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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 a central part of the course. The classical world continues to have such an important influence on the modern world, which is perhaps why, though very different to life today, the world of the Greeks and Romans still feels oddly familiar.


Course content

Year 1:

  • World of the Hero: we read Homer’s epic poem The Iliad. We consider issues of love and revenge, honour and shame, heroism and suffering during the epic siege of Troy. As Achilles and the other humans count the cost, the immortal gods look down carefree from Mount Olympus.
  • Culture and the arts: we explore Greek theatre by reading two tragedies and a slapstick comedy. The playwrights use myths to explore important issues concerning relationships between men and women, the family and society, the ruler and his people, and human beings and the gods. This unit also involves the study of visual/material culture.

Year 2:

  • World of the Hero, continued: we read Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid. We consider what it was to be a hero in the Roman world – including the moral values implicit in the text, such as duty to gods, state and family; importance of fate and destiny.
  • Beliefs and ideas: this unit provides the opportunity to consider the big issues that were important in the ancient world and still are today. From notions about love to those about politics, learners will examine interesting and thought provoking concepts that will develop their ability to evaluate and analyse ideas as well as sources.


Entry requirements

Standard advanced course requirements


100% exam

Future opportunities

Many students progress to degree courses in Classics/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 is widely recognised as immensely useful for a huge variety of career paths.

Further information

We go to see plays and visit 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: 24 October 2018
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    • 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.