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Townley Classical Civilisation Teaching & Learning Curriculum Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation is highly regarded by colleges, universities and employers.  This is because it is a multi-disciplinary subject that encourages students to examine issues from multiple viewpoints and to hone a range of valuable skills.  Students have the chance to discuss great works of literature and art, as well as hone their historical skills by using visual and written sources to learn about the ancient past.  They also practice debate and develop strong written communication skills. Students who choose this course will have the opportunity to examine the mythology, history, literature and society of ancient Greece and Rome, examining significant events and exciting individuals as well as the “ordinary” lives of common citizens.

Classical Civilisation LEARNING JOURNEY

Course Progression

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

Around 180 students are currently taking GCSE Classical Civilisation at Townley.  Students follow the OCR board syllabus, which gives the opportunity to study at least two different ancient societies as well as works of art and literature.  If you are interested in studying Classical Civilisation at A Level, GCSE Classical Civilisation is recommended.

Assessment Structure

There are two main areas of Study:

  1. Women in the Ancient World: For thousands of years, Classicists have focused their studies on the lives and stories of men.  This module enables you to study the lives and stories of women in Greek and Roman society and culture. From queens to slaves and from wives to warriors, this module looks at a broad range of women from history and myth. This unit was developed for the OCR exam board by Townley Grammar School’s Head of Classics, Mr Hancock-Jones.
  2. War and Warfare: War is one of the most significant aspects of human behaviour.  This module covers different aspects of warfare in the ancient world, including the purposes, conduct and effects of war, as well as how the military impacted upon wider society.

Each module is worth 50% of the overall qualification and all take the form of a written examination, taken at the end of Year 11. 


The skills you will acquire over the 2 year GCSE course are valuable and well respected by Oxbridge colleges, who identify Classical Civilisation as a preferred course for applicants.  You will be able to look critically at the evidence (both written and visual) and make informed judgements about the ancient world. You will be encouraged to make links between the societies of the ancient world and our modern society and see how antiquity has impacted the world we live in today.  You will be able to converse on the subjects of myth, great literature and drama, philosophy, art, architecture, archaeology and ancient history.

Key Stage 5 (A Level)

Classical Civilisation

Exam Board: OCR

Course Entry Criteria: 6 in GCSE English Literature

Essential skills:

An interest in History and Literature is crucial to this course. You will get to grips with some of the most fascinating texts ever produced and explore exotic societies and distant lives, so an inquisitive mind and desire to delve into the unfamiliar will be invaluable. You will also be expected to engage with ancient art, architecture and artefacts, so a critical eye is key.  Strong essay writing skills are also required.

The A Level course consists of three modules: 

The World of the Hero
In this unit, you will study two epic poems, one from Greece and one from Rome.   
From Greece, you will read Homer’s Odyssey, the classic tale of a man’s 10 year quest to return home after war.   Meet Odysseus, the most cunning of the Greek heroes, as he pits his wits against a tide of obstacles standing between him and his home.  This is a fantastical tale of gods, monsters and heroes, but also sheds light on the ancient world’s attitudes to women, slaves, war, family and civilisation itself. 
From Rome, you will study Virgil’s Aeneid.  The national poem of the ancient Roman people, the Aeneid tells the story of Aeneas, a Trojan prince and refugee from the Trojan War.  He leads the remnants of his people on an epic journey across the world to found a new city: Rome.  This epic encompasses themes as diverse as war, love, duty, fate and civilisation.  Virgil’s story of a man, whose home has been destroyed by war, trying to do the right thing for his people is as relevant today as it was when it was written 2,000 years ago.

Imperial Image
The idea of a politician ‘spinning’ their public image is one which is very familiar from our contemporary media, but it is not a new concept.  Politicians from ancient Rome managed popular opinion in much the same way as they do today.  This module examines the political career of Augustus Caesar, the man who is often called the “First Emperor of Rome”, to see how he was able to convince the Roman people, who were fundamentally against monarchy, to accept his one-man-rule.  This module will give you the opportunity to examine a range of literary sources, from poems to speeches and biography, seeing how different authors presented Augustus in their work.  You will also engage with some of the greatest works of art and architecture that have survived to us from ancient Rome, as well as ancient Roman archaeological remains.  The Townley Classics Department are excited to offer this module, which was designed for the OCR exam board by our own staff.

Love and Relationships
Ideas about love and relationships are key aspects of the literature, thoughts, and ethics of any society. This module offers the opportunity to recognise and relate to the passions, frustrations and delights of love in the ancient world.  You will have the opportunity to learn about the daily lives of men and women in Greece and Rome to appreciate the likely realities of their relationships.  The work of two ancient philosophers relating to ideals of love and relationships will also be studied.   From Greece, the ideas of Plato and from Rome, those of Seneca.  A final aspect of this module is the representation of love and relationships in the poetry of two of the greatest poets from antiquity, Sappho and Ovid.  Both of these poets pushed against societal expectations, so their works are excellent case studies. 

University requirements

Typical grade requirements to study Classics related degrees: 
Oxbridge: A* A A 
Russell Group: A A A-A ABB 
Non-Russell Group B B B and below 

Related courses and careers

Classical Civilisation is regarded very highly by employers and universities.  
The study of any classical subject would benefit those students interested in, among others, a career in: Law, the Civil Service, Politics, the Media, Marketing & Communications, Teaching, Art, Medicine and working in museums and archives. 

Other Details

No prior knowledge either of the Classical World or of Latin or Greek is required for this course. 

Student Testimony

“Classical Civilisation has been interesting and insightful as I have been able to transfer useful skills from these lessons to my other subjects, helping me to excel.”
Nene E

“I chose to study Classical Civilisation because I’ve always been interested in the culture of ancient Greece... I really enjoy this subject because you get to study an aspect of history that isn’t on the Key Stage 3 curriculum and lean in a variety of ways. If you want to try an interesting new subject, choose Classics!”
Rachael D

Related Careers

Classical Civilisation is a multi-disciplinary subject, containing elements of English Literature, Art, Architecture, History, Philosophy, Archaeology, Religious Studies and Politics.  As such, it is highly valued by colleges, universities and potential employers because Classicists have honed a wide range of useful skills.

The study of any Classics subject would benefit those students interested in, among others, a career in law, the civil service, politics, the media, finance, teaching, art, medicine, publishing, marketing, journalism and working in museums and archives.

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