New perspectives on Early Rome

An essay contest

Want to win a copy of Kathryn Lomas’ The Rise of Rome? Are you a student? Check out this contest sponsored by Ancient World Magazine.

Written by Jo Ball and Joshua R. Hall on

The earliest history of Rome is shrouded by the inferior nature of our literary evidence and the difficulties of conducting extensive archaeological excavation in a city which has been continually inhabited since the Bronze Age. Nevertheless, some people – like Ancient World Magazine contributing editor Joshua Hall – love studying this era! Interest in early Rome has seemed to grow in recent years, as evidenced by an explosion of publications.

One of these is Kathryn Lomas’ magisterial survey, The Rise of Rome: From the Iron Age to the Punic Wars (Profile/Harvard, 2017). As it happens, Josh has a brand-new copy of this kicking around, which is looking for a home! Rather than sell it off or hoard it like some sort of book-loving Smaug, we’ve decided that it would best serve a current student. To decide who gets this copy, Ancient World Magazine will be holding its first essay contest.

This contest is open to both undergraduate and graduate students anywhere in the world. Postage will be paid by us, so there will be no costs whatsoever borne by whomever wins it.

What are we looking for?

Essays submitted to this contest should be between 2,000 and 3,000 words in length and address an aspect of early Roman history or archaeology (ca. 1000-264 BCE). Beyond this requirement, the topic is open and up to you! Interested in the historiography of Roman kingship? Tell us about it! Obsessed with the early archaeology of the Capitoline? Write it up! Think that the siege of Veii was a turning point in Roman history? Let us know why!

Papers should be written as if they were going to be published in Ancient World Magazine. This means that evidence needs to be cited and a bibliography provided – we will take care of the more technical formatting issues. Strong scholarly writing is a must. All of this is because the first, second, and third place essays will all be published as articles. So, not only do you have a chance to win a copy of a great book, but you’ll also be able to have your research published in one of the most widely-read open access publications in the field.

In keeping with our belief that outstanding undergraduates and graduate students whose work we publish will benefit the most from receiving monetary compensation, these articles will all be paid at our standard rate of €100. We will aim to publish the first place article in early July of 2021, with second and third published before the end of the year.

Other outstanding entries will also be considered for publication, with the author’s permission. (Note that none of this will affect the status of articles and proposals that have been submitted already and which are currently in our slush pile.)

All of the entries will be judged by a panel which includes the Ancient World Magazine editorial board and an outside expert on early Rome.

Sending us your copy

If you’re interested in this essay contest, winning a copy of Lomas’ book, and having your research published for tens of thousands of readers to see, submit a paper! Submissions will be open until 23:59 PDT on 20 June 2021. This gives everyone two months to polish up a term paper, work a chapter from their thesis into a standalone article, or start something from scratch.

To submit an entry, please email a copy of our essay to with the subject reading “Early Rome Essay Contest”. Please send a file that can be easily edited, like a Word or LibreOffice document, rather than a PDF.

Thinking of entering but have some questions? Our writing guidelines are available here. Please reach out to for more information and any guidance you may require. We look forward to reading your entries and to helping elevate student voices in the field!

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