The senators wore purple togas, white togas and T-shirts emblazoned with school mottos.
"Cave Canem" or "Beware the dog" signaled the Portland Bulldogs of Portland High School.
Twisted ivy leaves and gold and green paper formed crowns, and a silver gladiator's helmet stood out on one head.
James Brophy, a senior at Winthrop High School, presided Friday night at the Fall Convention of the Maine Junior Classical League. Some 450 students studying Latin from 15 high schools across Maine sent 450 delegates Friday and more than 50 proctors and teachers and chaperones.
An assembly was orderly chaos as students cheered for those who made the All-Star teams in the Certamen.
Colored T-shirts helped on-lookers identify the schools. Bright pink adorned the Winthrop Ramblers.
"Veri Romani Vestem Roseam Gerunt," Brophy said, then translated: "Real men wear pink."
When Winthrop Latin teacher Meg Cook announced an opportunity for four more Latin II students and eight more Latin III and IV students to join teams in the competition, there was a surge to the front of the auditorium. She could hardly keep up with the demand.
But the purple togas of Hampden Academy seemed to outnumbered most of the other attendees.
Nokomis High School had a large group as well, including Hannah Elwell of Hartland.
After the assembly, the competition heated up in a second floor classroom where Winthrop squared off against Edward Little and Portland high schools in the first round of Certamen at the Latin III and IV levels.
A cardboard "Latin Man" kept sentry next to Kim Preble and Joe Stevens (a state officer for the Junior Classical League) on the Edward Little team.
Merilee Osier, Latin teacher at Sacopee Valley High School in Hiram, read the rules: "To answer, slap the table and raise your hand."
If you know Latin, mythology, or history, you can play along:
Name the King of Pontus who fought the Romans for more than 20 years.
No, not Gaius Marius. No, not Publius, but good try. Answer: Mithridates.
According to mythology, who was the first woman?
Everybody slapped the table for this one: Pandora.
Deik Bernhard of Germany, an exchange student at Winthrop, knew that "transferre" and transfero" was the Latin verb for "translate."
"I got 50 percent of the points," he said as he walked to the next round of the competition.
Meanwhile, by-standers could watch the brain-teasers in "Who Wants to Be a Legionnaire?" the hot contest in the performing arts center emceed by John White, a purple-haired Hampden graduate. Now at McGill University, he returned as a senior member of the Junior Classical League.
Participants translated "E pluribus unum" correctly as "From many, one."