Link to Instruction materials link to Companion home page link to Worlds of Roman Women in texts & images

Activities for Classroom Use


Semester Projects

Ann R. RAIA, Anne LEEN, Barbara F. MCMANUS, "Roman Funerary Inscriptions Project.” In this activity students explore the genre of epigraphy in search of Roman women, who are represented on funerary monuments through sculpture and writing that is not exclusively male and elite. This project, focused on text and material culture, has been reported successful with students in intermediate classes at three colleges: model student projects are appended to the instructions.

Anne LEEN, "Roman Funerary Inscriptions Project for a Classical Humanities Class.” The instructions are a version of the above Roman Funerary Instructions Project adapted for a mixed class of students, only some of whom knew Latin. The class was divided into three working groups (philology, art & archaeology, history) and asked to analyze the text and image of a Latin funerary monument for a Roman woman. This assignment resulted in the publication of her class project on the cinerary urn of Allidia Hymnis.
Maria MARSILIO, “Modified Roman Funerary Inscriptions Project.” These instructions, based on Anne Leen's, were used as an out of class project with St. Joseph University students who were interested in classics, some of whom had not studied Latin. The students were formed into working groups that contained at least one Latin student and asked to analyze the text and image of a Latin funerary monument for a Roman woman, incorporating the categories of language, material description, and social history in their analysis.

Ann R. RAIA, “Text-Commentary Project.” This activity proved an effective learning tool in several Latin and Greek classes, particularly for students preparing to teach. Three student projects from my 2002 Roman Women course are at De Feminis Romanis: K. Nickerson's Commentary to Pliny's Epistulae VII.24, J. Pinheiro's Commentary to Cicero's Pro Cluentio V.12-VI.17, C. West's Commentary to Seneca's De Consolatione ad Marciam 3.3-4.3. Two student commentaries produced in my 2007 Roman Women course were expanded into Companion texts: E. Daley's (Vergil's Aeneid VII.803-817) and D. DeLancey's (Tacitus' Annales XI.12.

Elizabeth McCALL assigned the text-commentary project to her fourth year Honors Latin class at Merion Mercy Academy in Merion, PA. Her nine students worked together over the course of six weeks during the spring term, dividing the research and revising their individual contributions before compiling and submitting the project for her final assessment. McCall edited her students' Commentary to Vergil's Aeneid II.771-795 and submitted it to Companion as an example of collaborative pre-collegiate student work.
Elizabeth GLOYN designed a Text-Commentary Project to accompany her course "Latin on the Edge." At Royal Holloway, University of London, where she teaches, students in their second year complete two projects, each associated with other modules they are studying. Her commentary project is intended to develop and strengthen her students' grasp of the Latin language as well as the wider context within which a particular text was written (September 2017).
Caitlin GILLESPIE prepared Text-Commentary Project Instructions to enable her Columbia University graduate Latin seminar students to engage with the collaborative activity integral to the development of a teacher/scholar. The project resulted in the publication of passages from Tacitus' Agricola about Julia Procilla and Domitia Decidiana & Julia Agricola (Fall 2017).

Activities by World:


Barbara F. MCMANUS, “An Inscription Activity” for the Grave Monument of a Young Girl. Students are invited to recreate a missing epigraphic text.

World of BODY

Beth SEVERY-HOVEN, The Roman World: “Project on Roman Portraiture.” This exercise can be used with other images and adapted to include a Latin text, such that of Macrobius on Julia Augusti.

Janet STEPHENS, Ancient Hairstyle Recreation. This webpage illustrates the popular hairstyles of imperial women (Livia, Octavia, Agrippina Minor, Faustina Maior and Minor, Julia Domna, and Plautilla) on ancient coins and statues and reveals, using ancient tools with live models, how these complex hair arrangements were constructed.

World of FAMILY

Anne LEEN, “Group Activity for Propertius, Elegies 4.11.” This group project is the culmination of a three-day unit on the Propertius passage in The Worlds of Roman Women that focuses the class on reading Latin for comprehension of content and culture.

World of STATE

Edmund DE HORATIUS, “The Story of Lucretia in Text and Image.” This activity is actually a study unit in three parts: an exercise for close reading of the myth/story, a presentation of major Latin and English primary sources for reading or review, and an art project with fully developed instructions and grading criteria.

Barbara F. MCMANUS, “Livia: Rome's First ‘First Lady’ Activity.” This activity connects text analysis with exploration of an associated ancient site, the Porticus Liviae in Rome, through an assignment that links Companion to the Worlds of Roman Women, the reader The Worlds of Roman Women, and VRoma.

Barbara F. MCMANUS, “Tarpeia in Livy and the Roman Forum.” This activity connects text interpretation with the exploration of associated ancient sites in the Roman Forum through an assignment that links Companion to the Worlds of Roman Women and VRoma.

Female Fury In The Forum: Ancient Rome 195 & 42 B.C.,” a primary source activity in the “Classroom Lesson Series” of Women in World History Curriculum. Building on this exercise, students may compare Hortensia's speech in Appian to the earlier Latin narration of the event by Valerius Maximus, Factorum et Dictorum Memorabilia 8.3.3.

World of CLASS

Barbara F. MCMANUS, Role-Playing Game in VRoma. Students can imaginatively experience the lives of lower-class Romans, both female and male, by assuming the personalities of real people in the city of Rome, people known to us now only though funerary inscriptions, but once living, breathing Romans.

Ann R. RAIA, “The "Transgressive" Roman Woman.” Projects with reading selections introducing students to traditional expectations of Roman women and feminist strategies for interrogating ancient texts that negatively portray women and discussion questions are provided for four women who appear in texts in Companion: Fulvia, Clodia Metelli, Lesbia, Julia Augusti. Another nine "transgressive" women are listed whose portrayals by ancient authors can be compared to the construct of the ideal Roman matrona, such as Lucretia (see DeHoratiis activity above), Cornelia, and Octavia.

World of WORK

Barbara F. MCMANUS, Role-Playing Game in VRoma. Students can enter the lives of lower-class Romans at work, both female and male, by assuming the occupations of real people in the city of Rome, people who are known to us now only though their funerary inscriptions.

Anne LEEN, "Learning to Read Inscriptions." This worksheet introduces students to the grammar and conventions of inscriptions through texts about vernae, slaves who were born in the familia to slave-mothers, not purchased. The activity, also linked at the end of the introductory essay to Vernae in the World of Work texts, was beta-tested by five students in Maria Marsilio’s Advanced Latin Grammar course: Shannon Daly, Chase Davis, Madison Dalton, Brian Scarpato, Duncan Waite (Saint Joseph’s University, Spring 2021).


Barbara F. MCMANUS, Latin Worksheet: Horace, Ode 1.5. The worksheet's probing questions guide students through a step-by-step close reading and poetic analysis of Horace's poem to Pyrrha, Carmina 1.5.


Stacie RAUCCI, “Dido in Text and Performance.This activity, intended for a Latin class but useful as well in courses in translation, connects textual interpretation of Vergil's Aeneid IV.630-662 with the reception of Vergil’s Queen Dido in various media.

Ann R. Raia and Judith Lynn Sebesta
Updated Fall 2021