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You Odyssey These Ancient Greek Reconstructions

Greek Hoplite reenactor Matthew Amt visited the eighth grade on Wednesday, November 29 in the Middle School library. The boys have been studying ancient Greece as part of their history unit.

Amt began by pointing out his attire, including his long shirt — called a peplos— and his sandals, both of which were “typical clothing of the Mediterranean world” at that time, he said. “If I were out hunting, I might be wearing a cloak, a spiffy sun hat, a pair of boots, and a couple of spears.”

He also shared several items from the period, such as a ceramic cup and other pottery, dice, and discs that were used for voting in assembly. He talked about weaponry and warfare, and he showed the boys helmets, swords, and shields that he had replicated. Amt described how it was important to not have “gaps in your line” and that warriors in the militia would stand close to those around them to use others’ shields for protection as well as their own.

Amt explained how he uses research based on actual surviving artifacts, like paintings, to create his reconstructions, but that it can be like “watching an old black-and-white TV show and trying to figure out what the lady’s dress color is.” He went on to say, “There are questions and debates about almost every feature of every item.”

Middle School Librarian Mark Welch said that it looked like history teacher Chris Downs “had a hoot as his students watched ancient history come to life when Mr. Amt donned his handmade Greek Hoplite armor.”

During the Q&A that followed, students asked about Amt’s favorite part of the reenactment process and about the reenactment community.

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