Classical Civilisation

Exam Board

Additional Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE English language, grade 6 in English literature and grade 5 in Mathematics.

Course Content

Why classical civilisation?
Studying A level classical civilisation at Woodhouse will provide you with an opportunity to learn about ancient history and literature from both Greece and Rome, and their surrounding worlds. You will have the opportunity to study a wide range of topics, with an emphasis on responding critically to and engaging with a wealth of sources and ideas, developing analytical skills readily transferable to other subjects and further study of the classical world. During the course you’ll benefit from study days, with the opportunity to attend lectures given by renowned classicists, as well as hear talks by former students and take trips to museums and galleries.
In recent years, many Woodhouse students have gone on to study classical civilisation or a closely related degree course at Russell Group universities and Oxbridge. A good degree in this subject will open doors and allow you to pursue a career in a variety of fields such as law, the media, the civil service and business.
Course content
You will study both Greece and Rome and their surrounding worlds through topics such as heroism, epic literature, the invention of the barbarian, politics and religion, and love and beliefs. You will study material from both Greece and Rome drawn from diverse time periods ranging from Archaic Greece to Imperial Rome. This material will encompass aspects of literature, visual/material culture and classical thought in their respective social, historical and cultural contexts. You will analyse a range of evidence, and use this to form substantiated judgments and responses.
Mark scheme
Exam - 2 hours 20 mins - 40%
The World of the hero - 100 marks
A compulsory component comprising an in-depth study of:
  • Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey
  • Virgil’s Aeneid
Exam - 1 hours 45 mins - 30%
Culture and the arts - 75 marks
Possible topics include:
  • Imperial image and invention of the barbarian
Exam - 1 hours 45 mins - 30%
Beliefs and ideas - 75 marks
Possible topics include:
  • Greek religion, politics of the Roman Republic, and love and relationships

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the headings below.

What is "classics" and why should I study it?

"The ancient Greeks and Romans grappled with exactly the same issues that we do: life, death, gods, sex, love, family, children, education, the nature of the world, our origins and development, the past, money, health, philosophical ideas, status, other cultures, friendship, power, patriotism, politics, law, crime, justice, empire and war"    (P.Jones)
It’s a wide ranging A level: including the study of literature, material culture, ancient thought and ideas and the ancient historical context.
No languages needed: all the texts are in translation, and it doesn't matter if you haven't studied the Greeks and Romans since primary school; all you need is an interest in the ancient world and its cultures.

Is there coursework?

No, it’s all exam (3 exams at the end of the second year)

Do you need to have studied this subject at GCSE?

No. However, any prior knowledge you have of the ancient world will be useful.

Which universities do your students go on to?

Many students go on to study at Russell Group Universities, and Oxbridge.

Does it involve lots of reading?

Yes, in class and outside of lessons.
However, there are plenty of opportunities to debate and discuss ideas and engage in paired work.

What does the exam look like?

The exam contains short answer questions (1 marks and 10 marks) as well as longer essays (20 marks and one 30 mark essay in each exam).

Are there any trips?

Before the pandemic, yes! In February of 2019, the year 13 students went to Rome for a few days.

St Michael's Catholic Grammar School
"What I enjoy most about my classical civilisation lessons is discussing how myths are interwoven in Ancient Epic texts and Greek Theatre texts. I also enjoy looking at visual sources and extrapolating details on how others interpreted plays.
I am applying to study Classics at university because I love seeing how an ancient society viewed concepts such as the afterlife and their multi-faceted views on gender.
I love how community based the college is and how varied the student societies are - lots of them are run by students and you get to socialise and talk to lots of other people. I like how free Woodhouse is - you gain a sense of independence here.
The college also has a great Careers department and are really good at sending out work experience placements."
Sherrardswood School
"I enjoy the opportunity to engage with ancient civilisations - they have had a huge influence upon our own in such a diverse atmosphere. I am applying to study classics at Cambridge as I have had a lifelong interest in the subject.
I came to Woodhouse because I wanted a larger, city based college with a range of subjects. I like how inclusive the atmosphere is, and how it nurtures independent thought. The teachers really go out of their way to help."

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