Artist Brief: Demolition Work

Basic Description of Scene: The scene would depict Roman soldiers using pickaxes to demolish the fortifications at Orraon, a town in ancient Epirus (northwest Greece).

Scene breakdown:

The Roman soldiers should be in Mid-Republican equipment (example 1, example 2).

  • A few of them can be wearing armor, but most would have taken off their helmets and/or cuirasses as they performed the demolition work, like the soldiers in these examples: example 3, example 4
  • Most of the Roman soldiers should be wielding Roman pickaxes, called dolabrae, but some might have large hammers, or shovels or iron bars (to use as levers).
  • A Roman officer should be standing nearby to direct the demolition work; he should be dressed like the Roman officer on the left or right in this picture: example 9

To demolish the walls, some Romans should be standing atop the fortifications, swinging pickaxes to break up and loosen the stonework. Others can be pushing loose stones off the top of the wall or working at the base of the wall to clear rubble. Here are examples of similar demolition work with pickaxes, in other historical periods, to give you a sense of what the action looks like:

The fortifications being demolished by the Romans should look similar to the illustration on this book cover.

We are trying to reconstruct an ancient practice that we know very little about based largely on guesswork and analogy–so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!