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).


Artistic Responses to Antiquity

(Image of a Bacchant courtesy of Zofia Guertin)

Artistic Responses to Antiquity

Saturday 3rd April 2021 (2-5pm)

The ancient world is a dazzling place full of different languages, cultures, faiths and population groups. It is something that is altogether familiar and yet incredibly detached from our daily existence in the twenty-first century. While some groups have historically claimed ownership of the classical past, the real beauty of Classics is that it is no one group’s sole inheritance. In being familiar-yet-different, the ancient world has provoked an array of literary and artistic responses. From the opulent imagery of Neoclassical artist Jacques-Louis David, or the Romanticism of Laurence Alma-Tadema – Greece, Rome and other ancient civilisations have informed and inspired artists for centuries.

In more recent times a new wave of artists is arising, individuals who respond to classical imagery in their own personal way and channel antiquity in new and exciting projects: Marian Maguire’s Goddesses (2019), for instance, reimagined female Greek deities through a feminist lens; Webtoon series Punderworld (Linda Šejić) and Lore Olympus (Rachel Smythe) have mainstreamed Greek myths into weekly webcomics; the University of Edinburgh’s Aeclanum project was recently the subject of an exhibition in Cambridge’s Museum of Classical Archaeology for its use of comic art to build a public engagement strategy created by artist and public archaeologist Zofia Guertin.

This seminar will give participants the opportunity to hear from a selection of artistic classicists, before being challenged to create their own classically-inspired work of art in only one hour’s time!

In this hour we guide attendees in creating their own classically-inspired masterpiece!

Session I:

This session will provide an overview of how classically-inspired artwork has developed over time, and how this fits into the wider theory of Classical Reception. The session will demonstrate how artwork has been an important aspect in the evolution of Classics, and how it continually evolves still. This section will be divided between two presentations, with plenty time for Q&A.

Session II:

This session moves participants on from the wider theory and history underpinning artistic responses to antiquity, and offers the chance to hear from three artists who create works inspired by the ancient world. Each artist will take time to explain their personal relationship with the ancient world, how this has impacted on their subsequent creations,

Session III:

In this session, we hand over to the participants. Within the hour, we guide attendees in creating their own classically-inspired masterpiece! Our artistic experts will be on-hand for the duration of the session to field questions and enquiries while we help each other create pieces that chart our own relationships with the ancient world. We will ask people to take pictures of their creations so that we can create a ‘virtual gallery’ on the Classical Association of Scotland website, and we will be sharing a hashtag so that our creations can be shared on social media, too!

Prior to the seminar, Zoom links and a package of images will be sent out to all registered participants. You do not need to purchase anything specific prior to the sessions, only have to hand anything that you will want to create your piece of art!

This session brings together an exciting group of classicists and artists:

Dr Briana King (University of St Andrews)

Zofia Guertin (PhD Candidate – University of St Andrews) @ZofiaAstrid

Dr Maria Haley (University of Leeds/University of Manchester) @marianuncsum

Flora Kirk (MA, University of Durham) @flaroh

As with all of our sessions, it is absolutely free to attend, but registration is required. To sign up or for more information, please contact Dr Alex Imrie ([email protected])