Presented by Marcus Aurelius Dorsuo, a legionary from the XX legion based at Deva, and Queen Boudicca on the eve of the Eceni rebellion in AD60.
Typically we deliver twin sessions, with each presenter setting up in their own classroom and students swapping between them to get an equal understanding of both cultures. With an assembly to start and plenary to finish with all students, if required.
Our historical educators arrive in full 1st century attire – a Roman legionary in armour, with weaponry, and a display of miscellaneous Roman items of the period; Boudicca with her flowing red hair looking every bit the Warrior Queen!
Marcus the legionary will teach the children a Roman greeting and hand salute, ‘Salvete’ and ‘Ave Caesar’. Names are written on a board in English and Latin. We meet Emperor Nero and his wife Claudia Octavia by dressing up two students accordingly with our costumes.
Children are taught Roman numerals up to 2019, and are challenged to work out some interesting dates, such as 1999 and 1066. A wax tablet is handed round so that everybody gets a chance to write on it with a stylus.
Next comes the pantheon of Roman gods, goddesses and links to planets, days of the week, and so on. We’ll discuss on what makes a civilisation – how does this equate with the barbarity of the gladiators and punishments like crucifixion?
Marcus continues through describing and naming his arms, armour and clothing, handing pieces around for examination and study, and dressing up a strong young ‘puer’ boy warrior.
There will be offerings to the gods of the artefacts brought by the presenter – oil lamps, mirrors, combs, jewellery, a strigil and olive oil for bathing, samian ware pottery, glass vials, mortarium for grinding corn. The artefacts are passed around, handled and demonstrated with students’ active involvement, and listed on the board, with explanations about everyday Roman life.
We’ll have a quick view of the eruption of Vesuvius and how we know so much from Pompeii (there’s a fabulous five-minute timelapse video clip).
Then BATTLE! Children are equipped with our matching helmets, shields and spears or swords, taught the “sin dex sin” march and proceed into the playground. We allow time for photos to be taken as everyone will want to pose!
Then ‘Romans’ make a testudo of interlocking shields as ‘Celts’ attack, led by Boudicca showing chariot tactics employed by the Eceni (Iceni if you prefer!).
Boudicca appears as a Queen of the Eceni tribe, looking at Iron Age culture and life in a roundhouse, with a wonderful collection of period artefacts; she will explain her battle tactics, and why she is so famous in leading her people to rebel against Roman rule.