While You Live, Shine

Literature - childrenxforxdinner Pictures, Images and Photos

Tonight our literature club will discuss The Iliad and then play board games made by the kids. They paired up and made board games based on the plot. This is always so much fun for them and for me. I love watching them have fun around books. Our next book is Julius Caesar, by Shakespeare. Earlier today when I was researching ideas I found this video called, THE MUSIC OF ANCIENT GREECE: “SONG OF SEIKILOS” c.100BC. It seems like a beautiful way to end our time in Greece before we move on to Rome.

Michael Levy is the artist. This is what he says about the song.

“This video features my arrangement for solo lyre, “The Song of Seikilos”, unique in musical history, as it is the only piece of music from antiquity in the entire Western world, that has SO far been found, which has survived in its COMPLETE form, and unlike much earlier surviving fragments of melodies that have been found, this song is written in a totally unambiguous ALPHABETICAL musical notation, which can be played, note for note, as it was written…2000 YEARS AGO.
This melody is an amazing musical legacy from ancient Greece; a precious remnant of a long-forgotten musical culture now forever lost in the mists of time…
About 2000 years after it was written, this melody was rediscovered in 1883, in its complete & original form. It was found inscribed in marble on an ancient Greek burial stele, bearing the following epitaph: “I am a portrait in stone. I was put here by Seikilos, where I remain forever, the symbol of timeless remembrance”.”

FRIEND-DONNA-DEERRUN-28 FEB Pictures, Images and PhotosThe timeless words of the song are:

“Hoson zes, phainou
Meden holos su lupou;
Pros oligon esti to zen
To telos ho chronos apaitei”

Translation – “While you live, shine
Don’t suffer anything at all;
Life exists only a short while
And time demands its toll”

Michael Levy’s songs are available on iTunes. There is a link to iTunes on his site. 

What do you think about this song or Michael playing the lyre? I love to hear from you.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.

Want Help Starting Your Book Club? Read This Post.


  1. Your literature club has the best ideas. I love how you theme the night to go with the book! The words to the song are lovely, not a big fan of the lyre, though. I have bunny ears and certain high pitches really bother me.

    • Ali Dent says:

      We have so much fun at the meetings. This particular one is geared for home schooled high school students and their moms. It’s a neat way to form a group of kids who can bond and build a social network that is so important to this age group. We all love relationship of course, and teens aren’t any different in that respect but belonging to a group is near the top of their priority list during these years. We have great fun during the lesson and discussion time. We laugh a whole lot and we learn from each other too. Their projects are the most fun. Last night each pair stood up and described the game they made and how to play it. They don’t really realize this is public speaking. That is pretty much how I organize the club. They get detailed information about literary elements, devices and writing but it’s all foiled around characters, which are people, so it seems real to them and that makes it enjoyable. After all that they hang out, go for a walk, play in our neighborhood park and stuff like that. They didn’t leave last night until 11. I love watching them grow in confidence to think and speak out loud. I also like watching the relationships get planted as little seeds and blossom into strong friendships.

      Thanks for dropping by Tameri.

  2. This lyre music was very interesting. We watched the 1953 version of Julius Caesar with Marlon Brando last night to get into the groove for reading the play, and there was a scene where Brutus’ young servant played a little song on the lyre and sang a sort of lullaby. His song put the servant boy to sleep, while Brutus fell asleep at his desk reading. Then the lyre was seen later broken apart found by Marc Antony, presumably suggesting the servant’s death in the battle the next day. I don’t know how accurate the song was to the time period, but it was well done. Anyway, we enjoyed your clip that you posted! Isn’t it amazing that these ancient sounds can still be heard? It really gives a fuller picture of the time period.

    • Ali Dent says:

      Well said, Shelia. I want to watch the Marlon Brando version myself. IT’s neat that you saw the foreshadowing of his death. What an interesting tool the screenwriter used. I’m looking forward to the blogs the kids will create. Should prove to be very fascinating.

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