Peter Connolly – a personal recollection of a wonderful man


We just received the very sad news that Peter Connolly passed away at the beginning of May. His illustrations of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome are the most popular ones we have in the archive, selling many times over every year in school books, magazines or television programmes. He was renowned all over the world as an excellent historian who could make ancient history come alive in his exquisite drawings.

Personally, I liked Peter very much and found him to be excellent company on the many occasions we met up after we started representing his work. He came to us on recommendation of one of his publishers in the UK and I can certainly say for us at akg-images: we never looked back! Peter’s work needed no introduction or long advertising campaigns, his wonderful illustrations sold from day one and continue to do so.

I went to visit him at his home in Peterborough once which I will never forget. I had a great time trying on his faithful reproductions of ancient helmets, be they Roman gladiator ones or an ancient Greek’s helmet for battle. The arm covering was especially heavy and it gave me a clear idea as to how hard any movement must have been for the ancient Greeks or Romans wearing these.

Peter also told me that he had created a stir in the ancient history community by suggesting that the Romans must have had a form of wooden saddle for their horses, overthrowing more accepted scenarios, as some of the weapons used needed the rider to “sit up” on horseback, impossible with just leather or cloth. This was the kind of history Peter Connolly was so extremely adept at bringing close – a practical look at the ancients which make his books so invaluable and fascinating at any age!