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Classical Civilisation

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

  • Greek religion, gods, temples and sacrifice
  • Greek Literature - Homer’s Odyssey
  • Alexander the Great
  • Gladiatorial shows and chariot racing
  • The Roman Army

Year 9

  • Myths, gods and the Underworld
  • Sparta
  • Mycenae and Troy and the archaeological evidence
  • Roman or Greek literature (Ovid’s Metamorphoses or Euripides’ Medea)
  • Cleopatra, Mark Antony and Augustus
  • Roman Religion, Mithraism, Christianity and the Druids


Classical civilisation is a diverse and fascinating GCSE course, which encourages pupils to consider ideas about women and war in both ancient and modern societies. Pupils develop an equal appreciation for the Greek and Roman civilisations and important analytical skills. To study Classical civilisation no previous knowledge is needed, so pupils 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 two modules which include:

Women in the Ancient World

This unit looks at women in Athens, Sparta and Rome. Topics include women in the home, ‘improper women’, women to be feared and legendary women. Pupils will need to examine sources such as sculptures, pottery and literature. They might consider what these sources tell us about a woman such as the beautiful Helen or the virtuous Lucretia. They will evaluate those sources and compare the different attitudes to women in these three societies. They will consider questions of women’s role in society, their rights and other people’s perception of them.

War and Warfare

Different attitudes to war and warfare are examined through literature, art and the study of four key battles fought by three distinct societies; the Romans, the Athenians and the Spartans. Pupils look at the equipment and tactics of these different cultures and analyse their approach to war and their thoughts about it. Great battles such as Actium, Salamis and Thermopylae are studied; what tactics were employed and why did one side defeat the other? Did these societies consider war to be a glorious, or a horrific act, and what were the consequences of such perceptions?