Thursday, 31 January 2013

Ancient Greece

This week I have been studying Ancient Greece.

I am very interested in Greek myths and have created some things from them.

Firstly, this is a Greek ship. The purple circles are shields and the front of it is to the left of the picture. The blue in the centre is a sail. Most Greek ships had sails and some had oars as well.

This is a plasticine tablet with my name written on it in Greek. I used a pointed stick to write it, just as they would have done in Ancient Greece.

This is Charybdis, the whirlpool monster. It is a monster featured in The Odyssey. We have been reading a children's version of The Odyssey this week. Charybdis lives at the bottom of the sea and drags sailors to their doom with her whirlpool.

This is a Cyclops from The Odyssey. It has one eye in the centre of its forehead and it's the size of a giant.


I also made scenes from Greek myths out of lego. This one is 'The Slaying of Python'.  

The next two are of 'The Calydonian Boar Hunt'. It is about the slaying of a vicious boar sent by Artemis because nobody was praying to her.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Apollo, Daphne and the slaying of Python

On the 28th of January, our family visited the Museum of classical archaeology. On the way there, we were surprised and delighted to see, not one but three grey squirrels! This time, I got a picture.

In the museum there were hundreds of plaster casts of Ancient Greek and Roman People and things from myths. There were also massive plaster casts of Greek Gods and of men and women.

My favourite Greek god is Apollo, The god of the Sun, music, poetry, medicine, light, plague, oracles, knowledge and the arts.

One of the myths involving Apollo is called Apollo, Daphne and the slaying of Python. Here it is.

There was once a monstrous serpent,by the name of python who was the child of Gaia, the  Godess of the earth. It was created from the slime and to the mud on the ground after a massive flood. The serpent slithered it's vast, grotesque bulk , polluting streams, destroying villages and flattening trees till it reached the mountain were the Oracle of Delphi lived. It wrapped itself around the mountain and guarded it, keeping everybody in need of an answer from the Oracle, out.

Men prayed to Apollo to kill the beast as noone would dare aproach it. So, Apollo made his way down from Mount Olympus with his gold and silver bow and arrow and made his way towards the mountain to face Python

The great beast reared up to face Apollo and hissed, flicking it's forked tongue in and out of his mouth. Apollo pulled back his bowstring and shot at the monster. Apollo's aim was true, it got Python in the heart and killed him. Apollo then walked through the lands that Python had destroyed, fixing everything.

Now contrary to what you would think, the Greek gods were not flawless perfect figures, in fact some of them did things that were far worse than anything a man could ever do, partly because of their power and what they were capable of.

For instance, after Apollo slayed Python he went around boasting about what he had done.  When he saw cupid the child god of love, holding his bow with it's enchanting arrows Apollo came over and snatched the bow from him, throwing it onto the ground.

"This weapon is not for a boy!" said Apollo. "This is a man's weapon!" Then, pulling out his bow he said, "With this bow I slew Python with one arrow!" The he walked away with his chin held high.

Cupid was furious at being teased and ridiculed so he flew into the air and shot Apollo with a gold tipped arrow that whoever it peirced, would instantly fall in love with the next woman he saw. That next woman happened to be a young lady known as Daphne, daughter of the River god. Apollo instantly fell in love with her and began running towards her. However, before Apollo could run towards her, Cupid soared overhead and shot another arrow at Daphne that meant she would recoil from whoever loved her.

So as Apollo ran towards her, Daphne ran away from him. They ran  for ages and ages, Apollo shouting, "Don't run! I'm your friend!"and Daphne ran faster and faster. Eventually they came to a raging rushing river, Daphne was cornered!

Quickly, Daphne prayed to her father to help her from Apollo and to escape his love. Her father answered and chanted a spell at her. instantly her arms became branches, her legs took root and her skin turned to bark. She was now a Laurel tree.

Apollo rushed to her, and when he discovered what she had become, he stated. "Even as a tree you are dear to me. From now on the winners of the Olympics shall wear circlets of laurel leaves!"

Daphne's trunk bended back. Even as a tree she recoiled from Apollo.

Friday, 25 January 2013

The Ploughman Poet

Today is the 25th January, Burns day. Burns Day is the day people celebrate the life of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who was born on the 25th of  January 1759. As a boy he loved poems and was homeschooled by his dad at his farm.  Because Burns would plough the fields at his farm, he was called  the ploughman poet. When Burns became a man. he began writing his famous and popular poems, such as "To A Louse" and "My Love Is Like A Red, Red, Rose". He married a woman named Jean and died at the age of 37.

One of his most famous and loved poems is "To A Mouse". Here it is in it's  traditional scottish.

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, 
O, what a panic's in thy breastie! 
Thou need na start awa sae hasty, 
Wi' bickering brattle! 
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee, 
Wi' murd'ring pattle! 

I'm truly sorry man's dominion, 
Has broken nature's social union, 
An' justifies that ill opinion, 
Which makes thee startle 
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion, 
An' fellow-mortal! 

