Horatius at the Bridge

The girls and I have had a wonderful first day of school today. MA started the day with soccer camp, which she will participate in for the next three days, and Pitter Patter started her kindergarten day with a little reading and practicing numbers. Good stuff.

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We are using several new resources this year, as we do each year. Instead of jumping right into our history curriculum I have decided to dig a little deeper into Greek and Roman history. Although we have studied the Greek and Roman empires twice now, I still feel like there is so much to learn that we’ve barely scratched the surface. We used Memoria Press‘s “Famous Men of Rome” last year as a supplement to our “Story of the World” book, so I searched their website for a few more supplements to use this year. I gotta tell ya, I love their classical studies resources. I feel like they probably have the most extensive and thorough materials for middle and upper grade students available anywhere. I’ve used their “Intro to Classical Studies” set for a couple of years. One of our favorite stories from “Famous Men of Rome” was the story of Horatius, so I decided to start with their “Horatius at the Bridge” text.

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I love the story of this classic poem. Every ancient society told stories, songs, and poems as a way of handing down their history. With no formal alphabet or way of writing, they told stories verbally. Most of the stories were eventually written down to serve as a permanent record of events. However, we don’t have any ballads from the ancient Romans. We believe, of course, that they existed, but there is no record of them now. In 1842, Englishman Thomas Babington Macaulay wrote this poem in the style that would have been popular in the Roman Empire times to record the story of Horatius and his battle against the Etrurians. Macaulay thought the poem was a trifle, but it has become a classic that students are still reading and memorizing over 150 years later.

Memoria Press’s book includes the text of the poem in its entirety (70 stanzas) as well as background history, definitions, student guide, maps, history and a test. The book is available for $14.95 from the Memoria Press website. It really is all you need in order to teach students the poem. We started today with the background info. We reread the chapter from “Famous Men of Rome” on Horatius to refresh our memory of who he was. Then we jumped right in with the first three stanzas of the poem. I chose to study the poem with this resource because I wanted to fully immerse us in the culture and writing of the Roman Empire. This resource DELIVERS! We learned more today about the geography of Rome, which is a huge part of understanding the Roman Empire and how it rose and fell, than we have in two years of reading from a textbook.

I can truly say without hesitation that we would use this resource for a fun historical read even if we weren’t studying it as part of our history curriculum. It has me so excited about studying it the next few weeks and then moving on to some of the other Greek and Roman history guides. (More on those later.)

Memoria Press sent me “Horatius at the Bridge” to review for this post. All opinions about their book are entirely my own. I really do like it that much. 🙂

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