A Level Classical Civilisation is a fascinating course: Each topic is studied through sources and texts from the ancient world. Texts are studied in translation. Through this course you will gain access to two civilisations which have inspired the modern world, and you will practise working with a wide range of materials.
You will develop your ability to analyse visual sources, artefacts and written sources, and you will learn how to write clearly and concisely about them. Class discussion is a core part of every lesson, and pupils will learn to present their ideas effectively in different ways (e.g. short answer analysis questions on particular details, overview essay questions, class presentations / seminar contributions).
Beyond the classroom
The Classics department will support your study of Classical Civilisation with a stimulating programme of academic enrichment, including essay competitions, study days hosted by Cambridge University, Sixth Form seminars with other schools, trips to galleries and theatre productions, and trips abroad to sites of interest in Greece and Rome.
The course requires no knowledge of Latin or Greek, and is open to all regardless of your GCSE choices.
You will study three different topics:
- The study of the epic poems of Virgil and Homer is compulsory - but for the other two there is a choice from topics such as Greek theatre, Greek art, Roman politics, Greek religion and so on. We aim to choose topics which appeal to the interests of our students.
In the final exams, the compulsory epic module forms 40% of the final assessment; the other two topics each carry 30%. Each paper involves written responses to stimulus material: this material will include short extracts / images taken from the material studied during the course and structured essay questions.
The A Level is made up of three modules: all students have to take the epic literature module, in which they study the Aeneid and one of the great Homeric epics. The other two modules are chosen from a list of options. The choice here depends on the interests/enthusiasms of students and teachers, but we have often selected the Greek Religion and Augustan Imperial Image options. The rationale behind this choice is that it is a good idea to study something from the world of the Greeks and something from the world of the Romans, and to build a broad understanding through, for example, a module on religion and a module which is rooted in a specific time period.
Will I have to write essays?
This varies a bit from year to year, but the Classics Department is lively and energetic, and we are keen to make the most of opportunities for theatre trips/study days. We tend to run trips abroad (e.g. to Greece or Italy) once every two years.