Beginning in the 2006/2007 school year, the Latin Studies Department at the University of Basel will offer a prize in memory of Prof. Josef Delz (1922-2005) in recognition of outstanding achievements in Latin. To inspire enthusiasm for the Latin language and for the literature of Rome, to convey this enthusiasm, and thus to contribute to a solid secondary school education, is the central task of Latin teaching.

Pupils should be rewarded for their study and diligent work on topics of Latin language and literature, which they produce at the Matura or equivalent.

Written work arising from Latin classes and relating to the Latin language, Roman literature, Roman history, philosophy, and the reception of Roman literature shall be recognized with the Josef Delz Award. Also welcome are works dealing with Middle and Neo-Latin texts of the region or Switzerland.

1st prize: 2000.- CHF
2nd prize: 1000.- CHF

The papers (approx. 25 pages) have to be written in one of the Swiss national languages or in English, they can also be written in Latin.

The evaluation will be carried out by a jury, the works have to be submitted by June 1st of the year at the latest.

The members of the jury are
Prof. Dr. Cédric Scheidegger Lämmle (Basel)
PD Dr. Petra Schierl (Basel/München)
Dr. Anne-Sophie Meyer (Basel)

Tender 2024

The Josef Delz Prize will again be announced for the 2023/2024 school year. Submissions are possible until May 31, 2024.

17th Josef Delz Prize 2023

On September 26, 2023, the 17th awarding of the Josef Delz Prize for the promotion of Latin in schools took place in the presence of Mrs. Eva Delz at the Kollegienhaus of the University of Basel. The event was very well attended; a Latin class from Collège du Sud in Bulle also participated. The competition was again very well received this year. A total of nine works were submitted by Matura students from the following schools: Liceo Cantonale Bellinzona, Liceo Diocesano Breganzona, Liceo Cantonale di Locarno, Liceo Diocesano Lugano, Gymnase de Bienne et du Jura bernois, College du Sud, Bulle, Gymnase de la Cité, Lausanne, Kantonsschule Uster, Kantonsschule Realgymnasium Rämibühl, Zurich.

1st prize

Michele Palese: Donelaitis e l'epica didascalica. Un confronto tra Esiodo, Virgilio e Donelaitis
(Liceo Diocesano, Breganzona; Supervisor: Francesca Pellicciotti Ricciardi)
Prize money: 3000 CHF

In his Matura thesis, Michele Palese examines the work Metai ("The Seasons") by the Lithuanian poet Kristijonas Donelaitis (1714-1780), written in hexameters, against the background of the tradition of Greco-Roman didactic poetry. Using selected motifs (time of plowing, plow and cattle, fire), he outlines how Hesiod, Virgil, and Donelaitis each describe man's relationship to his environment. The work is distinguished by its highly challenging subject, which requires knowledge of ancient Greek, Latin, and Lithuanian. Through the cleverly chosen approach of investigation - the focus on a selection of motifs - it is possible to relate the three complex poems to each other. Michele Palese convincingly works out the peculiarities of the Lithuanian poem on the one hand and emphasizes the literary tradition context on the other hand. The independent and subtle analysis of the texts, the clear and concise presentation and the extremely careful execution of the work deserve the highest recognition.

2nd prize

Lucien Jaccottet: Les Enfers selon le commentaire de Tiberius Claudius Donatus sur le chant VI de l'Énéide. Mythes et représentations du monde. Interpretationes Vergilianae de la page 530 à 619
(Collège du Sud, Bulle; Supervisors: Bruno Sudan, Christian Pernet)
Prize money: 2000 CHF

Tiberius Claudius Donatus wrote a prose paraphrase of Virgil's Aeneid around 400 AD, in which he retells and interprets the epic. In his work, Lucien Jaccottet presents the hitherto insufficiently explored work of Tiberius Claudius Donatus, deals with the explanations of the sixth book of the Aeneid, and elaborates the specifics of Donatus' conception of the underworld. For his Matura thesis, Lucien Jaccottet has chosen an extremely rewarding and also extremely demanding topic. The detailed examination of the text of Tiberius Claudius Donatus in the original Latin and the independent interpretation of the commentary on the basis of selected passages, which are translated into French, distinguish his work. The scientific standard of the Matura thesis is reflected in the intensive inclusion of current research contributions to the Interpretationes Vergilianae.

3rd prize

Sophie Lacoste: Callisto. Das Verfassen einer 'attischen' Tragödie
(Kantonsschule Realgymnasium Rämibühl, Zurich; supervisor: Maya Asper Dunkel)
Prize money: 1000 CHF

Sophie Lacoste has written a tragedy based on the Attic model (in German) on the story of Callisto in Ovid's Metamorphoses as part of her Matura thesis, commenting on her approach and considerations in an accompanying report. In doing so, she deals with Greek tragedy and with Ovid's Metamorphoses both creatively and in terms of literary studies. Her tragedy is characterized by the refined linguistic drawing of characters and the thoughtful design of the dialogues, in which questions of the 2022/3 debate about the revision of the Swiss sexual penal law are taken up. With her extremely successful updating of the myth of Callisto, Sophie Lacoste impressively demonstrates how current issues can be reflected on through creative engagement with Greco-Roman literature.

Petra Schierl on behalf of the jury

Prof. em. Dr. Henriette Harich-Schwarzbauer (Emerita of the Department of Latin Studies, University of Basel), PD Dr. Petra Schierl (Substitute Head of Department and Chair of Latin Studies, University of Basel), Dr. Anne-Sophie Meyer (Assistant Head of Department of Latin Studies, University of Basel)

Basel in September 2023

The Josef Delz Prize in the media