Classics Department

What is Classics?

Classics is an exciting and engaging subject which incorporates the study of ancient Greek and Roman civilisations in all aspects including literature (tragedy, comedy, epic), ancient history, religion, culture and social life, art and architecture, archaeology, philosophy, science and mathematics, politics and the languages (Latin and Ancient Greek).

At The Marist, we study Latin and 'Classical Civilisation' (the study of Classical subjects but in translation).

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

In Year 7, all pupils follow an introductory Latin course for one period a week.  Classical Civilisation is incorporated into the course as students explore the life and culture of Pompeii. In addition, Classical Civilisation is studied through Drama, based on topics such as Greek theatre, Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ and Classical mythology.

Year 8 and 9 pupils who are in Set One for English automatically study Latin for one period a week and benefit from the awareness of vocabulary and understanding of language which a Latin course provides, in addition to further exploration of the world of Pompeii and Rome. Those who are not in Set One study Latin fortnightly. The shorter course focuses predominantly on vocabulary and grammar in order to keep open the possibility of choosing the Latin option for GCSE in Years 10 and 11.

In all years except 7 and 8, Latin is taught through the Oxford Latin Course, which is modern and up-to-date, but still maintains the linguistic rigour of more traditional courses.

Key skills and topics at KS3

  • Vocabulary and links with English and other 'Romance' languages
  • Grammar
  • Translation from Latin to English and vice versa
  • Reading comprehension of Latin passages
  • Roman Civilisation - family and household, daily life, dining, jobs in Pompeii, Roman gods, theatre, gladiators, women, Trojar war stories and Virgil and The Aeneid.

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

Both Latin and Classical Civilisation are offered as options at GCSE.

Latin

Board: OCR

Syllabus Number: J282

Course Aims

To enable learners to: 

  • develop and deploy their knowledge of vocabulary, morphology and syntax in order to read, understand and intepret Latin
  • develop their knowledge and understanding of ancient literature, values and society through the study of original texts
  • select, analyse and evaluate evidence to draw informed conclusions from the literature studied in order to: demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the historical, literary and cultural context of a text and identify and appreciate its literary form and impact on the reader
  • develop and apply their critical, analytical and reflective skills to evaluate evidence from a range of sources

Through this, learners will be encouraged to:

  • develop insights into the relevance of Latin and of ancient literature and civilisation to our understanding of our modern world of diverse cultures
  • deploy their knowledge and understanding of Latin to deepen their understanding of English and other languages
  • relate their knowledge and understanding of the ancient world to other disciplines
  • develop research and analytical skills which will empower them to become independent learners and enquirers, equipping them for further study in arts, humanities and sciences

Course Details

Students will study set vocabulary, grammar and learn to comprehend and analyse Latin texts as well as translate from Latin to English and vice versa. Analysis of Latin literature will include both prose and verse set texts. Examples of authors studied include: Virgil, Livy, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Ovid, Caesar, Cicero and adaptations based on Greek authors such as Homer, Plato, Sophocles, Aesop and Herodotus. GCSE Latin is assessed at the end of Year 11 with three exams. There is no coursework or controlled assessment.

Classical Civilisation

Board: OCR

Syllabus Number: J199

What is Classical Civilisation?

  • Classical Civilisation is the study of Ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature without the study of the languages. This means that we can focus on a much broader range of topics.
  • Texts are studied in English in the same way as they are in English Literature lessons. Primary sources are studied in a similar way to History. 
  • It is essentially a mixture of English Literature, Drama, History, Religious Studies and Art.
  • It allows you to explore the ancient societies as well as enjoy some of the best literature in translation whilst looking at big questions such as "What makes a hero?", "Are women untrustworthy?" and "Is it ever right to kill someone."

What do I need to study Classical Civilisation?

  • You do not need any knowledge of the ancient languages
  • An enthusiasm for ancient civilisation and/or literature - if you have grown up enjoying myths, visiting ancient sites, watching documentaries or films on the Greek and the Romans, then this subject is for you!

