Audio visual materials are often found in public libraries; some materials are for entertainment, while others can be used for research. The following selections are arranged by material type (movies, audiobooks, etc.).
Greek Mythology for Student's Series. Schlessinger Media. 2006. DVD. Not Rated. Available at Library Video Company- $299.50 (set)
An animated series of films that highlight some of the most prominate stories and characters from Greek mythology. An on-camera host also explains how ancient myths have influenced history and culture throughout the ages. Titles in the series include Constellation Myths, Defying the Gods,The Gods of Olympus, Jason and the Golden Fleece, The Journey's of Odysseus, The Labors of Heracles, Nature Myths, Perseus and Medusa, Theseus and the Minotaur, and The Trojan War. Teacher's guides are available for some titles. Closed captioning is available. Recommended for ages 9-14. Run time is usually about 23 minutes.
Review: School Library Journal (September 2005)
"The tales are well-written and briskly paced, and the computer animation is simple, but eye-catching…The programs are beautifully done, bringing the subject matter to life in a clear and informative way. A valuable addition to studies of Ancient Greece as well as classroom myth and legend units."
Clash of the Gods. A&E Home Video. 2010. DVD and Blu-Ray. PG. Available at History Channel web site- $29.95 (DVD), $31.99 (Blu-Ray)
A three disc documentary that connects Greek myth to actual historical events, other cultures, and references to the Bible. Myths discussed include Zeus, Hercules, Hades, Minotaur, Medusa, Odysseus: Curse of the sea, Odysseus: Warrior's revenge; Beowulf, Tolkien's Monsters, and Thor. Closed Captioning is available for the deaf and hard of hearing. Recommended for ages 10 and older. Run time 8 hours.
Review: DVD Verdict/ Victor Valdiva (March 2010)
"You'll actually understand each myth in depth and there are some parts of the myths that are not as well-known that are related. True, you could just as easily get much of this information from a copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology, but there's an undeniable thrill to seeing Hercules wrestling Cerberus or Theseus battling the Minotaur, no matter how occasionally cheesy the visuals look."
History Classics: Ancient Greece Gods and Battles. A&E Home Video. 2010. DVD. Not Rated. Available at History Channel web site- $19.95
This five disc set examines the gods worshipped by the ancient Greeks as well as their military history. Complete with reenactments, archival footage, and expert testimony, this documentary highlights some of the most prominent battles in Greek history including the battle of Troy and the Last Stand of 300. Some of the other topics discussed include: Gods and Goddesses, In Search of History: Greek Gods, Oracle at Delphi, Decisive Battles: Marathon, Decisive Battles: Thermopylae, Battles BC: Judgment Day at Marathon, and Battles BC: Alexander: Lord of War. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Run time 8 hours.
Personal Review: A good resource for students and teachers to use as a supplement for learning/ teaching important battles in ancient Greece. While somewhat lacking lots of historical detail, the visuals in this set will keep students attention and might inspire them to conduct further, more detailed research on the battles of ancient Greece.
History Channel Presents: Gods and Goddesses. A&E Home Video. 2006. DVD. Not Rated. Available at Amazon- $17.99
This documentary explores the role of mythology in ancient Greece and examines which gods, goddesses, and stories might have been based on real events. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Run time 1 hour 40 minutes.
Customer Review at Amazon- General rating 4 out of 5 stars: Review by "dmt, dmt" in New York "I thought this version would give me more insight into the Gods and Goddesses of ancient Greece. The production is great. Plenty of historical scenes. What I didn't like about it is that it doesn't give you anything new that someone who has studied ancient religion would not already know. Great for middle school and high school students or for those who know nothing of ancient gods and goddesses."
Clash of the Titans. Warner Home Video. 1981. DVD, Blu-Ray, and Amazon Instant Video. PG. Available at Amazon- $5.86 (DVD), $11.99 (Blu-Ray), $9.99 (Amazon Instant Video)
A retelling of the classic tale of Perseus and Andromeda. To win the right to marry Andromeda, Perseus must complete a series of tasks including taming Pegasus, answering riddles, and capturing the head of Medusa. DVD format includes closed captioning and subtitles. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Run time 2 hours.
Review: Chicago Sun Times / Roger Ebert (June 1981)
3 1/2 stars-"Clash of the Titans is a family film (there's nothing in it that would disturb any but the most impressionable children), and yet it's not by any means innocuous: It's got blood and thunder and lots of gory details, all presented with enormous gusto and style. It has faith in a story-telling tradition that sometimes seems almost forgotten, a tradition depending upon legends and myths, magical swords, enchanted shields, invisibility helmets, and the overwhelming power of a kiss."
