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Aldersgate College, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya Instructional Modules in World Literature

Module I Greek Literature

Overview
This module is designed to help you learn something about the classical Greek Literature and the
qualities that made them great. This knowledge acquired shall help you discover and thus build a deeper
and enduring appreciation for good literature and know more about the creators of classic literature.

Objectives
Upon completion of this module you should be able to:
1. Identify the periods in Greek Literature and the important writers/works under each period.
2. Distinguished from one another each of the gods and goddesses in Greek mythology.
3. Internalized the values the values learned from these gods and goddesses from the selection read
and discussed in class.
4. Depict through simple role play the major roles of these gods and goddesses play in people’s lives.
5. Show appreciation on the different contribution of Greece to Literature and to the World Civilization
in general.

Pretest
A. Fill in the blank with correct answers.
1. The earliest Greek Oral Literature was written by_________________.
Homer
2. The two most important literary works written by Homer were_____
Iliad and _____.
Odyssey
3. The three most influential and famous philosophers of Greece were________
Plato with his work Know Thy
Self,______known
Aristotle for his book on moderation and transmigration of soul and good government.
4. The Academy was created by______________ while____________founded the Lyceum.
5. The Greek depicted their gods as ___________because
powerful they were attributed with saintly and transcendent
qualities.

B. Matching Type
Direction: match the designation in Column A with the names of gods and goddesses in Column B.
A. B.
_____1.
D Virgin patroness of household craft A. Ares
_____2.
A God of War B. Zeus
_____3. Goddess of war and wisdom
E C. Hephaesthes
_____4.
G Goddess of the moon and guardian of cities D. Hestin
_____5.
L God of the Sea and Earthquakes. E. Athena
_____6.
K Messenger of the Gods and protector of flocks and castle. F. Apollo
_____7.
J Goddess of crop, giver of grain and fruits. G. Artemis
_____8.
B Ruler of Mount Olympus, king of gods and men. H. Aphrodite
_____9. God of the sun and patron of truth, archery, music, medicine
F I. Hera
and prophecy.
____10.
H Goddess of love and beauty J. Ceres
____11.
I Protectness of married women, children and the home. K. Hermes
____12.
C God of fire and artisans. L. Poseidon
____13.
P God of the dead and underworld. M. Hercules
____14.
M Half God half man, the strongest man in Greek times, son of N. Atlas
Zeus and Alcmene. O. Demeter
____15.
O The goddess of agriculture and of fertility. P. Hades
Aldersgate College, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya Instructional Modules in World Literature

Learning Focus

Greek Literature

When we talk of great world literature we always think first of the literature of Greece and Rome.
They are called classics because they are equated with magnificence, grandeur and timelessness or
immortality. The Grecian win is a perfect example of such qualities.

This is also the reason why the two countries were given sobriquets: Greece as Glory and Rome as
Grandeur.

The History of Greece Literature is divided into three periods: The Epic Age-which is divided into the
Pre-Homeric Age and the Homeric Age, The Lyric Age or the Golden Age or Athenian Age, and The Attic
Age the Period of Highest Greek Civilization.

1. The Epic Age- Period of Epic Poetry


Greek genius showed itself early. In the ninth century BC, the Iliad and the Odyssey, regarded by
many as the greatest of all the world’s epic poems, existed in practically their present form. The identity of
Homer, the author, is not quit established although scholars and archaeologists have proofs to show that a
Homeric troy really existed and a general Greek expedition actually sailed for it, overthrowing it after a long
siege.

Probably a century after Homer, Hesiod wrote a didactic poem advising people to do honest labor
and warning them against idleness. He wrote Theogony, telling about the origin and the history of the gods
and Greek heroes.

2. The Lyric Age-Age of the Lyric Poetry which followed, lasting roughly from 735 to 480 BC, includes
several poets who set the standards for lyric poetry: Sappho, a woman poet who was one of the
greatest of lyricists and the chief glory of the age. Pindar who gave his name to the ode he
invented and Simonides who wrote dirges, epitaphs, and odes.

