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Classical Civilization A Level at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School

Course description

Choose Classical Civilisation if you are interested in learning about the classical world - its personalities, events, literature, drama, history, philosophy and mythology. In other words opt for Classical Civilisation because you think you will enjoy the course. Studying a subject you enjoy will make it easier for you to fulfil your potential and achieve your best grade. All sources are studied in English translation – there is absolutely no need for you to have any understanding of Latin or Classical Greek to choose this course.

The Classical Civilisation course seeks to relate what happened in the ancient world to the experience of students today. It shows how modern culture has developed from the classical past, how the civilisation of Greece has helped in shaping modern Europe and how Classical influences are still important in today’s world.

Course content

AS (YEAR 12)

Students are introduced to two significant aspects of the classical world. The topics most likely to be studied are:


A study of the role played by women in the male-dominated world of the Greeks and Romans – domestic, cultural, religious, legal and social. Sources are taken from a wide variety of areas of Greek and Roman literature, ranging from legal documents to one of the most uproarious of Aristophanes’s comedies.


A study of selected books of the Odyssey and the religious, cultural and social values implicit in the text. Homer is a superb storyteller and his peculiar gift was to be able to combine so many short stories into one great epic poem.

A2 (YEAR 13)

Students study two further significant aspects of the classical world. The topics most likely to be studied are:


A study of four Greek plays, two by Sophocles and two by Euripides, in their religious, cultural and social context. The plays studied are King Oedipus, Antigone, Hippolytus and Medea. We study the myths behind the plays first and then look at the role of the gods and the roles of both men and women in society.


A study of the text which is central to Roman culture, commissioned by the Emperor Augustus in order to promote the values of his new regime and telling the mythological origins of Roman settlement in Italy.

Entry requirements

Classical Civilisation is open to all students entering the Sixth Form. Indeed we positively welcome newcomers to the subject. The specification does not require any previous study of Classical Civilisation or knowledge of Latin or Greek. However the choices available enable candidates who have studied a classical subject to GCSE to broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of classical culture. What we ask for above all is a determination to share our enthusiasm for the classical world.


In all modules students answer one structured, source-based question (from a choice of two) and one short essay (from a choice of two) on their chosen topics. Guidance is provided, particularly at AS, to assist all students across the ability range in demonstrating their knowledge, understanding and skills.

Future opportunities

Classical Civilisation provides a natural base for degree work in many subjects at University. It develops the critical and evaluative skills which enable students to go on to University to study a wide range of courses. The points gained at AS and/or A2 will count towards admission for any degree course. For the enthusiast there are degree courses available in Classical Civilisation or Ancient History.

The study of Classics involves distant times but the cultural, literary and political achievements of the Greeks have had a lasting influence on our own society, and are essential to a proper understanding and appreciation of the history of civilisation. In addition, as we share with Europe the legacy of the Ancient World, a study of Classics helps to increase our awareness of a common European heritage.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 13 July 2015

Key information