using the animations
Bad Karma and The Procession in situ with the vase they were made from in the University College Dublin Classical Museum
You can use these animations to spark all sorts of teaching and learning activities. They’re particularly good for sessions on classical civilisation, art, and creative writing. They can be used with learners of all ages and levels, from primary through to higher education as well as community, home-school, and lifelong learning. If you don’t have a group to teach, do the activities yourself or with your friends. This page contains ideas for how you can use the animations to liven up discussions about ancient Greece and as a springboard into creative activities.
teaching and learning resources on the Panoply Vase Animation Project website
Animations and blog.
Each animation comes with:
• Information on the vase and on the subject of the animation
• Links to related ancient literature, related images, and links to museum catalogues
• Suggestions for activities
• An example storyboard
• Guidance on further reading
The blog features discussions of vases and iconography, interviews with leading academics, and news on our latest activities.
by topic on the Panoply website
Athletics and Sports
Black figure vases
Red figure vases
teaching an Olympic topic?
Show The Cheat and use it to brighten up your discussion of foot races, horse racing, nudity, cheating and fair-play, and to illustrate how much the Greeks’ loved to have athletics scenes on their vases.
Use the animations to introduce characters or to add to discussions about characterisation. For example, in Clash of the Dicers, Ajax gets angry when he thinks Achilles isn’t playing fairly; use this as an accessible starting point for discussing Sophocles’ Ajax or The Iliad).
benefits of showing vase animations in a teaching context
• Accessible route into discussions
• Improved attention to and understanding of artefacts
• Animation linked to improved recall
• Informal activity linked with improved mood, related to increased learning
Here's a great video on this topic by RSA animate.
7 activities around animations
Storyboarding. Storyboarding is a great activity. Get your pupils to study the scenes on an ancient vase and to create a story based on that scene. They should use the storyboard to communicate what happens in each key moment of the story through images and a small amount of text. This will stimulate active viewing and communication. It makes a good group project too.
Steve talking to Gonzaga College pupils about storyboards
storyboarding based on vases
• Supports outcome-orientated artefact interpretation
• Encourages motivated, detailed focus
• Suited to holistic learners, supports holistic thinking
• Develops understanding of story development and characterisation
• Encourages creative engagement
character creation and development.
The figures on ancient vases are great for creative character creation. Get your learners to establish back stories and personal profiles for a figure in a vase scene. This can be a writing or a drawing exercise; it could even be done as a social media profile (on or off-line).
For learners who are further on, push them to explain their decisions using the vase as evidence.
The Every Soldier has a Story page features a fun hoplite-character creation activity-sheet.
writing (and performing) dialogue.
Get your learners to watch an animation carefully and then to interpret the scene and write dialogue for it.
This would work particularly well for
If it suits your class, ask them to perform the dialogue while the animation plays.
comparing. Many of the Panoply animations depict subjects (such as specific myths) that can be found in other artworks. Get your learners to identify and discuss the similarities and differences in different representations. The animations each come with a page of resources that will help with this activity.
shield design. The Every Soldier has a Story page features lots of examples of shield designs and a downloadable sheet with a blank shield to fill in.
This is a fun drawing and design activity.
film/animation studies. The Panoply animations can help learners to understand the difference between different types of camera angle. This is particularly effective where more than one animation has been made from the same vases, as in Combat and the Hoplites! trailer – both made from a Euboean lekanis vase, and The Cheat, Runners, and Hermes' Favour– all made from a cup fragment.
See if your learners can identify the different sorts of shot that have been used (such as extreme close-ups, wide-shots, etc), and ask them to discuss the different effect that these shots have on the viewer’s understanding of the scenes. This activity makes a good precursor to storyboarding. This terminology guide can help.
reviewing. Set your learners the challenge of looking through the animations and their resources and then writing or presenting a short account of which animation they think best represents the vase scene it is made from and why they think that. This activity is particularly good from KS4 up. With museum studies students, ask them to consider which animation they think would be most helpful to museum visitors.
publications and slides
We’ve published some of our
ideas about using the Panoply animations in teaching and museums:
Here you can view the PowerPoint slides from talks we’ve given about teaching with the Panoply animations.
They contain further tips and ideas.
Presentation at the
Presentation at the
on using animation in museums:
A. Smith and S. Nevin (2014) 'Using Animation for Successful Engagement, Promotion, and Learning’, in
Advancing Engagement: Handbook for Academic Museums, Volume 3,
S. Jandl and M. Gold (eds.)
MuseumsEtc Ltd: Edinburgh and Boston, 330-359.
Full book available at:
for ideas for teaching:
S. Nevin (2015) 'Animations of Ancient Vase Scenes in the Classics Classroom’,
Journal of Classics Teaching, 16, pp.32-37
Free access via this link:
S. Nevin 'Animating Ancient Vases’,
in Iris Online.
Free access via this link:
for a detailed discussion of content:
S. Nevin (2015) 'Animating Ancient Warfare: The Spectacle of War in the Panoply Vase Animations’,
in War as Spectacle. Ancient and Modern Perspectives on the Display of Armed Conflict,
A. Bakogianni and V. Hope (eds.) 2015
Bloomsbury Academic Publishing: London.
Available to order via:
These animations make a great springboard for museum visits.
Watch them together before you go, and your group will remember the liveliness of them when they look at the static scenes on real vases.
Do you buy, sell, or exhibit antiquities or reproductions?
Are you a classical organisation or museum?
Are you a publisher looking for digital content?
Contact us about commissioning a new animation or licensing an existing animation for your website, event or exhibition.
Young visitors enjoy Panoply vase animations at
Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Olympus exhibition