Classical Civilisation

Myths, monsters, gods, heroes, emperors, poets, artists…

Do you want to broaden your horizons with an A level course covering literature, history, culture and philosophy in the ancient world?

If so, A level Classical Civilisation is the course for you.


What will I study?

Beauchamp City Sixth Form follows the OCR Classical Civilisation specification.  This qualification offers a broad and rewarding study of the classical world, and will allow you to develop your knowledge and understanding in a range of fascinating topics. 

You will be working on three units in this course: The world of the hero; Greek theatre; and Love and relationships.

The world of the hero

Do you remember the story of Odysseus? The wily warrior who devised the Trojan horse?  The one who defeated the Cyclops by driving a stake into his eye? Who sailed past sea monsters and resisted the call of the Sirens?

You’ve probably heard the tales, passed down for literally thousands of years.  In this module, you will have the opportunity to study Odysseus’ journey home in Homer’s epic The Odyssey, alongside Virgil’s Roman epic, The Aeneid.  Commissioned by the Emperor Augustus to glorify Rome, Virgil’s epic follows the warrior Aeneas, made refugee by the sacking of his native city of Troy, seeking a new land to call home.  After terrible persecution by the goddess Juno, and devastation on land and sea, Aeneas is finally victorious in Italy and established as the forefather of the Roman race.  A story of courage, duty, love and the tragedy of war.

Greek theatre

Much more than simply the study of plays, this module will give you an understanding of the surrounding culture and society of ancient Athens.  You’ll explore the tragedies of Euripedes’ Bacchae, Sophocles’ Oedipus (yes, he kills his father and sleeps with his mother, but there’s so much more to say), and the biting, sometimes downright filthy, satirical comedy of Aristophanes’ Frogs.  You’ll be learning about religion, politics, values, relationships, culture and the conventions of performance, and studying visual material such as vase paintings alongside the texts, giving you a more informed insight into the world which produced some of the most powerful literature of all time. 

Love and relationships

Ideas about love and relationships are key aspects of the literature, thoughts and ethics of any society.  This component offers you the opportunity to recognise and relate to the passions, frustrations and delights of love in ancient Greece and Rome.  You’ll be exploring contemporary thinking about the roles of men, women, marriage and sexuality in everyday life, and studying how philosophers Seneca and Plato conceptualised these issues, comparing ideals to reality and debating the question of whether there is a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way to love or be loved.  You’ll also study the powerful and evocative poetry of Sappho and the more light-hearted and frivolous take of the poet Ovid.


How should I prepare for A level study?

You don’t need to have any previous experience of studying Classics to be a welcome and valuable member of our class, but you should come to us with an enthusiastic approach and a willingness to learn more broadly.  Ideally, you’ll have enjoyed exploring or reading around the classical world for your own pleasure: this could be through documentary or drama series, podcasts such as the BBC’s In Our Time (search for relevant topics or figures), historical non-fiction, novels based in the classical world or original texts.   This is an essay based subject, so you also need to be confident in your written expression.


Future Careers

Studying Classics opens many routes for you.  As an A level, it may be particularly useful to those hoping to go on to study literature, history or philosophy as course elements complement each other.  J K Rowling is perhaps one of the most famous Classics alumni, but as well as writing, you could look forward to a career in academia, or in law, politics or teaching.

“Fortune favours the bold” 

- Virgil

Be bold.  Choose Classical Civilisation