A new Horrible Histories trail at the British Museum leads pupils through the Legion: life in the Roman army display in a creative way to bring history to life.

Claudius Terrattus leads pupils around the Leigon: life in the Roman army exhibition

Source: © Martin Brown

Claudius Terrattus leads pupils around the Legion: life in the Roman army exhibition.

Children can meet the Roman character, Claudius Terrattus, who takes them on his journey of becoming a soldier in the Roman army and the trials and tribulations faced by those serving 2,000 years ago.

Through the course of the special exhibition trail, Terrattus explains his ambition to become a Roman soldier, the dangers and difficulties he could face and the riches and rewards he could receive. Carefully chosen exhibition objects will be highlighted along the way, accompanied by playful commentary on hand-held devices.

This is the first time the London-based museum has partnered with Horrible Histories, written by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown, with schools able to visit the exhibition as part of exclusive school morning viewings on selected dates until 12th June 2024. 

What can schools expect?

Terrattus’ story mirrors the overarching themes of the exhibition itself, with a focus on the personal experiences of individuals, appreciating that despite the risks, the Roman army offered an exceptional way for people from different backgrounds and from different parts of the empire to advance themselves.

The partnership aims to inspire school children and instil a curiosity of what life was really like for people during Imperial Rome, all through the lens of a much-loved children’s brand now celebrating its 30th anniversary.

An interior shot of the British Museum in London.

The British Museum is the world’s oldest, public museum and is home to thousands of ancient artefacts from across a range of historical periods.

Horrible Histories’ author Terry Deary, said: “Since the earliest days of Horrible Histories, Rotten Romans continues to be one of the most popular books and it’s no wonder as Roman life could be really horrible.

“But life in the Roman army was even worse – tough, dangerous and dirty. I am glad that Horrible Histories will encourage children to engage with history at the British Museum and think about the real people who lived through it.”

Richard Abdy, curator of Roman and Iron Age coins, said: “Fun facts are well-remembered facts, so a pinch of humour is a welcome ingredient. Horrible Histories excels at entertaining while reminding kids of all ages that history can be a lot grimmer than the popular imagination – the perfect antidote to a show on the Roman army.”

Legion: life in the Roman army is now open, running until 23rd June 2024 in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery at the British Museum. The exhibition explores what it was like to be in one of the most iconic fighting forces of all time, highlighting the reality of daily life for the men, women and children through ancient artefacts and unique objects.

Schools can also book facilitated workshops on-site to enhance the visit further. For more information about school trips to the British Museum, go to www.britishmuseum.org.