Animal Sacrifice in the Classroom

At the Classical Association conference this weekend I gave a paper on a lesson I’ve taught a few times with the Brilliant Club, in which I guide the students through a reconstruction of a Roman animal sacrifice. As I explained in my presentation, I do this to get the students thinking about the lived experience of Roman religion, and to overcome the sometimes sterile textual or artistic ancient sources.

The paper went really well, and a few people said they might try it out with their own students, both in secondary schools and universities.

For those who were not at the paper, or were there but did not get a handout, I thought it would be a good idea to upload it here. If anyone has any questions or wants clarification on how things work then do please get in touch. Also, if you do take these resources and run an animal sacrifice in your own classroom please let me know! It would be great to see how it works in other contexts!

Click the link below to download the handout:

Animal sacrifice HO

Alongside the texts and image on the handout you will need:

  • A toy sheep (a pig or a cow would work too!)
  • A toy knife and a hammer
  • An altar – I use a metal bowl supported by a tripod of bamboo canes.
  • Barley
  • Incense – I use dried lavender, but anything fragrant could work.

Good luck!