Accessibility links

Classical Civilisation A Level at Varndean College

Course description

Classical Civilisation offers a single perspective on an entire culture: we study literature, history, society and philosophy together, rather than as separate subjects.  Myths and legends, which were so important in classical culture, are an integral part of the course. There’s a lot of literature work; you will look at Greek drama, both comic and tragic, as well as epic poetry which tells of heroes, gods and glamorous women.

The world of the Greeks and Romans seems very different to modern life, but also feels oddly familiar. This may be because the classical world continues to have such an important influence on the modern world of today.

Course content

Year 1:      

  • Homer, ‘The Iliad’: we explore issues such as love and revenge, honour and shame, heroism and suffering during the epic siege of Troy. And as Achilles and the other humans count the cost, the immortal gods look down carefree from Mount Olympus.
  • Women’s Lives in Athens and Rome: we look at women in both Athens and Rome and will be able to make your own judgements based on various sources, including a cross-dressing comedy by the Athenian Aristophanes and a chauvinistic satire by the Roman Juvenal. 

Year 2:

  • Greek Tragedy: we read four tragedies in which the playwrights use myths about violent dysfunctional families to explore relationships between men and women, the family and society, the ruler and his people, and human beings and the gods or destiny.
  • Socrates and Athens: discover why the great philosopher Socrates aroused such admiration and such suspicion among his contemporaries and how important a contribution his methods and arguments have been to western philosophy.

Entry requirements

Standard advanced course requirements


100% exam

Future opportunities

Many students progress to degree courses in Classical Civilisation, but the subject is also excellent preparation for degrees in Literature, History, Politics, Philosophy and even Drama/Theatre Studies. A rounded education in such a foundational subject can be immensely useful for a wide variety of career paths.

Further information

There are visits to Greek plays and to the British Museum.   Each year there is also a trip to Rome or Athens.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Varndean College directly.

Last updated date: 04 November 2016
Provider logo

Key information


  • More information
    • At Varndean College our aim is to offer all our students the rich, broad and enjoyable experience they need to develop, flourish and achieve their goals in the adult world.

      Teaching and Learning is at the heart of the successful partnerships between students and staff here and we are proud of the skilled and imaginative approaches to teaching taken by our staff to make learning exciting.

      Equally important to the success of our students is the enjoyment they gain from feeling part of a community: a community that is created through the wealth of opportunities to engage with others offered by our extensive enrichment activities. From: Code-breaking to Sport; Music to Peer-mentoring; Drama to Politics Society, there really is something for everyone.