Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation combines enthralling history, world-changing literature and subversive philosophical and political ideas. It demands and instils a high degree of intellectual rigour and cultural sensitivity towards our social, literary and historical origins.
The study of Latin and Greek involves logical thinking, precise analysis and lucid expression. Pupils invariably develop an enhanced vocabulary and an ability to write with greater fluency, not to mention a heightened awareness of linguistic processes and cultural heritage.
The study of Classical Civilisation combines literature with art history, archaeology, philosophy, geography, history, sociology and anthropology. The course of study may itself be compared to an archaeological ‘dig’: Pupils study the languages, history, culture, religion, technology and society of earlier periods and in so doing, they gradually unearth the very foundations of modern life.
All pupils study Latin in Lower 4 and Upper 4, following the Cambridge Latin Course. They read about the lives of Caecilius, Metella, Quintus and Clemens in Pompeii before the narrative shifts to Roman Britain.
Latin grammar and vocabulary are rigorously taught in parallel with various other aspects of Classics.
In Lower 4, pupils study the Greek gods, the Greek alphabet and the labours of Herakles in art and literature before exploring two aspects of the Roman world: Leisure Activities of the Romans, and The Destruction of Pompeii.
In Upper 4A we commence a study of cultural and historical aspects of the Roman Invasion of Britain, before revising the Greek alphabet and learning about the literature and archaeology of the Trojan War.
The year concludes with a study of Greek festivals.
Latin and Greek:
Lower 5 pupils who continue with Latin spend the first part of the year consolidating their grammar while they learn about the history of Rome, from its foundation by Romulus to the reigns of the early emperors.
Language work is shaped by GCSE-style questions; vocabulary learning is based around GCSE requirements. At the end of the year, every pupil should feel comfortable and confident enough to pursue either subject (or indeed both) at GCSE. The GCSE course involves the study of each ancient language with its literature. Pupils read mythological tales and historical accounts, the better to appreciate grammatical rules.
Some Lower 5 pupils pursue a Classical Civilisation course, which does not require knowledge of ancient languages. The first part of the year concerns Ancient Greece while, after Christmas, the emphasis shifts to the Roman world. As they become familiar with the style of GCSE questioning, pupils feel ready to begin their GCSE studies.
They prepare for two papers. The first invites a comparison between aspects of Greek and Roman cultures. The second concerns specific aspects of the literature and culture of either Greece or Rome. Both papers combine literary sources (in English translation) with archaeological evidence and visual material.
Latin and Greek:
A-level Latin and Greek each comprise four papers, taken at the end of the two-year course. Two papers cover translation and comprehension skills, while two involve prose and verse texts.
A new course for A-Level Classical Civilisation will be introduced in September 2017. In preparation for examinations in 2019, pupils will address three areas of the Classical World: A reading of Greek and Roman epic, a study of the visual and material culture of the ancient world as evidenced by its many physical remains, and the consideration of the ancient world’s ideas and ideals as represented in classical thought.
Link to relevant external exam boards
Owing to extensive reform over the next two years, there is a large number of relevant links. Information is arranged by year of examination: