Andy Volpe: Art & History



Bring a Roman Legionary to your classroom!

Living History presentation with an interactive, hands-on element.

This presentation takes a general overview of the Roman Legionary soldier during the 1st century Roman Empire (covering apx. 30 - 80 AD/CE), looking at origins, evolution, social & culture structure, training, tactics, arms & armor and their technological development, and related aspects of "daily life".  Andy has spent two decades researching the life of soldiers in Roman-Egypt, which was a uniquely different Province from others in the Roman sphere.  He also discusses writing / communications, and aspects as a living historian, or, "experimental archaeologist", discussing what it's like to wear the replica artifacts and what studying the material culture can tell us, or not, about the people who made and used them, some two thousand years ago.

Using the most current archaeological and academic information from Journals, papers, and publications, replica artifacts are copied from actual artifacts as closely as possible, many items are able to be handled by students if program times allow.  (the obvious exception are the weapons). Student volunteers will be brought up and placed in replica armor and other items to help present on various topics. (however, time & space constraints may limit availability)

Age range: Middle School to College (apx. 6th grade to Adult)

Time Considerations:  Bookings are typically around school classroom schedules, Presentations can be 30 minutes to 1 hour in length (but are booked in 1-hour programs), and can be a full-length presentation, or, a shorter introduction with an extended Q&A session.

Space Considerations: Auditorium setting is the most common, but can be done in the classroom(s), or gymnasium. At least 1 table for display of various items is requested.  Close parking access for unloading/loading gear is requested. Private access to the presentation space is needed 30 mins before and after the presentation time to allow for (un)packing of gear, etc.

Cost of Programs:  For a single, 1-hour program = $290 (mileage may be added depending on distance); 2-4 Programs in a single day = $300, mileage included. 

Additional Considerations:  Presentations work best in smaller groups, under 100 students per program.

HOW TO BOOK:  Contact Andy via email: or call/text 508 344 5764; Request 1-2 dates (for inclement weather or other complication); Once details are finalized, a Contract will be emailed, which will then need to be signed and submitted back (either scanned in email or snail-mail).  Program cost(s) are to be paid, in full, by date of presentation. Deposits or delayed payments only by prior arrangement.  Signing the Contract confirms the program date & time, and includes the acknowledgement of a "weapons" waiver. (classified as "theatrical props")

Options in program format and topics is possible, please contact Andy to discuss.

History of the Program:

Around 2001-02, Andy started working at the former Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, MA (collection now part of Worcester Art Museum) as OverKnight and Educational staff, where he fell in love with giving Arms & Armor auditorium presentations and School group tours. He had also become very active with the Higgins Armory Sword Guild, which studied and demonstrated sword & weapon combat from fencing and arms manuals from the 1300s to the 1860s.  He originally was interested in developing a Greek Hoplite arms & armor program, but replicas were not available.  The Museum had on loan from Yale University, artifacts from Dura Europos in Syria, a major Roman outpost, and the Education department asked if he would instead develop a Roman Legionary program to support those artifacts instead.  He started bringing the Roman program to schools & libraries through the museum's Outreach program around 2004.  After 2006 he was unable to continue as staff with the museum, but continued to present on a regular basis.  By about 2007 he had become "independent" (with the creation of the "Art & History" presence). In 2013, the final year of the Higgins Armory, he was brought back as Education staff and presented until the museum closed its doors.  He even helped disassemble many of the armor displays to assist their moving to Worcester Art Museum.  By the Fall of 2014, Arms & Armor presentations were back on schedule, including the Roman Legionary program.  In essence, Andy has been presenting (and researching) continuously since 2002.

C: 2006-2021 A.P.Volpe