Referring students back to lesson two, “The Infinite,” with respect to the reading of creation myths from the
Book of Greek Myths,
Homer will be introduced as the author of the
which stands today as the first written record of Greece. Hence, our knowledge of Greek mythology begins with him sometime between 900 and 700 B.C., but as Edith Hamilton suggests: “The
is, or contains, the oldest Greek literature . . . which must have had behind it centuries when men were striving to express themselves with clarity and beauty, an indisputable proof of civilization” (
page 14). The
named after Ilium or Troy, which is the setting for the story, chronicles the events of the Trojan War, circa 1200 B.C. As Dr. Turekian states in Chapter Six, “Sea Level” from his book,
Global Environmental Change
“Troy is an example of an ancient maritime town made powerful by its access both to the sea and the interior through its river and roads. Its demise gave rise to the story of the Iliad with its beachhead-type invasion and siege. Now Troy is deep inland as its once shallow harbor has silted up. If the Greeks did not ‘the labors of the gods destroy and strike to dust the imperial towers of Troy’ (Alexander Pope), the city was certainly doomed as a maritime force by the inevitable silting of its harbor.”
Most likely, the Trojan War was fought for economic control over the shipping trade that flourished in Troy. (In “Lesson Eight: The Great Flood,” the effects of sea level changes will be further explored and we will refer back to the Dr. Turekian’s passage on Troy above.) But with regard to Homer’s epic poem, as further explained by Euripides (one of Homer’s contemporaries) in
The Trojan Women,
the war was instigated by Eris, the evil goddess of Discord, who crashed the wedding of King Peleus and the sea nymph, Thetis, by throwing a golden apple marked “for the fairest” into the banquet hall. Zeus, wisely declined to judge such a competition and advised the three finalists, Aphrodite, Hera and Athena to seek out Paris (the son of King Priam of Troy) as he was an excellent judge of beauty. After the goddesses offered Paris bribes—from Hera, power over Europe and Asia; from Athena, victory over Greece, and from Aphrodite, the love of the most beautiful woman in the world—Paris chose the women. Thus, the judgment of Paris precipitated a bloody ten year war as Helen, the designated prize, was also the wife of Menelaus, King of Sparta.
is Homer’s sequel to the
The 11,300 line poem tells of the plight of Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus, who await his return from Troy; Odysseus’ misadventures in his efforts to return to his home in Ithaca; and his long sought after reunion with his family. In the NBC mini series,
(aired on May 27th and 28th, 1997), the story begins with the birth of Telemachus and Odysseus’ immediate departure to fight in the Trojan War. From that point, the story line follows the capture of Troy and the Trojan Horse (taken from the second book of the
by Virgil). Film clips from this introduction in the mini series (approximately ten minutes running time) will be viewed by students.
Students will share in an oral reading of the handout,
Stormy Weather Odyssey Outline,
which includes several quotes from translations by Edith Hamilton and Robert Fitzgerald and is largely based on Edith Hamilton’s exposition “The Adventures of Odysseus” (
pages 202-219). To further illustrate some of the personages and events involved in the
several photographs from the
All Color Book of Greek Mythology
by Richard Patrick will be shown to students intermittently throughout our reading. Since the handout is ten pages long, I have included an abridged outline in this unit
(see “Stormy Weather Odyssey Outline” in the appendix). Anyone wishing to see and/or use the full-length version, need only contact me at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School.
After reviewing the outline of events in the
students will be shown another clip from the NBC version involving Odysseus’ escape from Polyphemus, the Cyclops, to the strange island of Aeolus, Ruler of the Winds (running time, approximately five minutes). In the clip, Odysseus is befriended by Aeolus who gives him a leather satchel containing all the winds of the world, save one, the westward wind. Aeolus warns Odysseus to keep the bag closed and in this way the westward wind will carry he and his men swiftly and safely home to Ithaca. Odysseus, ever mindful of Aeolus’ warning, guards the bag both day and night until he sees the coastline of Ithaca not far ahead. Feeling secure in the knowledge that he is almost home, he rests. During Odysseus’ slumber, the curiosity of his men—having peaked throughout the journey with Odysseus’ refusal to share the contents of Aeolus’ gift—overtakes them and they open the satchel. Thus, the winds of the world are released with a vengeance and “the ship of fools” is blown back into the open sea.
Once we have viewed the clip, we will engage in a discussion of wind based on information from “Winds” (
Exploring Earth’s Weather,
pages 22-28). In the discussion, we will define air pressure as the measure of the force of air pressing down on the Earth’s surface. We will explain wind as the movement of air from one place to another (both locally and globally) that is caused by cool denser air (high pressure areas) moving underneath warm less dense air (low pressure areas). Additionally, we will review the following kinds of wind that students have studied in their Science classes: local winds—sea breeze, land breeze and monsoons; global winds and the Coriolis Effect (where convection currents stemming from the equator and moving poleward due to unequal heating from the sun are deflected by the Earth’s rotation, right and left in the northern and southern hemispheres respectively) —doldrums, trade winds, prevailing westerlies, polar easterlies and jet streams.