What is Classical Civilisation?

Whether it be our political thoughts on democracy, beliefs about homosexuality, justifications for war, or arguments about assisted suicide, the debates about right and wrong, good and bad started over 2000 years ago and heavily influence us today. Along the way we will read about great battles with heroes, witches, and giants in Homer’s Odyssey; watch the greatest piece of drama full of murder, prophecy and family secrets in Sophocles’ Oedipus; accompany Ovid as he tries to find a girlfriend in Rome; and join the greatest philosopher Socrates as he discusses beauty, the god of love and the pursuit of wisdom. We also consider the classical world’s influences on masculinity, art, architecture, storytelling and song and so much more. Eating olives, drinking red wine and getting a suntan are optional.

A study of the classical world focuses primarily on the literature, philosophy, and culture of Classical Athens and Ancient Rome.

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Specifics

  • Course specific entry requirements

    Grade 5 from English (4 will be considered)

  • Assessment methods

    2 final exams

  • Course duration

    2 years

  • Course type

    Linear A-level

  • Exam board

    OCR

Course content summary:

  • The World of the Hero: Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid 40%
  • Greek Theatre 30%
  • Beliefs and Ideas: Love and Relationships 30%

High Achievers / Oxbridge

  • We are proud that this year we have had a much higher proportion of students being accepted for interview and gaining offers for places at Oxford and Cambridge in both Classics and Law.

  • The critical thinking skills that this subject promotes are highly sought after by these institutions. Many of our students also take up the EPQ Qualification.

What can I do after Xaverian?

Some people are put off studying Classical Civilisation because it doesn’t seem to lead to any obvious form of employment at the end of it; they could not be more wrong: Classics students are very highly prized indeed by employers of all kinds. What employers appreciate is the mental training we offer in a whole range of different disciplines, which produces graduates of exceptional intellectual flexibility. In our world of rapid social and technological change, it is the capacity to react to new and unforeseen developments with flexibility, which employers value most, and it is widely recognized that Classics and related subjects produce just the kind of people they are looking for.

Who studies Classical Civilisation?

As well as being superb preparation for further study in the Classics, a study of Classical Civilisation complements many other popular A-levels including: Art, Drama and Theatre Studies, English Literature, Government and Politics, Law, History, Social Sciences, Theology and Philosophy – as well as the study of the languages. We are the only college in the area that offers both Classical Civilisation and Ancient History and both these work exceptionally well together focusing on different areas and honing different skills.

How you will study:

We do not expect any knowledge of the subject, and will spend time building up your knowledge. You will develop skills in critical analysis, presenting rigorous arguments, oral and written, and learn how to discuss a topic with clarity, patience and sensitivity to the views of others. You will also learn to reference ancient and modern secondary scholars in essays, preparing you well for further study at university.

There is lots of discussion in the classroom, and we believe that extra-curricular experiences and visits are particularly advantageous in opening your eyes to topics we study: we hope you will take advantage of our trips to ancient sites and the British Museum as well as our links with Manchester University; a number of our students this year relished the chance to study an ancient language at a summer school or spent a week studying Classics related subjects at colleges in Oxford.

High Achievers / Oxbridge

  • We are proud that this year we have had a much higher proportion of students being accepted for interview and gaining offers for places at Oxford and Cambridge in both Classics and Law.

  • The critical thinking skills that this subject promotes are highly sought after by these institutions. Many of our students also take up the EPQ Qualification.

What can I do after Xaverian?

Some people are put off studying Classical Civilisation because it doesn’t seem to lead to any obvious form of employment at the end of it; they could not be more wrong: Classics students are very highly prized indeed by employers of all kinds. What employers appreciate is the mental training we offer in a whole range of different disciplines, which produces graduates of exceptional intellectual flexibility. In our world of rapid social and technological change, it is the capacity to react to new and unforeseen developments with flexibility, which employers value most, and it is widely recognized that Classics and related subjects produce just the kind of people they are looking for.

Who studies Classical Civilisation?

As well as being superb preparation for further study in the Classics, a study of Classical Civilisation complements many other popular A-levels including: Art, Drama and Theatre Studies, English Literature, Government and Politics, Law, History, Social Sciences, Theology and Philosophy – as well as the study of the languages. We are the only college in the area that offers both Classical Civilisation and Ancient History and both these work exceptionally well together focusing on different areas and honing different skills.

How you will study:

We do not expect any knowledge of the subject, and will spend time building up your knowledge. You will develop skills in critical analysis, presenting rigorous arguments, oral and written, and learn how to discuss a topic with clarity, patience and sensitivity to the views of others. You will also learn to reference ancient and modern secondary scholars in essays, preparing you well for further study at university.

There is lots of discussion in the classroom, and we believe that extra-curricular experiences and visits are particularly advantageous in opening your eyes to topics we study: we hope you will take advantage of our trips to ancient sites and the British Museum as well as our links with Manchester University; a number of our students this year relished the chance to study an ancient language at a summer school or spent a week studying Classics related subjects at colleges in Oxford.