Monday, October 24, 2011

The History of Rome, by Dylan and Sadie

Amulius was a nasty king who had taken over his brother's throne and exiled him. The exiled brother had a daughter who had twins, Romulus and Remus. Amulius told his servant to kill the twin babies, but in true huntsman-character-in-Snow White tradition, he just couldn't go through with it. So he put the babies in a basket and sent them down the river:

Somehow, the basket reached the banks of the river safely, and a she-wolf discovered the babies and raised them as her own. A shepherd and his wife then found them and raised them as their own. When they became adults, they decided to found a city. They kept fighting over where to build their new city, and Romulus had Remus killed. Then he built the city on the Tiber river and named it after himself, calling it Rome:

Years later, the Etruscan king, who lived on the other side of the river, wanted to take over Rome. There was a bridge that connected the two kingdoms. An amazing hero named Horatius somehow fought off hundreds of Etruscans on the Etruscan banks while his fellow soldiers destroyed the bridge. As Dylan so poetically put it, "He is so drave. He bib not run.":

The kid has troubles with b's and d's - what can I say? Ben used to have trouble with that as a kid, as well, but then he came up with his own way to remember. He made up a sentence that says, "Because b was right, d left." He taught it to Dylan, and he hasn't had a problem ever since!

Back to the story. After Horatius's comrades destroyed the bridge, he, miraculously still alive (though dreadfully wounded), jumped into the Tiber river and swam, armor and all, back to the Roman side of the river. And was a hero forever more.

The Etruscan king was really sad that his plans to take over Rome didn't work:

Many years later, there was a consul in Rome named Cincinnatus. After his term in public office was up, he returned to his farm and worked as a simple farmer. All of the able-bodied men in Rome had gone off to fight a battle, and word came back that things were not going well. So Cincinnatus, even though he was now an old man, gathered up all of the other old men and teenage boys, armed them, and led them to join the other Romans in battle:

They won that battle, and Cincinnatus ruled as a very just and righteous dictator just for a short time, until that war was over. Then he went back to his farm - he was the model of civic duty and humility.

The Romans, being neighbors to the Grecians, picked up on their Greek Gods, adapting them to their own country and naming them their own names. Many of the planets are named after Roman gods and goddesses:

For example, Venus is the Roman goddess of love:

Stories of the gods and goddesses were a way of explaining natural phenomena, for example, the story of Proserpina and Pluto. One day, Pluto, the Roman god of the underworld, heard Proserpina, Ceres's daughter, singing. [Ceres is the goddess of agriculture.] He fell in love with her and stole her, taking her to the underworld. Just in case you were wondering, the underworld is black. I don't think you understand black until you're down there. Black, black, black:

Jupiter, father of the gods, ordered Pluto to release Proserpina, and Pluto obeyed, but first he made her eat six pomegranate seeds:

Pomegranates are the food of the dead, and once you've eaten pomegranates, you can't return to the world of the living. Because she ate six seeds, she has to live six months of the year with Pluto, and six months of the year with Ceres, her mom. This is how the Romans explained the changing of the seasons - when Proserpina is with Pluto, Ceres is sad, allowing everything to wither and die. When Proserpina is with her, she's happy, and everything blooms again.

Who knew Roman history was so interesting? With such intrigue, revenge, heartbreak, and heroicism? And who knew that Pluto had a large, platypus-like beak? Or that Cincinnatus's arm hung from his hair?? Or that the Etruscan king didn't have a torso? Not me. You learn something new every day. :)


Anonymous said...

I LOVE all of those pictures they drew!! It's so fun seeing how kids interpret what they learn:)

Emily Empey said...

wow! that was really fun to read! ha

Lyndsay said...

Great pictures! Great story telling! Stop it, would ya, you're almost making me want to home school again, I remember how much I enjoyed learning myself!!

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