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University of Oxford First-Gen/Faculty of Classics Summer Essay Competition

***Summer Essay Competition***


The Faculty of Classics, Oxford has teamed up with Oxford First-Generation Students Society to run a Summer Classics Essay Competition for pupils who attend non-selective state schools. Full details can be found below!

Interested in History? We hope you will find the essay questions enjoyable as well as challenging, and that it will open up areas of interest you had not considered before. This essay competition will be appropriate if you are studying any kind of humanities subject, but particularly history. It could also be something that you talk about in your personal statement.

Essays will be judged by current Oxford Classics students.

First prize will be a £100 book voucher, second prize £50 voucher and third £25.

Email with any questions!

Please choose only one question to answer:

  • 1) “Would it be better to be a woman in Rome, or in Ancient Greece?”
  • 2) “What were ancient statues for?”
  • 3) “What is Vindolanda and why is it so important?”

Submission Information:

Starter Reading for each essay:




Essay Writing Guide

An essay is an act of written communication intended as a solution to an intellectual problem. Therefore, the most important element of any essay is critical analysis – a.k.a argument.

In an essay there will be three elements:

Narrative – where you describe facts.

Analysis – where you evaluate the importance of those facts.

Argument – where you make a case that your analysis provides the best solution to the problem in hand.

Narrative is important, but it is the easiest element to write and does not contribute much to solving the problem. Far more important is your analysis and argument. Narrative must be used, but only as a support for your argument. Therefore, do not just list facts or describe what other people have argued. Set out your own argument and use facts and reviews of the literature to defend your position.

If you want to have a go at referencing in your essay (not compulsory!), please feel free to consult this guide:

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