Classics Reading Competition

The Classics Reading Competition has run for over 70 years at the University of Leeds, and is a celebration of Classics, Reading and Performance. It’s a great opportunity to introduce Classics to school students already familiar with English, History and Drama, highlighting the links to their current subjects and developing their oracy/public speaking skills in an exciting way. For students already studying Latin and Ancient Greek, it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase their reading skills to our judges!

Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 students are invited to choose one (or two) of the categories, watch the corresponding ‘category briefing video’ and film a 2-3 minute video of themselves in response. Teachers are asked to collate the films for their school and send them to be judged by our competition final submission date (1st April 2022). A panel of University of Leeds academic judges will make their decisions and announce our winners!

Competition timeline

Classics Competition opens!  February 2022 
Students and teachers prepare for and film entries  February – March 2022 
Competition final submission date  Friday 1st April 2022 
Winners announcement  w/c 2nd May 2022 

We're asking teachers to collate their students' video responses to our category briefs, and send them to be judged by our expert panel. We'll then send you a video announcing the winners and send out our prizes! You can fill in the short form linked below for access to our Classics Reading Competition Entry Booklet, as well as our Category Briefing videos, to support you in putting together your entries!

Fill in our short form for access to our Entry Booklet and Category Briefing Videos!
Access our competition resources

This year's categories

KS3 Cross-curricular Category - Hercules’ Labours Rhapsode Battle

A rhapsode would sing the stories of gods, heroes and monsters to his audience. Your task is to write the story of one of Hercules’ labours (in English of course, no Greek needed!) and make a film of yourself presenting it aloud.

KS4 Cross-curricular Category - Ancient Icons

Your task is to choose a key figure from the ancient world and argue why they are for you the #1 ancient icon. You can select a figure from myth or history but be prepared to showcase your research on their life and achievements. What makes that person special? What is their legacy? What sources will you use to show how important they are? This could be coins, statues, literature, artwork or their representation in modern films and TV shows.

KS5 Cross-curricular Category - Drama/ Greek Tragedy

Your task is to prepare one of the two chosen passages (excerpted from English translations of Greek tragedies), and film yourself performing a dramatic, expressive reading. Props, garments, gestures and movement are encouraged! Feel free to experiment and be creative with the way you perform the text.

Beginners Latin – Cicero, On Friendship

Your task is to make a 2 or 3-minute film of yourself reading aloud the Latin text adapted from Cicero’s book On Friendship. How can you convey the meaning of the words and show your understanding of the Latin?

Intermediate Latin – Livy, Romulus and Remus

Your task is to make a 2 or 3-minute ifilm of yourself reading aloud Livy’s account of Romulus and Remus. How well can you show your understanding the Latin, and convey Livy’s unusual story? 

Advanced Latin – Cicero, Against Catiline

Your task is to make a 3-minute film of yourself reading aloud the Latin speech where Cicero accuses Catiline of conspiracy against the Roman state. How can you express the tense nature of the situation and make your entry as powerful as Cicero’s? 

Beginners Ancient Greek – The Battle of Thermopylae

Your task is to make a 2 or 3-minute film of yourself reading aloud the ancient Greek passage adapted from Herodotus, where the historian relates the events of this famous Greek battle. How well can you show your understanding of the Greek and convey Herodotus’ admiration for the heroic action of the Spartan soldiers?

Intermediate Ancient Greek – Aeschylus, Agamemnon

Your task is to make a 2 or 3-minute film of yourself reading aloud the herald’s speech from Aeschylus’ Greek tragedy, the Agamemnon. In this passage King Agamemnon’s herald expresses his joy and relief on returning safely home to his native land. How well can you show your understanding of the Greek and express the emotion of this scene?

Advanced Ancient Greek – Euripides, Medea

Your task is to make a 3-minute film of yourself reading aloud Medea’s first speech to the chorus in Euripides’ Greek tragedy, Medea. In this scene Medea, a former princess and now an exile, betrayed by her husband, presents her suffering to the women of Corinth. How well can you show your understanding of the Greek and convey the strength and feeling of Medea’s words? 

Entries (and winners!) from the Classics Reading Competition Online 2021!

Watch Olivia, our KS3 Drama Category Winner perform their piece about Hercules’ Second Labour: The Lernaean Hydra:


And here’s Zelong, and their entry for the KS3 Latin Category where they read The Midas Touch from Ovid’s Metamorphosis – winning 2nd place!

Read all about our Classics Reading Competition in 2021 to find out more about what to expect!