“Once upon a time, in the mythical era, at nearly 3,000 m above the sea level, there lived Twelve Supreme Gods at the heart of Greece”… Alessia Borriello and Ludovica Lusvardi invite us to use our imagination and enter the mythical world by using a simple DIY game “Olympus Ready-to-Wear” they created within the Our Mythical Childhood Project and the Cluster: The Past for the Present – International Research and Educational Programme. Alessia, MA-student at the Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies, University of Bologna, in Winter term 2019/20 accomplished her Erasmus training in the OMC Project at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw. The game originates from this experiece and, to our utmost joy, permits us to continue our mythical cooperation. Ludovica is a graduate from Fashion Design at Politecnico of Milan and continues her training at the Theatrical Tailoring at Accademia della Scala. In the short interview Alessia and Ludovica describe their academic and artistic creation.
How to use your game to learn and play?
It is a very simple type of game, which only requires: scissors, paper, paints, glue. We are talking about dressing dolls, only the dolls are the ancient gods of Greek Olympus. The drawings of characters, pets, and attributes are to be downloaded and printed out from the game’s website. A textual component is added to the visual one: so as to know which accessories belong to which gods, children need to read the myths relating to the gods, written on their IDs. In the meanwhile, we are designing a digital interactive version of the game on app: we will talk about it in due course!
What do the Greek gods need clothes and attributes for?
The Greek gods must be equipped and dressed up, in order both to complete and colour their figures, as well as to verify that the children have understood the myths concerning them: why does the aegis belong to Athena? What is the most typical Apollo’s attribute? What is the pet of Zeus, eagle or dolphin? This is a visual expedient to fix in the minds of children some main ancient Greek traditional stories, i.e. myths, making use of traditional iconography.
Why are Olympic pets so diverse? Why don’t any of the Greek gods have a dog or a cat?
The types of animals, ranging from the most common owl of Athena to the three-headed dog of Hades, Cerberus, mirror the animals found in the Greek traditional stories on the deities.
Does vestis virum facit?
The proverb fits perfectly indeed! The presence of an attribute is strongly characterizing for a deity. For example, from the presence of the hearth next to Hestia, the children deduce her connection with the household. The thunderbolt is a menacing attribute of Zeus, who is nonetheless made more familiar by the fact that he too has a pet, even if it is the majestic eagle. Aphrodite, beautiful and vain, holds a mirror. The snake characterizes the chthonic deities; the dolphin – the marine ones; etc.
Is the Olympic style fashionable today?
We have tried to update the iconography of the gods, and make them pleasant for children, while respecting their most typical features, such as the drapery of the clothes and hairstyles. We have also been careful not to create too thin figures, especially female ones, so as to respect today’s sensitivity on the subject of models of thinness for young girls.
Alessia Borriello and Ludovica Lusvardi presented the game Olympus Ready-to-Wear at the international conference Our Mythical Nature at the Faculty of “Artes Liberales”, University of Warsaw, in September 2021, and also at the Roehampton University as part of the the lecture on History of Ancient Art led by Katerina Volioti.
The game is at the dissemination stage and the Authors are looking for feedback from teachers and students. We are looking forward to hearing from you, Dear Reader, if you played the Olympus Ready-to-Wear and would like to share your Olympic creations with us. We will publish the most inspiring ones on the website of the Our Mythical Childhood project. You can find the game here.
Placed by Olga Strycharczyk, also in the role of interviewer:-).