Fingers on buzzers then…
Over the summer the Antigone team found some amusement in digging out old Classics exams from various English and Irish institutions in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Much of what we found was shockingly different, whether alarmingly difficult or puzzlingly pedestrian. Since we were only posting pictures on Twitter, and rather haphazardly at that, we have acquiesced to your polite requests to pool together some papers in one convenient place. The selection is a little imbalanced, based upon what we could turn up either from our own collections or from things that have found their way into public print; we are keen to expand the range, not least to include the our ancient Scottish universities.
So here you are, a range of papers aimed at school or university students over one and a half centuries. Take your pick and have some fun, however you construe that instruction! Unless otherwise stated, the exams were three hours long and you were expected to answer as many questions well as you felt you could (5 solid answers being much better than 10 flimsy ones).
NB: to view a larger version of any picture, (right) click on it and select “open image in new tab”; once done, you can zoom in to your heart’s content.
Eton College “First Hundred” exam, 1916 (sat by boys aged 13 to 17, on a wartime winter’s morning, at 4.30am?!)
University of Cambridge scholarship exam, 1811 (sat by men aged 18 or 19)
University of Cambridge, Bell Scholarship, 1858 (sat by men aged 18 or 19)
Balliol College, Oxford, Scholarship exam, 1868 (sat by boys aged around 17)
Trinity College, Dublin, Critical Paper (Greek and Latin), 1903 (sat by boys aged around 17)
New, Magdalen, and Corpus Christi Colleges, Classical Scholarship Exam, 1902 (sat by boys aged around 17)
University of Liverpool, Greek Critical Paper, 1923 (sat by men and women aged around 19)
University of London, Grammar, Literature, and Antiquities exam for BA Honours, 1926 (sat by men and women aged around 21)
University of Bristol, Greek Critical Questions for BA Honours, 1916 (sat by men and women aged around 21)
University of Cambridge, Ancient History, Part II, 1868 (sat by men aged around 21)
University of Cambridge, Ancient History, Part II, 1875 (sat by men and women aged around 21)
University of Cambridge, Ancient Philosophy, Part II, 1875 (sat by men and women aged around 21)
University of Cambridge, Classical Art and Archaeology, Part II), 1883 (five papers, sat by men and women aged around 21)
Peterhouse, Cambridge, Classics scholarship exam, 1940s/50s (sat by men aged 18 or 19)
OK, that will do for now. But if anyone is able to provide examples from institutions we have not managed to cover here, or can contextualise/correct anything above, please do get in touch.
Those hungry for more may enjoy exploring this collection of Cambridge Classics papers from the early 19th century (university and collegiate), and this book of various university and civil service Classics examinations from the mid/late 19th century.