In its early simplicity, Greek religion helps us to underst5and Greek poetry. The greatest of the
Greek gods was Zeus. His interpreter was Apollo, at whose shrine the Hellenic games took place. At
harvest the people celebrated their plentiful crops with a simple religious festival, nothing more that an
impromptu chorus of men in fantastic costumes to accompany a sacrifice of thanksgiving to Dionysus, the
god of wine, or in a larger sense of enthusiasm or the joy of life. In the course of time, the impromptu dance
became deliberate; the chorus became a formal answer to a statement made by a leader who was later
assigned a few impersonations and thus dramatic action and dialogue were born. To Thespis is ascribed
the birth of the drama as we know it today.

3. The Attic Age-The Period of Highest Greek Civilization


By the fifth century BC, city-state of Athens dominated Greece. Athenian culture produced what is
now known as the Attic Age, the period when Greek genius was in full flower. Architecture, sculpture,
music, literature, government, logic or speculative thought – all reached a height of development and
productivity that excelled those of any other people of antiquity. Aeschylus, the father of Greek tragedy,
composed his impressive dramas about the gods and fate. Of his seventy-two-plays, only seven have
Aldersgate College, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya Instructional Modules in World Literature

survived, but they are powerful tragedies showing the conflict between man and his fate. Seven plays
against Thebes, Prometheus, and Agamemnon are considered his greatest tragedies.

Sophocles, the second of the three great Greek tragic poets, is generally held as the most gifted.
He was a keen observer of human character and plays show how well he understood human nature. His
best-known plays are Oedipus the King, Electra, and Antigone; they show the true artist’s desire for
perfection as an essential part of excellence.

Euripedes, the last of the three Greeks tragedians, was, in many respects like a man of today. He
went into voluntary exile collected a library of books the first Greek to do so- and denounced bloodshed and
a war in his writing. Eighteen of his plays have been preserved, of which Medea, Iphigenia at Tauris, and
The Trojan Women are perhaps the best known.

The Greeks not only developed the tragedy; they also began the comedy. Aristophanes, born in
the middle of the fifth century BC, satirized the follies of his time while pretending that he wrote about the
gods. He found very little in life to be taken seriously, but on the whole, his ridicule is good-tempered
despite occasional comments aimed at correcting certain abuses of his time. The Clouds and the frogs are
Aristophanes most famous plays.

Greek prose, which appeared on the scene later than poetry, as indeed it does everywhere found
expression among the historians Herodotus, Thucydides, and Zenophon; among philosophers Socrates,
Plato, and Aristotle, and among orators of whom Demosthenes was the greatest.

In1404 BC, the Athenian city-state was conquered and Athens was taken by the Spartans. These
in turn gave way to the rule of Thebes, and then came Philip of Macedon and his son Alexander, after
whose death Greek civilization was scattered among the surrounding nations. For centuries it does
dominated the thought of the world and gave rise to a civilization based upon the Greek. This period the
Hellinistic Age, is considered the third part of Greek Literature and dates from 300 B.C. In northern Egypt
now became the great new center of literary activity. Among the writers of this period where the historian
Polybius, the biographer Plutarch, the philosophers Epicurus and Epictetus, Meriander, the dramatist,
Lucian the critic. In poetry Theocritus, Bion and Moschua developed the idyll, a pleasant picture of county
life with legends or some bits of personal experience attached to it. To this period also belongs the Greek
Anthology, a collection of four thousand short poem pit together at Constantinople partly in the tenth and
partly in the fourteenth centuries, The earliest of these poems dates about 700 B.C., and the latest was
composed about 100 A.D.

From what we know of the Greeks, they were the most original among all the people of the world,
and we can see that most of their literature was with sorrowful thing to be judged with the stern eye of
morality. War was to them the chief business of life, but because life was tragic suffering, they developed a
beautiful and brave spirit that found expression on noble thoughts couched in prose and poetry of such
extraordinary vitality that Greek literature has survived twenty-five centuries and thoroughly influenced the
world.
Aldersgate College, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya Instructional Modules in World Literature

Greek Mythology

Myths are stories whose main characters are generally god and goddesses. Every country has its
own body of myths or mythology. Classical myths, a name given to the myths of the ancient Greeks, are
the best known myths in western culture.

