Classics has opened my eyes to so much. I like the fact that you look at ancient Greece and Rome from the point of view of history, literature and their ideas and beliefs too.

Marcus Miree

Marcus Miree

Course Description

Classical Civilisation gives students the unique opportunity to explore the history and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. These ancient societies remain incredibly relevant to the modern world. Classical Civilisation is far more than simply ‘history’ from a long time ago: it combines the study of art and architecture; political, military, and social history; morality and philosophy; and some of the world’s greatest ever literature. Broadly, students look at the culture of ancient Greece in year one, and of ancient Rome in year two.

Entry Requirements

Achieve 5 or more standard GCSE passes or higher (grade 4 or higher).

If a student is applying for a course in a subject that they have studied at GCSE it is expected that they would have achieved at least a standard pass (grade 4) in that subject.

Course Content

Students study three components across two years.

Component One, Parts One and Two – the World of the Hero
Part One:
Students will explore the great epic poem of Homer, the Odyssey. This gripping story of love, loss, battle and adventure is among the world’s most influential works of literature. We also study the Iliad as background. This study takes place early in year one.

Part Two:
In the second part of year two, after further exploring Greek and Roman culture in components two and three, students return to the study of epic poetry. Virgil’s Latin epic, the Aeneid, is a celebration of Rome’s history and heroes that fuses romance and adventure with political propaganda.

Component Two – the Invention of the Barbarian (Greek culture)
In component two students explore the Persian invasions of Greece in the 400s BC, through works of literature composed at the time. We study the work of the world’s first historian, Herodotus, and two great Greek tragedies, the Persians and Medea. We look both at the reality of the great Persian empire, and how the Greeks presented them as ‘barbarians’.

As well as the set texts this unit involves the study of visual and material culture, from painted pottery to the great palaces of Persia.

Component Three – Politics of the Late Republic (Roman thought)
In component three students explore Rome at a time of its greatest power and its greatest weakness. The expanding empire placed great strain on the Roman state. We look at issues in Roman society and politics through a study of key characters: the conservative Cato; the brilliant, ruthless Julius Caesar; and finally the great thinker, lawyer and politician Cicero, with a close study of his letters and speeches.

As well as the set texts this unit involves the study of ancient thought, specifically political theory and philosophy, applying the concepts to the individuals and issues studied.

Assessment

Each component is assessed by a single paper.

Component One – the World of the Hero
Written exam: 2 hours 20 minutes
Mix of short questions on a stimulus source and longer essays
40% of A Level

Component Two – the Invention of the Barbarian
Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes
Mix of short questions on a stimulus source and longer essays
30% of A Level

Component Three – Politics of the Late Republic
Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes

Mix of short questions on a stimulus source and longer essays
30% of A Level

Future Opportunities

Classical Civilisation is an enormously respected, highly academic course that both employers and universities greatly appreciate. The training offered in such a wide variety of critical study builds vital transferable skills in communication, argument, and the evaluation of evidence.

Students develop a great appreciation of the deepest roots of the modern world and of our culture. They can go on to immense success in almost any career, especially professional careers, and a great many University courses.

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