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Classical Civilisation

Co-ordinator of Classics: Miss R Wildman

Why choose Classical Civilisation at A Level?

Choose Classical Civilisation if you are interested in learning about the classical world - its personalities, events, literature, drama, history, philosophy and mythology. In other words opt for Classical Civilisation because you think you will enjoy the course. Studying a subject you enjoy will make it easier for you to fulfil your potential and achieve your best grade. All sources are studied in English translation – there is absolutely no need for you to have any understanding of Latin or Classical Greek to choose this course.

The Classical Civilisation course seeks to relate what happened in the ancient world to the experience of students today. It shows how modern culture has developed from the classical past, how the civilisation of Greece has helped in shaping modern Europe and how Classical influences are still important in today’s world.

What does the Classical Civilisation course involve?

AS (Year 12)

Students are introduced to two significant aspects of the classical world. The topics most likely to be studied are:

Women in the Greek and Roman World.

A study of the role played by women in the male-dominated world of the Greeks and Romans – domestic, cultural, religious, legal and social. Sources are taken from a wide variety of areas of Greek and Roman literature, ranging from legal documents to one of the most uproarious of Aristophanes’s comedies.

Homer, The Odyssey

A study of selected books of the Odyssey and the religious, cultural and social values implicit in the text. Homer is a superb storyteller and his peculiar gift was to be able to combine so many short stories into one great epic poem.

A2 (Year 13)

Students study two further significant aspects of the classical world. The topics most likely to be studied are:

Greek Tragedy

A study of four Greek plays, two by Sophocles and two by Euripides, in their religious, cultural and social context. The plays studied are King Oedipus, Antigone, Hippolytus and Medea. We study the myths behind the plays first and then look at the role of the gods and the roles of both men and women in society.

The Aeneid

A study of the text which is central to Roman culture, commissioned by the Emperor Augustus in order to promote the values of his new regime and telling the mythological origins of Roman settlement in Italy.

How will I study Classical Civilisation?

The topics cover aspects of classical civilisation which have been significant in the development of the modern world. All include a study of primary classical sources and all encourage students to gain an understanding of Greek society and its values.

We have an excellent stock of audio-visual aids to complement the study of all our topics and, whenever possible, we accompany our students to see modern productions of the comedy and tragedy plays we study.

How will I be assessed?

Examining Board: AQA

In all modules students answer one structured, source-based question (from a choice of two) and one short essay (from a choice of two) on their chosen topics. Guidance is provided, particularly at AS, to assist all students across the ability range in demonstrating their knowledge, understanding and skills.

What qualifications do I need to start the Classical Civilisation course?

Classical Civilisation is open to all students entering the Sixth Form. Indeed we positively welcome newcomers to the subject. The specification does not require any previous study of Classical Civilisation or knowledge of Latin or Greek. However the choices available enable candidates who have studied a classical subject to GCSE to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of classical culture. What we ask for above all is a determination to share our enthusiasm for the classical world.

With what other subjects does Classical Civilisation fit?

A study of Classical Civilisation complements many other popular A Levels, including Art, Drama, English Literature, Government and Politics, History, Religious Studies as well as a study of the classical languages.

However, because of the creative diversity of classical culture, there are many other subjects which relate well with Classics. Its more natural home is alongside other Arts subjects but many science students choose to study it to provide a rewarding contrast and breadth in their studies. The opportunity to select four subjects to study in the Lower Sixth makes Classical Civilisation a worthy and compatible choice in any combination of subjects.

What can I do at University with an A Level in Classical Civilisation?

Classical Civilisation provides a natural base for degree work in many subjects at University. It develops the critical and evaluative skills which enable students to go on to University to study a wide range of courses. The points gained at AS and/or A2 will count towards admission for any degree course. For the enthusiast there are degree courses available in Classical Civilisation or Ancient History.

How will an A Level in Classical Civilisation help me in my future life and career?

The study of Classics involves distant times but the cultural, literary and political achievements of the Greeks have had a lasting influence on our own society, and are essential to a proper understanding and appreciation of the history of civilisation. In addition, as we share with Europe the legacy of the Ancient World, a study of Classics helps to increase our awareness of a common European heritage.