Reading and Craft Programs in the Garden

Xaire to the Children's Corner in the Garden. Here we have reading and craft programs for children.

Schedule for the month of Gamelion (Attic Calendar) / Peritios (Makedonian) -- [January]

Note: All programs take place after the midday break for ariston (lunch).

On the 11th day we will hear tales of renewal from distant lands. There will be tales from Babylonia, Egypt, and other lands. An Egyptian story tells of Khepri, a beetle which is said to renew the sun and roll it above the horizon every day and then safely through the otherworld after sunset. After the stories, the children will have the chance to decorate Khepri hand puppets and cloth balls to represent the sun.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will hear tales of renewal from Hellas (Greece) and Rome, including the tale of Persephone, who was captured by Hades and forced to live awhile in the underworld. During that time, she ate some pomegranate seeds. Because she ate the seeds while she was in the underworld, she had to live in the underworld for three months of every year. During that time, the world mourned. When Persephone is freed from the underworld, the land becomes lush and green again. After the stories, the children will draw scenes from the tale of Persephone.

Schedule for the month of Anthesterion (Attic Calendar) / Dustros (Makedonian) -- [February]

On the 1st day of the New Moon we will hear the tale of how Hanno of Carthage set out in 60 ships to explore Libya (Africa). Along the way, they founded several colonies beyond the Pillars of Herakles. In their travels, they encoutered fierce volcanoes that seemed to reach up to the heavens, and strange creatures called gorillas. The retelling of this story will be accompanied by theatrical effects, such as a bubbling volcano. The children will make a papyrus volcano, with papyrus lava.

On the 11th day we will hear tales from the land of Meroe. Meroe is a land that lies to the south of Egypt. The people have combined the culture of Egypt with their own native traditions. We will learn a song in the language of the people of Meroe and make tropical animals out of papyrus.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will hear tales from the land of Libya (the Berbers). They have tales of a time before the Carthaginians came to their land and tales of trade with distant peoples beyond a huge desert called the Sahara. We will make papyrus chariots and donkeys to travel across the Sahara in our imaginations.

Schedule for the month of Elaphebolion (Attic Calendar) / Xandikos (Makedonian) -- [March]

On the 1st day of the New Moon we will hear tales of the Amazons. The Amazons lived to the northeast, in northern Anatolia or around the Euxine (Black) Sea, or to the south in Libya. During one of the labours of Herakles, Herakles bested the Amazon queen, Hippolyta. During the time of the Trojan War, Penthesilea supported Priam and was killed by Akhilles. The Amazon-like Camilla of the Volscians fell to a javelin of Arruns. Her death marked the beginning of the Roman Empire under Aeneas. After the stories, we will make papyrus swords and horses.

On the 11th day we will hear tales of historical women of the east. Sammu-ramat, the Babylonian widow of the Assyrian king Shamshi-Adad V, is better known under her Greek name, Semiramis. Sammu-ramat ruled as a regent for her son for five years. According to Herodotos, Semiramis was first married to the Governor of Nineveh and then to Ninus, King of Assyria. She rebuilt Nineveh and Babylon and controlled the flooding of the Euphrates with dams. She also conquered many nearby lands. Less well known is Tomyris, leader of the nomadic Massagetae (in eastern Iran). Cyrus the Great wanted to annex her lands and sent her a proposal of marriage, which she refused. Cyrus the Great then captured her son, Spargapises. In revenge, Tomyris and the Massagetae defeated the Persians and killed Cyrus the Great. They found that Spaargapises had committed suicide during his time as a captive. Artemisia, the regent of Halikarnassos, was a commander in the army of Xerxes. She was the only commander to warn Xerxes not to engage the Greeks in a naval battle. When Xerxes ignored her advice, she fought valiantly. When the battle turned against her, she rammed an allies' ship. The Greeks assumed that she was on their side, since she rammed the ship of a Persian ally, and left her alone. After the tales, we will make papyrus boats and sail them in the garden pool.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will hear tales of Greek women of the past. We will hear of poets, such as the Sappho and Korinna, the rival of Pindar, as well as scientists, such as Theano, the wife of Pythagoras. We will also hear stories of doctors, such as Helen of Troy, who was said to have studied medicine in Egypt, Agamede, the battlefield doctor of Homer, and Agnodike, who boldly treated women in a time when it was forbidden to do so. After the stories, the children will draw a picture of what they would like to do when they are grown up.

Schedule for the month of Mounichion (Attic Calendar) / Artemisios (Makedonian) -- [April]

In this month we will hear tales used by the great poets and tragedians.

On the 1st day of the New Moon we will hear tales from Homer and the Trojan War. We will learn about the causes of the Trojan War, the people involved, how they fought and died, and how the survivors returned home. At the end, we will make a Trojan Horse out of papyrus.

On the 11th day we will hear the stories of some of the great plays of our day. We will hear about Perseos saving the life of the lovely Andromeda from the monster, how Bellerophon captured and road Pegasos, the winged horse, and how Phrixos and Helle road on the golden ram to escape the wrath of their stepmother. Helle fell into the sea and was drowned but her brother, Phrixos, landed in Colchis and sacrificed the golden ram in gratitude for his safe landing. The golden fleece was guarded by a great dragon. Many years later, Jason and the Argonauts would seek the Golden Fleece. We will make papyrus rams and winged horses.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will present a play written by the winners of our "Write a Play" contest. The children who write the winning entry will put on the play. So start writing now!

