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Classical Studies

At Fine Arts, students can choose to study a range of classical subjects: Latin, Greek, Ancient History, and Classical Civilisation. Western civilisation owes a heavy debt to the Greeks. So many disciplines have their foundation in Greek society such as history itself, political systems such as democracy, drama – both tragedy and comedy – the list is endless. The Romans then adopted much of this culture and knowledge, added their own contribution, and then disseminated it across Europe. So whether you are studying art and want to understand the origins of Western Art; or English and want to learn where the Western literary traditions have their birth; or Philosophy and want to understand more about the society that produced Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; one of the classical subjects could be a good choice for you.

Classical Civilisation

Examination board: OCR
New A level first examination June 2019

One of the main attractions of classical civilisation is that you get to study a range of different subjects across the worlds of Greece and Rome be it Literature, Art History, Philosophy or Ancient History. No prior knowledge of the subject is required, just an enthusiastic attitude!

The study of Greek and Roman civilisation has always proved popular with students, in particular the stories of the heroes: Odysseus and his struggle to return home from Troy after the Trojan War; Achilles and his exploits at Troy; Aeneas and his fatal affair with Dido Queen of Carthage.

Students also study Greek Art which comprises of the masterpieces from Olympia, Delphi and Athens among others.

For the third component which focuses on ideas, students can choose whether they would prefer to study the belief and ideas behind Greek Religion ( the temples and worship of Greek gods), Love and relationships (including Plato and the poems of Sappho), or Politics of the Late Republic (studying the different political philosophies of Cicero and Julius Caesar).

Unit 1 The world of the hero

*Homer’s Odyssey  OR  Homer’s Iliad

*Virgil’s Aeneid

Unit 2 Culture and the Arts

*Greek Art 6th C – 4th C BC

*Free-standing and architectural sculpture, vase-painting

Unit 3 Belief and Ideas

*Greek Religion

*OR Love and Relationships

*OR Politics of the Late Republic


Lower Sixth

* Unit 1: Homer’s Odyssey and Society. Focusing on literature, society, and values, but also history and archaeology.

* Unit 2: Greek Tragedy in Context. Agamemnon, Medea, Antigone, and Electra placed in a 5th century Athenian context considering literature, society, and values.

Upper Sixth

* Unit 3: Virgil and the World of the Hero. The Aeneid books 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 The Iliad books 6, 18, 22, 24

* Unit 4: Art and Architecture in the Greek World. Free-standing and architectural sculpture, vase-painting, and temple architecture in the archaic and classical period.


Examination board: OCR
Existing A level last examination in June 2018
New A level first examination June 2019

For Greek history, you will study the Persian Wars including the Spartanss spirited resistance at Thermopylae and the ensuing wars between Athens and Sparta and then you choose whether you want to concentrate on an in depth study of Athens with its new-fangled democracy, Sparta with its peculiar militarised society, or Macedon and the meteoric rise of Alexander.

For Roman history, you will study the reigns of the Julio-Claudian Emperors ranging from the politically astute Augustus to the half-crazed Nero and then you can choose whether you want to do an in depth study of the murky, backstabbing politics of Rome in the 1st century BC, the Flavian Emperors including the demented paranoid Domitian, or Boudicca and the Britons’ spirited resistance to the Roman invasion.

All units are written exam papers.

Unit 1

Greek period study

Relations between Greek states and between Greek and non-Greek states 492-404 BC.

Greek depth study

One from:

Unit 2

Roman period study

The Julio-Claudian Emperors 31 BC -AD 68

Roman depth study

One from:


Examination board: OCR
New A level first examination June 2018

Set texts 2018-19

Cicero’s Pro Milone deals with the violent last days of the republic and Cicero’s highly dodgy defence of Milo on a murder charge against their mutual enemy, Clodius; Virgil’s  Aeneid VIII and X deal with the battle between Hercules and the monster Cacus on the site of future Rome and the intense fighting between Aeneas and his enemies in his struggle to found Rome.

Set texts 2020-21

Cicero’s Philippics are an excoriating attack on Antony which would eventually earn Cicero a brutal death.

Virgil’s Aeneid XI details the convulsive last days of the war Aeneas is fighting in order to found Rome and the tragedies on both sides.

Lower Sixth

Upper Sixth


Examination board: OCR
Existing A level last examination in June 2017
New A level first examination June 2018

There is a great selection of texts to study for Greek A level including Aristophanes’ Frogs (the story of Dionysus’ descent to the underworld to persuade one of the great tragedians to come back to rescue Athens) and Sophocles’ Antigone (the story of a girl who defies the law and buries her brother knowing that it will lead to her own death).

Lower Sixth

Upper Sixth

About Fine Arts College

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