Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation is available to study as an A Level at Truro School.

What does an A Level in Classical Civilisation involve?

Classical Civilisation is an inspiring, cross-disciplinary A Level exploring the history and cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome. It encompasses Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Politics, Literature and Philosophy and examines aspects of ancient society that remain significant in the development of the modern world. The course encourages students to further their interest in the classical world and develop and apply analytical skills. No previous study of a classical subject or knowledge of Ancient Greek or Latin language is required.

There is a critical study of four superb Greek tragedies: Aeschylus’ Agamemon, Sophocles’ Antigone, and Euripides’ Medea and Electra. The conventions of 5th Century Athenian drama are examined. This is contextualised by looking at the nature of political leadership, the emergence of law-courts and democracy, and the use of mythology to evaluate contemporary Athenian issues such as the place of women, foreigners and slaves in society.

Selected books of Homer’s Odyssey are studied, with an evaluation of their cultural, literary and social values. Topics studied include concepts of honour and revenge, the role of fate and the gods, the heroic code, supernatural elements such as monsters and witches, narrative techniques including flashback, retardation and repetition, and realism and fantasy.

The topic of Art and Architecture in the Greek World critiques the development of buildings, sculpture and vase painting in the 6th to 4th Centuries BC, evaluating their religious, political and aesthetic contexts. Sources include the Athenian Acropolis and the temples of Hera and Zeus at Olympia, and statues such as the New York Kouros, Paionios’ Nike and Knidian Aphrodite.

What is an A Level in Classical Civilisation useful for?

The study of the ancient world broadens perspectives. It complements many A Levels, including Art, Drama and Theatre Studies, English Literature, History and Religious Studies. It encourages candidates to develop their critical and evaluative skills whilst demonstrating cultural breadth and interest – a great advantage when taking the next step into work or higher education.

Student View

“Classical Civilisation is a comparatively new discipline at Truro School. Although the subject might be new, the subject matter is ancient! One of the biggest surprises for me this year was how these ancient texts, written five centuries before the birth of Christ, still speak to us today. Tensions between East and West, power battles between the sexes, the place of religion in society; all are issues just as relevant in the 21st Century. Studying Classical Civilisation at Truro School gives you the opportunity to be part of an incredibly vibrant department with not only superb teaching but also fantastic trip opportunities, including visits to plays in London and the chance to take part in your own personal Odyssey (hopefully with fewer monsters) to Greece in your A2 Year. The real appeal of Classical Civilisation for me is the fact that the subject is so wide ranging, encompassing so many different disciplines.”James