The Greek battlefield came alive Nov. 2 in the Student Union Building Down Under, which was bustling with people gathered to listen to Gamal Castile give a presentation Truman State had never seen in this capacity before.
The audience featured students, professors and community members alike and the presentation was full of information about ancient Greek warfare. It didn’t take long to see why this event could appeal to so many people, even those outside of Classics.
The event featured Castile and his collection of weapons and armor that would have been used during the Classical Period of warfare from 510-323 B.C.
“I started collecting and being interested in Greek warfare as a child,” Castile says.
Castile displayed many items throughout the night including a javelin, several hoplons — also known as shields — and a full array of armor and weaponry.
Castile called on several volunteers to try on and show off the armor and used their questions to fuel the discussion.
“The questions kind of help to guide me and where we go, because we could actually sit here until morning and discuss all of the things about Greek history,” Castile says. “So [the students’] questions will be essential to help me ride this river of history as we go, because there are so many facets of Greek history and equipment that you could talk about it for hours.”
By adapting each of his talks to suit his audience, Castile says he aims to answer the questions each crowd has to leave his audience feeling more knowledgeable about the history he has devoted so much of his life to.
How the Greek Tactics presentation came to Truman
A police officer by day, Castile was asked to come to campus by classics professor Amy Norgard after she saw him give a talk hosted by the National Junior Classical League, where she also spoke.
Norgard says she thinks this is the sort of event that can catch the attention of many students across campus.
“There is just a general appeal, I think,” Norgard says. “This guy, you know, is tuned in to something that young people are really into, and that’s weapons. And, also just this idea of creating your own tangible piece of equipment that is very hands on and artsy and is kind of a throwback to some older ways of doing things.”
One student in the crowd, freshman Elizabeth Steller, attended the event after learning about it in her Latin class. Steller says she loves learning about Greece and she thought it would be an opportunity to broaden her knowledge.
Steller also highlighted the overall positive effect an event like this will have in Truman’s community.
“I think an event like this is beneficial to the Truman community because it brings them closer,” Steller says. “It is an opportunity for students from different backgrounds and majors to come together and broaden their horizons on a topic such as this.”