In May 2004, "MYTHS & MONEY" was the subject of the ACE Essay Contest. We first referred the Teachers and Students to the documents on Mythology at the ACE web site - and asked each student to choose a character or creature out of Roman or Greek mythology,
see : Mythology in the Ancient World
A coin of the Emperor Septimius Severus showing Hercules and the Nemean lion on its reverse
1. The student then had to choose one Roman or Greek coin from those displayed at the VCoins site, which illustrated their chosen mythological character or creature. With Roman coins this will be on the reverse; with Greek coins a mythological character may also be on the obverse. This coin then becomes the "talisman" (good luck charm or an item of special significance) for the main character in the essay. One paragraph of the essay must describe the coin briefly, including its age and origin.
2. The essay then involves an actual historical character OR fictional person living during the time of the Roman Empire who owns the coin with the mythological image. This character tells a story which:
(a) refers to an actual historical event either prior to OR at the time the person is living (this may be by hearsay OR by active involvement) and should make clear reference to the reigning ruler and other significant historical details in relation to that event;
( b) refers to the "mythological coin" (includes the short description of the coin, how it came into his/her possession, and what it means to the owner, etc.).
3. The essay should start with a headline such as: "Galeria Marcia ( or Galerius Marcus, etc), aged xx years, (born in Rome or Siscia, etc in 372 AD or some other date during Roman Imperial rule)."
4. The main protagonist ( an actual historical character, Galeria, Galerius or whoever) is the person who owns the coin with the mythological image - he or she may be a member of the Imperial family, a slave or a senator (or senator's wife), a soldier, or even a barbarian, etc.
5. Important - Students must pay attention to the timeline, in that the character will record at the outset his or her birth as having been in the reign of Tiberius, Valens or whenever, but will go on to describe an incident which occurred in an earlier time period (by hearsay) OR one that occurred between his or her birth and the date at which the story is written. Note that the character's keepsake coin could well date from BCE.
6. The student must be accurate in his or her historical depiction and time period, and use accurate spelling. The featured coin may be Roman or Ancient Greek, and as stated above a short description of it should appear in one of the paragraphs.
Click the links below to read the winning essays
Junior winner Zack A. 12, Seven Bridges School, NY (pdf 11kb)
Intermediate winner Preethi R., 14, St Johns Country Day, FL (pdf 16kb)
Intermediate winner Lindsay T. 14, Horace Greeley HS, NY (pdf 20kb)
Senior winner Alex M. 15, Wellington School, OH (pdf 20kb)