Classical Civilisation

Qualification: A-Level

Awarding Body:
Length of Course:
2 Years

This subject allows students to study aspects of the Greek and Roman worlds through history, literature in translation and archaeological evidence. The course gives students the chance to explore fascinating topics such as how Greeks worshipped their gods by investigating archaeological objects in their ancient world context. Through texts studied in translation, students will be able to follow the adventures undertaken by Odysseus, a Greek hero, as he attempts to reach his home after 10 years at war. It is a challenging and unique subject, enabling students to develop essay and source skills.  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.


Year 12 Year 13
Two units are taken in Year 12. The choice of topic may vary year by year. Two units are taken in Year 13. The choice of topic may vary year by year.

Unit 1 – The World of the Hero

Homer’s Odyssey

The epic adventure of Odysseus’ twenty year journey home after the Trojan war.

Unit 1 – The World of the Hero

Virgil’s Aeneid

The story of the hero who founded the city of Rome, written in a context of civil war and change.



2 hour 20 minutes paper (including Year 13

Unit 1), 20% of total A-Level.


2 hour 20 minutes paper (including Year 12 Unit 1), 20% of total A-Level.


Unit 2 – Culture and the arts

Greek Theatre

You will study three plays including arguably the most influential tragedy ever written, Oedipus the King, and a comedy where the god Dionysus travels to the underworld to bring back his favourite playwright.


Unit 2 – Beliefs and Ideas

Greek Religion

This topic introduces you to how Greek religion worked in practice – beyond the familiar gods and goddesses of myth. You will study sanctuaries at Athens and Delphi, as well as mystery cults and oracles.



1 hour 45 mins, 30% of total A-Level.


1 hour 45 minutes paper, 30% of total A-Level.



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.



Entry Requirements

Grade 5 in English Language