Classical Civilisation (Classics)

Head of Department: Miss C Nichols

Examination board: OCR

Classical Civilisation (Classics) combines the skills required for studying History and English Literature. Students develop an understanding of the ancient world, its literature, culture and civilisation and develop analytical and discursive skills through the study of some of the greatest literature of the western world.


Unit 1: Britain in the Roman Empire

This topic looks at the wide ranging and radical transformation of Britain under Roman rule through areas such as town development, transport, industry lifestyle and religion.  By paying close attention to literary evidence from the time, and the ever increasing archaeological material students will need to debate how far Britain actually resisted Roman influences.   Key topics of study will include Claudius’s invasion, Boudicca’s rebellion, and the expansion north under Agricola.

Unit 2: Homer: the Odyssey

This topic looks at the Odyssey, and its hero, Odysseus. This poem is one of the earliest pieces of western literature, and as such lies at the root of European Civilisation. Modern readers can easily connect with its depiction of the hero’s suffering at the hands of the god Poseidon and his support from the goddess Athena in his quest to return home to his wife, Penelope, after the fall of Troy. Great stories such as that of the Cyclops, a one-eyed man-eating giant, or the sorceress, Circe, who turns Odysseus’s men into pigs, provide adventure and entertainment, whilst also raising deeper questions about human conduct.


Unit 3: Roman Britain: life in the outpost of the Empire

The principal focus of this unit is on history, society and values, and it builds directly upon the work covered in the lower sixth. The unit is also concerned with archaeology, art, architecture and religion. Candidates must study the Roman presence in Britain and the ways in which the Britons’ lives were affected by the Romans.


  • the government and administration of Roman Britain;
  • urbanisation and the towns of Roman Britain;
  • villas, agriculture and the countryside in Roman Britain;
  • roads in Roman Britain;
  • the economy of Roman Britain;
  • art in Roman Britain, including sculpture, mosaics, wall-paintings and pottery; and
  • religion in Roman Britain, including Celtic religion, Roman religion, the imperial cult and   ‘   foreign cults’.

Unit 4: Virgil and the world of the hero

The principal focus of this unit is on literature, society and values. The unit is also concerned with history, politics and religion.  Candidates study the prescribed books selected from Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad and the following areas:

  • the composition of both epics;
  • narrative techniques including speeches and repetition;
  • descriptive techniques including similes and imagery;
  • themes within the epics including: heroism, honour and reputation, family, women, the role of the gods, the power of fate, the portrayal of war, moral values and the role of Aeneas in Rome’s imperial destiny.


Head of Department: Mr P Adams

AS LATIN (New for 2016)

Examinations board: OCR

Unit 1 Latin Language (1 hour 30 mins; 50% of the total mark)

Candidates will translate two passages of Latin into English. This should prove fairly straightforward for students who have studied Latin to GCSE level as they will have studied almost all of the grammar. This paper is designed to hone students’ translation skills and to introduce them to a wide variety of Roman stories and texts.

Unit 2 Latin Literature (2 hours; 50% of the total mark)

Candidates study two Latin writers such as Ovid and Cicero. As literature is not currently studied at GCSE, there will be taster sessions available to current Year 11s and also there will be a gentle introduction to literature at the start of Year 12. Ovid was reputedly Shakespeare’s favourite writer and the influence of his most famous text, the Metamorphoses, is evident in his plays.

Cicero was a famous lawyer in his day and prosecuted notorious criminals and corrupt politicians. We will study one of his law court speeches analysing the content and the style Cicero uses to present his arguments. The examination consists of comprehension questions and a short essay.

A LATIN (New for 2016)

Examinations board: OCR

Unit 1 Unseen Translation (1 hour 45 minutes; 33% of the total mark)
Unit 2 Comprehension (1 hour 15 minutes; 17% of the total mark)
Unit 3 Prose Literature (2 hours; 25% of the total mark)
Unit 4 Verse Literature (2 hours; 25% of the total mark)

The 4 Units studied at A2 are an expanded version of the Units offered at AS with more variety on offer and more opportunity to study Latin writers.


Employers and Universities value the study of Classics because it is an indication of academic prowess and it teaches transferable skills like problem solving and attention to detail. Popular careers for Classicists include Politics, Journalism and Law.