Friday, 26 August 2011

All About the Romans

Tiger began his history study (both World History and British History) last September.  Even since then, he had been fascinated by the Romans.  We use Our Island Story as our main text for British History.  With this book, after the first two chapters about ancient Britons (basically the Celts), we quickly moved on to the Roman invasion and their 300+ years of occupation in Britain.  From that point on, Tiger was hooked.  He was mesmerised by the Roman army, he wanted to know all about how the Romans lived; we visited many Roman sites within travelling distance to us; he learnt all about the Romans' major battles; he learnt who the major Roman emperors were.....  He became very engrossed in everything that has to do with the Romans.

Hence, we started Year 1 with the Romans.

Our World History text, The Story of the World Volume 1, covers the Romans towards the end of the book.  By the time July came along and we were ready to make the most of the summer weather, we still had Ancient Rome to complete.

Therefore, after our summer break, the only yet-to-be completed part of Year 1 was Ancient Rome.  I really want to start Year 2 in September without anything being carried over from Year 1, so we had an intensive few weeks concentrating on the study of Ancient Rome.

1) Books
Given Tiger's interest in Ancient Rome, it was very easy for him to read all the following supplementary books:



2) Field Trips
a) We visited a gallery of Roman classical sculptures where we spotted the busts of Claudius, Hadrian and Julius Caesar, among many other sculptures of mythical heroes.

b) A walk around the British Museum's Roman Empire gallery and Roman Britain gallery never failed to inspire us to learn more about the ancient times, especially when the visit was enhanced by a knowledgeable guides who told us: (1) a quick summary of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire using relevant gallery collections; and (2) all about how the culture and religion of Rome were adapted into the Romano Britain culture.

c) Tiger dressed up as a Roman Legionary when we spent another day in London, visiting the area that was known as Londonium during Roman times.

All that remains of the Romans in this area was parts of what had been a Roman fortress wall.

d) We also watched a show of gladiator games at an arena that was recreated at the exact location of what remained of the only arena in Londonium.  The ruins of the actual arena are now preserved at the basement of the Guildhall Gallery.

While waiting for the gladiator games to start, we strolled along a Roman street where reenactors recreated the atmosphere of Londonium by dressing up in Roman costumes and 'working' at different stores to show people some of the items that were traded in Roman times.

An hour later, the main action started.  I had some reservations about taking Tiger to watch a gladiator game, knowing the violence that it involved, even at a reenactment.  However, at the ticketing office I was told that it was a family show and that children younger than Tiger had attended the earlier show in the day.  Tiger had read about the gladiators but I still felt the need to explain to him that what we were about to see was a reenactment, much like the jousting knights we had watched a few months ago, and that nobody would get hurt in the show, but they had to pretend to be so because they were actors acting their parts.  Most importantly, the 'blood' he would see in the show was actually made from red colouring.

After much prep talk and a "Mum, you don't have to tell me all this.  I knew it already." from Tiger, the 90-minute show began with much fanfare and pomp.  The show was very well done, as I could feel the 'bloodthirstiness' of the spectators, which could be easily extrapolated into the late Roman period when the decline of morality marked the beginning of the end for the Roman empire.

3) Hands-on activities
On a more civilised level, we did a few hands-on activities for this topic.

Back home, I pulled out a Gladiators book to consolidate what we have learnt about this very uniquely Roman phenomenom.  This book, or rather this pack, is more than a book.  Tiger spent a few hours going through everything and learning about the structure of the Colosseum.

Tiger also made a Roman tile and a Roman room.  Tiger has become increasingly independent such that he no longer needs my help putting these items together.  When I offered to help, I was told, "No, thank you.  I know exactly what I am doing."


  1. What a great unit study on Romans. The field trips are amazing.

  2. It must be wonderful to see all of these things first hand.

  3. LOVE his Roman Legionary costume! How awesome is that! Walking right down the street! Fun stuff!

  4. Wow! I want to come hang out with you for a while! The books and museums alone would keep me engaged and entertained for a long time! It looks like you all had a fabulous week!

  5. Thank you to everyone who has visited and has left your kind comments.

    The live gladiator reenactment show was a one-off held in London a few weeks ago.

  6. What a wonderful study you put together. I love your son's costume--classical.

  7. thanks for linking up, we start ancients next year, I'll be bookmarking this post :D

  8. Oh my, you guys have so much fun! Super cool!

  9. Wow, those are amazing field trips and projects! My kids LOVE history, especially when we do hands-on activities!

    Your little "Legionary" is so cute! :)


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