Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Odyssey - Stop 1

Well, I'm currently teaching The Odyssey to my ninth graders (standard fare here).  The other teachers follow the text book which hits Polyphemus and then jump straight to his fight with the suitors.  This cuts out all the great stuff.  Plus they use a version that attempts to keep the poetry of the original but fails and just makes the story harder for my students to grasp.  So we try to use several versions and have as much fun with it as possible.  I thought we would look at all the stops in the travels of Odysseus and see what we could see about them.

Stop #1 - Cicones

Odysseus leaves Troy after a clever wooden horse ruse (worked better than that wooden rabbit idea in King Arthur).  Cicones is north of Troy and they were allies of Troy.  Odysseus needed supplies and decided that they would be easy pickings.  Which they were.  This was the problem.

They were so easy to conquer, that the men got cocky (in more ways than one) and decided not to spend their time loading the wine, food, and other plunder like Odysseus told them to and decided instead to drink more wine, slaughter more animals, and, ah, hold hands aggressively with the women (need to keep a non-explicit rating here).

Some of the neighboring areas came to the Ciconians aid and unleashed their spears upon the men of Odysseus.  I've read two accounts here.  One is that Odyssesu arrived with 3 ships and lost 18 men in this battle.  Another is that Odysseus arrived with 12 ships and lost 70 men.  Whatever the case, the result is clear.  Odysseus still has no supplies and lost some stupid men.  Mythic Fail.

By the way, the picture comes from an elementary school which is reading The Odyssey.  Check them out at http://blogs.sch.gr/makarono/odyssey/

Next stop?  Hippy Crackhead Island (or as more commonly translated, The Lotus Eaters)

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