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve; 
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live! 
A daimen icker in a thrave 
'S a sma' request; 
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave, 
An' never miss't! 

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin! 
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin! 
An' naething, now, to big a new ane, 
O' foggage green! 
An' bleak December's winds ensuin, 
Baith snell an' keen! 

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste, 
An' weary winter comin fast, 
An' cozie here, beneath the blast, 
Thou thought to dwell - 
Till crash! the cruel coulter past 
Out thro' thy cell. 

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble, 
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble! 
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble, 
But house or hald, 
To thole the winter's sleety dribble, 
An' cranreuch cauld! 

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 
In proving foresight may be vain; 
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men 
Gang aft agley, 
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, 
For promis'd joy! 

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me 
The present only toucheth thee: 
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e. 
On prospects drear! 
An' forward, tho' I canna see, 
I guess an' fear! 
It is talking about how a poor mouse's house is destroyed in the fields by a plough and it is forced to try to survive the harsh Scottish winter. Burns says this can happen to humans as well, having all their hard work destroyed in one event. The  poem continues and Burns says that the mouse is lucky as it is an animal and, unlike humans, cannot worry.  I think this is a great poem because of his clever metaphor and the poem's great message to all of us.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Fitzwilliam Museum: The Ancient Egypt exhibit

The 24th of January was a busy day for my family!

Firstly, it was my mum's first day homeschooling us and secondly, we went to the best history museum I've been to.

Even the museum itself looked like something from another time. The main entrance is a massive marble structure, resembling a Greek or Roman Temple with massive circular pillars and steps leading up to the doors. The massive building makes you feel like an ant and although skyscrapers are bigger, this made you feel even smaller than a skyscraper would! As we walked inside the doors, we saw massive, ancient statues all around the massive foyer.

When we entered the museum we walked past hundreds of shelves and glass cases, filled with ancient artifacts until we reached the Ancient Egypt section.

There was a shrine and sarcophogases, daggers and axes, models and statues, pottery and even ancient makeup containers! My favourite artifact was probably the shrine of Amun Re, king of the Ancient Egyptian Gods. We will soon return to see more exhibits!

English Safari

On the 22nd day of January, my family and I went for a walk from our house to Cambridge's River Cam. We were expecting a nice pleasant walk, looking at ducks and other British birds, but what we got instead was a total english safari!

It started how any good English safari would, with the adorable, squirrel However, funnily enough, unlike it's cousin the red squirrel, the grey squirrel is not naturally an English animal! It was brought there from America because it's fur is better for making clothing. Quickly they spread through britain, rivalling the red squirrel, unto the tables turned and the red squirrel was rare, while the grey squirrel became increasingly common. Still, it was a fascinating encounter seeing one!

It was racing along a tree branch when we saw it and before long the squirrel was out of sight.

After that, our trip continued and we saw the iconic robin, the beautiful mallard, a flock of geese and much more. However, as we turned back home, the safari was far from over. Their was still the finale!

And what a finale it was! Two graceful, beautiful and mgnificient mute swans paddled through the river, as I looked across it and began preening and feeding in the river in front of my me! It was a magical experiece!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Lucinda and Sam the snowpeople

As it is snowing a lot at the moment in Cambridge, it wasn't long before we got to go outside and play in it!

So, we got into our multiple layers of clothing and stepped outside, into our backyard. Everything was covered in beautiful white snow! It crunched beneath our feet and left footprints when we walked in it.

First, me and my sisters had a snowball fight, it was lots of fun and the snowballs were so soft they would break apart in the air before they hit us sometimes!

Then, we built a snowman. It was tiny and made out of three snowballs with two sticks for arms, two stones for eyes and a  leaf for his mouth. We named him Sam. Then Mum photographed us and Sam together and We had another snowball fight. This time Mum and Dad joined in and mum got me in the mouth! I got her back the next day when she bended down to help my baby sister Lydia. That same day, me and Elsie built a snowwoman together called Lucinda. She had pine needle hair, little balls of snow for eyes and a long, feather nose. It was so much fun! 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Footprints in the snow

On the night before the nineteenth of January, our second day in England, me and my family were suffering from jetlag. At midnight I woke up and stayed awake (with a few brief sleeps) until 5o'clock in the morning when dad let us get up. 

Later that morning at about 7 or 8 o'clock we skyped nanna and grandad. During that talk dad mentioned he and mum had seen a fox scamper across the road at 2am. I was excited and came up with a plan. It hadn't snowed that night, unlike the day before so I figured out that we could follow it's footprints in the snow and find it's den!

I told dad my idea but he wasn't sure about it so I went upstairs to my bedroom.

While I played up there Elsie ran up and told me that if we got dressed quickly, dad said we could follow the fox's footprints!

I was estatic! I quickly got dressed and me, dad, Becca and Elsie rushed out the door. I admit for a second I thought we wouldn't find it's footprints but there they were, leading along the road. the four of us followed them for three minutes when we turned back home. It was so exciting!