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Classical Civilisation


Sixth-Formers taking Classical Civilisation at A-Level are given the opportunity to step into the fascinating past, examining the inspiring, influential and mysterious cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.  This varied course gives pupils an appreciation and understanding of the origins of Western literature and drama, while fostering analytical skills and an intellectual flexibility that is vital in the modern workplace.  The course is supported through trips to ancient sites, drama performances and seminars.  A-Level pupils do not need to have studied Classical Civilisation at GCSE.

Course Content

The World of the Hero   (40% of total A-Level)

In this component we will study selected books from Homer’s Odyssey, as well as Virgil’s Aeneid, developing an increasingly sophisticated level of knowledge and understanding of the epics themselves, their style and the religious, cultural and social values and beliefs of the societies in which they were composed.

Greek Theatre   (30% of total A-Level)

This module examines drama (tragedy and comedy) and the theatre in ancient Athenian society, including:

  • the structure of the theatre space, and how this developed;
  • use of actors and the Chorus, masks, costumes and props;
  • literary techniques, structure, and dramatic conventions in both tragedy and ancient comedy

We will study the following plays in depth: Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Euripides’ Bacchae and Aristophanes’ Frogs.

Greek Religion   (30% of total A-Level)

Religion was an essential part of ancient Greek identity, permeating all strata of society and all aspects of an individual’s daily life. Among the topics studied are:

  • ancient religious ritual, and the role it played in society;
  • the functions and layout of famous temple complexes;
  • the nature of the gods and their relationship with mortals;
  • the role and nature of hero cults;
  • mystery cults, including the importance of initiation;
  • oracles, priests and priestesses;
  • the rise of philosophical thinking and how this was viewed within Greek society.


Career Opportunities

Classical Civilisation is a stimulating course which can be combined with any other subject.  Most importantly it will enrich understanding of a wide range of disciplines, broadening education and career options for the future.  Sixth-Formers in the past have found their study of Classical Civilisation relevant to a wide range of subjects at university, including law, history, art, architecture, classics, theatre studies, English, politics, economics and languages.

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