Classics Competition 2021

Every year, the Lytham St Annes CA holds a Classics Competition for students aged 11-18 to produce and deliver a presentation in 15 minutes or less in response to a particular question about the ancient world.

The 2021 Classics Competition, by virtue of being conducted entirely online, was open to students not only across the UK but internationally too! Our special thanks to teachers, parents and supporters who helped students get involved during Lockdown and well done to all the entrants who shared their answers to our 2021 question:

‘If you could travel back to one day in the ancient past, which would it be and why?’ 

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There were so many excellent choices of twenty-four hour periods in the ancient past: from the eve of the Sicilian Expedition to the Inaugural Games at the Colosseum, from the trials of Agnodice, Socrates and the Tyranncides to the Battles of ChiBi, Teutoberg Forest and Thermopylae. There were time-travelling trips to warn the inhabitants of Pompeii and Herculaneum before the eruption of Vesuvius, or Caesar before his assassination, to save books from the Library at Alexandria, to attend symposia, games, triumphs and uprisings, to witness the birth of Jesus Christ or the epiphany of the Emperor Wu. We encountered Hypatia, Themistocles, Hadrian, Tiberius Gracchus, Boudica, Aristophanes and so many more fascinating characters. From all of these fantastic entries, four finalists were chosen – no mean feat for the judging committee!

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THE FINALISTS

Ethan Gallant

Ethan took us to the eve of the Battle of Gaugamela and so evocatively captured the emotions and tactics of Alexander and his men before this decisive moment in Greek history with his excellent research and brilliant hand-drawn illustrations.

Martha Gayer

Martha chose to travel back to 431 BC to attend the City Dionysia when Euripides’ Medea was first performed. She shared her obvious passion for drama (both ancient and modern) and speculated about the audience’s reaction to the plays that were showcased that year, many of which haven’t survive beyond antiquity.

Isabel Hillsdon

Isabel had a very specific day in mind – the pomp and ceremony of 15th August 29BC – the third day of the triple triumph that Octavian (later Augustus) celebrated along the streets of Rome. Isabel eloquently discussed the commemoration of military victories, imperial propaganda and explored what this public event revealed about Octavian.

Caroline Johnson

Caroline also chose to go to 431BC but for a very different reason: to listen to the Funeral Oration of Pericles. Drawing comparisons between influential speeches across millennia, she cleverly analysed the power of Pericles’ words, the political context in which they were spoken in fifth century Athens, and their enduring appeal.

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Our Judge, LSA CA President Professor Michael Scott, was so impressed by all four finalists’ incredible research and confident, engaging presentations and had the unenviable task of selecting his winner. He chose Martha as the overall Classics Champion, and Caroline as the Runner Up. Ethan was crowned the People’s Choice Award winner. Huge thanks to everyone who joined the Zoom webinar live to watch and support the Finalists and vote in the People’s Choice. It was a great evening and we look forward to being able to meet future competitors in person!

Here are some of the comments from the audience:

  • ‘I thought all 4 speakers were excellent – they all deserve the highest praise’
  • ‘I can well understand now why this is a highlight of the year – fantastic presentations: as well researched and delivered as our ‘professional’ lecturers’
  • ‘It was such a high standard of presentation and knowledge’
  • ‘Last night was most enjoyable and wonderful, such a talented group of people’  

INTERNATIONAL AWARD WINNER

Congratulations to the winner of our 2021 International Award: Jakhua Mariami Venera of The European School, Georgia for her passionate presentation about the Eleusinian Mysteries. We wish, like her, that we could witness the ritual practices of the aptly named Mysteries – but maybe we would be sworn to secrecy for eternity!

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Congratulations to all the recipients of Certifications of Commendations. The following entrants were Highly Commended:

Elysia Bidgood

Faith Dodd

Samantha Hands

June Hyun

Alexander Kang

Amber Roy-Stanley

John Stokes

Philippa Walker

If you’d like to tell us which day you’d like to travel back to, or answer any of our previous questions, do get in touch at lsaclassics@gmail.com or find us on socials @lsaclassics