Overview

​Please note that this subject is in the process of being reformed for first teaching in September 2017. The information below reflects what is currently known about the new course. Further details will be available in the Autumn term 2016, when the specification (syllabus) has been finalised and published.

What is the course about?

Classical Civilisation is concerned with the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds. As a result of this the subject covers an enormous range of diverse disciplines: the history, literature, politics, philosophy, art and architecture of the ancient Greeks and Romans are all investigated at various stages of the course.

What will I study in the first year?

In the first year you will study Greek Tragedy, analysing the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the most famous tragedians of Ancient Athens. By investigating the plays in their cultural context, you will be able to explore how, in the hands of ancient playwrights, the darkest of themes (cannibalism, murder, incest and infanticide) were used to examine political issues.

In the first year you will also study Homer's Odyssey, the epic poem which chronicles the adventures of the Greek hero Odysseus, 'the man of many twists and turns', as he struggles to return to his island home after the Trojan War. Through focused literary analysis of textual episodes, you will investigate the cultural values of Greek society reflected through Homer's world of gods and monsters.

What will I study in the second year?

In the second year of the course you will broaden your understanding of the Greek world by examining its physical remains – the temples, statues and ceramics produced during 600-300BC. You will analyse the formal qualities of Greek Art and the political, philosophical, and religious ideas which it embodies.

In the second unit you will investigate the different concepts of heroism embodied in the two greatest literary works of antiquity, Virgil's Aeneid and Homer's Iliad. In this unit you will be able to compare the splendid individualism of Achilleus with the socially responsible Aeneas as a reflection of the transition from Homeric values to those idealised by a new Augustan era.

How is the course assessed?

Through written examinations. There is no coursework.

What skills will I need and develop in this course?

This course will teach you research skills and how to select and evaluate relevant literary, cultural or historical sources. The course will also develop your essay writing skills through teaching you how to analyse, evaluate and interpret a range of different material, including primary classical sources, whether texts in translation or physical evidence.

Careers

​What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?

The study of Classical Civilisation encourages you to develop the critical and evaluative skills which will enable you to study a wide range of disciplines in Higher Education. It will not only prepare you for Classics or Ancient History at university, but will enhance your understanding of English Literature, History, Philosophy, Politics or Art.

Entry Requirements

​What are the formal entry requirements for this course?

Aside from the general entry criteria that the College requires, you will also need a grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

Extra Support

​What extra support / enrichment activities are on offer?

Throughout the year you will have an opportunity to attend a variety of lectures on specific units you are studying on the course. Every year the Classics Department runs trips to Greece or Rome as a way of enriching your understanding and appreciation of the classical world, its society and values. We also organise visits to museums and plays in London locations.

Subject combination advice

​Subject combination advice:

A study of Classical Civilisation complements many other popular A Levels, including English Literature, Art, Government and Politics, Philosophy, History, History of Art, Drama and Theatre Studies, as well as the study of classical languages. Many students taking Mathematical and Science based subjects can also benefit from taking Classical Civilisation as a fourth A Level.