Classical Civilisation


“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”

– Socrates 469-399 BC

In Classical Civilisation at the DCHS we wish to foster an appreciation of the literature, society and history of the Greeks and Romans. We also want you to develop an awareness of the influence of the classical cultures throughout the ages and of the similarities and differences between the classical and modern worlds. Through the study of classical culture and texts in translation we will endeavour to enhance your analytical, debating and writing skills and encourage an appreciation of the cross curricular links that the subject affords, recognising that there is no academic or life pursuit which a knowledge of the Classics does not enrich. But above all, through studying a subject, which has fascinated and inspired generations of scholars throughout the millennia, we hope that you will be fired with a life-long passion and enthusiasm for every aspect of the classical world.

Key Stage 5

Year 12 two topics are studied:

The World of the Hero – Homer’s “Odyssey”

The Homeric epics were considered to be the foundation of Greek culture. This component provides learners with the opportunity to appreciate the lasting legacy of the Homeric world and to explore its attitudes and values. The Odyssey, with its heroes, gods and exciting narratives, has been in continuous study since its conception and remains popular today.

Culture and the Arts – Greek Theatre

The drama produced in the ancient Greek theatre forms some of the most powerful literature of the ancient world. This component involves the study of the physical theatre space used by the Greeks to stage their dramas, and also depictions of this staging in the visual/material record. This study of the production of Greek drama is coupled with an in–depth study of three plays, all of which have proven to be enduring favourites.

Year 13 two topics are studied:

The World of the Hero – Virgil’s “Aeneid”

This component provides learners with the opportunity to appreciate Virgil’s Aeneid, a cornerstone and landmark in Western literature. Drawing inspiration from Homer, as well as from his own cultural and political context, Virgil explored what it was to be a hero in the Roman world and created a work which has proven enduringly popular.

Beliefs and Ideas – Greek Religion

Religion was an essential part of ancient Greek identity, permeating all strata of society and all aspects of an individual’s daily life. This component explores such areas as the nature of the Olympian gods, rituals, sanctuaries and philosophical thinking.


Students will be assessed by three external examinations at the end of the course in Year 13:

Paper 1 – The World of the Hero – The “Odyssey” and the “Aeneid” – 2 hrs 20 mins – 40% of the total marks

Paper 2 – Culture and the Arts – Greek Theatre – 1 hr 45 mins – 30% of the total marks

Paper 3 – Beliefs and Ideas – Greek Religion – 1 hr 45 mins – 30% of the total marks

Examination Boards

A Level – OCR Classical Civilisation – H408

Resources to Support Learning

Useful websites:

OCR A Level Classical Civilisation syllabus

Bloomsbury Companion Website OCR A and AS level Classical Civilisation


Bloomsbury – The World of the Hero

Bloomsbury – Greek Theatre (and Imperial Image)

Bloomsbury – Greek Religion (and Democracy and the Athenians)

Prescribed Texts:

Homer’s Odyssey – (Penguin Classics)

Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” in The Three Theban plays – (Penguin Classics)

Euripides’ “Bacchae” – (Cambridge Translations from Greek Drama)

Aristophanes’ “Frogs” – (Cambridge Translations from Greek Drama)

Virgil’s “Aeneid” – (Penguin Classics)

Careers Links

In studying Classical Civilisation students develop an understanding of cultures very different from their own. They acquire valuable transferable skills such as analysing sources and developing independent, critical and evaluative approaches. They learn to formulate and support an extended written argument. Such skills are essential to Further and Higher Education and provide a strong foundation for progression into employment.

Many Universities value Classical Civilisation because of the significant Classical influence on European culture. It is therefore a useful foundation subject and combines well at both A and Degree Level with such subjects as Music, History, Drama, English, Art History, Philosophy and Politics.

It is a fascinating subject in its own right and several students have chosen to study Archaeology, Ancient History or Classical Civilisation at University after completing the A level course.

Classical Civilisation leads to as many varied vocations as other Arts subjects. Students and graduates of Classics have pursued careers in such areas as Archaeology, Teaching, Law, Performing Arts, Civil Service, Archivism and Heritage Management.

Subject Staff

Miss C Lawrence