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Classical Civilisation A Level at Cranbrook School

Course description

This A level course consists of three areas of study. Students learn about the ancient world through its literature as well as the visual and material culture. The areas of study are as follows:

The World of the Hero 50%: this involves reading significant parts of Homer’s Odyssey (Year 12) and Virgil’s Aeneid (Year 13) This component provides learners with the opportunity to appreciate the lasting legacy of these works and to explore their attitudes and values. The epic of Homer, with its hero, gods and exciting narrative, has been in continuous study since its conception, and remains popular today. Virgil’s Aeneid, is a cornerstone and landmark in Western literature. Drawing inspiration from Homer, as well as from his own cultural and political context of Rome in the first century BCE, Virgil explored what it was to be a hero in the Roman world and created a work which has proven enduringly popular.

Culture and the Arts (30%): The drama produced in the ancient Greek theatre forms some of the most powerful literature of the ancient world, and has had a profound and wide-reaching influence on modern culture. To fully understand this cultural phenomenon requires study of not only the plays but the context in which their form and production developed. We shall read two tragedies, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Euripides’ Bacchae together with Aristophanes’ comedy Frogs. The themes and concepts explored by these plays are of significant relevance and interest both to the modern audience as well as that of the original performance. To develop your understanding this component involves the study of the physical theatre space used by the Greeks to stage their dramas, and also depictions of this staging in the visual/material record.

Beliefs and Ideas (20%): You will explore “Love and Relationships” for this module. Ideas about love and relationships are key aspects of the literature, thoughts, and ethics of any society. This component offers the opportunity for learners to recognise and relate to the passions, frustrations and delights of love in the ancient world. The ethical questions raised by these ideas continue to be wrestled over by successive generations and this unit will generate interesting and important discussions about love, desire, sex, sexuality and the institution of marriage.

The AS course is co-taught in Year 12 and involves study of Homer’s Odyssey and Greek Theatre. The AS exam is slightly different from the A2 exam.

Lessons will involve reading and discussion of texts, looking at plot and character, considering the context in which the literature was written. It will also involve viewing visual and material culture (eg: art, vases, architecture) related to the three areas of study. There will always be the opportunity to draw comparisons with our own behaviour and culture and we shall see Classical influences on the world in the 21st century.

Entry requirements

Level 6 in GCSE English Literature.

Note that NO Latin knowledge is required for this course.

Future opportunities

Students regularly continue their Classical studies at University. This can be a literature based degree or ancient history or archaeology. Classical subjects are recognised for the breadth of skills they develop. A quote from Reading University’s website states that: Classics graduates are trained in clear thinking, research skills, diligence, independence, adaptability and the ability to understand people and situations in the world at large. As such, they are eagerly sought after by employers.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 16 July 2018
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years

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