The Parthenon Frieze and Introducing Comics

We kicked off our second lesson with a quiz on on the vocabulary from chapter one, including a mixture of translation and word derivation questions.

We then recapped the translation from chapter one of Telling Tales in Latin, and we explored what sort of story this was. The class spotted straightaway that it was a creation story. We looked at some creation myths from different societies, including the Hopi, Cherokee and Finnish Creation myths. We noted that some of this type of story, like the Greek and Roman version, featured creation from chaos, whereas others had beings like magical insects coming down from above to create earth. We talked about why different cultures often create stories that conform to certain patterns.

Next, we returned to a short set of comic panels I showed you last time, depicting the three Fates. You all spotted that the format was comics, and noted that each panel moved the action forward. We talked a bit about something called “guttering” (the gaps between each panel, where the reader fills in what happens). If you want to understand a bit more about the theory of comics, then Understanding Comics is a really fascinating and brilliant read (in comic form).

I then showed you parts of the Parthenon Frieze. We looked at how it was showing images of the Olympian gods, and why the Athenians might have chosen these gods, rather than the older, primordial gods we have been exploring, on this very important temple. We discussed how these newer gods might have been chosen to represent the more civilised face of the gods. We will look at this in more detail in later lessons!

We talked about whether the Parthenon Frieze was a comic or not; you mostly concluded it wasn’t because there wasn’t a sense of the story moving forward. The images seemed static, like a snapshot.

Finally, I asked you to pick a scene from the frieze, and make a short comic panel out of it, bringing life to the frozen images. Below are some of the comics sent to me so far!

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