IDEAS FOR TEACHERS based on the ROMAN MYSTERIES
THE FIRST LESSON OF HISTORY:
'NO TOILET PAPER'
Romans used a sponge-stick instead of toilet paper. Discuss what was the same and what was different about Roman times.
Take a real object or a replica artefact.
Study it in silence for a full minute.
Touch it. Sniff it. Listen to it. Taste it.
Now write a story or poem about it.
DESIGN YOUR OWN SIGNET RING
In Ancient Rome educated people signed documents with a signet ring, which could be recognised even by those who couldn't read. If you had been a well-educated and rich Roman, what design would you have on your signet ring? A god, like Mars or Venus? A hero, like Hercules or Atalanta? An animal, like a cricket or dolphin? Or a mythological creature, like the hydra, which had the body of a dog and nine snake heads? Design your ring.
NUBIA THE SLAVE-GIRL
Read the passage in 'The Thieves of Ostia' where Flavia buys Nubia. Now put yourself in Nubia's position and write in the first person about how Nubia feels.
LUPUS THE MUTE BEGGAR BOY
Read the passage in 'The Thieves of Ostia' where Jonathan's father discovers that someone has cut out Lupus's tongue. Put yourself in Lupus's position and write in the first person about Lupus.
Find a passage that triggers a memory of something that happened in your own life. You might have felt sad, happy, jealous, excited, etc. Compare the scene in the book with the incident from your life. How were they similar? How were they different? Detail how you felt during that experience.
WRITING PLOT BEATS, CREATING CHARACTERS, SETTING A SCENE
Print out the writing tips page on the Roman Mysteries site HERE. Use a piece of music to inspire a scene. Make up a new character by combining qualities of a fictional character with a real character. Use the seven plot beats to write a story.
HOW A BOOK COVER IS DESIGNED
What is a book cover designed to do? Do you think the covers of the Roman Mysteries are good? What aspects do you like about them? What don't you like? Choose a title of a Roman Mystery that you've read and design a cover for this book that would appeal to boys. Design a cover that would appeal to girls. Now design a cover that would appeal to everybody!
VOICES FROM THE PAST: PRIMARY SOURCES
The author of the Roman Mysteries uses primary sources like letters by Pliny the Younger, history by Suetonius, poems by Catullus. Read part of a letter, speech or poem by a real historical character. Write a story around it or about it.
GREEK MYTHS AND MODERN STORYTELLING
Think about some movies or TV shows that use Greek myths (e.g. My Fair Lady is based on the myth of Pygmalion). Star Wars, The Matrix, Spiderman, Lord of the Rings all use elements of Greek mythology. Choose a famous or obscure Greek myth and make it into a modern story. Or make it into a science fiction story. Or set the story in medieval times. You get the idea...
For more ideas related to specific books in the series, check out the THEMES & TOPICS page