion of sexuality as part of the story of the Odyssey along with a discussion of depiction of women in the epic so you may want to preview first for younger viewers): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS4jk5kavy4&feature=emb_logo

Homer: https://www.ancient.eu/homer/

Lesson 49. Classical Greece
Lesson 52. Greek Mythology

Lots of information about Greek god and goddesses and myths: https://www.greekmythology.com

Greek gods/goddesses: https://www.theoi.com/greek-mythology/greek-gods.html

Lesson 54. Peloponnesian Wars
Lesson 58. Fight for Persia

The Parthians: https://www.ancient.eu/Parthia_(Empire)/


The Sasanian Empire: https://www.ancient.eu/Sasanian_Empire/

Translation of an inscription about Shapur I, and photos of coins with a bust of Shapur I, and a large statue of him: https://medieval-islamic-history.com/shapur-i/

Lesson 59. The Roman Republic

Video of the Roman myth of Romulus and Remus and the founding of Rome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heZoGPlncDk&feature=emb_logo

The legend of Romulus and Remus: https://www.rome.net/romulus-and-remus

The founding of Rome: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/rome-founded

Lesson 67. Greeks vs. Romans

Includes a nice chart comparing/contrasting Greeks and Romans: http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/greek-and-roman/greek-vs-roman.htm

Suggested Books for Further Reading


The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World- This resource book does not cover all ancient civilizations but does a very in depth look at Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome.

Usborne Timelines of World History by Janet Chisholm


Gilgamesh the Hero by Geraldine McCaughrean and illustrated by David Perkins.  This book has beautiful illustrations along with the story.

Mesopotamia DK Eyewitness Book. As in all the DK Eyewitness books, this has lots of photographs of artifacts and great information for all ages.

Mesopotamian Myths by Henrietta McCall. This book is written for adults but has photographs of items along with several summaries of various Mesoptamian myths including Gilgamesh and creation myths.

Myths from Mesoptamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others by Stephanie Dalley (translator) This book contains direct translations of stories and poems (including the omissions when a section of the tablet was damaged or unreadable) and is interesting.  

MesopotamiaKids Discover Magazine

Ancient Egypt

Women in Ancient Egypt by Gay Robins. This book is written for adults but has a lot of great information about the lives of women in ancient Egypt and would be a good resource for an advanced reader or to look at with your student.

Where are the Great Pyramids? by Dorothy Hobler, Thomas Hoobler, et al. 

The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. These books are fiction, but are great stories and introduce readers to ancient Egyptian mythology.

Ancient Egypt – Kids Discover Magazine

Ancient Africa

African Kingdoms – Kids Discover Magazine

Ancient China

Ancient China – Kids Discover Magazine

China’s Empires- Kids Discover Magazine

Ancient Americas

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann – This book contains information about the Americas before the Europeans arrived. It includes great descriptions about how archaeologists work to figure out mysteries from the past. Highly Recommend.  It is also great for continuing on into study of later time periods.   

Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 by Charles C. Mann – This is the picture book version of the above book.  This has a lot of the great information paired with beautiful illustrations and photographs.  This is also good for continuing on into study of later time periods.

Ancient India

Ancient India- Kids Discover Magazine

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece and Greece’s Golden Age– Kids Discover Magazine

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. These fiction books are great stories and introduce readers to ancient Greek mythology.

Ancient Rome

Roman Empire- Kids Discover Magazine



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