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Greek Myth XLV: Pseudo-Apollodorus’s Bibliotheca Book III, Chapter IV – Cadmus, Semele, Actaeon, or Meet Dionysus’s Grandpa

Meet Dionysus’s family.

Okay, this episode also made me think of this statue of Hermes and baby Dionysus.

Discussion Prompts

  1. Semele, Zeus, and Hera. Discuss.
  2. Why do you think Athena tells Cadmus to sow the dragon’s teeth?
  3. How do you think Harmonia feels about being married to Cadmus?
  4. Which reason for Actaeon’s death sounds right to you? Why? And does he deserve his fate?

Roman Epics XXI: Virgil’s Aeneid Book 12, or I Wonder If That’s How Virgil Wanted It To End

Wait. That’s the end?!?

And as long promised, here is my favorite episode of Wishbone:

What’s the story, Wishbone? Why, Virgil’s Aeneid, of course!

Discussion Prompts

  1. Having watched the above, will you ever be able to read The Aeneid the same way again?
  2. What do you think of Aeneas’s actions at the end of Book 12?
  3. Juturna and Turnus. Discuss.
  4. Is this epic optimistic or pessimistic about the Roman Empire? Why?
  5. What does this epic have to say about fate? Free will? Faith?
  6. What do you think about the Aeneid? Love it? Hate it? It’s fine?

Roman Tragedy X: Seneca’s Hercules on Oeta, or The Long Kiss Goodnight

Hercules goes on and on and on and on and on…

Discussion Prompts

  1. Do you think Seneca wrote this play? Explain.
  2. What does this play say about love?
  3. Who is the best stoic in this play?
  4. What does Alcmena show us about grief? Faith?
  5. The usual directing questions: How would you stage this? Dream cast? And everything else about this as a play.

Greek Myth XLIV: Pseudo-Apollodorus’s Bibliotheca Book III, Chapter III – Glaucus, or Who Knew Honey Was So Dangerous?!?

Glaucus dies. But don’t be nervous. It will all be all right in the end.

Discussion Prompts

  1. Why do you think the color-changing cow is important? Why do you think that is the test for identifying the person who will save Glaucus?
  2. Spit-swapping. Discuss.
  3. Are there other myths or legends that involve drowning in honey? If you know one, please share!
  4. AP Credit: What does this story have to say about fate and prophecy?

Roman Epics XX: Virgil’s Aeneid Book 11, or It’s Funeral Time!

It’s truce time! At least for a bit. Until it’s not. And once it’s not? It’s really not truce time anymore.

Discussion Prompts

  1. AP Credit: Compare/contrast the funerals described in this book with those described in the Iliad.
  2. What do you think happens on Olympus after Apollo helps Arruns kill Diana’s beloved Camilla?
  3. Why is it important that Turnus asks Diomedes for help? And why is it important that Diomedes says no? How do you think this story would be different if Diomedes had said yes?
  4. What does this book tell us about death and mourning?
  5. What does this book have to say about women and their role in society?

Roman Tragedy IX: Seneca’s Phoenissae, or I Think I Missed Something

What Phoenician women? No. Really. Where are they?

Discussion Prompts

  1. Who is the best stoic in this play?
  2. What does this play have to say about parenthood and the relationship between parents and children?
  3. Write the fifth act of this play.
  4. Why do you think this play is called Phoenissae?
  5. Add a chorus to this play. Who are they? What do they say?

Greek Myth XLIII: Pseudo-Apollodorus’s Bibliotheca Book III, Chapter II – Catreus, or Agamemnon’s Dad is Who Again?

Catreus has some kids, and they also have some kids, and that’s the story in today’s episode.

Discussion Prompts

  1. How fast of a runner is Apemosyne? Tell her story from her point of view.
  2. What do you think would have happened if Catreus hadn’t hid the oracles? Or hadn’t gone to the oracle at all? What does this say about fate and/or free will?
  3. Fill in the details on Clymene and Aerope and their marriages.
  4. Which translation are you reading? How does it differ from how I described this bit of mythology based on the Frazer translation?

212. Roman Epics XIX: Virgil’s Aeneid Book 10, or A Study in Scarlet

My professor described this book as “a study in violence,” so… fair warning?

Discussion Prompts

  1. AP Credit: Discuss the deaths in this book as sacrifices for the founding of Rome.
  2. AP Credit: Compare/contrast the events of this book with The Iliad.
  3. Why do you think Fate is more powerful than the gods?
  4. Does Aeneas have a choice? In this book he chooses to listen to the ship mermaids when they tell him to hurry back to the battlefield, but is that really a choice? Would it be possible for him to take any actions that would change his fate?
  5. What do you think of Turnus? Mezentius?
  6. Fathers and sons. Discuss.
  7. We only have two books left. What do you think is going to happen? Why?

Roman Tragedy VIII: Seneca’s Thyestes, or Well, That Explains the Curse

And this is why the House of Atreus can’t have nice things…

Discussion Prompts

  1. AP Credit: Discuss human sacrifice in the family of Tantalus.
  2. Who is the best stoic in this play? Why?
  3. What do you imagine Seneca’s source material might have looked like? How might it have told this story differently?
  4. Why do you think Seneca chose to write such gory tragedies?
  5. Directing questions: staging? dream cast? etc.?

Greek Myth XLII: Pseudo-Apollodorus’s Bibliotheca Book III, Chapter I – Europa, Minos, Pasiphae, or A Lot of Bulls

First there’s the Zeus bull. Then there’s the Poseidon bull. Then there’s the Man-Bull…

I couldn’t find a free image I could easily drop into this post about Minoan bull-leaping, so instead I recommend this excellent article about the practice.

Discussion Prompts

  1. Why bulls?
  2. AP Credit: Discuss these myths in relation to what we know historical of Cretan Minoan culture.
  3. Why do you think Europa’s siblings do not return home when they are unable to find her?
  4. Retell this chapter from the perspective of Europa.
  5. Do you think Minos feels punished after Poseidon curses Pasiphae? Why or why not?