Divine Impossibilities: The 6th Antigone Competition

The Gods as the world has never seen them

Well, September now swings around a second time for Antigone, which means it must be competition time!

Over our past five contests, we’ve covered Latin verse-writing, art, music, the parody of ancient authors, and even the challenge of tying them up in bureaucratic red tape. And in every case we have been amazed at the quality and inventiveness of the entries. So, to keep your options as broad as possible, our sixth Antigone competition is open to all fields: written word, art, film, animation, audio, music, textiles, or whatever else your genius can muster! After extensive investment by the Antigone team in cutting-edge meritometric technology, we believe we now have in our midst, powered-up and ready-to-rank, a supercomputer that is sufficiently clever to weigh all entries squarely and fairly against one another, irrespective of the medium or form in which they come.[1] After all, as the manual boasts (§514.2d), the algorithms of the Rhadamanthus 5000 are “alarmingly infallible”.

So just what are we challenging you to do? Well, it’s really quite simple this time round. The Ancient Greeks were rational folk, at least on papyrus, and liked to see the universe as a space to which some reliable rules applied. So when philosophers, playwrights and poets wanted to let their hair down of a Zeusday evening, they would have great fun in contemplating the adynaton (Greek ἀδύνατον) event – something that is literally impossible. It was a sort of counterfactual parlour game to dream up how mindbendingly odd things would be, if the universe were set up in some wholly opposite fashion.

In that spirit, we challenge you to provide an answer to one of these three adynaton situations relating to a trio of Greek gods. What exactly would happen if (per impossibile!):

i) Dionysus (Bacchus), god of wine, were to give up alcohol for good?


ii) Ares (Mars) were to leave behind war and violence for the path of peace?


iii) Aphrodite (Venus) were to put sex and love in the past and live a life of platonic celibacy?

Well, you tell us! You can reinterpret the myths and literature of the ancient world as you like, or you can approach these scenarios from an entirely fresh angle. You can speak in their voices, or file a news report, or recreate these divine impossibilities in a more unusual form. We ask you to write an essay, or a skit, or a short story, or a poem (up to 600 words, and in English this time round), or to make a video, or to perform or a song (each up to 5 minutes), to draw or to paint a picture (sending us a photograph or scan), or to craft something that we will be able to take a decent look at around the biscuit table of Antigone Towers.

As usual, the competition is open to anyone in the world, and there are two prizes are on offer: £250 for the winner in the over-18 category, and £150 for the winner in the 18-and-under category. The runner-up in each group will be showered with an alarmingly random assortment of Classics-related books. You can enter up to three times, if you want to try your hand at each situation; entries will be anonymised for the judges, so no-one will know that you are super-keen.

You have a solid month to work on this, with the deadline falling Nonis Octobribus, i.e. by the end of play on Friday 7 October. Please send your entries to


along with your name, home town, and age-category.

Eutychia, Fortuna and jolly good luck to one and all!


1 If you want to submit something that even you admit is a bit “out there”, drop us an email and we will check whether it will be computer-compatible. But it should be…