Classical Civilisation will appeal to anyone who is interested in literature, history and art. Pupils will study material from both Greece and Rome and their surrounding worlds, drawn from diverse time periods ranging from Archaic Greece to Imperial Rome. This material will encompass aspects of literature, visual/material culture and classical thought in their respective social, historical and cultural contexts. Pupils will study a range of evidence and use this to form substantiated judgements and responses. No previous knowledge of Latin, Greek, Classical Civilisation or Ancient History is required, and all topics are studied in English. However, you really do need to have a genuine interest in classical literature, history and culture. If you do not, then this may not be an appropriate course for you.
5 in GCSE English Language or English Literature
There are three components to the A-level course offered by OCR.
The World of the Hero
This component will explore both Greek and Roman epic, with the study of Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. The works of Homer are the foundation of the Western literary canon, and the Greeks themselves considered them the cornerstone of Greek culture. In his Aeneid Virgil pays homage to Homer, but also to Rome and its leader, Augustus. With their unique composition, and exciting tales of gods and heroes, these works of literature form an excellent grounding for exploration of the classical world.
This component involves the study of visual/ material culture. The study of the physical remains of the ancient world is crucial to a comprehensive understanding of it. At Mill Hill we focus on theatre, studying Aristophanes’ Frogs, Euripides’ Bacchae and Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex.
Pupils are given the opportunity to explore some of the ideas and ideals important not only to the ancient world but also to the modern one. From ideas about love to those about democracy, pupils will examine thought provoking and interesting concepts that will develop their ability to evaluate and analyse ideas as well as sources.
The texts are not studied in isolation, but rather in the context of the social, political and historical settings of the time. Individual responses and ideas are as important as the assimilation of knowledge. Therefore pupils should expect to engage in classroom discussion and debate, testing out their own ideas. All topic areas are examined by written papers, so developing essay skills will be important.
Classical Civilisation fits very well with any choice of A-level courses and is recognised by universities worldwide. It can be combined with other Arts subjects or can be taken as a contrasting subject to Mathematics and/or the Sciences. The study of Classical Civilisation provides a great variety of issues and information about the classical world which has been so influential on our modern world. It also develops useful skills in terms of analysis, evaluation, comparison and communication, which are transferable to other subjects, degree subjects and careers.
Mr A R Homer, Head of Classics