On Thursday evening the Cranleigh Classics Sixth Form took part in their annual debate with Reed’s School – but this time with a twist. Lockdown preventing our traditional face-to-face debate, our redoubtable Classicists locked horns via Zoom. At stake, as ever, was whether the Greeks were better than the Romans. Our team of philhellenes, Hermione, Ben and Alannah, supported in a robust floor debate by Luke and Heather, just edged their doughty, Roman opponents from inside the M25.
Hermione set a high standard with her opening statement, arguing lucidly that the Romans were mere violent imitators of the Greeks, who invented so much of what we take for granted today. She returned eloquently to the topic in the floor debate. Ben turned his forensic eye to religion, piercing through commonplaces to make a powerful case for Roman superiority here too. Alannah gave a rousing finish to our side by lasering in on Greeks contributions to culture, theatre and comedy. Reed’s, it must be said, were outstanding as well: in all my years in this debate, I have rarely heard Roman arguments put with such cogency and originality. They too would have been worthy winners. We would like to thank everyone who made this debate possible, but above all the speakers themselves, at Reed’s, Miss Whittingham and Mr Atkins, who kindly judged again, and Mr Butler at Cranleigh.