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Well, apparently I purchased the wrong version of Story of the Greeks!! The other day I noticed that my chapters didn’t line up with the guide & realized my mistake. My version does NOT give any information re. Greek myths, or explaining it in any way. And I feel SO ridiculously dumb right now, because I do not remember one single thing about ancient Greece (including whether or not I ever even studied it!). But today we were talking with my husband about the story of Oedipus, and he asks what the moral was. And I’m like, “Moral?? It’s history!” And he then proceeded to explain to me that it is a myth only, based on a play…..and I think my jaw fell into the floor because I couldn’t believe it possible that I didn’t realize that!
So I guess my question (now that I’ve managed to re-position my poor jaw!) is how on earth I am to know when myth ends and actual history begins in this book/guide/module? The SCM guide listed 1300BC as a timeline entry for Oedipus marrying his mother. I am so beyond confused! (And also very embarrassed for having to ask!) 🙁Sonya ShaferModerator
Many of the early Greek stories are legends and myths about heroes; the Nothing New Press version calls them fairytales. Some of the heroes mentioned in the legends were actual historical figures, but their stories have been retold and elaborated upon by the Greek poets and intermingled with gods and goddesses and mythological creatures.
I like how the Nothing New Press version summarizes Oedipus (pp. 41–42):
“. . . Such was the end of the family of Oedipus—a king who has been considered the most unhappy man that ever lived, because, although he meant to be good, he was forced by fate to commit the most horrible crimes.
Of course, we learn from the Bible, that fate does not control the lives of men, and every man is free to choose to live righteously or wickedly; in worship of God, or false gods of his own choosing. While Oedipus might have been a real historical figure, and it may have been true that his sons killed each other through pride and lust for power, that they were destined to do so by fate is only a myth. However, it is a very celebrated myth, about which the Greeks wrote stories, poems, and plays, and it is on that account that it should be known by every one who wishes to study the history of Greece.”
Here is another quote to answer your question about when real history begins in the study of Ancient Greece. This one is from page 53:
“The return of the Heraclidae into the Peloponnesus is the last event of the Heroic Age, and now real history begins. After this, it is no longer necessary to try to find out the truth hidden in the old tales which were handed down from father to son, and which were only fairy stories the Greek children knew; for henceforth records were kept of all the principal events.”
I hope these comments help.
That DOES help…thank you! My version gives a little snippet right at the beginning about hearing some of the stories Greek children were told. But then it goes straight into the early inhabitants & about Egyptians coming over & settling, etc. which certainly sounds very “historical” to me, then adds in some myth in the midst of it all. Maybe it would be worth it to go ahead & get the Nothing New version.Wings2flyParticipant
I never liked studying mythology in school, and I have not used it in my adulthood so far. Last year when we studied Ancients, my oldest was 10 yo, so we did not go much into it. Would we really need to study it much next time, in high school? WHY do they need to study mythology, especially in a Christian school?
**Just want to add, for my own sake 😛 – obviously I knew the stories weren’t ALL true…I was just going more with the assumption that they were highly embellished but based on real people & events- i.e. Oedipus was real, & really did accidentally kill his father & marry his mother, etc., but obviously the parts about the prophecies/gods/sphynx & all that were fiction. But it seems the fairy-tale description is more fitting.
I’ve just ordered the Nothing New version of both the Greeks & Romans (we are combining 3yrs. of ancients into 1!) so I think that will get us more on the right track. 🙂SueParticipant
I came across an article published in Practical Homeschooling magazine that addresses the why or why not of teaching Christian children about Greek and Roman mythology. It’s written by Rob & Cindy Shearer (yes, the founders of Greenleaf Press), and it gives three reasons to teach mythology and which myths to avoid. (Basically, it proposes that you should teach Greek and Roman myths, but not Hindu or Shinto myths, and it gives reasons why not in a sidebar.)
Their main contention is that you can teach how these myths are false religion and the consequences of their actions within them. It also maintains that learning about what the ancients believed is important to understanding the culture of that time.
Here is the link to the article: https://www.home-school.com/Articles/002-should-christians-teach-mythology.php
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