The experience of teaching war

I’m delighted to announce that a workshop for GCSE Classics, devised by myself and Rob Hancock-Jones, of Townley Grammar School, will commence this academic year in secondary schools in the South West. I am very grateful for the support of Classics for All, and the Bristol Classics Hub.

The workshop is designed to complement the curriculum for the Ancient History / Classical Civilisation syllabus, but is also accessible enough to introduce students with no knowledge of the Classical world to the magnificence of the subject.

Experiencing War in the Roman World will compare sources concerning the ancient Roman soldier, with the experiences of the modern (Western) military. The aim is not only to enrich the study of Roman warfare for GCSE students, but also to fire up their analytical and comparative skills, by demonstrating the relevance of Classical studies to modern life.

At the outset, what I am most intrigued to discern is the reaction students will have, a) to the ancient sources (such as the Vindolanda tablets) which detail the lives of Roman soldiers, and b) to how closely (or disparately) they compare to warfare throughout history – right up to today. What has changed? What may never change?

It is my hope that this direct comparison with the modern world will influence the way that young people view the Classical subjects, and it will help to keep these ‘dead’ languages alive for a little longer. After all, we cannot think forward without remembering what has gone before.

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