For already more than 30 years, Certamen Carolinum is known as the respectable school student competition for ancient languages of the state of North Rhine Westphalia (Germany).
The fact that the Certamen Carolinum has been kept up for so long shows that it effectively supplements the educational offers of our state: every year a group approximately 80 student competitors makes use of the opportunity to profoundly deal with Antiquity and its relevance for today. The winners of the competition receive a beginners' scholarship of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes). A review undertaken by this foundation shows that students who were supported thanks to their successful participation in the Certamen Carolinum all finished their studies very successfully. This competition therefore contributes to the support of very gifted students.
In the first round of this competition approximately 80 advanced level secondary school students each year write essays about one out of five topics from the ancient world based on primary texts originally written in Latin or Greek. The twelve most successful participants from a translation exam round (which takes place shortly after the summer holidays) are invited to the final round to the Charlemagne grammar school (Kaiser-Karls-Gymnasium) in Aachen. The name patron of the final round's location – Charlemagne or Latin: Carolus Magnus – is where the competition's name Certamen Carolinum is derived from. During this last round in Aachen the finalists hold a presentation based on a Greek or Latin text followed by a colloquium.
The long-lasting tradition of the Certamen Carolinum is only possible thanks to the regular support of the members of the Association for the Promotion of Ancient Languages in Schools (Verein zur Förderung der Alten Sprachen in den Schulen e.V.) as well as other sponsors who donate prizes for the competition's final round – amongst which we can find the Ministry of Education of North Rhine Westphalia as well as the Municipality of Aachen.
The membership declaration form of the Association for the Promotion of Ancient Languages in Schools (Verein zur Förderung der Alten Sprachen in den Schulen e.V.) is accessible here (german).