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Classics A Level at Riddlesdown Collegiate

Course description

Although the empires of Greece and Rome fell hundreds of years ago, their influence and impact has never truly gone away. The worlds of film and literature are filled with examples based on Classical history and mythology. The last ten years alone has given us countless classical films and books indirectly influenced by the ancient world.

However, Classics does not just influence the world of entertainment. Many of our modern political concepts come from the ancients: democracy is an Ancient Greek term literally meaning “rule by the people” and the US government went as far as naming one of its ruling bodies after the Roman equivalent: the senate.

At Riddlesdown, you will have the opportunity to access this ancient world. In the first year, we study Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey, and ancient Athenian theatre. In the second year, we focus on Virgil’s reply to the Odyssey, the Aeneid, and matters of ancient beliefs and ideas.

Course content

Year 12 Homer’s Odyssey and Society: The epic tale of Odysseus and his journey home after the Trojan War is one of the earliest and greatest works of Western literature. Confronted by natural and supernatural threats – shipwrecks; battles; the angry sea god, Poseidon; monsters and seductive women – his bravery and natural cunning are tested to the limit before he reaches his homeland. Upon arrival, he faces the suitors who have been planning to marry his wife and ‘steal his world’. This chimes well with our modern issues of ownership and invasion. The concluding confrontation is as gruesome as any battle fought at Troy. The epic is studied as a literary text but you will also explore the values of Mycenaean society such as attitudes to the gods, women and slaves and what it means to be a hero. You will also have the chance to study the history and archaeology behind the epic. Fundamentally, this book is about what it means to be a warrior, a father, a survivor and a man in the ancient world. Ancient Greek Theatre: You will read powerful tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles and the satirical comedies of Aristophanes. As well as studying the plays for their literary and entertainment value, you will consider the context in which the plays we re written. This includes social status in Athens, the position of women and slaves, religious practice and belief, the place of drama in Athenian society, the serious messages behind the plays and their political and historical background. There are plenty of opportunities to consider what makes us laugh and cry and draw parallels with modern theatre and entertainment as a whole. Theatre was an intrinsic part of ancient Athenian life and this unit aims to show exactly why that was the case.

Year 13 Virgil’s Aeneid: Building on the work from the previous year on the Odyssey, in the second year we look at the great Roman epic poem, the Aeneid. Like the Odyssey it deals with war, adventures, family and death. However, it is very much a Roman epic, influenced by the end of the Roman republic and beginning of the reign of the emperors. The debate still rages on over whether the Aeneid is a pro- or anti-war poem, which is one of the key themes that we will investigate through the course. In addition, while the Odyssey was about a man trying to return to his home, the Aeneid is about a man whose home has been destroyed and is trying to find a new one. In our world of refugee crises and immigration laws, the themes of the Aeneid could not be more current.

Entry requirements

Specific Requirements & Skills Required 

GCSE English Language (6); GCSE English Literature (6) 

A high standard of literacy 

The ability to research, make connections and draw parallels 

A love of reading and analysing texts 

A willingness to analyse our own world as well as that of the ancients. 

An open, inquiring mind and a love of debate

Future opportunities

University graduates in Classics have found careers in law, journalism, research, administration, media, museums, art galleries and heritage management, archaeology, the Civil Service, accountancy, computing, commerce and industry as well as in teaching.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Riddlesdown Collegiate directly.

Last updated date: 19 December 2017
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