Wednesday, January 22

Ancient Greece Unit Study + The Good & the Beautiful History

The boys love their mythology, as evidenced by the Modern Mythology novel studies!  When we got to Greek Mythology in The Good & the Beautiful History 2, we fleshed out that lesson a little further for a fun week...including hosting our own Olympics!!

Pick up the free novel study for Percy Jackson & Greek Mythology

One of our favorite resources for Ancient Greece is Drive Thru History!  Aimed at middle and high school, the teacher is goofy enough to keep kids interested while showing some amazing footage and teaching well-researched historic lessons.  They have an Ancient History and American History series, and you can watch them all right now for only $5!

Zeus was the most powerful of the Greek gods and had a number of powers. His most famous power is the ability to throw lighting bolts. His winged horse Pegasus carried his lighting bolts and he trained an eagle to retrieve them. He could also control the weather, causing rain and huge storms.

Zeus also had other powers. He could mimic people's voices to sound like anyone. He could also shape shift so that he looked like an animal or a person. If people made him angry, sometimes he would turn them into animals as punishment.

The Titans
The Titans were the first, or elder, gods.  There were twelve of them, including the parents of Zeus, Cronus, and Rhea.  They ruled during what was called the Golden Age.  They were overthrown by their children...led by Zeus.
The Olympians
The twelve Olympian gods were the major gods of the Greeks, and lived on Mount Olympus.  They included:
  • Zeus - Leader of the Olympians, and god of the sky and lightning. His symbol is the lightning bolt. he is married to Hera, his sister.
  • Hera - Queen of the gods, and married to Zeus, she is the goddess of marriage and family. Her symbols are the lion, cow, and peacock.
  • Poseidon - God of the ocean, earthquakes, and horses. His symbol is the trident. He is Zeus' and Hades' brother.
  • Hades - God of the Underworld, he lives in the Underworld rather than on Mount Olympus.
  • Dionysus - Lord of wine and celebrations. Patron god of theater and art, his main symbol is the grapevine. He is the son of Zeus and the youngest Olympian.
  • Apollo - God of music and light, his symbols include the sun, bow and arrow, and lyre. His twin sister is Artemis.
  • Artemis - Goddess of the hunt, archery, and animals. Her symbols include the moon, bow and arrow, and deer. Her twin brother is Apollo.
  • Ares - God of war, his symbols are the spear and shield. He is the son of Zeus and Hera.
  • Athena - Goddess of wisdom, defense, and war, her symbols are the owl and olive branch. She is the patron saint of Athens.
  • Hermes - God of commerce and thieves. He is also the messenger of the gods, and his symbol is the winged sandals. His son, Pan, is the god of nature.
  • Aphrodite - Goddess of love and beauty, her symbols include the dove and rose. She is married to Hephaestus.
  • Hephaesus - God of fire, blacksmith and craftsman for the gods. His symbols include fire, the anvil and hammer, and the donkey. He is married to Aphrodite.
  • Demeter - Goddess of agriculture and the seasons, her symbols include wheat and the pig.

Monsters of Myth
The Chimera 
The fire-breathing Chimera is a terrifying beast with a serpent for a tail, a goat's body and a lion's head! A king has commanded warrior, Bellerophon, to destroy her. Soaring above the monster on a winged horse, he shoots arrows at her. Bellerophon then attaches lead to his spear and thrusts it into the vicious beast. The hero’s actions kills the fiery Chimera. 

Scylla & Charybdis
On both sides of a narrow stretch of sea, monsters lie in wait.  On one side, Scylla thrashes around her six snakelike heads, ready to crunch on passing sailors.  On the other, Charybdis creates a deadly whirlpool.  No person has ever faced these beasts and escaped unharmed.  Now the king, Odysseus, and his crew must pass them to get home.  They edge around Charybdis' spiraling sea, saving the ship from being swallowed whole.  Scylla swoops down and gobbles up six men, and Odysseus shouts, leading the rest of the crew past Scylla and out of the deadly channel.  Having survived the dreaded beasts, Odysseus and his men continue their journey.

The Minotaur
Half-man, half-bull, the Minotaur lurks in an underground maze waiting for his next meal - children sent to him as a sacrifice.  Lost in the labyrinth, the kids will be devoured, but brave king Theseus has had enough of his land living in fear of the Minotaur.  He accompanies the group, and is prepared to fight.  Hearing the Minotaur breathing nearby, he springs toward it.  Dodging the monster's deadly horns, he thrusts his sword into the beast.  The Minotaur is dead, and Theseus unspools a piece of string that he wound as he walked through the maze...he leads the children out to safety.
In a swamp, creeps a deadly nine-headed serpent called the Hydra.  Heracles, son of Zeus, must kill it to become immortal.  After throwing flaming spears at the beast, the Hydra attacks, so Heracles hits its heads with a club, but more grow in their place!  Heracles' friend, Iolus, then leaps to his aid with a flaming torch.  After an epic battle, the men finally destroy the Hydra!

This hideous Medusa has snakes for hair, terrifying tusks, and a face that turns anyone that looks at it into stone!  To please his king, Perseus agrees to slay the beast.  Wearing a helmet of invisibility, he sneaks up on Medusa.  She's asleep, but one gaze at her face and Perseus would be a statue!  He looks at her harmless reflection in his shiny shield and beheads her.  Victorious, Perseus flies off on winged sandals.
The original Greek Olympics had five events :  javelin, discus, wrestling, foot race, and pentathalon.  We added Jello snarfling and Nerf gun sharp-shooting to round out our competition...  

If you want an easy way to make medals, we used old canning lids to make our medals.  Poke a hole through it, use some string, and you have a shiny, metal medal!  We made our own Greek scoreboard to keep track of the day's events.  While there was no clear cut winner, we all came out on top and had a fabulous afternoon!

Greek & Olympic Resources

Javelin Throw
An old flagpole made a perfect javelin!

Discus Toss
A frisbee...a's all the same shape!

Obstacle Course & Foot Races
Over the playground and through the woods...

Who had more fun here....Daddy, or the kids?

Jello Snarfling
I'm fairly certain this was the favorite event!

Nerf Gun Sharp-shooting
The cat kept running in front of the target....


  1. What adventures! We did Greek Myths last year but truly Greek history will come back year after next. We too enjoy supplementing with Drive Thru History. Right now, we are focusing on American History and have found some great Ken Burns documentaries on Amazon.

    1. Yes! I forgot about Ken Burns. He does such amazing documentaries...they're long, but perfect for an indepth study!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.