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What will I learn?

Classical Civilisation is an engaging and interesting subject which students can study from Year 8 onwards. The pupils study the Romans and the Greeks in depth and also look at other cultures which have had a direct impact on Greek and Roman civilisations. The courses studied in Years 8 and 9 are varied and engaging, looking at archaeology, history, literature, art, religion and architecture. The aim of them is to give the students an opportunity to have a wide and varied appreciation of what Classical Civilisation is, whilst also developing skills of analysis and evaluation.

Year 8 

  • Introduction to ancient civilisations
  • The 7 Wonders of the World
  • Greek religion, gods, temples and sacrifice
  • Greek Literature (Homer’s Odyssey or Euripides’ Medea)
  • Alexander the Great
  • Gladiatorial shows and chariot racing
  • The Roman Army
  • Pompeii in the 1st century AD

Year 9 

  • Myths, gods and the Underworld
  • Sparta
  • Mycenae and Troy and the archaeological evidence
  • Roman literature (Ovid’s Metamorphoses or Virgil’s Aeneid)
  • Cleopatra, Mark Antony and Augustus
  • Roman Religion, Mithraism, Christianity and the Druids
  • The Punic Wars and Hannibal


The course is designed to give the pupils an equal appreciation for both the Greek and Roman civilisations and to help students develop important analytical skills. To study Classical Civilisation no previous knowledge is needed, so students can start GCSE new to the subject, or having already studied it in Years 8 and 9. Once they have begun the course they will study four modules which include:

City Life in the Classical World

This unit looks at the Greek city of Athens and what life was like there. It considers many aspects of city life such as the household, entertainment, festivals and education. Students will learn about the roles of men and women in ancient Athenian life and consider similarities and differences to today, giving them a better appreciation for the differences in all societies.

Community Life in the Classical World

The Roman town of Pompeii is the focus, along with the eruption of Vesuvius. Pupils learn about the houses, theatres, amphitheatres and destruction of Pompeii. They consider how well the Pompeians understood the nature of the volcano they lived next to and how much Pompeii has helped our understanding of the Roman world.

Epic and Myth

Homer’s Odyssey is a Greek epic which is read and analysed by the pupils. They will focus on learning about, and discussing the characters and themes of the epic. How good a leader is Odysseus? What is heroism? And are the goddesses there to help or hinder Odysseus’ journey home? These are some of the key questions students will discuss in class and learn to write about.

Culture and Society in the Classical World

This is a controlled assessment unit in which the students need to write about their reading of the Aeneid in order to answer a particular question set by the OCR exam board. Questions vary from character analysis to discussion of the Aeneid as propaganda.