Dinner with some Olympians and Chthonic Gods

In our third lesson, we invited Apollo and Artemis classes to a feast of the gods!

There were two tables laid out with place names, menus and various items. One table, with black table cloths, represented some of the chthonic (underworld) gods and creatures, whereas the other table, with white table cloths, represented the Olympians.

Everyone was assigned a character and asked to take a seat. You were all asked to introduce yourselves to the other dinner guests at your table, just as you would at a polite dinner.

On the chthonic table, which was much longer than the Olympian table, you were introduced to familiar chthonic characters such as Hades, Cerberos and Tartarus, who was a pit. You met Empusa, the Greek ‘bogey monster’, Erebus, primordial god of darkness, Nyx, goddess of night, the Lamiae, vampiric creatures who disguised as beautiful women, Melinoe, a half-black, half-white creature who led ghosts out of the underworld to haunt people, the Furies, the Fates, Thanatos, the Keres, who tore the souls of the dying out of their bodies, and some others too.

You learned how the chthonic (literally meaning ‘of the ground’) gods were sacrificed to with black-skinned animals, at night. The sacrifice was entirely burnt, and no part was eaten by people. The Olympian gods were sacrificed to with white-skinned animals, in daylight, and people burnt the inedible parts of the animal, while sharing the rest.

The Olympian gods were often described by Homer and others as consuming two substances: ambrosia and nektar. Both of these words mean ‘undying’ at their root. Both substances are described as fragrant.

We finished by exploring the Parthenon Frieze again and thinking about your comic ideas.

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