Since we look at many ancient cultures during the same school year, kids can actually forget what culture they are studying while they are studying it. We use Aesop Fables to keep them on track through our entire study of ancient Greece. On the first day of the unit, I show a quick cartoon PowerPoint about Aesop, which includes one of his fables. Then, I read one each day, to open class. The kids wanted to hear the story, so they were quiet immediately and we didn't lose any time settling them down. And off we go in ancient Greece.
Really Awesome Selection of Aesop Fables, Interactive Book Online, from the Library of Congress - Each page is a fable. A wonderful job.