All the Greeks mythological gods and goddesses were made out of their own image, and although
they were believed to control the lives of human beings, they weren’t supreme, almighty beings. Instead,
they had human flaws. These gods and goddesses were immortal, didn’t get old or sick and had eternal
youth. They had human desires and needs, such as hunger and thirst, which they quenched with ambrosia
or nectar. They were the executive powers of fate, or moira, with which they were constantly interacting.
The gods lived on Olympus, a 6,000-foot, steep mountain always covered in clouds. Moira can be called
destiny. All lives, even tose of the gods were subordinate to it. They were represented by three moiras, the
three goddesses or Parcae in Latin. They are:

1. Clotho – the Spinner, who starts spinning the thread of life with the start of each new life.
2. Lachesis – the Divider, who, by manipulating destiny, changes the lives of everyone.
3. Anthropos - the Inevitable, who cuts the thread of life when the time comes.

The Greek Gods and Goddesses


1. Zeus – the lord of heaven and earth, the father of gods and humans. He is known to be the most
powerful and of the immortal Olympian gods. When he emerged triumphant among his brothers
and sisters in the wars of the Titans and the Giants, he acquired respect and admiration among the
gods.
2. Hera – the patron goddess of the family and married women. She is the worthy spouse of Zeus.
She intervenes in the many of the myths (as she did in the Trojan War). She punishes infidelity and
takes fierce revenge on her husband’s paramours.
3. Athena – the goddess of wisdom. She is the fruit of Zeus’ union with Metis. She sprang out of the
head of Zeus. It was then told that her wisdom and bravery rivaled those of her father. She helped
heroes such as Perseus, Achilles and Odysseus.
4. Poseidon – god of the sea. In the Iliad, he takes the Greeks’ side while he persecutes Odysseus in
the Odyssey, especially after the incident in which Odysseus blinds the god’s son, the Cyclops
Polyphemus. He has the power to control the sea and to prevent anyone from sailing.
5. Ceres – the goddess of agriculture. She is the goddess of fertility, a mother-deity associated with
the earth who protected and cultivated the soil. She is also the goddess of the birth of the world. All
the flowers, fruits, and other living things were gifts of Ceres.
6. Apollo – the god of light, music and prophecy. He is the son of the union of Leto and Zeus. A
handsome and well-made god, he is engaging and has affairs with different nymphs. He is also
considered a god of war with his special skill in shooting arrows over a great distance.
7. Artemis – the goddess of the moon and the hunt. She is the sister of Apollo also born from Leto.
She is also identified with the power of light not by the sun but by the moon. She dwells in the
forest, protecting the hunters and the innocent though she is also a vengeful deity to those who
show her disrespect.
8. Hermes – the god of commerce and messenger of the gods and bearer of dead souls. He is also
considered as the god of theft and served as the herald of the gods. There are wings on his helmet
and his heels and he bears a scepter. Apart from his task of bringing messages from Zeus, he is
also entrusted with escorting souls to Hades.
Aldersgate College, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya Instructional Modules in World Literature

9. Aphrodite – the goddess of love and beauty. She is the patron of love and lovers, and her favorite
pastime is to cause gods and goddesses to fall in love with mortals. She has many affairs aside
from her husband Hephaestus. She has several elicit affairs with Ares, Adonis, Anachyses, etc.
Eros (Cupid) is her child with Ares together with Deimos (terror), Phobus (fear) and Harmony.
10. Ares – the god of war. He is always shown in armor and wearing a helmet, ready for battle.
Wherever there is blood-shed, combat and war, Ares is to be found.
11. Hephaestus – the god of fire and art. He made jewelry and other works of art. It was he who made
the armor of Achilles used in the Trojan War. He was also considered as the ugliest among the
gods, though he was always found in the company of beautiful women, including Chare (beauty
personified) and Aglaea, the youngest of the three graces.
12. Hestia – the goddess of family peace. She is the personification of the home. She is the sister of
Zeus and she requested to remain a virgin despite the fact that Poseidon and Apollo wanted her as
a wife. The serenity of her life confined her to the world of ideas and she played very little part in
different events.
13. Hercules – he is the son of Zeus and Alcmene a half god, half man considered to be the strongest
men in the world during the time of the Greeks.
14. Hades – he is the god of the dead and the underworld.
15. Demeter – she is the goddess of agriculture and of fertility.

