Midshipmen enrolled in the course Fall of the Roman Republic took to their kayaks during Operation Sacred Chicken, in a game similar to capture the flag, on the Severn River and at Hospital Point, Oct. 26.
The game was a simulation of the Battle of Drepana, which took place during the Punic War in 249 BC and resulted in Rome’s defeat by the Carthaginians.
“We can examine historical battles and learn lessons that can be applied to modern day tactical situations,” said Dr. Kelcy Sagstetter, an assistant professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy. “Like in ancient Rome, midshipmen ran campaigns and made speeches about their leadership abilities before the battle and were elected as fleet admirals. It gave them real-world leadership experience.”
The idea for the game was born after Sagstetter and Claude Berube, director of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, discussed a video of school-age children learning Roman maneuvers.
“We started kicking around the idea that if you can teach younger students these fundamentals, why not apply that to midshipmen?” Berube said. “We had planning session, and Professor Sagstetter was able to convey the history of the real battle to the midshipmen.”