Classical Civilisation

This is an increasingly popular A-level which offers students to explore aspects of Ancient Greek and Roman culture in depth. The new specification is an academically rigorous course that centres on the study of ancient literature, history, politics and archaeology.

The first year of the course introduces students to the fascinating world of Ancient Greece and looks closely at the important role of religion in society. Students will explore the nature of the gods and their relationships to mortals as well as famous temple complexes, religious ritual and the part religion played in forming ancient Greek identity. Alongside this students study Homer’s Iliad, an epic poem on the famous Trojan War that the Greeks themselves considered the foundation of their culture. Students investigate the concepts and values of the mythical heroic world and the lasting legacy of Homer as well as the cultural context and the literary techniques used in creating epic poetry.

The second year focuses on Ancient Rome and how the first emperor Augustus persuaded the Roman people to accept him as an imperial monarch. The idea of a politician ‘spinning’ their public image is still relevant today and students will examine his presentation in art and literature and assess how effective his public image was. Alongside, students will look at another epic poem, Virgil’s Aeneid, the story of the foundation of Rome, inspired by the epics of Homer. The poem explores what it was to be a hero in the Roman world and illuminates the cultural and political context of the time – the newly-formed regime of the first Roman emperor.

Assessment is by three separate exams taken at the end of year 13. There is no coursework component.

There are many Classical courses available at universities, or the qualification could support study in history, literature, politics, law, sociology or philosophy. The skills gained from studying this A-level will be highly regarded in all areas of higher education and also attractive to prospective employers.