Friday, April 22, 2022

Poisonous Ducks Win: Martia Dementia 2022 Recap


Martia Dementia 2022 featured a fierce competition, pitting humans against avian foes. Our ancient author field covered writers from Athens to Rome and beyond, some quite archaic (Homer, Sappho), and some relatively more modern (Perpetua, Augustine). Whether poets, historians, playwrights, or philosophers, these writers wielded their all-mighty pens—styli?—against mythological winged creatures, ominous raptors, domestic fowl of note, and more.

The championship was hotly contested by the sacred
chickens of Rome and the poisonous ducks of Pontus. 

Round one saw the advancement of Homer, easily defeating the eagle of Zeus, then later the ossifragus, the bonebreaker bird. While comic Plautus and saintly poet Aelia Eudocia fell out of the competition early on, Menander rallied against the ostrich, known to the ancients as the sparrow-camel. Apollonius of Rhodes failed in his foray against the famed harpies, whom he had described attacking the Argonauts in his own epic. Meanwhile, Seneca the Younger could not repel the sacred chickens of Rome, who proved blessed by the gods. Roman poets Vergil, Lucretius, and Ovid did quite well, however, as did several historians and the mathematician and scientist Perpetua.

Poets continued to hold their own against birds large and small: Homer was able to overtake the sirens, the bird-women of the Odyssey, before matching up with (and winning against) Catullus. Vergil, who handily beat last year’s champion, the phoenix, continued into round three—where the powerful pulli, the sacred chickens, were too formidable. Of all the authors, Ovid came the closest to winning the contest, but in the semifinals, he succumbed to King Mithridates’s poisonous ducks. The final battle in the championship round was bird vs. bird, as the sacred chickens of Rome fought the poisonous ducks of Pontus beak and nail. While Rome famously defeated Pontus, the same was not true of each respective state’s representative birds. The poisonous ducks brought down the sacred chickens, reigning victorious in Martia Dementia 2022! If you'd like to see the full bracket results, you can access them here.

Thank you to all who participated this year in Martia Dementia. Our top scorer was Charlie White of Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, TX. Second place goes to Alek Balassa of New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, IL. Rounding out the top three: Magistra Farkas’s Latin 2 class at Belmont High School in Belmont, MA. Congrats to these astute winners, who all selected their bracket matches with care and great forethought. In contrast, Ava Stumpf of New Trier Township High School achieved the most abysmal bracket, barely progressing past the first round of voting.

Once again, thank you to all participants, who helped make this year’s contest a resounding success. Have strong feelings about this year’s winners? Hope to see a particular ancient figure featured in next year’s contest? Tweet @BCPublishers what and who you would like to see and include the hashtag #MartiaDementia or give feedback in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!

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