Statue of Athena

Greek Mythology and Religion

Gods and Goddesses in Ancient Greece

An overview of the main pantheon in ancient Greece, and the central characters within it.

Learning Objectives

  • Give students an understanding of the multiplicity of divine personality in the ancient world.
  • Give a brief introduction to the origin myths of the pantheon.
  • Develop an appreciation of how polytheism worked in the religious lives of the Greeks, and how the gods were worshipped.

Session 1
Introduction to the gods that lived on Mount Olympus, their personalities and specialisms. Introduce minor gods that are referenced throughout Greek literature and discuss what they do.
Activity: The Rogues’ Gallery – identify the accoutrements to the gods.

Session 2
An overview of the Theogony and Gigantomachy. Convey the other origin myths of the gods, and how this relates to their worship.
Activity: Write a “news report” on the Gigantomachy, and the overthrow of Cronus by Zeus

Session 3
Discuss how the Greeks depicted their gods as statues and on pots. Talk about how each god was represented. Talk about how gods were worshipped.
Activity: Draw gods on a mock-up amphora body.
Activity: Write from the perspective of a Greek individual who is worshipping a particular god. Say why they are sacrificing to that god, where they approach the god etc.

 

The 12 labours of Heracles

Son of Zeus, slayer of monsters, and the strongest hero to have ever lived. The stories of Heracles are fantastical and have captivated people for thousands of years. We will dive into these stories, learning about his great feats and adventures.

Learning Objectives

  • Outline the mythology of the labours of Heracles using a storyboard.
  • Discuss the difference between fantastical and possible stories and their importance.
  • Review visual culture which depicts Heracles and discuss their purpose.

Session 1
We will begin by retelling the story of the 12 great labours of Heracles, learning about the gods and monsters who helped and hindered the son of Zeus.

Session 2
We will create a storyboard of one of Heracles’ labours, reimaging the tale, either as more fantastical and outrageous, or grounding the event in more realistic terms which could be believed to have been true. We will discuss how both approaches are important and why the ancients chose one way over the other.

Session 3
We will review how Heracles came to be remembered in Greek art and culture, and why the ancients chose him to have a special role in their religious myths.