Carrick a Rede rope bridge Steve

Subject spotlight: Bringing history to life — even on the open seas

A fleet of Carthaginian ships, sailing to relieve a Roman blockade of the western coast of Sicily, halts near the Holy Island — the westernmost of the Aegadian Islands, now known as Marettimo.

Meanwhile, a fleet of Roman ships, spying Carthage’s movements, abandon their posts in the harbors of Drepana and Lilybaeum and anchor off the island of Aegusa — modern-day Favignana. 

At daybreak, the Carthaginian navy sets sail for Sicily, only to be surprised and intercepted by a fleet of mast-less Roman ships. The leaner, more mobile Roman fleet rams the enemy ships, delivering a decisive defeat to the once superior Carthaginian navy.

The Battle of the Aegates in 241 B.C. was a major victory for the Roman Republic and effectively ended the First Punic War — more than 2,200 years ago.

It’s the sort of battle relegated to the history books, studied by naval historians and examined by professors and students for two millennia.

For a group of Hart Travel Partners students, though, it was a battle to be experienced — on the open seas.

In planning a recent HTP program, two history professors suggested the possibility of re-creating the battle and the two fleets’ maneuvers, so students could visualize what actually occurred thousands of years ago.

So, Hart Travel Partners re-created the Battle of the Aegates for their group.

We arranged for a pair of boats to stand in for the Roman and Carthaginian navies and to trace their paths during the battle — all off the coast of Sicily, near modern-day Trapani.

The students were split between the two boats and experienced the maneuvers of the triumphant Romans and defeated Carthaginians — all while receiving on-site, on-boat instruction about the battle.

Students didn’t have to just read about it, or imagine it; they actually experienced it.

This is what we mean when we say that Hart Travel Partners brings history to life.

Traveling inherently brings lessons of history, especially on HTP faculty-led travel programs. No matter your destination, no matter your academic objectives, our program directors and local guides provide invaluable historical context to any program, any curriculum.

Plus, as we did in re-creating the Battle of the Aegates, we can create unique experiences for your students to bring your history — or other — lessons to life.

In other recent programs, HTP groups have enjoyed:

  • Meeting with the director of the dig at the archaeological site of Nemea in Greece.

  • Taking gladiator classes at Castrum Legionis in Rome to experience life as a gladiator in the Colosseum (photo above).

  • Walking Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, remembering and paying tribute to the heroics of D-Day 75 years ago. 

  • Engaging lectures outdoors at the Greek Theater of Segesta in Sicily, which dates to the second or third centuries B.C. (photo at top).

Plus, some of our recent programs have focused on history in particular destinations. Some of our most successful history-focused itineraries include:

  • “The Western Front 100 Years Later: Exploring the Landscape of World War I” — including visits to the Imperial War Museum in London, the underground tunnels of Wellington Quarry in Arras, the Vimy Ridge Memorial, Douamont Ossuary and Fort Douamont, and even Versailles outside of Paris.

  • “Post Soviet Democratization in Eastern Europe” — with in-depth explorations of Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Krakow, Poland.

  • “Historic Spain” — with a focus on the Moors, Jews and Christians in medieval Spain during stops in Toledo, Granada, Gibraltar, Seville and Madrid.

Every one of HTP’s programs is uniquely tailored to each group’s academic needs, so we can build a trip around any historical curriculum, whether it’s a major recent event or an obscure military victory from centuries ago.

Walking in the footsteps of history’s most important figures and events — or even tracing the path of ships during the reign of the Roman Republic — is an invaluable experience that connects students to your lessons in unimaginable ways.

Start planning your next historical experience by calling or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view’s that easy.


Steve Hart
Hart Travel Partners