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GCSE Classical Studies

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The Subject

Classical Studies provides its students with a wide-ranging overview of the ancient world, in both Greek and Roman contexts. Students will explore the architecture, literary sources and societies of ancient Greece and Rome, and begin to understand how these cultures have influenced the development of much of western civilisation. By exploring Greece and Rome at the same time, students will be encouraged to consider the similarities and differences of both cultures, and how those cultures have impacted on our own.

There is no required prior knowledge of the ancient world for this qualification. Classical Studies offers a vibrant mixture of disciplines such as Archaeology, English, History and Philosophy. Students who do well in other humanities subjects (e.g. English and History) will do particularly well in this course.

There is no need to know Latin or Greek to take this subject, but you will need to be comfortable with reading and writing.

The Course

The course comprises of two units, each of which will lead to a final exam in Year 11. Both exams are 1 hour and 30 minutes long, and feature a mixture of short comprehension sections and longer essay questions.

For the first paper, a thematic study of “Myth and Religion” in the ancient world, students will explore how the Greeks and Romans contemplated and interacted with the divine. Who were the Graeco-Roman gods? How were they worshipped? What did their temples look like? What was it like to attend an ancient religious festival? What sorts of myths did the Greeks and Romans tell about their gods?

The second paper is a literary and cultural study of “Roman City Life”. In this unit we explore what it was like to live in ancient Rome, and what the Romans said about their “eternal city”. What was it like to attend the games at the Colosseum? What did a Roman household look like? How was Roman society arranged? What did a Roman do to relax?

Both these units will involve study of the cultures of Greece and Rome through an exploration of the surviving archaeological evidence (such as the Parthenon, the Ara Pacis Augustae and the Colosseum) and literary sources (such as Homer, Virgil, Horace and Plutarch).

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