New tales of ancient gods and heroes

Greek mythology has always been an inspiration for painters, poets and other artists. Our students, too, will discover interesting topics and archetypes and will work on them during their Latin lessons in a creative and collaborative way.

Intermezzo (1): Ennéa's story

         (written by Emely and Jana, class 8e)

  

  She has been sitting in this coat of arms for more than 500 years. Only once a month she is allowed to leave it, for exactlly four hours. If she would leave Aurich during these four hours, all hell would break loose. The city would be destroyed. Ok, she could live with this. But nature would wither and the sacred wood, her sacred wood, would die. No tree, no plant, not even a mushroom left. And when nothing is left of the sacred wood, she, too, has to die. Go straight to hell, to Hades, the most arrogant, the most self regarding god. She hasn't met him for a long time. That is the only good thing about Aurich, the city in the cold north. But after all these years she is still longing so much for the warmer regions and her beloved trees. Although 2000 years have passed, she remembers exactly the day when everything began:

 

It was one of those days when all the streets were empty and also all the fields and woods. A new theatre play was going to take place in the theatre of Iulia Concordia and nobody wanted to miss it. Also she was going. She was dressed as any young country woman. Nobody could know who or what she was. 

Nevertheless she was careful. Artemis mustn't see her. Artemis wouldn't be pleased about this journey to the oppidum, especially as Clytus should be the main actor. Clytus, the star, the darling of all women, young and old.

Her name was Ennéa. A Greek name which means "number nine". She was one of the twelve famous ones. Of course, there were many more than twelve Dryads here in the region. But only twelve were connected to trees which came from seeds which Aeneas and his camerads had brought to Italy when they had escaped the fall of Troy. Artemis would be furious if she knew that one of these twelve Dryads had a date. But Ennéa did so. Clytus wanted to talk to her after the performance. He had invited her to a taberna.

She saw the performance, she listened to the applaus. And then he came to her and showed her the theatre and all the actors who were playing for him. Her presented her with a wonderful necklace. She went to the taberna with him and his friends. It was at new moon: no moon light, but many shining stars. They enjoyed the time, sang and drank all night long. Suddenly she got a terrible headache. The new day had already begun and she thought it must be because of all the alcohol. But the pain got worse and filled her heart as well. A minute later she felt how something pulled her, like a strong magnet which tried to attract her. Then she didn't feel anything any longer...

 

Her tree had been cut down. She was bound to this tree forever, unless the wood was splitted in very little parts. Then she would have to age and finally to die, like a mortal being. But now she was kept in her tree which was made into planks for a ship, together with other trees of the sacred wood of Portogruaro.

Several centuries she was inside this ship, together with her fellow dryads. She experienced several storms and shipwrecks, but every time the ship was rebuild. First it was a Roman ship, then a mediaval merchant vessel, then a cog of the hanseatic league, finally a Dutch ship. One day the crew met a particularly strong storm. She could feel that it wouldn't last long until the ship would burst and leave her free. Then she felt the pain again as if somebody tried to tear out her heart. In this moment the ship broke apart.

 

The ship run aground somewhere at the coast, just at the Jade bay. It was the storm flood in January 1511, three days after new moon. It was the place where Wilhelmshaven was founded some centuries later. At the time of this happening there was only nature: wadden sea and dunes, the howling of the wind and the crying of sea gulls.

Many died, sailors, merchants, passengers and dryads whose wooden planks had shattered into thousand parts. But Ennéa was lucky. There was enough left of her wooden plank; therefore she was still alive. Together with few others she reached the shore.

Those few who had survived were busy with themselves. They all were wet, cold and weak. They didn't even wonder who this strange woman was who suddenly had joined their company and who wore ragged cloths, but a wonderful necklace with shining pearls.

 

In the meantime:

 

"Go, search!" Leopold shouted.

 

To tell you who Leopold was: He should be Ennéa's undoing. He saved her life, but...

 

He was smart. He was handsome. A merchant and a captain. He was looking for the wrecked ship, together with his dog Aiax and his companions. Maybe there were some survivors. Maybe some goods were floating on the waves or the waves had brought some merchandise to the shore.

 

"Hey, Aiax, where are you going?" The dog was barking. It seemed that it knew where it should go. The dog came directly to her, since dryads – as any other nymphs in the service of Artemis, the "mistress of animals"  – have a close connection to animals.

 

 

 

Author: Anke Wischer
Last editor: Anke Wischer