Classics is a Standard Level subject available in Group 3, and as a Group 6 option, that introduces students to the history and culture of ancient Greece and Rome, and through these to a wider study of individuals and societies.
There is no prerequisite for students to have studied Classical Civilisation or Ancient History at GCSE, but this course requires the students to have good written skills, a good GCSE result in English would be beneficial.
Students evaluate both literary and archaeological records of Greek and Roman society through the lens of modern scholarship, as well as through their own personal viewpoints. Students are encouraged to examine and develop an awareness of how judgements on the past may be affected by these factors.
The course has three parts. Part A and Part B are together worth 80% of the course. These will each be assessed by an exam paper. The final 20% of the course is a piece of coursework, presented as a research dossier on any aspect of classical literature or civilisation of the students' choosing, annotated with no more than 1500 words.
Part a: Literature
Two plays by Euripides: Bacchae and Hippolytus. Students will read both plays in English and explore the conflict between the worlds of gods and humans. As well as studying the plot and characters, students will analyse and discuss major themes of gender, sex, piety and free will. Students will examine the two plays considering both the contemporary world of 5th Century Athens and their own personal opinions.
Ovid's Metamorphoses, Books 1-3, 7-8, 10-11 and 15. A huge inspiration for renaissance artists, Shakespeare and countless other authors and artists, the stories in the Metamorphoses are our main link to the works of Greek mythology. As well as the plot and main characters of the chapters selected above, students will discuss the role of the gods and the relationship between gods and mortals. Students will examine Ovid's narrative technique, including links between stories and the role of transformation. Major themes such as love, punishment and reward, loyalty and betrayal and the power of art will also be discussed, as well as the wider literary context of the epic, and the contemporary political and historical context.
Part B: History
Athenian Vase Painting
This topic thematically looks at Athenian culture and society through what they painted on their vases. This is an invaluable look at Athenian art through the ages, students will reflect on not only the style of the vase painters and the development of artistic techniques, but also discuss what works studied imply about Greek religious and cultural priorities and assumptions.
A historical look at the reign of Rome’s first and most famous emperor, Augustus. The rise and rule of Augustus came at Rome’s extraordinary transition from a republic to a monarchy and began a long line of emperors. This topic is intended to give students an understanding of the political, social and cultural climate of the era, the roles played by the key historical figures of the time and the challenges faced and strategies used by Augustus throughout his political life.
Why study Classics?
- Fun and engaging range of topics
- Opportunity for trips to museums and theatres
- An interesting and wide-ranging course that helps you stand out from the crowd
- Enables access to study Classics at university, a wide-ranging course, not only closely linked to top professions like law, medicine and politics, but also perfect if you are unsure about future career options
- Cross-curricular links with all other subjects
- Allows for a deeper understanding and appreciation of art, literature and culture