The Lays of Ancient Rome are five ballads written by the Englishman Thomas Babington Macaulay and published in 1842. These ballads (lays) celebrate events and heroes in ancient Roman history, and Horatius at the Bridge is the most famous of Macaulay’s ballads. Ballads are narratives that are composed and sung orally. In more primitive societies, before the development of writing, they were an essential means of remembering and celebrating the past.
There are, however, no existing ballads from the ancient Romans. Macaulay thought these ballads must have existed and probably served as a primary source for Roman historians, such as Livy. And so Macaulay wrote The Lays of Ancient Rome, ballads that celebrate famous events in Roman history, written in a style and meter that would be appropriate for the ancient Romans. The Lays carry messages about values, patriotism, courage, and sacrifice that Macaulay considered relevant to his own time. Horatius at the Bridge is the ballad that “might have been,” had it not been lost in time. Macaulay published his Lays in 1842, and considered them a trifle. His trifle was a publishing phenomenon and since its first release, has never been out of print.
This text includes the full ballad, Horatious at the Bridge, plus a complete student guide with exercises, maps, history, and test. Student exercises include:
- Definitions of words used in the poem
- Explanations of phrases
- Identification of persons in the context of the poem
- Location of place names through the use of maps
- Reading questions
- Summarizations of individual verses that have a common thread
- Research of poem references
"At Highlands Latin School, our sixth graders study Horatius at the Bridge in the winter term and are challenged to memorize the whole poem (70 stanzas). Students who accomplish this remarkable feat receive the coveted “Winston Churchill Award” at the Closing School Ceremony." - Cheryl Lowe, Founder, Highlands Latin School
And now your homeschooler can earn the same award! You can purchase the medal and pin in a set with the book or individually. Send us a recording of your students reciting the poem, and we'll send them a Winston Churchill Award certificate to present with the medal.