CLASSICS We offer two subjects at 'A' level: Latin (OCR) and

We offer two subjects at ‘A’ level: Latin (OCR) and Classical Civilisation (OCR). Both courses provide challenging
and varied programmes of study that complement a wide range of other subject combinations.
AS: Advanced Subsidiary GCE in Classics
A2: Advanced GCE in Classics
Latin H039
Latin H439
Alive and kicking
Latin is often regarded as ‘dead’ simply because it is no longer used as an everyday spoken tongue. But its
influence on English, French, Spanish and Italian (not to mention Romanian...) cannot be underestimated. Latinand Greek-derived words form as much as 70% of the English language in use today and a much higher
percentage of the technical vocabulary of Medicine and the Sciences. As your Latin vocabulary grows, so will your
command of English. You will be able to ‘decode’ words such as defenestration and malocclusion as well as
understand key legal, medical and botanical terms.
Unit 1 – Latin Language F361
Unit 2 – Latin Verse and Prose Literature
50% of total AS marks
50%of total AS marks
1 ½ hours
1 ½ hours
Language (from lingua, tongue)
Language work at AS builds upon the foundations laid at GCSE. Comprehension and translation skills are
developed, knowledge of word endings is consolidated and a defined vocabulary list (which contains many words
already met at GCSE) offers security if mastered! Analysis and logical thought are key skills that will be
developed here.
Literature (from litera, letter)
Exploring Latin prose and verse enables you to engage directly with the wit and flair of some of the greatest
minds of antiquity. Let Cicero, orator extraordinaire, dazzle you with his technical brilliance and mind-bending
sentence structure and the poet Ovid amuse and charm you with his wordplay. Ovid’s works have inspired
everyone from Mozart to Ted Hughes while Cicero has been read by St Augustine, William Shakespeare and the
founding fathers of the U.S. Constitution in the 18th century.
(b) A2 LATIN
Unit 3 – Latin Verse
Unit 4 – Latin Prose
25% of total GCE marks
25 % of total GCE marks
2 hours
2 hours
At A2, study of both language and literature continues.
Verse (from versus, a line of poetry, furrow)
The verse author is Virgil, one of the most influential poets of the 1st Century BC whose grand epic, the Aeneid, is
an essential part of any Classical education.
Prose (from prosa, straightforward)
In complete contrast is the moralising historian Livy whose style has been described as having a ‘creamy
richness’ to it. He focuses on detailed psychological studies of key characters in Roman history such as Romulus
and Hannibal. His sentences are fluent, elegantly built up and paint a vivid picture of the political life in Rome
through the ages.
For the language elements, two prescribed authors (Julius Caesar and the poet Ovid) provide the basis of
translation and comprehension work.
Who can take Latin?
If you have done Latin GCSE and coped well with its rigours, you are in a position to take AS and A2. It is highly
suitable for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the power of both language and literature.
Latin combines very well indeed with English, Modern Languages and History but would also complement Maths
and Science; it also provides a very useful backdrop for those interested in careers in Medicine, Law or
Who can take Classical Civilisation?
Classical Civilisation brings you face to face with the cultures of Greece and Rome through the reading of
literature in translation. Knowledge of Latin or Greek is not required nor is a GCSE in Classical Civilisation, but in
order to succeed you will need a real curiosity about the past and a willingness to engage with new ideas.
We are confident that you will discover a world that is in some respects quite alien to ours yet in others,
remarkably similar. English, Art and Theatre Studies combine particularly well with this course, but it would add
variety and breadth to any set of options.
Key skills developed by Classical Civilisation include literary analysis and appreciation, evaluation and
interpretation of evidence and essay writing. Increased awareness of how the classical world has influenced
western civilisation is just one of the benefits of this course of study.
Roman Society and Thought
50% of total AS marks
1 ½ hours
Homer’s Odyssey and Society
50% of total AS marks
1 ½ hours
Roman Society and Thought
This module provides an insight into Roman society and its values through the literature of the time. Horace,
Juvenal, Petronius and Pliny offer a flavour of the period revealing how women lived their lives and were viewed
by men, the excesses of dinner parties and the Romans’ understanding of philosophy and religion. All this amid a
society where every man (and woman) was ranked: from slave to freedman and citizen to emperor.
Homer’s Odyssey and Society
This module deals with the society, values, history and archaeology of the era in which Homer’s Odyssey was set.
It will explain the concept of heroism with its associated ideas of justice and revenge and honour and reputation.
You will examine the role of women and the contribution made by slaves to the society of the time. All of these
ideas will be discovered through the literature where, of course, you will appreciate the narrative techniques, use
of language and themes that make The Odyssey one of the most important epics of all time.
Unit 3
Unit 4
Roman Epic: Virgil’s Aeneid
Greek Comedy
25% of total A Level marks
25 % of total A Level marks
1 ½ hours
1 ½ hours
Roman Epic
Roman Epic has Greek Epic as its starting point but Virgil’s great poem has a complex web of socio-political
messages underpinning it. You will consider the beauty and the power of the language but also the relationship
between art and politics, poetry and propaganda. The Aeneid has many layers of meaning which have fascinated
generations of readers and influenced countless poets and artists. Issues raised by this poem include the nature
of human responsibility, concepts of heroism and sacrifice and the role of fate and the gods.
Outside the classroom
The Classics Society was established last year to cater for those doing Classical subjects at GCSE and A level,
with the idea that it should be run principally by a Committee of Sixth Formers. You will have a chance to attend
and participate in a number of events that will broaden your understanding of the classical world.
In addition, there is a biennial trip to either Greece or Italy and visits to plays, museums and Roman sites around
Britain over the course of the year. From time to time, you might also attend helpful study days and lectures.
Ancient Greek can be learnt as an extra-curricular activity. It would be ideal for anyone wanting to study Classics
at university or just interested in mastering a new language. If you enjoy Latin, you may well enjoy Greek. It offers
similar benefits but is even more central in understanding both medical and scientific terms. Some of you may
already know a number of the Greek letters from Maths or Physics lessons.
Prospects for classicists
Apart from going on to teach Classics (or become Mayor of London) there is no limit to what a classicist can do.
Both Latin and Classical Civilisation form an excellent training for any vocation, for they are widely respected as
academically rigorous disciplines that promote orderly thought processes, accurate use of language and a broad
understanding of key cultural phenomena.
Mrs S C Bradley
Head of Classics Department