Myth-a-Fortnight: Pyramus and Thisbe

Tags: Myth, Art, classics

This fortnight, the classics centre is themed on the tragic love story of Pyramus and Thisbe! Pyramus and Thisbe lived in Babylon, where their houses had an adjoining wall. They fell in love with each other, but their parents were enemies and forbade them to meet. However, the pair found a small crack in the wall between their houses, and through this, they would whisper their love for one another. As time passed, they longed to see one another, so they whispered a plan to meet under a mulberry tree near a well-known tomb one night.

Thisbe crept out first, her face covered with a veil, and while she waited, a lion approached, so she fled in terror and hid in a cave. In the rush, she dropped her veil, which the lion picked up in its bloodied mouth. Pyramus came later, and when he saw the veil, he feared the worst, and killed himself with his sword. His blood sprayed the white berries of the mulberry tree, turning them red. Thisbe then returned, discovered Pyramus, and killed herself too. The gods took pity on them and decreed that forever after, mulberry trees would have red berries. 

Classics students have been learning all about this sad story through the decorations, lessons and activities - including watching and taking part in a re-enactment of the story. They have explored how the myth developed into the story of Romeo and Juliet, and they have invented their own stories about why different fruits are the colours and textures they have become! 

If you want to write a story which explains a fruit, or some other part of nature, then please email it to us on info@irisproject.org.uk and we will post all the stories we receive in a blog and in the classics centre.