Classical Civilisation | Selby College
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A Level, Level 3

Classical Civilisation

This course is aimed at any student interested in the classical world i.e. ancient Greece and Rome. It fosters skills of interpreting ancient texts (in translation), critically analysing them, and organising thoughts on paper. All students are welcome, but it is likely to have a special appeal to those studying social sciences, especially History, English literature, and English language. Not only the literature, but also the art, history, and society of ancient Greece and Rome are central to this course.

The World of the Hero – here, students focus on Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, two epic poems that stand at the fountainhead of the Greek and Latin literary traditions respectively. Students explore the often violent worlds of ancient warrior societies, and explore themes as warfare, loyalty, mortality, revenge and the role of gods and heroes.

Love and Relationships – this unit explores attitudes to love and sex in the ancient world. It includes studies on poets like the Greek Sappho, who wrote beautiful erotic verse about both lesbian and heterosexual lovers. It moves on to the Roman poet Ovid whose Art of Love offers humorous and provocative advice to lovers both male and female. It also considers wider issues about ancient attitudes towards gender, sex, sexuality, and desire.

Imperial Image – the focus of this unit is political. It examines the achievement of supreme political power by Augustus, the first Roman Emperor. In reality, this marked the end of the Roman Republic, a political system in which power was distributed among various office holders and social classes, and its replacement by a monarchy in which all power rested in one man’s hands. How Augustus ‘spun’ his image, using art, literature, and behind-the-scenes politicking, to make this process seem acceptable and inevitable (a process with many echoes in modern politics) is the subject of this module.

A range of additional materials about the units will be provided by the lecturers.

Classical civilisation is highly respected as an A level that demands high-level analytical and critical skills. It can therefore open doors to subjects which require complex analysis and communication skills. Examples include journalism, academia, education, media, and law.

5 GCSEs at Grade 9-4 including English Language and maths

At least one six in either English Language, Literature, or History (to be decided).

Three exams at the end of the course:

The World of the Hero – 2h 20m

Love and Relationships – 1h 45m

Imperial Image – 1h 45m