Classics event brings archaeology and chariot racing back to Brock

You need not be concerned if you see gladiators and chariots in the Thistle hallways this week.

Nearly 300 high school students are at Brock University for the annual Ontario Student Classics Conference, which runs until Saturday and wraps up with a chariot race.

“We’re honoured to be hosting the conference again at Brock,” says department chair Professor Angus Smith. “It’s a great chance for the high school students to celebrate their interests in Classics and the ancient world.”

The conference nurtures a deeper understanding of the classical world by bringing together students and teachers from across the province in social events and competitions.

Students at the Ontario Students Classics Conference take part in a simulated archaeological dig behind DeCew residence.

The OSCC is also an important recruiting opportunity for the Department of Classics.

“It’s a great chance for us to show these students what a great place Brock would be to come pursue these interests,” Smith says.

The conference aims to support mens sana in corpore sano — a healthy mind in a healthy body — through friendly competitions.

Students compete across three categories: academic, athletic and creative. The academic competition includes contests in written Greek and Latin, vocabulary and derivatives, sight translations, mythology, Greek and Roman history and geography.

Athletic competitions reflect the sports practised by the ancient Greeks and Romans including discus (frisbee), slinging, mini marathons, foot races and swimming.

The highlight of the annual conference is the chariot race, scheduled for Saturday at 2:30 p.m., when each school races a chariot they’ve made around the Brock traffic circle.

Creative competitions encompass visual arts, drama and fashion, with students displaying artwork, audiovisual projects and computer work and performing skits for their peers. Participating schools also create visual displays in Thistle hallways.

Students also apply what they’ve learned about archaeology, working in teams to complete a simulated archaeological dig behind DeCew residence.

The conference wraps up Saturday night with a traditional pompa (parade) and award ceremony.

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