St Mary’s Comes First in Classics Competition at Godolphin

Latin took us to distant places both disorientating and alien on Tuesday; not just because we went to Godolphin School in Salisbury, but also because we were taken to mythological lands hearing descriptions of mystical music, unrequited love, and even an ancient ‘Come Dine with Me’ episode of a dinner party held thousands of years ago. That’s right, it was the Salisbury Classical Association’s Fifty-Fifth Annual Reading Competition, and St Mary’s scooped every 1st place prize available to them.

LIII broke the ice describing (from Emily Wilson’s brilliant new and first female translation of Homer) the harrowing first note from Odysseus’ bow before he slaughters all his wife’s suitors. Having (literally and metaphorically) set the stage, UIII went up next to perform a hilarious short play involving a debtor, a corrupt witness, and a very patient judge. Our two multi-talented groups won the heartiest laughs, slaughtering the competitors by winning 1st and 3rd place. (Was the judge too egalitarian to give St Mary’s 1st and 2nd? You decide.)

Next up was UIV, reciting Ovid’s account of the ill-fated Echo and Narcissus. Scarlett scooped 1st place and Sofia received specific (and long winded) mention from the judge for her perfect accuracy. (Both will have their mental health checked regularly by their Latin teachers in the up coming weeks to make sure they can break character after such brilliant readings.)

Finally, Pia and Georgiana of LVI gave us a glimpse of the delicious irony and wit behind the clouded opacity that covers difficult Latin prose with fabulous readings of Pliny’s pompous and hypocritical critique of hosts that serve up cheap wine to their guests; thus balancing the strangeness of spoken Latin with the familiarity of every day experience! They very sweetly, but assuredly, took 1st and 2nd place respectively.

Tearing out of Godolphin’s drive with all our ridiculous number of winnings, Magic FM fortuitously broadcast Aretha Franklin’s ‘Sisters are Doing it for Themselves’ – blaring triumphantly from the ever loyal serviant minibus’ speakers as we cruised back up the A30.

Mr Forrester, Classics and RE