From the Classical Association of New England:
Herodotus tells us in the first book of his Histories that when Solon, the leader of Athens, visited Croesus, the incredibly rich king of Lydia in Anatolia, the king asked Solon who he thought was the happiest and most prosperous. Croesus thought Solon would say “you are, O Croesus, because of your great wealth.” But Solon replied instead that he would count no man happy until his death, because misery and suffering can befall anyone, no matter how wealthy or happy they seem (Histories 1.30-32).
There is ample evidence that people of all ancient cultures had to face many challenges and adversities in life. When one considers the relatively short life spans of men and women in the ancient world, it is clear that there were many obstacles to a long or easy life in the thousand-year period we study, from roughly 500 BCE to 500 CE. Our ancient writers tell us of diseases, plagues, invasions by hostile armies, piracy, enslavement, crime, death in childbirth, and countless other realities that made life difficult and strenuous.
For this writing contest: provide your own short story, poem, essay, or dialogue on the topic of dealing with or facing adversity in the ancient world. Your project will be judged holistically, based on how successfully you address the given topic, how well you engage your reader, and how well you write as you present your idea.
The winner receives their award, and reads their winning entry, at the banquet at the annual meeting banquet of CANE in spring of 2021.