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Classical Civilisation

This non-linguistic A/AS level involves the study of the society and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. The main political, religious and social issues are studied by close reference to selected authors and their contemporary period of history. Although specific topics may vary, the main themes of study for the Greek section revolve around Athenian society, the Homeric epics, Greek Tragedy and History. The Roman section covers the Augustan age, Roman epic and Roman society.

In order to study this subject, students should have a genuine interest in history and literature. They should have a social awareness as is cultivated by the study of Religious Studies and English Literature in particular. The concept and use of source material as promoted in History is also a valuable addition to a student of Classics.


The course itself is broken down into two units for AS and a further two for A2. The two components are examined at the end of the respective year.


Homer’s Odyssey and Society
Students will study one of the greatest works of Western literature, studying literary techniques as well as cultural contexts of its (supposed) composition and Greek Tragedy in its Context Students will study four Tragedies by the three great tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Literary criticism as well as performance and m contextual issues are studied.


Art and Architecture in the Greek World
Students will study prescribed works and buildings from Ancient Greece, assessing their development, artistic merit, and political, historical and cultural significance. This module really widens a Classics student’s breadth of knowledge and Virgil and the World of the Hero. The great Roman epic, The Aeneid is studied from a literary and historical point of view, and also studies Homer’s other great epic, The Iliad, with the intention of comparing its influence on Virgil. 5381 Sixth Form Prospectus July 2015 AW.indd 22 15/09/2015 15:41


While the ancient world may seem remote and quite divorced from the problems of the present, the study of Ancient History can help students make sense of the world as it is today. The nature and impact of various cultural and religious developments, the responses of societies to complex social and economic challenges, the issues of justice, discrimination and violence were as much part of the ancient world as they are of ours.

While its focus is the literature and language of Classical Greece and Rome, Classical Studies cover Greco-Roman history and may also include Egypt, Israel, and Mesopotamia, as well as New Testament and Byzantine Greek, and Medieval Latin. Classical Studies touch on religion, art, philosophy, drama, poetry, science, astronomy, mythology, geography, mathematics, archaeology, politics, law, and gender studies.

Almost everything we know has an antecedent or counterpart in the Classics. That in itself is an excellent reason for study. Having said all of that, the best reason to study Classics is because you want to – because you would like to learn more about the cultures of the ancient world, its languages, art, history and literature.


The course develops a number of key skills in terms of the ability to communicate, working with others in class discussion. It offers ample opportunities to improve one’s own learning and performance by means of background reading and self-evaluation, as well as problem solving in the discussion of composition and style in the selected works.

As a conclusion the course is designed to produce students who
can empathise, evaluate and most importantly think logically and
communicate those thoughts both orally and in written work.

Such skills equip a student for careers in a wide variety of areas: legal, civil service, media, journalism, business and many other professions where communication and personal contact is important.


Students need not have studied Classical Civilisation at GCSE to study Classical Civilisation at A Level. This course combines well with any of the Humanities, due to the breadth of literary, cultural and historical material covered. It is also a good choice for students who are primarily studying subjects from the Sciences, as it combines many elements of the Humanities in one A Level.