Course Aims

To encourage learners to:

  • gain a broad knowledge and understanding of a range of literary and cultural materials from the classical world and the ability to use these to acquire knowledge and understanding of aspects of the classical world
  • use their knowledge, in conjunction with their analytical and evaluative skills in order to gain insight into the classical world from the literary and material culture studied
  • demonstrate an informed response to the material studied, selecting a range of appropriate evidence to support an argument
  • develop awareness of how classical sources reflect issues relevant both in the classical world and today, such as questions of gender, belief, sexuality and citizenship

Through this, learners will be encouraged to:

  • develop insights into the relevance of the Greeks and Romans and ancient literature and civilisation to our understanding of our modern world of diverse cultures
  • relate their knowledge and understanding of the ancient world to other disciplines
  • develop research and analytical skills which will empower them to become independent learners and enquirers, equipping them for further study in arts, humanities and sciences

Course Details

The GCSE course is divided into two parts:

  1. Thematic study - a comparative study of ancient Greece and Rome, combining literary and visual/material sources in either 'Myth and religion' or 'Women in the ancient world'
  2. Literature and Culture - in-depth cultural study and a study of related literature in either 'The Homeric world' or 'Roman city life'

Pupils will study material from both of these worlds, drawn from the time period 3000 BC to 500 AD. This material will encompass aspects of literature and visual/material culture in their social, historical and cultural contexts. Throughout the course, pupils will actively engage in a process of enquiry into the classical world and closely analyse primary sources from the time. GCSE Classical Civilisation is assessed at the end of Year 11 with two exams. There is no coursework or controlled assessment.

Key Stage 5 (AS/A Level)

Latin

Board: OCR

Syllabus Number: H443

Course Aims

The Latin A Level course aims to appeal to students who are fascinated by the intricacy and clarity of the language, enjoy literature and are interested in the ancient Classical world. In addition, the course will complement and enrich many other areas of study such as English, Modern Languages, History, Politics, Music, Art and Philosophy as well as university studies in Medicine and Law.

Course Details

Component 1 and 2: Language Papers - Unseen Translation (01) and Prose Composition or Comprehension (02)

Learners build their knowledge of vocabulary and linguistic structures through reading and studying prose and verse texts in Latin. They study texts written by a range of prose authors, such as Livy, and a verse unseen author, such as Ovid, to develop linguistic competence.

Component 3: Prose Literature

Learners study two Latin Prose Literature set texts in depth. They also study additional literature in translation in order to understand the context from which the set texts have been taken. These texts are taken from a range of famous Latin authors, politicians, historians and philosophers, including Cicero, Tacitus, Seneca, Livy and Apuleius.

Component 4: Verse Literature

Learners study two Verse Literature set texts in depth. They also study additional literature in translation in order to understand the context from which the set texts have been taken. These texts are taken from a range of famous Latin authors, including Virgil, Ovid, Horace and Catullus.

Assessment

A Level Latin is assessed by four exams. There will be no coursework or controlled assessment.

Classical Civilisation

Board:  OCR

Syllabus Number: H408

What is Classical Civilisation?

  • Classical Civilisation is the study of Ancient Greek and Roman culture and literature without the study of the languages. This means that we can focus on a much broader range of topics.
  • Texts are studied in English in the same way as they are in English Literature lessons. Primary sources are studied in a similar way to History.
  • It is essentially a mixture of English Literature, Drama, History, Religious Studies and Art. 
  • It allows you to explore the ancient societies as well as enjoy some of the best literature in translation whilst looking at big questions such as ‘What makes a hero?’ , ‘Are women untrustworthy?’ and ‘Is it ever right to kill someone?’
 

What do I need to study Classical Civilisation?

  • You do not need to have studied GCSE Classical Civilisation to study it at A Level
  • You do not need any knowledge of the ancient languages
  • An enthusiasm for ancient civilisation and/or literature - if you have grown up enjoying myths, visiting ancient sites, watching documentaries or films on the Greek and the Romans, then this subject is for you!

Course Aims:

  • To investigate and appreciate the history, culture, society, literature, drama, architecture and art of Ancient Greece and Rome. 
  • To develop and appreciate the influence of the Classical world on today’s society. To enrich the students’ understanding of many areas of modern life.
  • To develop the skills of critical thinking, analysis and evaluation by closely examining a range of literary, visual and material sources from Ancient Greece and Rome.

