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Sixth Form

Classical Civilisation

The Nature of the Course

Unit 1: A study of Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Odyssey.

We read these texts (in English) to develop our knowledge of their interwoven plots and epic themes such as: divine intervention, hospitality, fate, adventure and fantasy, loyalty, disguise and revenge.

Unit 2: A selection of Greek plays could be read, again in English translation. We cover Sophocles’ Oedipus, Euripides’ Bacchae and Aristophanes’ Frogs. Alternatively, the art course covers Greek sculpture, architecture and vase painting. Vase painting incorporates a study of the function, form, style and content of vases from 700BC to around 400BC.

Unit 3: We aim to study the impact of the gods upon Greek society and culture. The study of religion also includes a look at the sanctuaries of Delphi, Olympia and the Athenian Acropolis.

Special Features

The Classics trip to Greece or Italy is one of the departmental highlights. We have recently enjoyed a highly successful trip to Italy during Easter 2015, and we are planning a venture to Greece for Easter 2017.

When prospective students are in Year13 we shall head to Italy for Easter 2019. Museum visits are organised both to Cambridge and London as part of the course. Theatre trips and workshops are organised on a more informal basis.

Skills Demanded and Developed

There is no need to have studied Classical Civilisation before. We assume that students have little or no Classical background, but a fascination for the Ancient World and an interest in reading and history are both very much welcomed. Several of our texts are presented as dramatic works and an interest in the theatre and live performance is of great benefit. Classics students are required to be imaginative and well researched in their studies and need to be able to make persuasive and coherent responses to the tasks laid down.

Careers and Higher Education Implications

Successful Classics students will have demonstrated a keen understanding both of literary and historical topics, and are generally well regarded as being able to research, plan and write sensibly and knowledgeably on their subject. Such students embark on a whole variety of courses in higher education, including advertising, business management, library studies, history, politics and philosophy.

  • The insights of Classical literature have shaped Western thought for the last two thousand years, and to read and study it first-hand allows for a deeper understanding of human psychology and thought on issues as germane today as the intersections of politics and race, the roles of gender and status, and the meaning of the human experience.
  • Classics courses invite us to apply a critical eye to the values of the Greeks and Romans and thus, ultimately, ourselves. For example, long before contemporary societies grappled with the roles of men and women, the morality of slavery, and attitudes towards individuals of different races and cultures, the Greeks and Romans were challenged by such issues. We may not agree with their solutions, but by understanding their moral and ethical principles we get a better handle on our own approaches.

Strong A-Level Combinations

Possible Further Study and Degree Courses

English and Latin Classics, English, Literary Studies 
English, History, Politics Classics, Law, Politics, Management
Modern Languages Classics, Modern Languages
Philosophy and Ethics Archaeology, Classical Studies, Civil Studies 
Art, History History of Art, Classical Studies, Art and Design 


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