Students taking classes about Greek and Roman civilizations (LLT 325 and LLT 326) do more than just read from a textbook. They gear up for battle.
For several years, modern and classical languages professors have led students in strategic war simulations, inching model ships and figurines forward to face off in mock skirmishes similar to those that Greeks and Romans encountered. The games illustrate ancient combat in a hands-on format.
The games are provided and designed by Laurence Bryan, a history professor at Crowder College and social studies teacher at Crane High School. Bryan is both a trained historian and experienced gamer.
Associate Professor Julie Johnson said the war games help students understand the equipment and tactics of ancient warfare.
“It’s one of the best didactic tools I’ve found for providing as realistic a combat experience as possible without the sweat and blood,” she said.
Greeks versus Persians
Last fall, students recreated the sea battles between the Greeks and Persians to complement the class’ readings of Herodotus’ account of the great Battle of Salamis. At the time, the feature film “300: Rise of an Empire” was popular, providing an unhistorical account of that battle.
Sophomore Jiaying Zhou said the demonstration showed her that ancient war was “a game of chance.”
“Without modern technology of sonar and such, the commanders of the armies must rely on their knowledge of the land and soldiers to take the victory. One small mistake can turn the tide of the war. I also found that planning ahead is the best way to win. Observing the enemy and predicting their next move is also a key to victory.”
Let the games begin
Typically, Greek Civilization (LLT 325) conducts its games in the fall, and Roman Civilization (LLT 326) conducts its games in the spring. The next session will be held in the fall class of LLT 325. Fall registration begins March 30. For more information about the classes, contact Johnson by email or at 417-836-5179.