Friday, 4 July 2014

Hoplites! Greeks at War: Work in Progress

It’s been a busy time for Panoply. In the last few weeks, Sonya gave a presentation at the University of Cambridge for Classics in Communities , giving some fantastic primary school teachers ideas for using vase animations in the classroom. A session at the UCL-Roehampton Schools’ Classics Fair at the UCL Academy saw teenagers making some inspired and inspiring storyboards based on the Every Soldier has a Story vase. Sonya’s also been teaching with vase animations as part of a classical mythology module at the University of Roehampton. The Heracles animation in particular is a great discussion piece and complements a trip to the British Museum where lots of similar scenes can be seen.

In other news, the Hoplites! Greeks at War animation is coming along nicely and looking amazing. In the early stages, Steve worked hard creating extra hoplite soldiers from the hoplites on the vase. We needed more troops, but wanted them to look similar to the existing soldiers in order to keep the original artwork as the focus. On the other hand, we didn’t want them to look identical to the soldiers on the vase, because Greeks in the 6th and 5th centuries didn’t wear uniforms – they supplied their own kit according to what they wanted and what they could afford. The solution was to copy the warriors on the vase, and then to tweak items of their clothing and kit. So the equipment is all similar, but here and there there are differences in colour, design, and combinations. The original vase painter helped in this regard by making all three fighters slightly different – so there were lots of slightly different pieces of kit to go round.

At the time of writing this, the hoplites have left home, gone off to war, and encountered the enemy. The first blows of battle are just beginning to be struck…

The animation will be completed and on show from October 17th. You can see some work-in-progress stills below, and check back for more news. If you haven’t yet sent us a hoplite, a shield design, or a storyboard, download an activity sheet today and your artwork could be included in the Every Soldier has a Story exhibition.


  1. These are very nice, thank you. They do give me a sense of space, and I enjoy the formality of the animations - it feels clean and I enjoyed it. I'm very sorry, but the music is awful and reminds me of filmstrips about Greek theatre from 40-odd years ago. This is exactly not what one would expect from an earthy, colourful human society. Maybe something that sounds like actual acoustic instruments in some way?

    It's probably overly dramatic, but something like this might be a step in the right direction? ::

    1. Hi Greg, thanks for your feedback. Glad you like the animations. The music's not your cup of tea then. We didn't want anything too cheery for Hoplites! Greeks at War; war's a grim business and we wanted t get some of that idea across.
      In the past we've used music by ancient music re-creators such as Stefan Hagel, Lyravlos and Melpomen. You might enjoy the blog-post on that topic: