Rising Third Form – Ancient Studies

Third Form – Ancient Studies – Summer Assignment:

The summer assignment for Ancient Studies has two parts:

1) Ancient Literature: READ selected chapters of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes

2) Ancient History: VIEW the PBS Empires Video on “The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization”

Both the book and the video will provide a good foundation for our study of the Ancient World. Students can expect to write about both in the early weeks of school.

Ancient Literature Assignment:

Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes is widely available from Amazon and other major booksellers, including MBS Direct. Students should get the Grand Central Publishing Edition in paperback.

Required Chapters:

Introduction (pages 1-16)

Part 1 – Chapter 1: The Gods (pages 17-50)

Part 4 – Chapter 13: The Trojan War (pages 253-276)

Part 4 – Chapter 14: The Fall of Troy (pages 277-290)

Part 4 – Chapter 15: The Adventures of Odysseus (pages 291-319)

Part 4 – Chapter 16: The Adventures of Aeneas (pages 320-344)

Part 5 – Chapter 17: The House of Atreus (pages 345-372)

Part 5 – Chapter 18: The Royal House of Thebes (pages 373-393)

Ancient History Assignment:

View the PBS Empires video documentary on “The Greeks: The Crucible of Civilization”

The documentary has three 55 minute episodes:

Episode 1: The Birth of Democracy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2tFoTa-i6w

Episode 2: Golden Agehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GZN_qCmARs

Episode 3: Empire of the Mindhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08UtxuyI9ok

All three episodes are available on YouTube at this link –


A transcript for each episode is available here:

Transcript PBS The Greeks Part 1 - The Birth of Democracy

Transcript PBS The Greeks Part 2 - Golden Age

Transcript PBS The Greeks Part 3 - Empire of the Mind

Students may elect to read the transcript along with the video

More information on the series is available at the PBS site – http://www.pbs.org/empires/thegreeks/htmlver/


Tips to Guide Your Reading and Viewing:

One fundamental purpose of your summer reading and viewing assignment is to give you a basic introduction to the major figures (mythical, literary, and historical) that you will encounter throughout the coming year.  Before you read the great epic poems of Homer and Virgil, the tragedies of Sophocles, the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides, and the apology of Socrates, we want you to experience the basic stories that these ancient poets and writers tell.  Edith Hamilton provides an accessible retelling of the great tales from the Greek world, and PBS presents an engaging dramatization of the rise and fall of the Athenian Empire.  We hope you will enjoy these first encounters over the summer.  When you get to school, we will spend a few classes making sure that you know the major figures you have met in your reading and viewing.

Beyond that, that we ask that you consider the following questions.  We will discuss them in some detail in the year ahead, but for now, keep them in mind as you read:

 What traits do Greeks gods and Greek mortals share in common?  And more importantly, what traits set them apart?  What does this tell us about what it means to be fully human?

What are the defining characteristics of the following ancient figures?  Which figures seem to you to offer the best models for leading a good life?










In a number of these myths, Greek heroes face reversals or complications. What are some of the reversals or complications you notice as you read about these figures?

 We will not ask you to write for us over the summer, but please know that you will get plenty of opportunities to write in the year ahead!  Have fun, and see you in August.