Oceanus, Tethys and 3000 Oceanids

In this week’s lessons, we started by reading some pages from the “Understanding Comics” book by Scott McCloud, which explored some of the theories behind why comic art is so appealing. We discussed some of the ideas that you discovered, such as the concept that simplified drawings are more easy to identify with than ones with more detail – for example, in the page below, we can see a simple face and a very carefully drawn face. The one that is simple is more universal. We also saw how our brains tend to look at things and find faces, even when they are not there – for example, in plug sockets and car fronts.

I asked you to start to think about what sort of style you would like the class graphic novel to be – different sizes and shapes of boxes can be used, as well as different levels of detail, and different amounts of writing. On Wednesday 14th October, Lydia Hall, our artist who is working with us on this project, will run an after-school workshop from 3.15 – 4.15pm, teaching you all some simple art techniques, and having a look at some of your work too! 

We then looked at the Latin numbers “unus”, “duo” and “tres”. You noted down lots of words in English that derive from these words, such as “universal”, “union”, “unicellular”, and “unique”,”duel”, “duet”, “triangle”, “tripod” and many others. One particular word that derives from “tres” is “trivia”. We discussed how trivia means unimportant information. In Latin, a “trivium” is a crossroads (literally, a place where three roads meet). The reason our word “trivia” comes from the Latin word for a crossroad, is that travellers in the ancient world might meet other people at crossroads, and exchange some random chatter, i.e. some trivia! 

We looked at how in English, we know whether a noun is a subject usually by its place in the sentence. However, in Latin, word order is much more flexible, as Latin shows whether something is the subject or the object by adding an “m” onto the end of the word. We did a few practice sentences to explore this. 

Finally, we looked at the Primordial Greek god, Oceanus. Oceanus was depicted on ancient Greek vases with a human body and a fish tail. He was in charge of all fresh water, and his wife Tethys was in charge of rain clouds. They had 3000 Oceanids (ocean nymphs) as their children, as well as some river gods. I asked you to imagine what Oceanus might look like if he was around in modern day Oxford – where might he live, and what might his job be. I will add some of your ideas onto this blog page next week.

I have been delighted to see the range of terrifying and peculiar monsters that you have all submitted, and I am creating an online gallery of them all, which I will also have ready soon! 

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