Monday, August 14, 2023

Notes on Greek Mythology

In the Waldorf scope & sequence, children learn Greek Mythology in grade 5 (often culminating in an Olympics) and Greek & Roman History in grade 6 as a prequel to the Middle Ages. The last time I taught Greek Myths we had a shortened month so our block needed to proceed quickly. We used Famous Myths of the Golden Age retold by Beatrice Alexander (1947) for our MLB.

    The Flame-Giver

    Pandora's Box

    The Gorgon's Head

    The Story of King Midas

    The Sun-God and the Mortal

    How Phaeton Drove the Horses of the Sun

    The Golden Fleece

    Cupid and Psyche

    The Labors of Hercules

    The Six Pomegranate Seeds

    The Wanderings of Ulysses

I loved her retellings; the biggest downside to her book is that she refers to the Greek characters by their Roman names and my students found that very confusing. The next month, while we were writing and putting on our Three Vignettes from Greek Mythology Class Play, we then read The Odyssey for Boys and Girls retold by A.J. Church (1936) as our lunchtime read aloud (available here as a FREE PDF).

This time around I have the luxury of taking my time, working remotely on Zoom with a student who wants to go through the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths slowly. So here I am sharing the Table of Contents and some notes.

In Olden Times

Gaea, Mother Earth

The Titans

    the Hecatoncheires (meaning "hundred-handed ones") were named Cottus, Briareus, and Gyges

    Titan is a moon of Saturn

    modern word Titanic

    modern word titanium

    modern word rhea

ZEUS and His Family

    Roman equivalent Jupiter, name of a planet

    modern word iris

    find "Ida Mt., Childhood home of Zeus" on map


    Roman equivalent Juno

    Io is a moon of Jupiter

    find "Egypt" on map

    this is a great time to go see peacocks at the zoo or Cabin on the Hill!


    Roman equivalent Vulcan

    modern word volcano

    find "Lemnos, Hephaestus' forge here" on map



    Roman equivalent Mars, name of a planet and a month

    also, the two horses that pulled his chariot (Phobos "fear" and Deimos "terror") are the names of the two moons of Mars

    Eris is a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt

    modern word phobia


    Roman equivalent Minerva

    modern word arachnid

    find "Athens" on map

    this is a great time to taste different types of olives or make Super Lemony Olive Oil Cake (our kitchen spoon is made of olive wood!)



    find "Parnassus Mt., Oracle of Delphi" on map


    Roman equivalent Diana

    constellations: Orion, Scorpius

    find "Orion was blinded here" on map



Persephone and Demeter

    the Roman equivalent of Persephone is Proserpina

    the Roman equivalent of Demeter is Ceres

    modern word cereal

    find "Persephone kidnapped here" on map

    this is a great time to open and eat a pomegranate!

    retold by Sally Pomme Clayton


    Roman equivalent Bacchus

    Ganymede is a moon of Jupiter

MINOR GODS, Nymphs, Satyrs, and Centaurs





    Roman equivalent Aurora

    modern word Eocene

Helios and Phaëthon





The Wild and Vulgar Centaurs


The Nine Muses


    find "Thrace, Orpheus born here" on map

    find "Lesbos, Orpheus buried here" on map


Europa and Cadmus

Tantalus and Pelops

Danaüs, Perseus, and the Gorgon

Clever and Vainglorious Kings

King Midas







The Golden Fleece

    find "Golden Ram flew to Colchis from here" on map

    modern word harpy

    modern word siren

The Calydonian Boar Hunt

    find "Calydonian boar here" on map

The Apples of Love and the Apple of Discord

    Eris is a dwarf planet

    find "Troy" and "Sparta" on map

Everything Must Come to an End

It's really helpful to have pictures handy of the different celestial bodies that have been named based on Greek mythology. I love The Photographic Card Deck of the Solar System by Marcus Chown (with 158 amazing images).

If you're also a part of Art History Kids, Lotus Stewart is doing Ancient Greek Art & Architecture as her August 2023 topic. That's a great resource as well!

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