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Ancient History A Level at Aylesbury Grammar School

Course description

You will study two pivotal periods in the development of western civilisation, which impact daily on our lives. At AS and A2 you will study Athens in the 5th Century BCE and Rome in the last part of the 1st Century BCE and 1st Century CE.

If you are interested in a career in Law or Politics, or wish to pursue History, English, Drama or Philosophy at university level, this course will give you an excellent grounding in all disciplines. In fact, should you want to broaden your studies, this will give a depth of knowledge, which will always come in useful!

Course content

The course is split into four units, studying both periods at AS and A2 and there is no coursework requirement. Sparta During this course you will study the following: • the social structure of Sparta, including Spartiates, perioikoi and helots; • the political structure of Sparta, including kings, gerousia, ephors and assembly; • education and values in Sparta, and the roles of men and women; • Sparta and the Peloponnese, 480–404 BC (Corinth, Tegea, Argos, Messenia); • views of Sparta from other states (Athens); • the Spartan mirage and the myth of Lycurgus (with reference to Plutarch).

The Culture of Athens 449-399BCE (A2) You will explore the remarkable cultural and intellectual life of Athens during this period. To do this, you will read a selection of tragedies and comedies written at the time; you will examine contemporary art and architecture; you will study the main religious festivals and sanctuaries.

Rome Rome in the 1st Century BCE was going the other way – the Republican system which had been in place for over 400 years was collapsing and being plunged into constant civil wars. After the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44BCE, his adopted son Octavian eventually won control, established the ‘pax Romana’ and changed his name to Augustus. As the first emperor of Rome, he and those who succeeded him, allowed Rome to become the global superpower of the day.

‘Augustus and the Principate’ (AS) You will study the skilful way in which the young Octavian gradually strengthened his position in his struggle for power with Antony and Cleopatra until eventually he became the supreme political leader in Rome, the ‘princeps’. You will look at the clever ways in which Augustus gave the impression of restoring and respecting the republic, while at the same time laying the foundations of a new political system, with himself at the centre. This blueprint has informed empire builders into the 21st Century.

‘The Invention of Imperial Rome 31BC-96CE’ (A2) You will examine how the creation of the Principate transformed the government of Rome and how Augustus’ successors used it to their own ends. These are the men of legend, Tiberius, CALIGULA, Claudius, NERO, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. You will look at how Rome was rebuilt as the capitol of the empire; how different emperors used art and architecture for self-promotion. You will explore the relations of emperors with the people of Rome, and the changes in the social, moral and religious life of the city.

Entry requirements

Requirements: there is no classical language requirement. A minimum of grade B in either English and an interest in the Classical world is a necessity. If you enjoy English or History, this course will reflect your experiences in those subjects.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Aylesbury Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 15 June 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years