The Essay Contest gives entrants a chance to write an extemporaneous essay about the classical world.  At the start of the contest participants are given a handout with source materials, usually consisting of translated passages from Latin authors and/or images of classical importance regarding a major aspect of Roman civilization.  Each student will then write an expository essay in response to one or more question prompts based on the source materials.  The handout is to be distributed only during the Essay contest; no outside preparation is required for this event.  Contestants may not consult other materials in either written or electronic form.  Students must compete on their current grade level.

For the 2021 online convention, essay writers will come to a Zoom meeting Saturday morning of the convention.  They will provide the contest chair with their email addresses and the contest chair will send them the essay prompt and passages.  Contestants will have 1 hour and 10 minutes (the extra 10 minutes is to allow time for uploading essays or technology glitches).

Essays are to be handwritten.  Please print or write neatly.  Your hands and paper should be visible on your camera so the contest chair can monitor the contest.

When you are finished writing your essay, upload photos (medium or large size) of each page to the contest chair.  Please wait while the chair verifies that your pictures are focused and readable and that no part of your essay is missing.  You will then be dismissed.


Essay Contest awards will all be given in the following divisions (subject to change):

Grades 5-7

Grades 8-10

Grades 11-12


Essays will be judged on the following criteria:

15 points for Adherence to the guidelines above, e.g. reference to visual or passage, relevance to prompt, expository essay.  The essay may be informative or persuasive in nature.

15 points for Unity, coherence and theme development, e.g. introduction, definite and clear development, conclusion.

15 points for Content, e.g. appropriateness, sufficient development of thesis.

10 points for Originality/creativity.

10 points of Historical allusion and accuracy.

10 points for Mechanics, e.g. grammar, spelling, sentence structure.

10 points for Word choice and vocabulary.

10 points for Style and clarity.

05 points for Neatness.

100 Total Points

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