We were delighted to welcome Dr Sonya Nevin from the University of Cambridge into school to judge our ‘Year 9 Classics Parrhesia’ competition.

Dr Nevin is an ancient historian, museum specialist, and co-founder of The Panoply Vase Animation Project, which makes educational animations from real ancient artefacts.

The competition was the second of its kind organised by our Classics Department. There were three categories for students to participate in: performing a speech in Latin, performing an English translation of a speech, or producing a creative response to a speech. The theme this year was ‘The Fall of Troy’.

Both speeches in Latin were taken from Book 2 of Virgil’s epic poem, The Aeneid, which was written in the first century BC. The first extract told of the gruesome demise of the Trojan priest Laocoön, after he tried to warn the Trojans not to trust the ‘gift’ of the Trojan horse. Unfortunately, the gods ensured that he was taken out of the picture by sending a hideous sea snake to devour him and his sons (Troy was, of course, fated to fall to the Greeks). The other extract told of the grisly and pathetic murder of King Priam of Troy at the hands of Neoptolemus (the son of Achilles), describing how the old and weary king was violently dragged through the blood of his own son and then stabbed by Achilles’ son. Well done to Rupert Clode and Phoebe Attwater, who bravely performed the speeches in the original Latin – not an easy feat.

In the English translation category, both Lucy Jameson and Hugh Torlesse performed their speeches with passion and drama. Some of the creative responses included a dramatic and powerful rewriting of the fall of Troy by Harriet Rowley-Spendlove, a sculpture of the serpent attacking Laocoön by Tristan Edwards, an animation of the fall of Troy by Evie Staples, and another animation from Adam Williams, from the comedic perspective of the Greek soldiers who were patiently waiting inside the horse.

After much deliberation, Dr Nevin announced the following:

Latin category:
Winner – Rupert Clode
Highly Commended – Phoebe Attwater

English category:
Winner – Hugh Torlesse
Highly Commended – Lucy Jameson

Creative response:
Winner – Tristan Edwards
Highly Commended – Evie Staples

Congratulations to all Year 9 pupils who entered the parrhesia, thank you to Dr Nevin for finding time in her busy diary to be our judge, and bravo to Dr Daisy Knox, Teacher of Classics, for organising the event!

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