Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ancient World (Greece): The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus by Aliki

One of my favorite subjects to study is ancient Greece.  The history is absolutely fascinating! I read books, watch documentaries, and listen to online course by university professors. I adore Greek dramas like Oedipus and Antigone.   I love the epics The Iliad and The Odyssey. I have even grown to appreciate (and to begin to understand) the philosophy of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  One of my favorite parts of ancient Greek culture and history is the mythology of the gods and heroes.  Here is a good introductory picture book to the Greek creation myth and the twelve divinities of Olympus: 


The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus (ages 6 and up) by Aliki 
First, the Greek creation narrative is related.  Gaea—the Earth—grew out of the dark space called Chaos.  Gaea gave birth to Uranus—the sky.  Together, they created the plants, animals, rivers, and all living things.  Gaea and Uranus had many children—twelve Titans, three Cyclops, and the Hecatoncheires.  After Uranus threw the Cyclops and Hecatoncheires into Tartarus, Gaea prompted her son Cronus to depose his father.   Cronus became the ruler of the universe.  He married Rhea.  Together, they had five children whom Cronus swallowed whole to prevent from being overthrown like his father.   Rhea managed to trick Cronus and to safely hide her youngest child, Zeus.  When he grew up, he freed his siblings.  With the help of the Cyclops and the Hecatoncheires, he toppled Cronus.   Zeus ruled from Olympus along with his siblings, six of his children, and Aphrodite. 

Second, the remainder of the book introduces each of the twelve gods and their dominions.   Briefly, background information and the stories they are often associated with each one are introduced.  The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus is an ideal book to lay down the foundation for a study of Greek mythology.   There are vibrant pictures depicting the characters and the action of each story. The final two page spread offers a visual summary of the divinities in relations to one another and their roles on Olympus.  To help my children memorize the gods and goddess, I created a study guide.  After our unit study, I gave them a quiz on it. 

For other ancient Greek posts, click here.  More posts on ancient Greece and mythology coming soon!

Game and Flashcards on Greek Gods and Goddesses
To Print on Business Cards, click on Flashcards and Game.
To Print on Card Stock, click on Game, Flashcards 2-Sided, or Flashcards Folded.
Instructions for Printing and Game Play and List of Gods and Goddesses

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