The course is for students interested in studying a subject that by its very nature reaches across academic divides to link political, social and military history, philosophy, literature and the arts. Students may come from a humanities background and want to study a subject that reaches across the disciplines or hail from a sciences background and want to widen their studies by taking on a broad-ranging subject like Classics.
This course introduces a fascinating combination of topics centred on ancient Greece and Rome. Some find the idea of Classics at A Level intimidating, but it need not be; whilst it is a rigorous academic subject, highly regarded by universities and employers, it is not a requirement to have studied the subject before or to have any knowledge of Latin or Greek (all texts studied are in English translation). The important thing is that students are ready to learn and are prepared to embrace the original humanities subject.
You will study:
Politics of the Late Roman Republic. The Late Roman Republic was a period of upheaval and conflicting views on how the Roman state should function. These conflicts led to conspiracy, assassination, civil war, the eventual fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman emperors. You will study this tumultuous period through examining political thought and ideals. You will learn about the life and times of the great Roman philosopher-statesman Cicero, his equally impressive rival Julius Caesar and their relationships with the likes of Cato, Pompey the Great, Crassus and the future Emperor Augustus as Cicero desperately attempts to save his country from a descent into chaos, conspiracy and civil war.
The World of the Hero. You will study Homer’s Iliad, both as the epic poem set during the legendary Trojan War, and for what it tells us about ancient ideas of honour, revenge, glory and the power of the gods. This leads on to the Aeneid, Virgil’s Roman epic poem, in which Aeneas, a survivor of the fall of Troy, attempts to set up a new home: Rome. The study of the latter poem will be set against the backdrop of the rise of the Roman Empire with an in-depth study of the Emperor Augustus and his social, religious and moral reforms.
Invention of the Barbarian. A very exciting multi-disciplinary unit. You will explore the story of the struggle between the small Greek city-states and the massive Persian Empire through Herodotus’ Histories and Greek perception of the ‘barbarian’ through the study of two great plays (Aeschylus’ Persians and Euripides’ Medea), and a study of the Amazons (mythical female warriors). Consideration will also be given to the presentation of the 'barbarian' in Greek and Persian art and architecture (complemented by a trip to the British Museum). Several sites of special archaeological interest will also be investigated.
Whilst Classics is primarily a text-based subject, and reading is an important element of the course, you will learn through varied activities designed to develop knowledge, understanding and skills. You can expect a variety of groupwork and self-led activities, as well as traditonal short lectures, analysis of visual evidence (art and material culture), and close analysis of modern scholarship. All reading of core texts associated with the course must be completed in your own time and in preparation for lessons.
There will be 3 exams at the end of year 2.
Two of the exams (the Beliefs and Ideas module; and the Invention of the Barbarian unit) are worth 75 marks and last 1 hour and 45 miutes. These exams are each worth 30% of the total A Level.
There are five question types in these exams, they are:
• short answer question
• 10 mark stimulus question
• 10 mark idea question
• 20 mark essay
• 30 mark essay.
The World of the Hero exam is worth 100 marks and lasts 2 hours and 20 minutes. This represents 40% of the total A Level.
There are three question types in this exam, they are:
Assessment is through three exams at the end of the course.
In previous presentations of this course we have run (non-compulsory) trips to Rome and Greece, visiting a range of fascinating sites including the Forum, Palatine Hill, Colosseum, Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica, Pompeii and Herculaneum, Naples Archaeological Museum, Cuma, Baia and Paestum in Italy; and Athens, Sparta, Delphi, Mycenae, Corinth, Olympia, Thermopylae and other ancient sites/museums, in Greece.
The trips has been enormously popular and help to bring learning vividly to life. Please see recent Classics trips here:
We also run a compulsory trip to the British Museum at the end of year 1 to look at Greek and Persian artefacts that we study in depth in year 2.
Complementary trips will also be organised (when possible to do so):
There will be a small cost associated with the British Museum trip which is compulsory.
There will also be a small charge for course workbooks (several booklets in the region of £1.80 each).
Opportunity for a trip to Rome or Greece.
Trip to British Museum.
In previous years several students have had the opportunity to complete some voluntary work/work experience in the heritage sector. The Classics team have strong working relationship with Cirencester's Corinium Museum:
No, although you should be aware that it can be more difficult to catch up if lessons/work are missed. You will also need to have a reasonably developed command of the English Language; essays are an important part of study and assessment.
No, over the course of the A Level, you will also have an opportunity to explore Roman law, military history, oratory, philosophy, mythology, material culture, politics, poetry, theatre, Greek, Roman and Persian societies and religions in order to develop a richer understanding of the ancient world.