Ovid

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Attis and Cybele – West Asian mythology

By | 2018-04-15T12:08:20+00:00 September 15th, 2017|Religion, West Asia|

Cybele and Attis standing together, while two much smaller human worshippers pray to them. From the Hellenistic kingdoms, in what is now Turkey, in the 100s BC Cybele, Magna Mater or the Great Mother, was a West Asian fertility goddess like Isis or Demeter. You sacrificed to Cybele to make sure the wheat and barley would grow well. There are many versions [...]

Ovid and the Metamorphoses – Roman literature

By | 2017-09-04T00:41:36+00:00 September 4th, 2017|Literature, Romans|

Part of a page from a copy of Ovid's Metamorphoses (South Italy, 1000s AD, just as the Normans were conquering it) With the end of the Roman Republic, poets were excited to explore the new possibilities of the new Roman Empire under Augustus. Ovid, who was born in 43 BC, was about twelve years old when [...]

Echo and Narcissus – Ovid’s Metamorphoses – ancient Rome

By | 2017-09-03T22:56:13+00:00 September 3rd, 2017|Literature, Romans|

Narcissus and his pond (Third Style Roman painting from Pompeii, about 79 AD) This is a story we know mainly because Ovid wrote it down in his poem, the Metamorphoses. It's a traditional Greek story - there are illustrations from Greek vase painting about 500 BC. But Ovid's is the best known version. In this story, Narcissus was [...]

Latin Literature – the writers of ancient Rome

By | 2018-04-25T10:12:51+00:00 September 3rd, 2017|Literature, Romans|

A Roman papyrus scroll from a library of Epicurean philosophy (Herculaneum, Italy) The Roman Empire lasted for more than a thousand years, so there was plenty of time to produce a lot of writing. Latin, an Indo-European language, was written in an alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet, with some letters changed: the Latin or Roman alphabet is [...]

Philemon and Baucis – Ovid’s Metamorphoses

By | 2018-04-25T10:20:25+00:00 September 3rd, 2017|Literature, Religion, Romans|

Just a loaf of bread This is a story we only know because Ovid wrote it down in his poem, the Metamorphoses. It might be a traditional Greek story, but we don't know it from anywhere else. In this story, Philemon and Baucis are poor people who live out in the countryside in an area called [...]

Boccaccio – Decameron – Medieval literature

By | 2018-04-24T09:23:18+00:00 August 3rd, 2017|Literature, Medieval|

Florence, Italy Most of the people who knew how to write in the early Middle Ages were monks. So most of them wrote about serious things like God and Heaven and Hell. Even writers who weren't monks, like Dante, usually wrote about Christian ideas. But Boccaccio was different. Boccaccio wrote about real people and their real lives. Some [...]

Persephone and Hades – Greek religion

By | 2018-04-23T09:49:50+00:00 July 16th, 2017|History|

Hades kidnaps Persephone (mosaic from Amphipolis, 300s BC) Persephone was the daughter of the goddess Demeter. One day Persephone was dancing with her friends in a sunny meadow, having a good time, picking flowers. Suddenly Persephone's spooky uncle Hades burst out of the ground and grabbed her and pulled her into his chariot! He took Persephone (purr-SEFF-oh-nee) [...]

Arachne and Athena – the Arachne story in Greek mythology

By | 2018-05-25T17:58:44+00:00 July 14th, 2017|Greeks, Literature|

The Arachne story: Greek women weaving at a warp-weighted loom - Athens, 500s BC Who was Arachne? Arachne was a girl who lived in Greece a long long time ago (in the story; this is a story). She was a very good weaver and spinner. Arachne wove all sorts of beautiful pictures into her cloth, and people came from all around to see her [...]