We are delighted to reveal the results of the Grand Final of the LSA CA 2022 Classics Competition, which was generously sponsored and supported by the Classical Association.
On Saturday 26 March, four students travelled to the sunny Costa del Fylde to deliver their presentations in answer to the question, ‘Who is your unsung hero from the ancient world?’. They offered Guest Judge Dr Stephe Harrop four brilliantly knowledgeable, impassioned and eloquent speeches – it was certainly a really tough decision for her to make when awarding the prizes!
First up was 2021 finalist Caroline Johnson, who had chosen the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Democritus as her unsung hero. Always a delightfully engaging speaker, Caroline gave us a very compelling explanation of Democritus’ ground-breaking atomic theory and how his views on matter, being and non-being, and voids were received both by his contemporaries and by later thinkers including Aristotle. Expertly guiding us on a 2000 year journey through scientific development, Caroline showed how influential Democritus’ theories have been, even if they are not widely known or credited, and just how far ahead of his time his work was.
Next up, Londoner Ffion Shute took us back to the Roman forum in the first century BCE to listen to her unsung hero Hortensia rage against double standards when persuasively addressing the triumvirs who levied a property tax against 1400 wealthy Roman women as part of their proscriptions. Commanding the centre of the stage like her hero, Ffion vividly transported us to this dramatic moment in history, recorded by Appian, who is largely responsible for our understanding of Hortensia. Ffion cleverly concluded her case with some modern exempla of how female orators are often criticised or lampooned as ‘androgynous’ and how the power of speech is ever so important considering contemporary crises.
The third speaker – and winner of the Lancashire Award – Sophia Fenton gave a rousing and gripping advocation for her unsung hero, Queen of Halicarnassus, Artemisia I. A skilled strategist and commander who persuaded King Xerxes to retreat after defeat at the Battle of Salamis and thereby saved the lives of many Greeks and Persians alike, Artemisia played a pivotal role in the Persian Wars. In a really wide-ranging talk, discussing characters from Mardonius to Sappho and incorporating lots of archaeological sources, Sophia built upon Herodotus’ account of Artemisia’s involvement in sea-battle and showed us a greater depth to her character. She spoke passionately about gendered politics and history and left us wanting to hear more!
And finally Emma Lester, who had travelled all the way from Kent, rounded out the Final in style, treating us to an exposé of a female queen from the ancient world whom many of us certainly hadn’t heard of before – Cartimandua, leader of the Brigantes tribe. Compared to her more famous compatriot, Boudica, little is known about Cartimandua and Tacitus is our only source but Emma still had lots to educate us about and she thoroughly analysed the bias of Tacitus’ presentation of her (especially compared to his characterisation of Venutius), giving a more revisionist account. Such was her enthusiasm to uncover more about Cartimandua that Emma was voted as the winner of the People’s Choice Award.
After a pause to allow for the judge to make her comments, Dr Harrop announced that she too had selected Emma as the Winner – with Ffion in second place!
Huge congratulations to these four incredible young women for their mature, composed performances, exceptional research skills and their passion for bringing characters from the ancient world to life – Caroline, Ffion, Sophia and Emma are definitely ones to watch for the future!
Many thanks to Dr Stephe Harrop, our Guest Judge, for awarding the prizes and delivering her sage feedback to the Finalists: we were delighted to have such a brilliant storyteller in our midst sharing her expertise with our speakers.
The standard of video entries was incredibly high and we congratulate all those who took part in the Competition.
We are delighted to award Certificates of Commendation as follows:
Ben Luca Atassi Quinton (Tiffin School) – Cyrus the Great
Giselle Chkheidze Brett (St Paul’s Girls’ School) – Agnodice
Mia Maron (Bolton School Senior Girls’ Division) – Medusa
Rosie Corderoy Conway (Varndean College, Brighton) – Sappho
Ashleigh Hamilton (Blackpool Sixth Form College) – Aspasia
John Stokes (Wallington County Grammar School) – Utnapishtim
Mary Wilson (Shrewsbury Colleges Group) – Aspasia
Muhammad Abdur-Rahman Toheed (Sussex House Preparatory School) – Diophantus
Rebekah Wellcome (Townley Grammar School) – Patroclus
2022 International Award
Overall Winner: Ekaterina Gorgadze (The European School, Tblisi, Georgia) – Neoptolemus
Runner Up: Valeria Alvarez Castejon (Runnymede College, Madrid, Spain) – Jocasta
Commended: Chiara Scoppettuolo (S Orsola, Italy) – The Average Man – and Mwayi Ngwira and Nicole M’manga (Kamuzu Academy, Malawi) – Agnodice