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Social Studies

(Summer Camp) Reading and Understanding the Odyssey

In this 5-days camp student are going to read and understand the epic journey of Odysseus after the fall of Troy, his adventures against gods, monsters and nature itself, a story that addresses human destiny in general.
Spyridon (Spiros) Loumakis
696 total reviews for this teacher
4 reviews for this class
Completed by 15 learners
  There are no upcoming classes.
60 minutes
per class
5x per week
over 1 week
year olds
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does a "Multi-Day" course work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

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Class Experience

First and foremost in my series of ancient Greek and Roman literature classes, the most important goal is for young students, who genuinely love mythology, to read not a modern book about mythology (as they most often do) but an ancient Greek or Roman work containing the original myths.

In this summer camp in particular, we are going to approach the poem of the Odyssey by keeping the following three observations constantly in our mind:
(i) For the ancient Greeks the epic poem Odyssey is first and foremost a divine product of the ancient Greek creativity inspired (as always) by the Muse of epic poetry Calliope. 
(ii) It is an epic poem that includes the greatest tales of the hero Odysseus who belonged to the so-called heroic age of humanity as the ancient Greeks called it. As most ancient Greek heroes he was a source of inspiration, hope and strength, in order to solve problems and defeat fears, fight dangers and overcome obstacles. Life never comes wiithout them, neither then nor now! 
(iii) It is, also, an epic poem that entails the stories of a hero vis-a-vis gods, monsters, beasts, and other heroes, forming a part of the ancient Greek mythology. 

Therefore, in this camp students will understand that the magic of myths lies not only in the stories themselves, fascinating as they are, but in the logic behind them and in their deeper meaning. Myths will be appreciated as a system of beliefs and a way of thinking about the world, as it was created by the ancient Greeks. 

We will put particular emphasis on the role of the gods and goddess and the many roles they fulfill in the Odyssey. After all, for the ancient Greeks this was the most crucial part. We should better "listen" to them if we want to understand their point of view.
I have a BA in ancient Greek History and Archaeology, an MA in ancient Greek Archaeology and History of Art and an MA in the History and Philosophy of Religions, and I am a PhD Candidate of Religion, specialized in ancient Greek and Roman religions.
The students are asked to read in advance the assigned chapters for each day of the camp. If this is not possible for students before every single day of the camp, or if students prefer to read some of the rhapsodies before each class , they will still be able to follow the entire camp. If they decide to do all the readings, this will help them considerably in terms of class participation, they will absorb the material easier and at the end they will have the pleasure of having read the entire epic poem.
A great series of translations, Oxford World's Classics, which comes from a leading publication house in classical studies, the Oxford University Press, includes a translation of The Odyssey. This is the one I am going to use for myself! Another recommended translation of the Iliad in English is that by Rober Fagles in the series of Penguin Classics. This is an internationally acclaimed series of modern translations that sometimes is available for free in a digital version.
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
I do not believe that a letter grade is meaningful for a summer camp on the Odyssey. However, as I often do with my one-time classes, which are always small classes (up to 6 or 7 students), I communication with the parents and the children directly, providing my personal comments, private feedback and an informal assessment.
5 hours per week in class, and an estimated 4+ hours per week outside of class.
The content in the Odyssey is sometimes sensitive to younger readers. In this class students are required to read the entire poem, book by book for 5 days, but I am not going, of course, to discuss these parts, as for example when the hero is feeling a great physical attraction for a woman or a heroine. This is going to be 5 days of class discussion as we unfold the story all together. My goal is to stop only on the major parts of the book in terms of mythology or ideas in it. So, any sensitive parts are not parts of the class. There are way bigger issues dealt by Homer in this poem. However, if students raise any of the sensitive issues in class, I cannot pretend they are not there. They are part of Homer's work. Sooner or later, they will learn that Homer and Greek literature are the basis of western literature, considered masterpieces and world intellectual heritage, and that this does not mean they are polished, good-looking Hollywood movies. Humans are not like this, and the Odyssey reflects that.

Truth is that I can change neither Greek art nor Greek literature. Only, to put them in their own historical context. My best weapon is that the ancient Greek artists do not use sensitive topics to provoke or horrify or entertain, but symbolically to explain deeper ideas. Both Greek art and literature are highly symbolic. For the Greeks, Homer was something like a god, and definitely their greater philosopher (not just a god-inspired poet) and they would "religiously" follow what he has composed with his poetic language. 


Spyridon (Spiros) Loumakis
Lives in Canada
PhD Candidate, Professional Researcher, Active Scholar, Happy Father
696 total reviews
464 completed classes

About Me

As a father of two young kids, I put a lot of effort so as to entertain them in a productive, and educational way, making sure I feed their natural curiosity and encourage them to keep asking questions. Undoubtedly, television and video games are... 
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