Ancient Rome brought to life on South Lawn

In September, a legion of Roman soldiers took over South Lawn on the Parkville campus, fully kitted out with historically appropriate clothing, armour and weaponry.

The event, hosted by the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, brought members of Ancient Roman Reenactors Victoria face-to-face with current Arts students and visitors from high schools across the state.

We welcomed Ancient Roman Re-Enactors Victoria public onto South Lawn for a living history display and military exhibition.

Witnessing the military spectacle of the famous Roman "tortoiseshell" shield formation was impressive, but it wasn't just for entertainment - it was part of bringing history to life for Bachelor of Arts students.

Ancient Rome brought to life on South Lawn
Ancient Rome brought to life on South Lawn. Photo: Justin Lemmon

"This wonderful day devoted to re-enacting ancient Roman life - not just in the army but also domestic and religious life - was all about discovering the realities of the Roman world two thousand years ago," explains Professor Tim Parkin, the Elizabeth and James Tatoulis Chair in Classics.

"The whole day was about learning at first-hand - something that is a great complement to in-class learning."

As well as gaining insight into the might of the Roman military, students were able to explore how Roman engineering contributed to the success of the Roman empire through examining hand-built machinery, learn about women's daily routines and domestic affairs (and even try make-up made according to Roman recipes), and satisfy their hunger with Lucanian sausages similar to those Roman legionnaires would have eaten.

"It was a great way for us to engage not only with Romans but with high school students and their teachers, our own students, and members from the wider community of all ages," Professor Parkin said.

Ancient Rome brought to life on South Lawn
Ancient Rome brought to life on South Lawn. Photo: Justin Lemmon

The day was so successful, he is hoping for a repeat next year. "We aim to make this an annual event - the Romans are conquering the world anew!"

The Ancient Rome Reenactment was made possible by the generous support of the Ancient Roman Reenactors Victoria.

Learn more about the Bachelor of Arts History program

Banner image: Justin Lemmon