Classical Studies

The Classics courses offered at Mill Hill are taught in order to fire students’ imagination through the study of the cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans, whilst at the same time developing high-level communication skills, in addition to an appreciation of the impact these cultures still have on the modern world.

Students who have performed well at Common Entrance/ Mill Hill Latin examinations are invited to continue their study of Latin in the Fourth Form, and are prepared for the GCSE course via the Cambridge Latin Course. This enables students to show the academic rigour required to analyse Latin language successfully but also puts this linguistic material in the context of the culture. For those who continue their study into the Sixth Form, cumulative understanding of the language is balanced by a variety of set texts: a prose (historical) author (Tacitus/ Livy/ Cicero) and a verse author (Ovid/ Virgil) for AS Level; a prose author (Cicero/ Pliny) and a verse author (Virgil/ Ovid/ Catullus) for A2.

Classical Civilisation is offered as an option at GCSE, AS and A Level. The interest in the subject is its breadth and topic-based approach which means that there is no requirement for Sixth Form students to have studied the subject at GCSE. At GCSE, pupils can expect to delve into the world of City Life in Rome, explore the destruction and lifestyle of the residents of Pompeii (or maybe the military might of Sparta), as well as reading extracts from Homer’s Odyssey in order to gain an understanding of the importance of story-telling in society ancient and modern. At A Level the syllabus continues to maintain the balance between literature and society with analysis of the origins of drama in both tragedy (via specified tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides) and comedy (via the plays of Aristophanes, Menander and Plautus), as well as a survey of Greek and Roman epic literature (Homer and Virgil).

Both Latin and Classical Civilisation are available as stand-alone (discrete) AS levels from 2016, in addition to a full A level option.

Classical Greek is also offered (off-timetable) to pupils who are interested. This has been of particular benefit to those students who are keen to study Classics at university.

At every stage in any Classical subject there is the opportunity for students to engage with a wide range of primary source materials, comment on them, and then use this as the platform to express a cogently argued personal opinion. These are important and transferable skills which are encouraged in the Sixth Form by the seminar-like feel of the relatively small class sizes.

For any further details please feel free to contact the Head of Department, Andrew Homer by email at any time: arh@millhill.org.uk

Links to curriculum guides