Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Night At The Museum History Unit - A Magic Show for Attila the Hun

There is very little written for children about Attila the Hun. So, after giving up on finding anything really intriguing or entertaining, I resigned myself to reading a few pages to the kids, about the Hunnic leader, from a text book style history I found at the library. The write up on Wikepedia would do equally well. Even with the dryer text, we found a few fun facts to compare with the movie.

It's interesting the film makers chose to portray President Roosevelt on a horse (even though he was often on foot), while having Attila run through the museum (though he was nearly always on horseback). A Hun's horse was an integral part of his weaponry. Theodore Roosevelt did ride a horse, named Little Texas, as a Rough Rider. But, he actually took Kettle Hill on foot due to barbed wire.

As far as the "Moogo moogo mushi", kind of language the Huns were speaking in the film - no one knows what Hunnic sounded like. Attila's name comes from the Gothic. It means little father. Gothic is also an extinct language, but think really, really old German. When you mix in the Latin and Greek, that would have also been spoken among the Huns, it's easy to imagine that Attila's speech might have sounded more like one of the elves from Lord of the Rings, than the strange Polynesian/Chinese mix used in Night At The Museum (but again, no one really knows).

We did not find any record of Attila's fascination with magic. In fact, if anything Larry, the night watchman, should have offered him some tribute, his lunch money maybe. But, the children agreed it would still be fun to put on a magic show for their father - Daddy the Montanan. I gave them a few props that we had stuck away in the closet, and with the help of, they put on a pretty a good show. If nothing else, it was a good test of how well they could cooperate as a group, and whether they could read, understand, and follow written instructions. The show was a success, with only a few minor moments of stress. Their father wasn't so sure about a glass of water and pepper being brought onto the living room carpet. But, the tricks were good, and the carpet is still intact, so I'd say they passed the test.
Finally, after, reading about the sad end of Attila the Hun, who drank himself into a stupor, and then passed out and choked to death on a nose bleed on his own wedding night - the children may never have to be told about the vices of alcohol ever again (or at least not for a while).
It's great to be a homeschooler!

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