Classical Civilisation

A Level

Wyke’s A Level Classical Civilisation qualification provides you with a broad and rewarding study of the classical world.

You will have the opportunity to study elements of the literature, visual/material culture and thoughts of the classical world while acquiring an understanding of their social, historical and cultural contexts.

100% Examination (3 Written Exams)

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ENTRY CRITERIA

A Level Classical Civilisation requires you to achieve the minimum entry requirements for your chosen pathway plus a minimum of a 5 in GCSE English Language and a 5 in History or Religious Studies (if offered at school.) We do not require you to have had any experience of studying Classics before, though an interest is important.

EXAM BOARD

OCR (B)

COURSE STRUCTURE

Classical Civilisation has links to English Literature, Philosophy, Religious Studies, History, Government & Politics, and Theatre Studies. The course is highly regarded by Russell Group universities and allows you to develop a wide range of skills: engaging with ancient literary texts (in translation), understanding philosophical debates and gaining an insight into the ways in which classical civilisations have impacted on our modern world. Throughout the course, you will also develop a sophisticated appreciation of the literature and ideas of the classical world that will enrich your understanding both of ancient and contemporary culture and debates  

Topics Studied:

The World of the Hero

In this unit, you will dive into the worlds of two of the greatest classical epics: Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. These two texts trace the aftermath of the Trojan war and the journeys taken by the Greek Odysseus, who travels home to his faithful wife, and the Trojan Aeneas, who escapes the ruins of his city and must wander in search of a new home. Through careful analysis and comparison you will seek to answer some key questions: What does it mean to be the hero of an epic? What do these stories tell us about the societies who first heard them? How are our interpretations different more than two thousand years later? 

Greek Theatre

In the study of Greek theatre you will look at two of the most famous Greek tragedies, Oedipus the King by Sophocles and The Bacchae by Euripidesalongside Aristophanes’ satirical comedy The Frogs. In addition to this you will look at some of the archaeological and visual materials that have survived from classical antiquity to see how they change and enrich our understanding of these plays.  

Love and Relationships

This unit explores how Greeks and Romans thought and wrote about love, desire, marriage and sex.  You will explore how two deeply influential philosophers, Plato and Seneca, defined and advocated different approaches to love, and consider the contrasting poetry of two writers. The fragmentary but powerful remains of Sappho’s poetry offer a tantalising account of desire and longing, while the third book of Ovid’s Ars Amatoria, or Art of Love, offers very frank advice to women looking to find and keep a man.  

TRIPS AND ENRICHMENT

There will be a variety of enrichment opportunities for students to get involved in as part of this course. Typical extra curricular activities include a joint trip to London with Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies students to visit a leading university and the British Museum along with a regular book club where you can look at modern interpretations of classical stories.

PREPARATION FOR THE COURSE

To prepare for this course, you can the In Our Time podcasts on The Iliad, The Odyssey and the Aeneid are very good, but anything that familiarises or inspires you with Classical ideas is also beneficial  – Madeleine Miller, Natalie Haynes, Pat Barker is good – even Percy Jackson books.

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