Schedule for the month of Thargelion (Attic Calendar) / Daisios (Makedonian) -- [May]

On the 1st day of the New Moon, we will hear tales and make crafts that come from the earliest inhabitants of Iberia. We will also learn a song in their tongue.

On the 11th day, we will focus on the Celtiberians of Iberia, who mix Celtic traditions with those of the Iberians. We will hear tales, have crafts, and learn a song in the Celtiberian language.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon, we will focus on the old Phoenician settlements in Iberia and hear Phoenician tales, learn a song in the Phoenician language and have Phoenician crafts.

Schedule for the month of Skirophorion (Attic Calendar) / Panemos (Makedonian) -- [June]

On the 1st of the New Moon we will hear tales from Persia, our neighbor to the east, and learn a song in the Persian language. We will also make Persian crafts.

On the 11th day of the New Moon we will hear tales and songs from distant China. We will also make a paper dragon and other crafts from China.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon, we will hear songs and tales from India. We will also make Indian crafts and learn a dance from India.

Schedule for the month of Hekatombaion (Attic Calendar) / Loios (Makedonian) -- [July]

On the 1st day of the New Moon we will have tales, crafts, and songs from Hibernia (Ireland).

On the 11th day of the New Moon we will enjoy tales, crafts, and songs from Britannia.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will feature the tales, crafts, and songs of old Gaul.

Schedule for the month of Metageitnion (Attic Calendar) / Gorpaios (Makedonian) -- [August]

On the 1st day of the New Moon we will hear stories of fantastic sea voyages and make paper ships from various cultures. We will also learn a sea song.

On the 11th day of the New Moon we will feature tales of distant lands. We will make a paper sphinx, a fantastical creature that appears in one of the stories.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will hear tales of fantastic voyages beyond the Pillars of Herakles. We will also hear of fantastical animals that no longer exits, such as the pegasus. We will make a paper pegasus and imagine that we are flying.

Schedule for the month of Boedromion (Attic Calendar) / Hyperberetaios (Makedonian) -- [September]

We will only have stories and crafts on the 1st day of the New Moon and the 10th day of the Dying Moon this month. Both days will focus on tales of people who suffered greatly and brought peace to their people. On the 1st day of the New Moon, the craft will be a dove. On the 10th day of the Dying Moon, we will make flower wreaths and set them in the pool. Children will be able to take a flower wreath home.

Schedule for the month of Pyanopsion (Attic Calendar) / Dios (Makedonian) -- [October]

On the 1st day of the New Moon we will hear tales from distant Egypt. Each child will have the opportunity to write their name in Egyptian on an Egyptian papyrus.

On the 11th day of the New Moon we will feature stories from Sumer and learn how to write our names in cuneiform on tablets.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will learn about the history of Greek writing. Children will get to make a necklace with their name on it in Greek.

Schedule for the month of Maimakterion (Attic Calendar) / Apellaios(Makedonian) -- [November]

On the 1st day of the New Moon we will listen to Minoan stories and will decorate a Minoan mosaic. We will also learn the Crane Dance, which commemorates Theseus' escape from the Labyrinth.

On the 11th day of the New Moon we will learn Mycenaean stories and crafts.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will hear tales of the first Greeks and will decorate a statue of Athena.

Schedule for the month of Poseideon (Attic Calendar) / Audnaios (Makedonian) -- [December]

On the 1st day of the New Moon we will hear stories about the value of giving and will make dolls and animals out of dough to give as Saturnalia gifts.

On the 11th day we will hear stories about the importance of light and will make clay lamps.

On the 10th day of the Dying Moon we will hear stories about December 25th and the Day of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun. Who do you think the Day of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun could refer to?

As a thank you to all who have visited our little library this year, parents and children are invited to a Saturnalia feast on the 10th day of the Dying Moon at the library. For appetizers, we will have mussels in liquamen (salt sauce), cabbage salad with oil, wine, liquamen, cumin, and coriander, and lentils with chesnuts and spices. For a main dish, you may choose chicken with dill, leeks, coriander, and grape juice or pork with mint, dill, honey, pastry crumbs, and apricots. Dessert will include pears cooked in cumin, pepper, honey, grape juice, and liquamen and dates stuffed with nuts and pine-kernels and fried in cooked honey. Honeyed rose wine (made from rose leaves steeped in wine) and passum, a sweet raisin wine will also be available. The wine will be properly mixed with water. There will be gifts of fruit for the children and excellent musicians will play for the enjoyment of us all.

The library staff wishes you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.

Sources:

Encyclopedia Mythica

Explorers of the Ancient World, Charnan Simon, Chicago: Children's Press, 1990.

The Warrior Queens, Antonia Fraser, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.


Note: This is a fictional example of what an ancient library would have looked like if it was run like a modern library.

Return to the main room of the Peiraeus Public Library.

Updated November 20, 2009