Disney's Hercules. Walt Disney Pictures. 1997. DVD and Amazon Instant Video. G. Available at Amazon- $13.99 (DVD), $9.99 (instant video)
This animated version is a retelling of the classic myth of Hercules. A teenage Hercules discovers his dad is Zeus and must battle and outwit Hades, lord of the underworld, from taking over the universe. Along with his companions Pegasus, the winged horse, and Meg, the Grecian beauty, Hercules sets out on a quest of epic proportions. Recommended for ages 4 and older. Run time 93 minutes.
Review: Chicago Sun Times/ Roger Ebert (June 1997)
3 1/2 stars -"The wonder is that it took Disney so long to get to the gods of Greek mythology. ``Hercules'' jumps into the ancient legends feet-first, cheerfully tossing out what won't fit and combining what's left into a new look and a lighthearted style....Will children like this subject matter, or will they find Greek myth unfamiliar? I think they'll love it. And in an age when kids get their heroes from TV instead of books, is Hercules any more unfamiliar than Pocahontas (or Aladdin or the Hunchback, for that matter)?"
Jason and the Argonauts. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 1963. DVD, Blu-Ray, and Amazon Instant Video. G. Available at Amazon- $9.99 (DVD), $14.99 (Blu-Ray), $9.99 (Amazon Instant Video)
The fearless expolorer Jason returns home to claim the throne to his land only to be sent on a quest by the gods to find a golden fleece. Action and adventure ensue along the way as Jason comes across many mythological creatures that try to hinder his quest. The DVD format includes closed captioning and subtitles. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Run time 1 hour 44 minutes.
Review: Old School Reviews/ John Nesbit (2006)
"Jason and the Argonauts was never designed to be great art, but it visualizes the Greek myths better than any other film and is a lot of fun, making it an essential film for anyone to see at least once. Older viewers, historical film aficionados, and special effects artists will watch it many more times."
Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Greek Myths. Sony Pictures Home Enterainment. 1997. DVD. Not Rated. Available at Amazon- $64.89
A storyteller tells the stories of Perseus and Medusa, Icarus and Daedalus, Theseus and the Minotaur, and Orpheus and Euridyce. The DVD includes closed captioning. Recommended for ages 8 and older. Run time 95 minutes.
Review: DVD Verdict / Amanda DeWees
"Viewers young and old should enjoy Greek Myths. Even though this series overall didn't seem quite as strong to me as the original, it's still exceptional TV, and lovers of myth should most certainly give it a look. Like the previous Storyteller series, it is unusual in that it refuses to water down the more mature elements of the source tales for the children in the audience. Readers of the original myths will know that they are marked by violence, sex, betrayal, and brutality, and these elements—while presented with tasteful discretion here—aren't altered in an attempt to make the stories more palatable or child-friendly. This is one of the great strengths of these series, in fact: They don't dilute the very content that makes them powerful after the passage of centuries. There's a smart moment, for example, when the dog asks the storyteller if Theseus and Ariadne are married, since they have just spent a night in each other's arms. The storyteller simply ignores the question and resumes his tale. He's already told us all we need to know. For this reason, parents of young viewers will want to watch these tales with their children: They may spark some important discussions, and some of the darker content may frighten the very young."
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. 20th Century Fox. 2010. DVD, Blu-Ray, and Amazon Instant Video. PG. Available at Amazon- $14.49 (DVD), $20.99 (Blu-Ray), $9.99 (Amazon Instant Video)
Percy Jackson does not know that he is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, but he is in fact a demigod, half mortal, half god. He soon finds out there are others like him, many others. However, almost as soon as he finds out his legend, he is accused of stealing Zeus' thunder bolt and is sent on a quest to retrieve the bolt to clear his name and restore order among the Greek gods. The DVD format includes dubbing and subtitles. Recommended for ages 8 and older. Run time 2 hours.
Review: Chicago Sun Times/ Roger Ebert (February 2010)
3 stars- "The movie, based on a novel by Rick Riordan, has fun working out modern parallels for Greek mythology....Director Chris Columbus has fun with this goofy premise, but as always I am distracted by the practical aspects of the story. Does it bother the Greek gods that no one any longer knows or cares that they rule the world? What are the genetic implications of human/god interbreeding?"
