Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation

Departmental Aims

Our aim is to foster an awareness of the ancient Greek and Roman world, and to stimulate an interest in as many aspects of it as possible, including its political and social history, literature and art. We hope that the study of ancient civilisations will give our students a greater understanding of how our world has developed and will challenge them to think more critically about the society they live in today.


We have three full-time and one part-time specialist teachers, who are graduates of the universities of St Andrews, Exeter, Nottingham and Cambridge. A set of departmental Chromebooks enables students to access a vast range of relevant online resources.

A Level Curriculum

Across the two-year course, students will learn about aspects of both ancient Greek and Roman culture through study of three units.

Year 1:

  • The World of the Hero (Homer’s Iliad): In this unit we study an episode during the mythical Trojan War, culminating in the death of the Trojan prince Hector at the hands of Achilles
  • Imperial Image: In this unit we explore how Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, manipulated his public image to persuade an anti-monarchical republican society to accept one-man rule.

Year 2:

  • The World of the Hero (Virgil’s Aeneid): In this unit we read the story of the mythical hero Aeneas’ destined journey from the ruins of Troy to found Rome, and consider how the story reflects the society and values of the Roman world
  • Politics of the Late Republic: In this unit we analyse the attitudes, beliefs, conduct and impact of three political influencers (Cato, Cicero and Caesar) and consider through their eyes the development and fall of the Roman republic
  • The examination requires students to comment on passages of text, analyse visual sources and write analytical essays.

Co-curricular, Enrichment, Extension and Support

  • We attend annual lecture days to hear leading academics speak on topics relevant to the course
  • Students can volunteer to assist with the running of a Classics Club for students in Years 8 and 9.

Classical Civilisation attracts a wide range of students, from those with a particular interest in history and the arts, to serious scientists who wish to retain the breadth that an arts subject can provide. It can lead to a variety of degree courses, including Classical Studies, Archaeology, Ancient History and Anthropology, although previous students have also gone on to study subjects as diverse as Medicine, Law, Business and Fashion.