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Welcome to Classics


Miss V Marriott

Subject Leader of Classics
Teacher of Classical Civilisation
Teacher of History

Mr S Callaghan

Teacher of Classical Civilisations
Teacher of Business Studies
About Our Subject

“Classical Studies is a mind opening empowering subject. It offers one of the keys that make western culture make sense and explains why we think the way we do. It gives access to some of the world’s big questions such as liberty, democracy, imperialism that can seem so distant to many young people. It makes them seem not only real, but also worth arguing about.” Mary Beard

What do we mean by Classics?

Classical Civilisation is the study of the ancient world, usually dating pre 500AD. ‘History’ is what we consider to be afterwards. However, Classical Civilisation (Classics, for short) is more than just a study of the history. You will look at a wide range of different sources, from poetry, to theatre, to philosophers, to art, and to architecture. For the purposes of the A Level, we mostly look at the ancient world of the Mediterranean, and whilst we are generally focused on Greece and Rome, our studies will take us as far east as Asia Minor (Turkey and the Middle East), to Spain in the west, and down to Carthage and northern Africa. It is a broad, diverse course, looking at the roles of men and women and gender, LGBTQIA+ and queer voices, the roles of those at the very bottom of society, all the way to the Tyrants and Emperors at the top. We sweep through the lives of gods and mortals, the divine and the mundane, the fantastical and ordinary, and using this to answer what it means to be human. What you will find, is that despite three millennia having passed, is that answer hasn’t changed much at all.

Why do we study Classics? Surely it’s so far in the past it’s not relevant, right?

Why is any history relevant? History gives us a grounding of who we are, where we come from, but also how our past has intersected with the rest of the world. Take for example, the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. He ruled the Roman Empire between 193 AD to 211 AD. During his lifetime, he visited and worked in Britain, as it was part of the Roman Empire. He was also from Libya, and a person of colour, which means our country, our city, has in its history a link to the African continent that reaches back 2000 years. Whilst we are an island nation, we have never been isolated. Studying Classics tells us about what life was like in the past, but it also provides an anchor to the rest of the world, and humanity, and the thoughts and dreams and desires and fears and anger and hopes of those who came before us. It is a privilege to be able to explore this mad, wondrous world, and it is a privilege to be able to gain that sense of perspective on the curiosity of (wo)mankind.

I’m looking at studying it at A Level but I didn’t study Classics at GCSE, won’t I be at a disadvantage?

No! Absolutely not. Classics at A Level is very different to Classics at GCSE in terms of what is learned. The A Level incorporates literature and philosophical ideas, whilst the GCSE resembles more of a history course. The content learned at A Level does not have much of an overlap with the GCSE, and where it does will be re-taught.

In Year 10 we go into more detail about the myths and religious practices in the ancient world. We cover:

  • The Roman and Greek Gods
  • Heracles/Hercules
  • Festivals and Sacrifice
  • Myth and Symbols of Power
  • Death and Burial
  • Journeys into the Underworld

In Year 11 we will focus on war and warfare in Greece and Rome focusing on topic areas such as

  • Sparta and Athens at War in the 5th Century
  • The Roman Military in the Imperial Period
  • The Romans at War

This will lead to a study of elements of

  • Homer
  • Horace
  • Virgil

All of this follows the GCSE syllabus of the OCR GCSE in Classical Studies. It is an incredibly broad and exciting course that supports the study of almost all other subjects

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