Classics

The Classics courses taught at Mill Hill try to fire students’ imagination through the study of the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, 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 scored highly at Common Entrance/ Mill Hill Latin examinations are invited to continue their study of Latin in the Fourth Form, via the Cambridge Latin Course. This gives students the academic rigour required to analyse Latin language successfully, but also puts this linguistic material in the context of the culture. Classical Greek is also offered (off-timetable) to pupils who are interested.

For those who continue their study of Latin into the Sixth Form, cumulative understanding of the language is balanced by a variety of set texts which change on a bi-annual basis. It is also hoped that Latin will be available as a stand-alone (discrete) AS level from 2017, in addition to a full A level option.

Classical Civilisation, and potentially Ancient History, are offered as options at GCSE and A Level. There is no requirement for Sixth Form students to have had prior study of these subjects. In GCSE, students can expect to delve into the world of City Life in Rome, explore the destruction and lifestyle of the residents of Pompeii (or 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 and comedy as well as a survey of the hero, particularly Heracles, in Greek and Roman epic literature, sculpture and buildings.

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 small class sizes.