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Essays - "Animals in the Roman World" Print E-mail

In the Winter of 2004, the ACE students were asked to write about "Animals in the Roman World" This subject was popular but actually quite difficult.

This lovely picture of a Roman Boar Mosaic comes from Stephen Arnold, photographer par excellence and great friend of ACE


For the subject  "Animals in the Roman World", ACE started by giving its teachers and students several URLs of sites which featured Roman Animal mosaics, etc, plus the marvellous collection of Zach Beasley showing the use of animals on Roman coins which can be seen at http://www.beastcoins.com/Topical/Animals-Ancient/AncientAnimals.htm

Our instructions to the Students were:     We know that animals figured prominently in the lives of Romans

throughout the Empire due to their representation in art, literary texts, and traditions.

 1. Students should start their essays by identifying in their heading their major character, and his or her historical setting. ..
for example....  "My name is Claudius Cornelius Celer ( or _________) , age ______,  living in Carthage, North Africa ( or ________), under the reign of the Emperor ________ in the year _________."

2. In the main body of the essay, several factors need to be covered ...

a. The chosen main character and his or her connection to an animal or animals.   To get thoughts flowing, here are some sample scenarios . . .
---A cavalry officer and his horse on campaign
---Living on a farm in one of the Roman provinces
---Building a Roman villa including animal mosaics and frescoes
---A family emblem that contains an animal image and why...... include
the story of how the animal relates to your character's
experiences. See HERE
---Hunting in Roman times
---Catching wild animals for the Colosseum
---The animal could be your character's favorite and tell the story
of how he or she came to own it.
--- Maybe an animal saved your character's life.

b. It is important that the essay be anchored in a correct historical Roman setting. The student should choose a character
(real or fictional) who lives under the reign of a particular Roman emperor in a well-defined time and place. Correct Roman cultural
practices should be incorporated.

c. At least one actual historical event should be interwoven in a suitable background to fit the setting of the essay (for example, a
war, a revolt or attacks by barbarians, unrest due to grain/ bread shortages, the conquest and pacification of a new province, imperial
reforms with their impact on the people, death of an emperor, accession of a new emperor, etc .) If you choose an animal scene
that depicts a myth, you could choose to relate the myth to the life of your character as they experience it within their historical


 ( the lucky students of St Louise de Marillac in Pittsburgh have a coin similar to this one minted by Julius Caesar in their School Ancient Coin Museum - presented to teacher Zee Ann Poeri and her students by John E Ryan, ACE Director , of Philadelphia.)

Click the links below to read the winning essays

Junior winner Vito D. 12, Seven Bridges, NY (pdf 25kb)

Intermediate winner allison M. 14, Brookfield Acad, WI (pdf 17kb)

Senior winner Sarah P. 15, Westlake HS, TX (pdf 25kb)