Classical Civilisation


Why study Classical Civilisation?

This subject allows students to study aspects of the Greek and Roman world through history, literature in translation and archaeological evidence. The course has a range of options through the Greek and Roman world, to ensure that pupils get a balanced view of the ancient world. In Year 12 we start looking at the ancient Greek world, through literature and archaeology, before moving on to the Roman world in Year 13. The students will be able to reflect on the differences and advancements from the Greek and Roman worlds through Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. Through reading ancient texts in translation, students will develop skills of critical analysis and evaluation of literary techniques. They will also focus on archaeological material and learn how to make connections between different types of material and topics. In Year 12, pupils will be introduced to visual and archaeological sources in studying Greek Theatre, which will be carried through in Year 13 to studying similar sources in Greek religion. Pupils will develop skills necessary for further academic study at university level, including reading and scrutinising academics’ views on topics. The curriculum is challenging and we have high ambitions for all of our pupils in Classical Civilisation, with many students using the subject as a gateway to university courses. The study of the ancient world allows pupils to reflect on their understanding of modern concepts of democracy, the rights of humans and equality, through contrast to slavery and the treatment of women in the ancient world. Our Classics teacher is passionate about the subject and offers lessons that are challenging, interactive and overall fun. As the subject is new to study at A Level, there are exciting new topics to explore and skills to develop so that at the end of Year 13 students will be confident in arguing their points of view in a succinct and coherent way.

We aim to develop students who can:

  • be stimulated through outstanding teaching and encouraged to desire a greater knowledge and understanding of the Greek and Roman world.
  • acquire a sophisticated level of knowledge and understanding of the literature and culture of the classical world through studying a diverse range of ancient material and making connections and comparisons between them
  •  understand classical literature, thought and material culture in its context; including how issues and values relevant to the society in which they were created are reflected in ancient sources and materials
  • further develop skills of critical analysis and evaluation and apply these to the range of source materials studied in order to gain insight into aspects of the classical world
  • articulate an informed response to the material studied, using a range of appropriate evidence to formulate coherent arguments with substantiated evidence based judgements
  • acquire a sound basis for further study of the classical world.
  • have an awareness of race, gender, sexuality and other forms of discrimination as a historical issue.

Classical Civilisation is excellent at developing source skills and investigating archaeological objects. Through texts studied in translation, students will learn analytical skills, evaluating the author’s use of language and key themes that reflect the Greek and Roman worlds. It is a challenging and unique subject and will enable students to develop core evaluative skills and critical thinking necessary for future study and work.


Students follow the OCR Syllabus with modules including The World of the Hero, Greek Religion and Greek Theatre.

Links to GCSE

It is not necessary for students to have studied GCSE History or GCSE Classical Civilisation but it is essential for them to have a good command of English. All modules are assessed through examinations.


Students take part in Study Days at the universities of Durham and Newcastle. Every opportunity is made to visit appropriate Roman sites in England, e.g. the British Museum, and abroad if possible.  Visiting speakers from prestigious universities are invited to discuss associated topics. Students are also invited to see productions of Greek tragedies in the North East.

Year 12:
The World of the Hero – the Odyssey
Greek Theatre
Year 13:
The World of the Hero – the Aeneid
Greek Religion

The World of the Hero focuses on two epic poems, the Odyssey and the Aeneid, looking at how the authors develop their characters, key themes and how these poems reflect the societies in which they were made. Greek Religion focuses on how the Greeks worshipped their gods, including different rituals they performed and how individual Greeks may have perceived their gods in comparison to Greek society as a whole. Greek Theatre looks the experience of attending the theatre as a Greek. It includes analysing archaeological sources to develop an understanding of the theatrical experience. We also study three plays, two tragedies and a comedy, to see how different genres are represented.

Skills to be developed:

  • understand, interpret, evaluate and analyse a range of evidence from classical sources in their social, historical and cultural context
  • evaluate and use this evidence to produce analytical responses, and effectively substantiated judgements
  • present these judgements in a clear, concise and logical manner
  • develop their knowledge, skills and understanding over the two year linear A Level course to evaluate with appropriate levels of sophistication, demonstrating a deep, complex understanding of the literature, ideas and materials studied, as well as their cultural context
  • make use of knowledge and understanding of relevant secondary scholars and academics in order to further develop their analysis and argument.

Y12 – 13 Classical Civilisation Curriculum Map

Y12 – 13 Classical Civilisation Progression Model