Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Limerick Dictionary

I recently found a website that is making a dictionary with every entry having a limerick and then a brief definition. It is The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form ( It is written by volunteers and they have 42,000 entries (and they haven't gotten past C yet). For any mythology teachers out there, this is a lesson waiting to happen! If you just want to see the myth limericks, try this address:

Here are a few myth related entries (all poems and entries are taken directly from the source):

Cerberus by OxfordVictor (Victor Kandampully)

You can lull him with musical tricks,
Or put drugs in your honeycake mix.
But three heads (and six eyes)
Mean it wouldn't be wise
To pass Cerberus, guarding his Styx.

In Greek mythology, Cerberus (SIR-bur-us), the giant three-headed dog who guarded the Underworld, was a fearsome animal with a serpent for a tail. However, several mortals contrived to enter the Underworld by passing Cerberus and crossing the River Styx. Aeneas was accompanied by the Sibyl of Cunae. Book VI of The Aeneid describes how she fed Cerberus drugged tidbits, so that they could safely pass. Orpheus played music to Cerberus so that the dog would be lulled to sleep. Harry Potter fans will realise why this story makes it reasonably certain that the dog Fluffy in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is J.K.Rowling's own tribute to Cerberus.

Achilles by Robert Holland (Robert Holland)

Brave Achilles delivered defeat
To Hector, whom no one could beat.
Then Paris, the archer,
Sealed Achilles' departure.
Now he's known for his heel, not his feat.

According to Greek myth, Achilles had only one weakness, his heel, which his mother held to dip him as a newborn into the River Styx. Achilles defeated Hector, Troy's champion, in face to face combat during the Trojan Wars. Then Paris, counseled by the goddess Aphrodite, shot Achilles in the heel. Achilles died from this wound, giving birth to the term "Achilles' heel", a fateful singular weakness or vulnerability, as well as the anatomical term "Achilles tendon", which is the largest tendon in the human body.

Argonauts by sigg (Ian Hartshorn)

The Argonauts rowed Jason's boat.
The Aegean is where they did float
As they sought the gold fleece,
Which was famed throughout Greece
'Cause it made for a premium coat.

One theory is that Jason sailed from the Aegean into the Black Sea. The inhabitants in the eastern end of the Black Sea traditionally used sheepskins to mine for gold. (They would pour stream mud/rock down a sluice lined with sheepskin and the gold fragments would get caught by the wool. After a day's mining, you might actually have golden fleece.)

and finally...

Asgard by speedysnail (Rory Ewins)

In Asgard, three Norse gods of war,
Namely Woden and Frigga and Thor,
Thought they'd all be unique,
And have days of the week
Named after them. Loki's still sore.

Asgard is the world of the Aesir, or warrior gods, in Norse mythology.

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