Course Details:

In A Level:  three topics are studied:

  1. Component 1: The World of the Hero: This is a compulsory component consisting of an in-depth study of: one of Homer's IIiad or Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid. Students will examine what an ideal hero was and themes such as honour, reputation, death, mortality, wrath, reconciliation, portrayal of war, hospitality, the power of fate, the role of the immortals, relationships between men, women, parents and children, the role of women and the role of slaves. They will consider the political and cultural context in which the epics were written, including Augustan Rome. They will also explore the rich and diverse language of Homer and/or Virgil and the role of epic and oral poetry in ancient Greece and Rome. This component is solely focused on the study of literature in translation.
  2. Component 2: Culture and the Arts - Greek Theatre: Students will explore some of the most powerful literature of the ancient world by examining ancient Greek theatre. They will study, in depth, three ancient plays (both Tragic and Comic) and the themes and concepts inherent in those plays. These include ancient religious beliefs and practices (role of the gods, fate and free will, prohecy, religious rituals), the importance of the polis (city) and position and role of men, women and slaves, the importance of family, the tragic hero, justice and revenge and death and the afterlife. They will also study the conventions of ancient theatre, the role of the theatre in Greek society, the nature of tragedy and comedy and the rich and diverse language of the playwrights. This will include the study of literary, visual and material sources.
  3. Component 3: Beliefs and Ideas - Love and Relationships: Students will examine ancient ideas about men, women and marriage in order to discuss the reality of love and relationships in everyday life by studying passages by the Greek philosopher, Plato, and the Roman philosopher, Seneca. Students will draw comparisons and make judgements about the 'ideal' and reality and the nature of 'right' and 'wrong' ways to love or be loved. Students will also study poetry by the ancient Greek female author Sappho and the Roman author Ovid. This component will involve an area of classical thought in combination with either the study of literature in translation or visual/material culture.

Assessment

A Level Classical Civilisation is assessed by three exams. There will be no coursework or controlled assessment.

Teaching Approaches

  • Discussion and debate
  • Independent and group research
  • Extended writing/essay writing
  • Analysis of primary and secondary evidence
  • Use of ICT - the department has a YouTube account, Twitter feed and Pinterest account, sharing links to a variety of websites (including interactive sites) virtual tours of the ancient world, podcasts, BBC iplayer and ITV player in order to explore the Greek and Roman civilisations
  • Trips to museums, ancient sites and performances

Extra-Curricular Activities

  • A weekly Classics Club is offered at KS3 where students have the opportunity to explore a variety of fun themes from the ancient world including mythology, religion and daily life. A unit in Ancient Greek is also taught.
  • At GCSE, as part of their course, students visit the British Museum to develop their analytical skills of the amazing Greek and Roman treasures on display.
  • At A Level, trips have also been organised to the British Museum. This is in addition to visits to performances of ancient plays (including modern interpretations) and Sixth Form Study days.
  • We are interested in running a trip every few years. In March 2018, A Level Classics students travelled on a joint Geography/Classics trip to the Bay of Naples, which included exploring Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius and Capri.

Classics and Careers

The Classics (Latin and Classical Civilisation) combine easily with a wide variety of other subjects, such as English, History, Government and Politics, Art, Philosophy, Theatre Studies, Modern Foreign Languages and Psychology. They are highly regarded by Oxbridge and Russell Group Universities.

At university, students can go on to study Classics, Classical Studies, Drama, English, History, History of Art, Philosophy and Politics. Indeed, Cambridge and Oxford University take some students every year for its Classics course who have not previously studied any ancient languages. 

The Classics can lead onto almost any career as it develops many transferable and applicable skills including:

  • critical analysis and evaluation
  • perceptive thinking
  • insight into people, language and words
  • the art of persuasion
  • research skils

Many Classicists have gone onto successful careers in Law, Journalism, Writing, Accountancy and Finance, Business and Politics and Teaching and Research. Additionally, information from UCAS shows that students who studied Classical Civilisation went on to study in such diverse disciplines as Medicine, Veterinary Science and Chemistry.

Sorrento Trip