At AS level you will study two units: Greek Tragedy in Context and Homer’s Odyssey and Society. Both units give you the opportunity to engage closely with great works of ancient literature and the social and cultural contexts in which they were produced. Within Greek Tragedy for example, you will examine ancient Athenian theatrical festivals and the conventions of theatre performance, as well as exploring thematic topics including: the nature of tragedy; the role of gods, prophecies and fate in the world; moral concepts such as justice and revenge, and violence and death.
Within your study of the Odyssey you will come to understand the genre of epic poetry, studying the
second oldest text in all of Western literature. This is a fantastical tale of gods, monsters and heroes, but also sheds light on the ancient world’s attitudes to women, slaves, war, family and civilisation itself.
At A2 you will expand your study of the ancient world to consider Roman as well as the Greek literature.
You will study two modules: Virgil and the World of the Hero and Comic Drama in the Ancient World. Both modules give you the chance to appreciate the historical, political, social and literary contexts, directly comparing texts between the two cultures.
Virgil’s great epic story of Rome’s mythical foundation is examined from two distinct angles: as a product of its time, reflecting an unstable world of power struggle, political intrigue and propaganda; and as a successor to Homer’s great Greek epic the Iliad.
You will study four comedy plays from different periods of the ancient world, from the fabulous and outrageously satirical comedies of the Athenian Aristophanes, to the romantic comedies of the Roman Plautus.
To study Classical Civilisation at AS level, students are required to have a B grade in GCSE English Literature.
An interest in History and Literature is crucial to this course. You will get to grips with some of the most fascinating texts ever produced and explore exotic societies and distant lives, so an inquisitive mind and desire to delve into the unfamiliar will be invaluable. Strong essay writing skills are also required.
The skills you will acquire over the course are valuable and well respected by Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. You will be able to use knowledge of historical and social context to inform your understanding of literature; and you will be able to use your understanding of literature to deepen your insights into ancient culture. You will be able to look critically at evidence (both written and visual) and make informed judgements about the ancient world. You will be encouraged to make links between the societies of the ancient world and our modern society and see how antiquity has impacted the world we live in today. You will be able to converse on the subjects of myth, great literature and drama, philosophy, art, architecture, archaeology and ancient
Classical Civilisation uses the OCR AS specification. The two units studied at AS level, Greek Tragedy and Homer’s Odyssey, are both assessed by examinations at the end of the year. Each unit has an exam of 1 hour 30 minutes, comprised of two sections. The first is text analysis, in which the students are given extracts from the texts they have studied and are asked to comment on them; the second is section is a more open extended essay question. This format is the same for both units.
"Classical Civilisation is a great subject that combines all the interest of History with addictive fantasy and thought-provoking tales from one of the earliest and greatest works of Western Literature – the Odyssey – as well as several plays. It is a subject I enjoyed at GCSE level but find even more enticing at AS Level as my studies have become more in depth and sophisticated. Definitely a subject you can’t regret taking".
Emma Washington, current Year 13
“Classical Civilisation is a beautiful insight into the development of the ancient world and how this sparked modern art and literature. People should take this subject because it’s the only lesson I ever want to go to!”
Catherine Tappenden, current Year 12
In addition to the skills you have developed at AS, there will be increased emphasis on comparison between the cultures and literature of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. This is called the synoptic element, and you will develop your ability to critically compare texts and comment on the intertextual relationships among your set texts.
Classical Civilisation uses the OCR A2 specification. The two units studied at A2, Comic Drama and Virgil and the World of the Hero, are both assessed by examinations at the end of the year. Each unit has an exam of 2 hours, comprised of two sections. The first is text analysis, in which the students are given extracts from the texts they have studied and are asked to comment on them; the second is section is a more open extended essay question, looking specifically at comparing the Greek and Roman texts. This format is the same for both units.
Related Courses and Careers:
Classical Civilisation is a multi-disciplinary subject, containing elements of English Literature, Art, Architecture, History, Philosophy, Archaeology, Religious Studies and Politics. As such, it is highly valued by colleges, universities and potential employers because Classicists have honed a wide range of useful skills.
The study of any Classics subject would benefit those students interested in, among others, a career in Law, the Civil Service, Politics, the Media, Finance, Teaching, Art, Medicine, Publishing, Marketing, Journalism and working in museums and archives.