Ancient Greek Storytellers for Kids and Teachers Illustration

Ancient Greek Storytellers

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 loved stories of all kinds, especially stories about their heroes, their culture, their love of fun and mystery, and their gods. They never tired of hearing their myths, fables, and legends. Stories were 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.

During the Greek dark ages, some people earned a living with their storytelling skills. The storytellers went from town to town. Because the townspeople did not like the Dorians, who had conquered the area a the time, the idea of using the Greek language to tell their stories caught on among the storytellers. It made it easier for them. The storytellers did not need to speak every language spoken on the Greek peninsula. They only had to speak Greek. The people in the towns and villages quickly learned the Greek language so they could better understand the stories. The Greeks always loved a good story. Soon, the ancient Greeks had a common language.

A fable is a very short story with a moral. Fables gave these early people a common culture, a way of behaving.

A myth is a story about gods and goddesses and other mythical creatures. Myths gave these early people a common religion.

A legend is a story about an event that happened in the past. To qualify as a legend, the story cannot be proven, although it might be true. The legends told by the storytellers were all about heroes, but the heroes were not Dorian warriors. They were about people who cleverly worked together to defeat a common enemy. One of the most popular legends was the story of the Trojan horse. Legends gave these early people a common past. Legends also gave them a blueprint of what they needed to do to defeat the Dorians - they had to band together. This probably was not intentional by the storytellers, but it was effective just the same.

The early Greeks learned from the storytellers: Thanks to the storytellers, the people on the Greek peninsula now had a common language. They had a common history. They had common heroes, presented to them in the stories told by the storytellers. They had a common religion. They began to think of themselves as one people. They always had thought of the hated Dorians as intruders. They knew from the stories they loved that the only way to beat a common enemy was to work together. All this they learned from the storytellers.

The early Greeks learned from the Dorians: From the Dorian invaders, the early Greeks learned to make metal tools and metal weapons. This came in quite handy when the Greeks began to organize themselves into city-states, and work together. City-states could be defended. The Greeks used their new knowledge of metal weapons to help them defeat the hated Dorians.

During the 400 years of the Dark Ages, the Greeks developed
  • A common language: Before the Dark Ages, several languages were spoken in the Greek peninsula. After the Dark Ages, due in a great part to traveling storytellers, nearly everyone in Greece spoke Greek.
  • A common heritage: Thanks to the traveling storytellers, who told the same stories about heroes and monsters and gods, the Greeks all knew the same stories, which gave them a common history
  • A new system of writing, the same system for all of Greece
  • Greek art began to reappear
  • Greek trade again grew
  • The use of iron for tools and weapons (something the Greeks learned from the hated Dorians, and put to good use.)
  • But storytelling did not stop at the end of the Greek dark ages. It continued for thousands of years, right up to today. People are still writing new myths and new twists to old myths. Just as thousands of years ago, the basic characters and their personalities and magical abilities remain the same from story to story. Zeus is always the king of the gods. Hera is always his wife and always jealous. And so on. Stories then and now are built on the personalities, religious beliefs, events and happenings, and daily life of the ancient Greeks.

    The Greek Dark Age

    After the Dark Age:
    The Ancient Greek City-States

    Ancient Greek Gods

    Ancient Greek Monster Myths

    Ancient Greek Myths

    Ancient Greek Fables

    Ancient Greek Legends

    Original Stories by storytellers Lin and Don Donn about the ancient Greeks, creative writing, these were written for fun.

    1. How It All Started - Start Here

    2. The Misunderstood Minotaur

    3. The Enchanted Well

    4. The Missing Olive Trees

    5. Kerberos on Strike

    6. The Very Inventive Rescue

    7. The Scaredly Fish

    8. The Tricked Bully

    9. The Stone Zoo

    10. The Reluctant Oracle

    11. Olympic Team Herc

    12. The Bad Barber

    13. The Talking Tools

    14. The Mad Machine

    15. The Constant Chatterbox

    16. The Voiceless Storyteller

    17. The Monster Under the Bridge

    18. The Stinky Sandals

    19. The Awesome Actor

    20. Hercules Challenged

    21. The Golden Lyre

    22. The Mischievous Trickster

    23. The Magic Earrings

    24. The Rhyming Poet

    25. The Three Harpies

    26. The Pearl Divers

    27. The Festival Arrow

    28. The Dragon Egg

    29. The Dangerous Dragon

    30. The Golden Nugget

    31. The Moving Mountain

    32. The Monster on the Causeway

    33. The Amazing Matchmaker

    34. The Temple Worm

    35. The Charcoal Burners

    36. The Ionian Sea Pirates

    37. The Island of the Sirens

    38. The Magic Wool

    39. The Minotaur to the Rescue

    40. The Missing Trident

    41. The Terrible Tutor

    42. The Dance Teacher

    43. The Water Rights

    44. The Winged Monsters

    45. The Treasure Map