The Lightning Thief Series by Rick Riordan. Listening Library. 2005. Book on CD. Available on Amazon- $13.59
Percy Jackson finds out he is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, soon after he is transferred from boarding school to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods, and becomes involved in a quest, along with his friends from camp, to prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. There are five books in the series and all are available in CD format unabridged. The Lightning Thief has 8 discs. Recommended for ages 10 and older. Run time 10 hours 12 minutes.
Review: Publisher's Weekly (August 2005)
"For this fast-paced adventure that zaps characters from Greek mythology into modern times, Bernstein gets the reading rhythm just right. He conveys Riordan's notes of humor, sarcasm and downright amazement in the voice of 12-year-old Percy Jackson, a smart kid who seems to be a magnet for trouble. But one day Percy discovers that being kicked out of a different school every year and dealing with learning challenges like ADHD is nothing compared to the truth of his life: he's a demigod, the son of Poseidon. Of course, among other things, that means an action-packed mission to the Underworld to find Zeus's stolen lightning bolt and return it to Mount Olympus (specially accessed as the 600th floor in the Empire State Building). Listeners will be hanging on every zippy chapter here and will be eager to find out where Percy heads next in this planned series. Ages 10-up."
Oh My Gods by Lauren Childs. Audible, Inc. 2009. Available for download through Audible- $3.95
Phoebe's life takes an unexpected turn when her mother marries a man from Greece and moves the family onto an island in the Aegean Sea. Phoebe soon discovers that her new classmates at her exclusive academy are all descendants of real Greek gods! Recommended for ages 12 to 14. Run time 7 hours 31 minutes.
Book Review: School Library Journal (June 2008)
"Phoebe Castro is a distance runner who plans on winning a full-ride cross-country scholarship to USC with her two best friends. Then her mother returns from a family reunion abroad with a Greek fianc who runs a private school and announces that she and Phoebe will be moving to an island in the Aegean. The news gets worse as the teen arrives to find out that there is no scheduled ferry service from the island. To top off everything, she learns that every other student is descended from one or more Greek gods. Her new stepfather tells her that she cannot share this fact with anyone, for the safety of everyone on Serfopoula. Things seem to be looking up when she meets an absolutely gorgeous guy while running on the beach and, despite her lack of divine ancestry, she is granted a provisional place on the cross-country team. The IMs fly back and forth between Greece and southern California, magical hijinks abound, and classes and practice keep the protagonist busy. The story is part "Harry Potter," part Rick Riordan's The Lightning Thief (Hyperion/Miramax, 2005), and part shojo, and it will keep teens, particularly girls, reading to find out if Phoebe will finally fit in, get her crush, and make the team."
Heroes in Mythology: Theseus, Prometheus, Odin by Jim Weiss. Greathall Productions. 2000. Book on CD. Available from Amazon-$14.95
This selection of stories highlights popular Greek and Norse myths and is only available in audio format. Stories told include Theseus and the Minotaur, Prometheus, Bearer of Fire, and Odin and the Norse Men. Recommended for ages 7-12.
Review: School Library Journal (March 2001)
"Years ago, elementary school children were routinely exposed to many of the Greek and Norse myths as a vital part of their literature curriculum; however, over the past few decades, the great myths (that after all are the cultural foundation of much of the great Western literature) have fallen into disuse. This recording, narrated by Jim Weiss, is one way to introduce youngsters to some of the wonderful stories that make up the foundation of our culture. He tells the stories in a quiet voice, yet manages to bring the stories alive so that children can understand them. Each of the three stories has a brief introduction, and a follow-up such as telling children that they can still visit the maze of the Minotaur in Greece, and that people still become lost within its walls. Heroes in Mythology would make a wonderful listening center activity in the media center or classroom, and it could be used as a springboard to learning about other myths. As there is so little material available on Greek myths for very young children, both public and school librarians should consider purchasing this recording to fill in this gap in knowledge."
"The Golden Age by Kenneth Grahame." Internet Archive. November 12, 2007. Accessed February 10, 2012.
Part of the Internet Archive this is a recording from Librivox and is a work in the public domain. Librivox is a volunteer based group that creates audio versions of books in the public domain. The Golden Age is a story about childhood written by Kenneth Grahame, author of the classic tale Wind in the Willows. Greek myths are intertwined into the story as metaphors for childhood vs.adulthood.
Personal Review:This story is read in parts by different narrators, which might make it hard for some to listen to. While this title is recommended by the publisher for ages 10 and up, the storyline and older word usage might make this title best for readers ages 14 and older. Run time 4 hours. http://www.archive.org/details/golden_age_0711_librivox
"The Iliad by Homer." Internet Archive. January 26, 2008. Accessed February 10, 2012.
