The St John’s College Classics and Ancient History Essay Competition will be running for the thirteenth time during the academic year 2022-23.
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This competition is open to all students currently studying at a UK School or College in Year 12 (Lower Sixth) or equivalent, whether or not they are currently studying a Classical or Ancient subject. Each student may submit one essay (only) of up to 2,000 words on any of the following four questions:

  1. Discuss the role of bad memories in ancient literature.
  2. ‘So that human achievements may not become forgotten in time’ (Herodotus). Was Greek and/or Roman historical memory primarily about nostalgia for past achievements?
  3. Did art and archaeology in the ancient world ever try to manipulate its viewers’ memories of historical events?
  4. Sometimes we have false memories. So can we ever trust what we remember?

The competition gives students of any subjects an opportunity to write an essay on the classical world. The organisers are interested in providing an occasion for independent research, to encourage curiosity and reflection in those who have studied the ancient world before and those who have not.

Essays must be submitted by Thursday 2nd March 2023 and entrants will also be invited to attend a Study Afternoon at St John’s College, Oxford on the 19th April 2023. There are no special academic requirements and no limit on the number of students from each school able to take part in the competition; we encourage anyone interested in Classics or Ancient History to send in their essay submissions.

Click here for the full guidelines and submission instructions!

Information on the Classics and Ancient History Essay Competition 2021-22, including the marker’s report, can be found here: