Gilbert Murray Prize 2021-22

The Classical Association of Scotland is pleased to announce the latest running of its annual competition for pupils in schools across Scotland: the Gilbert Murray Prize!

In this annual competition for Scottish schools the Classical Association offers prizes for the best work submitted during session 2021/22. Entries may be submitted either through your school, if there is a participating department, or on an individual basis.

Prizes will be awarded in four sections:

  1. a) for pupils in P6 & P7
  2. b) for pupils in S1 & S2
  3. c) for pupils in S3 & S4
  4. d) for pupils in S5 & S6

There will be a prize of £50 for the most outstanding entry overall.

Conditions of Entry

  • The entrant’s own name along with the name of the school should be written on each entrant’s work.
  • Entries that are submitted through schools should be accompanied by a letter from the teacher listing the name and year group of all the pupils concerned and confirming that the work has been done independently.
  • Entries submitted on an individual basis should be accompanied by a signed declaration that the work has been done independently and contact details (postal and email addresses).


For P6 – P7   Not more than 600 words

For S1 – S2     Not more than 800 words

For S3 – S4        800 – 1000 words

For S5 – S6        1000 – 1300 words   (Note dissertation (Option 3) revised wording too)

Please note that completed work should be sent to Dr Jane Draycott, Classics, School of Humanities, 65 Oakfield Avenue, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8LP OR emailed to [email protected] to arrive no later than Friday 29th April, 2022. 

Entries will be assessed by members of the Committee. One or more prizes and certificates will be awarded in each section, depending on the quality of the entries. The decision of the judges will be final.

The results will be posted on the Classical Association of Scotland website.

It would be helpful if staff from participating departments would include their e-mail address at school in the letter which accompanies the entries.

Essay Subjects 2021/22 

(Only one essay subject should be entered by each pupil.)

Section a) P6-P7

  1. The Romans decorated their houses with paintings of mythological themes. Design a myth scene that you would like on your wall.
  2. You are in a spot of bother and decide to write to an ancient god for help. What would you say in your letter? (Remember you have to use persuasive words to win the god round. Make sure you explain your difficulty and why you have turned particularly to that god.)

Section b) S1–S2

  1. Draw a cartoon-strip which retells the story of Pandora and her box/jar.
  2. You have won the prize of a trip to ancient Rome. Write home about the good (or bad) things you experience in the ancient city.
  3. Which of the twelve labours of Hercules do you like best? Retell the story in your own words and say why you like it best.

Section c) S3-S4

  1. Design your own picture for a Greek vase. (Your teacher may direct you to examples of ancient Greek vases and provide templates for typical shapes of vase.)
  2. Write a time-travel story where you end up in the middle of the Calydonian Boar Hunt. Make sure you include the main characters and events, but try to be creative about how you put the story together. (The link below will give you the basic details of the story.)

  1. Choose a story, poem or extract from a classical work you have read. Say why you think it still has appeal (or not) to a reader today.

Section d) S5-S6

  1. Choose a character, literary or historical, who often had a ‘bad press’ in ancient times (e.g. Medea, Helen, Verres, Nero). Assess whether you think the ‘bad press’ is justified or not.
  2. Write your own version of the Judgement of Paris story. You may update it and may use any creative form you think appropriate.
  3. Send in a chapter of your dissertation (maximum 1000 words) and explain why you have found it an interesting topic to research (maximum 300 words).