A level Classical Civilisation

Ashbourne has a long tradition of offering all Classical subjects and providing courses that are tailored to suit the needs and interests of students.

For those who wish to specialise in Latin or Ancient Greek Ashbourne is one of the few colleges in London to offer these options; students will require previous knowledge of the relevant languages.

Alternatively students can explore a wide selection of classical literature in translation for the Classical Civilisation A level.

George Chaldezos is a specialist teacher and head of Ashbourne’s Classics department. He is passionate about his field and encourages his students to discover the ancient world through theatre, art and events including London productions of ancient plays, British Museum visits and the annual Oxford and Cambridge Classics open day.

Why study Classical Civilisation?

Classical Civilisation students get to explore the ancient world through heroic tales, comic drama, Greek tragedy and art. You can hitch a ride with Homer’s Oysseus and Virgil’s Aeneas on their epic adventures as well as taking front row theatre seats to experience the drama and tragedy in plays by Aristophane, Menander and Plautus, and Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.

Examining such ancient and classical civilisations reveals how Western culture, as we know it now, began particularly in relation to literature, art, politics, philosophy and theatre. So it is a great course for those also studying English, Drama, Politics, Philosophy, Art and History of Art.

Universities are keen to attract more students to study Classics as it is a rather undersubscribed course.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the OCR specification for Classical Civilisation.

What is covered in the course?

Students will study a selection of ancient texts and explore their literary, social and historical contexts as well as examining the techniques playwrights employ to create tragedy and comedy.

AS level students examine one epic poem and four plays (units 1 and 2). A level students study two epic poems and four plays (units 3–4).

Unit 1Unit 2Unit 3Unit 4
Homer’s Odyssey and Society

Following the end of the Trojan War Odysseus begins an epic adventure to return home. The sea-god Poseidon and a myriad of monsters relentlessly hound him on his ten-year journey only for him to find his homeland besieged by his wife Penelope’s suitors.

Students will discuss Odysseus’ adventure and the context of society in Homer’s The Odyssey.

Greek Tragedy in its Context

Students explore plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides through text, screen or stage production and examine the literary, social and historical contexts as well as the tricks and techniques used to create dramatic effect.

Comic Drama in the Ancient World

How did the Aristophanes, Menander and Plautus portray the ancient world through their comic dramas? Students will examine the context in which the plays were produced and look at the techniques used to create comedy.

Virgil and the World of the Hero

Students get to experience the epic adventures in Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Iliad and examine the world in which they are set and the role of the hero. The texts are read in translation.

Who teaches this course?

George Chaldezos

BA Hons (University of Thessaloniki); BA Hons (Cologne); PhD study (Cambridge); PGCE (London)

George teaches Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation, and has been head of Ashbourne’s Classics department since 2003. He is a member of the Association for Latin Teaching and is an assistant examiner for the OCR exam board and the Cambridge Pre-U.

Beyond A level Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation can be combined with other Arts, Humanities and Social Studies subjects such as English, History, Art or Psychology and offers students an excellent foundation for many university courses.

Students of Classical Civilisation enjoy success in a huge variety of careers from journalism to accountancy, and from management to publishing.

Textbooks

AS levelA level
Book 1: Aeschylus’ Agamemnon

Title – The Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides) – Aeschylus (Author), W. Stanford (Editor), Robert Fagles (Translator)

Weblink – The Oresteia

Book 2: Sophocles’ Antigone
Title – The Three Theban Plays: ‘Antigone’, ‘Oedipus the King’, ‘Oedipus at Colonus’ (Penguin Classics) – Sophocles (Author), Bernard Knox (Introduction), Robert Fagles (Translator)

Weblink – Antigone

Book 3: Euripides’ Medea and Electra
Title – Medea and Other Plays: Medea; Hecabe; Electra; Heracles (Penguin Classics) – Euripides (Author), Philip Vellacott (Introduction, Translator)

Weblink – Medea and Electra

Book 4: Homer’s Odyssey
Title – The Odyssey (Penguin Classics) – Homer (Author), Dominic Rieu (Editor), Peter Jones (Introduction), E. V. Rieu (Translator)

Weblink – The Odyssey

Book 1: Aristophanes’ Clouds and Lysistrata
Title – Lysistrata and Other Plays (Penguin Classics) -Aristophanes (Author), Alan H. Sommerstein (Translator)

Weblink – Clouds and Lysistrata

Book 2: Plautus’ The Pot of Gold (The Brothers Menaechmus and The Swaggering Soldier)
Title – The Pot of Gold and Other Plays (Classics) – Plautus (Author), E.F Watling (Translator)

Weblink – The Pot of Gold

Book 3: Virgil’s Aeneid
Title – The Aeneid (Penguin Classics) – Virgil (Author), David West (Introduction, Translator)

Weblink – The Aeneid

Book 4: Homer’s Iliad
Title – Penguin Classics Homer The Iliad – Homer (Author), Martin Hammond (Introduction, Translator)

Weblink – The Illiad

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Why Choose Ashbourne College?
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My time at Ashbourne was incredible! I made lifelong friendships and learnt how to be independent and manage my time well. For me, Ashbourne was a stepping stone between school and university where I was treated as an adult but was still given the guidance I needed to achieve the results that I wanted to get. During my time there I learnt so much, not just about my subjects, but about myself. I came to Ashbourne with a dream to study Music at university and, I am unbelievably grateful that, with the help of the teachers at Ashbourne, I am now a second year Music student at Royal Holloway University of London, my first choice. I have genuinely never been happier.
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