Part of the Internet Archive this is a recording from Librivox and is a work in the public domain. Librivox is a volunteer based group that creates audio versions of books in the public domain. The Iliad is considered an ancient Greek poem that is set during the time of the Trojan war where the Greek gods get involved in the war among mortals.
Personal Review: Because Librivox is a volunteer based organization, the story is divided into parts and read by different narrators, which disrupts the flow, but does not hinder the overall message. The easy accessiblity of the recording is great for students who would like to listen and read along or for anyone who might prefer an audio version more. Recommended for ages 14 and older. Run time 14 hours.
"Classical Mythology". Learn Out Loud. 2008-2011. Accessed February 10, 2012.
The Classical Mythology podcast discusses the gods, heroes, and myths of the ancient Greek and Roman world. Some podcasts focus directly on the gods, while others discuss things like ancient traditions and drama. Users can listen to a podcast via streaming audio or download the file to their computer. Learn Out Loud's is an organization dedicated to the use and promotion of audio and video educational materials for students and professionals.
Personal Review: Insightful. These podcasts offer tidbits of information great for learning about the gods and goddesses, their powers, and impact on society. Authors for each podcast are sited, but no additional information is given about them. Writing is clear and easy to understand making this a good selection for younger teens. Recommended for ages 12 and older. Podcasts range anywhere from 5 minutes to 15 minutes each.
"Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief at the MET." Metropolitian Museum of Art. Accessed February 10, 2012.
Listen to a podcast with Sean Hemingway, Associate Curator of Greek and Roman Art speak with author of the Lightning Thief series Rick Riordan. Discusses mythological artwork in relation to other oral and written storytelling.
Personal Review: This podcast is an excellent resource for teachers looking to expand a unit on Greek mythology. Riordan's writing process, along with Greek myths, and art pieces that relate to Greek myths are all discussed. Because of the popularity of Riordan's books, younger children might enjoy listening to this author speak. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Run time 17 minutes.
"Mythologica Episode 01: Cupid and Psyche." Chatterbox Theater. September 14, 2007. Accessed February 10, 2012.
Presented by Chatterbox Theater this podcast is a theatrical retelling of the classic tale of Cupid and Psyche, also known as the tale of Eros and Psyche in Greek Mythology.
Personal Review:This podcast is lively and entertaining complete with special sound effects and excellent voice acting. Truly a theatrical experience! Chatterbox Theater is a non-profit web-based community theater. Recommended for ages 12 and up. Run time 29 minutes. http://www.chatterboxtheater.org/node/21
"Fourth Graders' Greek Mythology Podcasts." Meridan Park Elementary. 2012. Accessed February 10, 2012.
Podcasts by kids for kids! Listen to other children's versions of Greek myths. Created by a fourth grade class at Meridian Park Elementary in Shoreline, Washington, this series of podcasts deal with different myths from Greek Mythology.
Personal Review: The audio can be somewhat hard to hear, but each podcast is complete with introduction music and a drawing of the mythological being by the author. This site would be great to use in the classroom as a way to inspire other children to become interested in mythology and maybe even create their own podcast! Recommended for ages 8 and up. Podcasts typically run between 1-2 minutes. http://schools.shorelineschools.org/meridianpark/fourth-graders-greek-mythology-podcasts/
"Feed That Dog." Teacher's Domain. 2012. Accessed February 10, 2012.
From the Teacher's Domain web site, this is a video segment from PBS's Cyberchase. The CyberSquad is given the challenge to feed Cerberus, the three headed dog from Greek mythology, in order to escape the dog's wrath. The kids only have two apples and must use math to equally divide the apples.
Personal Review: A great way to combine subjects! This video does an excellent job explaining the step by step process for solving the problem and offers an insight into the Greek myth. Children unfamiliar with the story,might be inclined to do further research! Recommended for ages 8-12. Runtime 2 minutes. http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/vtl07.math.number.ope.feedthatdo/
"Storytime." Winged Sandals. 2003. Accessed February 10, 2012.
A collection of animated stories from Greek myth. Users can watch stories on "Perseus and Medusa", "Orpheus and the Underworld", "Demeter and Persephone" and "How Apollo got his Oracle".
Personal Review: Some of the animation looks a little creepy, but is sure to keep kids' attention. The narrator's accent could throw kids for a loop with pronunciation of names, but overall this series of stories provides to be both educational and entertaining. Recommended for ages 8 and older. Stories usually run around three minutes each. http://www.wingedsandals.com/arts/wingedsandals/storytime/default.htm