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Ancient Greek Storytellers for Kids and Teachers Illustration

Ancient Greek Storytellers

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During the Greek dark ages, some people earned a living with their storytelling skills. They went from town to town telling myths, fables, and legends. A myth is a story about gods and goddesses and other mythical creatures. A fable is a very short story with a moral. A legend is a story about an event that happened in the past that might be true but that cannot be proven to be true.

There were many different tribes of people living on the Greek peninsula at the time. They spoke many languages. Rather than learn lots of different languages, the storytellers began to use the Greek language to tell their stories. In time, the people in all the towns could understand and speak Greek.

Sometimes, a storyteller would be in the middle of a story and the townspeople would correct him. The people had heard the same tale from another storyteller. They wanted to hear it again, but they knew the story and the hero and the adventure and the ending. Soon, the storytellers all knew the same stories. The best storytellers made up new stories, using the same characters. Some storytellers added a new twist to an old story to keep things interesting, but the characters' personalities remained the same. The characters had to remain the same. Nothing else would have been allowed by the townspeople because the people believed the stories were true. They believed the gods and goddesses and mythical creatures were real! The heroes were real. The adventures were real.

Thanks to the storytellers, the people soon had a common language (Greek), common morals (fables), a common history (legends), and a common religion (myths). They also had a common foe (the Dorians). The Dorian invaders were warlike people. They had run things on the Greek peninsula for quite a while using violence and brutality. The only stories the Dorians liked were stories of battles. But the early Greek people loved all the stories. They knew from the stories they loved that the only way to beat a strong enemy was to work together. They believed the gods would help them defeat the hated Dorians. These early people no longer used stone weapons. The Dorians had taught them how to make metal weapons. The Greeks rose up and won.

The ancient Greeks never tired of their myths, fables, and legends. Long after the dark age, these stories were still being told, in homes and temples and everywhere the Greeks traveled. They were retold by people who were not even Greek. In time, these wonderful stories were written down. We still enjoy them today. People are still writing new myths and new twists to old myths, but just as thousands of years ago, the basic characters and their personalities and magical abilities remain the same.

The Greek Dark Age

After the Dark Age:
The Ancient Greek City-States

Greek Myths

Greek Fables

Greek Legends