Harold J. Ralston Classics Writing Contest

About Harold Ralston / Contest Guidelines / Previous Winners


This annual writing contest is open to any student enrolled full or part time at Monmouth College during the current academic year. An award of $350.00 will be given at Honors Convocation to the author of the best entry written in English on a Classical theme. The entry may be an essay, short story, play, poem, or any other form of original writing.

Harold Ralston, professor of Classics and Psychology and chair of the Classics Department at Monmouth College from 1947 until 1970, illustrates through his career the diverse roles that Classics play in the modern world.

Submissions must have some significant focus on the civilizations of ancient Greece or Rome, but there is considerable flexibility within those parameters. Possiblities include scholarly or creative work on an archaeological, historical, philosophical or mythological theme.  Additional possiblities include, but are not limited to, a commentary upon the Classical influence on law, government, sports, or a phase of literature or art.

Some possible subjects include:
Ancient and modern athletics
Greek drama's contribution to modern drama
Classical mythology in opera, business or the works of a modern author
Latin and Greek elements in modern languages (including English)
Women in ancient Greece or Rome or in Classical mythology
For a list of previous winners and topics, click here.

Course work may be submitted. All sources used in the preparation of the paper must be acknowledged in a bibliography at the end of the paper. A student may submit more than one entry.

The following things will be taken into consideration in the judging: 1) quality of Classical content; 2) clarity and the correctness of English; 3) logical thought development and accuracy of statements; 4) originality; and 5) general effectiveness of presentation.

Entry length depends to a certain extent on the writing form, but a typical formal academic paper would be between 1000 and 3000 words.  The name of the author must appear nowhere on the manuscript, but must be attached on a 3"x 5" index card. All entries must be typed, double-spaced, on 8-1/2 by 11-inch paper (computer-generated texts are welcome) and must be received by the Department of Classics by March 15th every year.

If you have any questions, you may contact Dr. Robert Simmons at rsimmons@monmouthcollege.edu or Dr. Thomas Sienkewicz at tjsienkewicz@monmouthcollege.edu.

This guidelines for the Ralston Classics Writing Contest were prepared by Professor Thomas J. Sienkewicz.

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