Mr S Beasley.
Mr S Callaghan.
Classical Civilisation and Drama teacher Simon Beasley, from Christopher Whitehead Language College, talks to ACE about his experience expanding classical education provision.
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
In Year 9 we cover a wide range of areas from the ancient world in order to give students a firm foundation of knowledge about the ancient world. Topic areas include:
- Daily Life in Greece and Rome
- Myths and The Gods
- Festivals and Sacrifice
- Art and Architecture
This foundation year gives the students the breadth of study that they need in order to ignite a passion for the subject and to prepare them to continue on with the GCSE course.
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
- 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
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
We offer both the AS and A Level in Classical Studies following the OCR specification. This subject is an excellent complement to almost all other subjects and the breadth of study involved will make you extremely marketable to universities.
In Year 12 we study Homer’s Odyssey focusing on literary techniques and composition as well as the use of characterisation and themes. This epic poem is the cornerstone of western literature and in studying this text not only will you be studying one of the greatest works of literature ever conceived you will also be able to unlock your understanding of a wealth of other novels, plays, poems and art that have come after it.
The second unit focuses on Greek theatre where you will be introduced to ‘Oedipus Rex’, ‘The Bacchae’ and Aristophanes’ comedy ‘The Frogs’. These plays will be used in order to broaden your understanding of the culture of Ancient Athens as well as exploring the impact that the plays have had on Western thought for example how Freud was inspired by the story of Oedipus.
We will examine the social and political themes in both tragedy and comedy as well as exploring how the play were produced and staged. This is a unit that will change your perspectives of history as you start to understand the very strong links that we have in the modern world with our ancient ancestors.
In Year 13 you will study Virgil’s ‘Aeneid’. This remarkable work of literature is part political propaganda, part war story and part love story. It is a text that has something for everybody and it is incredibly moving and tragic as well as being exciting and very human. If you are not moved to tears in Books 4 and 6 or left breathless in the descriptions of the Fall of Troy, then we will be very surprised
The second A Level unity is Politics of the Roman Republic where we will explore how Rome tore itself apart in the dying years of the Republic. This is a unit full of intrigue and betrayal as family and friends found themselves pitched against each other and ambitious men and women were prepared to do anything to get what they wanted. There are obvious parallels with the political situation we find ourselves in today and many valuable lessons to be learnt.