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Rooks Heath School

Rooks Heath School

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Classical Civilisation GCSE

This is an additional subject choice, which is currently taught as a twilight class.

Who is it suitable for?

It is important that students of literature and history should have a sound working knowledge of the ancient world’s contribution in both areas. Classical Civilisation at GCSE would further enrich an understanding of the past; it is an interesting subject as both Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations offer a range of inspiring topics some of which are experiencing a resurgence of popularity in the media.

Studying Classical Civilisation at this level and higher will invite students to reflect on societies then and now, making various comparisons to the world in which we currently live, demonstrating the value of studying ancient civilisations and their relevance. Students are always amazed at the similarities between those in the public eye today and those who inhabited and ruled Roman and Greek society.

Students do not need to have studied this topic before! There is no language component to this course!

What will students learn? (course outline)

Students will be studying for the OCR Classical Civilisation Short Course. This is equivalent to half a GCSE.

As part of the course, students will learn how to read and analyse classical texts, such as the Odyssey and Antigone. They will also study different aspects of Greek culture such as Greek warfare, Greek theatre and also be able to compare the Classical World with the modern world today.


Students will be entered for the following two units:

  • Epic and Myth: the set text will be Homer’s The Odyssey
  • Culture and Society in the Classical World: the set text will be Sophocles’ Antigone

Controlled coursework/homework:

There is controlled assessment. The controlled assessment is 50% of the course. It will be based on Sophocles’ Antigone

What skills do students need to be successful in this GCSE and beyond?

Classical Civilisation at GCSE level aims to help students develop into effective and independent learners as well as critical and reflective thinkers. They will also enhance and develop their analytical and evaluative skills which are a vital part of their future studies. A s students will also be expected to provide an informed personal response to material. These skills are invaluable particularly for A levels in Classical Civilisation, English Literature, History and Philosophy and Ethics.

Why study this subject?

The first, and most important, reason is because it’s a fascinating subject, with a huge breadth of subject matter.

It is also a very useful subject. Like History, Classical Civilisation offers an important insight into where we come from and why modern society is the way it is. Like Religious Studies, Classical Civilisation raises vital questions about matters that we take for granted by comparison to very different societies and English, it develops one’s appreciation of literature and one’s use of the language.

As an essay subject, Classical Civilisation trains students to collect a diverse range of information and to synthesise this information into clear, concise arguments.

In learning about the ancients, students will develop more familiarity with many of the references to the Classical world which abound in English (and European) literature.