The Greek Contribution to Civilization

1. Democracy. The Greece where the first people to substitute the rule of the people for the rule of a king or a
monarch.
2. The spirit of independence. The Greeks develop the spirit of independence because of their physical
environment and this spirit was mainly responsible for the growth of democracy which the Greeks have left
us to constitute the basis of our modern progress.
3. Physical, mental and moral training. The ancient Greek philosophy of life has an indirect influence on our life
today.
4. Philosophy. The ancient Greeks had developed new system of thought, and tried to explain the nature and
purpose of the world or the universe.
a. Socrates – the son of a sculptor and a midwife, was a famous teacher and philosopher in Athens.
b. Aristotle – a disciple of Plato, became wiser than his mentor, and was employed as a tutor to
Alexander the Great.
c. Plato – a pupil of Socrates, wrote on goodness, greatness, and wisdom of God.
5. Language. The Greek, by adopting and improving the alphabet of the Phoenicians, made their won
language harmonious. This language spread as Greeks colonies expanded.
6. Literature. Greek literature was known for its quantity, variety, and quality. The earliest poetry began with
the songs sung by minstrels who, wandered from town to town entertaining the people.
a. Homer – the greatest poet of ancient Greece. Homer is known for his Iliad and Odyssey.
b. Aeschylus, the Father of Greek tragedy wrote about eighty plays which dealt with gods, heroes, and
events.
c. Sophocles – a dramatic artist.
d. Euripedes - He was known as the dramatist of the people because h portrayed things about him just as
he saw them.
e. Herodutus – the Father of History, was a widely travelled historian.
f. Aristophanes – He wrote the Frogs to poke fun at Euripedes, and also satirized persons who sat at
court to try cases. litigate/ judge in court foolish
g. Menander – wrote comedies ridiculing customs and manners of Athens.
Aldersgate College, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya Instructional Modules in World Literature

7. Oratory. Greece is also known for her orators. In all Greek cities the study of oratory was important. Oratory
was used in political meetings and in the courts.
a. Demosthenes – the leading orator of Greece, was the greatest orator of the world.
8. Science. The ancient Greeks also made important contributions to science.
a. Harpalus – who was a sailor discovered the monsoons of Indian Ocean
b. Pytheas – sailed along the shores of Spain and Gaul
c. Eratosthenes – the librarian, calculated the circumference of the earth, and India might be reached by
sailing westward.
d. Ptolemy – prepared a famous map which was used during the time of Christopher Columbus.
9. Astronomy and Mathematics (Geometry). In astronomy and mathematics the Greeks sought the principles
which explained the facts they saw around them.
a. Thales – considered as the founder of Greek geometry and astronomy predicted the eclipse of the sun
on May 28, 585 B.C.
b. Aristarchus – taught that the earth revolves around the sun.
c. Heraclides – discovered that the earth rotates on its axis daily.
d. Hipparchus discovered the equinoxes, determined the number of stars, measured the diameter of the
moon, determines the length of the lunar month and devised a means of locating places by their latitude
and longitude.
e. Anaxogoras – taught that the sun was a burning iron.

The Greeks made advanced in the study of geometry.


f. Pythagoras – became known for the “Pythagorean theorem”.
g. Euclid – wrote a book on geometry
h. Hipparchus – wrote on trigonometry
i. Archimedes – the greatest ancient Greek mathematician, made several contribution to physics and
mechanics, such as the principle of specific gravity, the law of floating bodies, the theory of the pulley
and the principle of the lever.
10. Medicine. The Greeks made great advances in medicine. Hippocrates earned the title of “Father of
Medicine” because he laid the foundations of the scientific practice of medicine. He taught that diseases are
not the result of charms, superstitions, evil practices, and witchcraft, but the result of natural cases. Because
of his zeal, in memory of him, medical graduates today take the Hippocratic Oath.
11. Fine Arts. The Greeks tried to unite thoughts and feelings in their works of art. In their architecture and
sculpture this union of emotion and idea is clearly expressed. One may easily this union in their temples,
colonnades, and porticos. The Parthenon is one of the most beautiful temples in the world.
12. Sports/Athletics. One bond that unites all Greeks besides a common language, a common literature,
common gods, was participation in religious festivals and athletic contest. The Greeks believed in the
development of physical strength because it pleases the gods. They held athletic festivals to honor their
gods, such as the Isthman Games in honor of Poseidon, god of the sea: the Pythian Games in honor of
Apollo, a god of light: and the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games were held in honor of Zeus, the sky-
god, every fourth year at Olympia in the city state of Ellis.

