Benin c. CE 900 - 1300

Block F - Religion

This topic provides you with an outstanding set of inspired plans and resources to enable you to study Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300 and to contrast many of its features with contemporary developments in British history; learn about the rise and establishment of the Benin Kingdom, consider what brought the Edo people to the rainforests of Benin and how the empire grew; study the rulers of the Edo people, their everyday life, their religion and worship, their trading currencies and trade routes, their music and art and finally how the Kingdom of Benin came to an end.

Find out about the legends of the Edo speaking people of Benin; explore the famous creation story of Olorun and Obatala. Other gods were worshipped, too, and shrines were built to give offerings and make supplications to the gods and to ancestors. Make shrines to the old gods or religious scenes of the Edo people inspired by Benin artwork.

This Topic is written for Upper Key Stage 2. If you want to use this Topic for a different Key Stage, you will need to consider how to adapt the outcomes, content, delivery methods, resources and differentiation, as well as the relevant National Curriculum objectives.

Supporting documents for topic
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01: The beginning of the world and the first Oba

Find out about and role play the Edo speaking people's myths about the start of the world, and the beginnings of Benin. Take turns sketching the scenes that are acted out in sketchbooks.

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02: The King's Festival

Role play a King's Festival, where the Oba of Benin is the focus of religious celebrations. Photograph the event and then make sketches based on the photos.

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03: A pantheon of gods

Explore the objects that show us some of the kings and gods of Benin, make sketches of these objects.

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04: Make a religious scene

Use your sketches to model a replica shrine or religious scene.