Learning Activities

Activity 1 Word Hunt Contest

Direction: Let’s divide the class in two groups. All males in one group and all females in the other group. Anyone in
the group who knows the answer may go to the front and on the word puzzle box encircle the name of the
god or goddess identified in the teachers’ flash card shown and read each time. Student can answer one
only. Those who finished answering shall take their seat. The group who makes the most score wins a
plus 5 each in class participation.
Aldersgate College, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya Instructional Modules in World Literature

E A S T W O O D G J L L A P O L L O N C F C
D A R W I S X L H C Q M N D C R R P T A E S
N R P O S E I D O N R D E M E T E R O K D U
A E J H H D V N X D A S H O L P Q T B B C T
H S G L R V A Q Y O V K T P R K H E R M E S
T L L D U O J H E S T I A W D C P B A T B E
R O R R B B D P Z D I C B V J D O V N C R A
V M E S H F A I W C J I T K K L T X A A C H
Z N I A T Z A R T E M I S W L O B C R O N P
Q Z E U S V H D M E Q T U Z O R A N A T K E
A P J R E Q B C S T N E W H E R A C Z N L H

_____1. The goddess of love and beauty.


Aphrodite _____7. The god of light, music and prophecy.
Apollo
_____2. The goddess of family peace.
Hestia _____8. The goddess of agriculture.
Demeter
_____3.
Ares The god of war. _____9. The god of the sea.
Poseidon
_____4.
Zeus The lord of the heavens and the earth, the _____10. The god of commerce and messenger of
Hermes
father of gods and humans. the gods.
_____5. The goddess of wisdom.
Athena _____11. The goddess of the moon and the hunt.
Artemis
_____6. The god of fire and art.
Hephaestus _____12. The patron goddess of the family and
Hera
married women.

Post Test

A. Direction: Underline the word that best completes the statement.


1. The ancient Greeks adopted the (American, British, Indian, Egyptian) civilization.
2. (Hesiod, Homer, Troy) wrote a didactic poem advising people to do honest labor.
3. The woman poet during the Lyric Age was (Hesiod, Venus, Apollo, Sappho).
4. (Aeschylus, Zeus, Sophocles, Aristophanes) was the father of Greek tragedy.
5. (Antigone, Agamemnon, Medea, Prometheus) was written by Euripedes.
6. The greatest Greek orator was (Euripedes, Socrates, Demosthenes, Plato).
7. (Hermes, Ares, Apollo, Zeus) was the father of Greek gods and goddesses.
8. The Father of History was (Aristotle, Thucydides, Aristophanes). Herodotus
9. (Alexander the Great, Constantine the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Thutmos III) was the Greeks greatest
conqueror.
10. (Thucydides, Plato, Herodotus, Socrates) wrote the Peloponnesian Wars.

B. Discussion Questions
Direction: From our class discussion answer the following completely with supporting details:

1. How did the Greeks gave Europe the form of its culture?
2. Discuss the literary contributions of the following:
a. Homer ______________________________________________________
wrote Iliad and Odyssey; greatest Ancient Greek poet
b. Aeschylus____________________________________________________
writer of about 80 plays; Father of Greek tragedy
c. Sophocles____________________________________________________
dramatic artist and tragic poet who wrote Oedipus the King, Electra, and Antigone.
d. Aristophanes__________________________________________________
comedy writer who wrote Clouds and Frogs; satirized people in the court
e. Euripedes____________________________________________________
Greek dramatist who wrote Medea, Iphigenia at Tauris, and The Trojan Women and other 15 preserved plays
3. Explain why Greece is regarded unique among other countries.
The influence of the Greek people, many works of history, and its location between the East and the West are among the great interests and
cultures of the country. In general, the Greeks own the culture of pride and believe that the definition of Greek culture belongs to the state and the
nation, speaks of strong passion and his country. Traditions, religions, music, language, food and wine are what the country Greece offers to tourists
which makes us understand of the Greek culture today.