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Classics A Level

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1.            Unit 1: H408/11 The World of the Hero (40% of the final grade)

You will study Homer’s Odyssey in Year 12 and Virgil’s Aeneid in Year 13. Students will develop an increasingly sophisticated level of knowledge and understanding of the epics themselves, the way in which they were composed, and the religious, cultural and social values and beliefs of its society. Both texts will be studied in equal levels of depth and be given an equal amount of teaching time.
The poems of Homer were considered by the Greeks themselves to be a foundation of Greek culture, standing as they do at the beginning of the Western literary canon. This component provides students with the opportunity to appreciate the lasting legacy of the Homeric world and to explore its attitudes and values. The epics of Homer, with their heroes, gods and exciting narratives, have been in continuous study since their conception, and remain popular with learners and teachers today.
This component also provides students 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.


2.            Unit 2: H408/22 Imperial Image (30% of the final grade)

The idea of a politician ‘spinning’ their public image is one which is very familiar from our contemporary media; and so this exploration of a Roman politician and his successful propaganda campaign is both highly relevant and engaging for students. Augustus Caesar was, through careful management of public opinion, able to convince a society that was fundamentally anti-monarchical to turn away from its republican values and to accept one-man rule. Through an examination of the literature and visual/ material culture of the period, this component allows students to examine the ways in which Augustus conveyed his personal brand to all social classes of Rome.
The key topics are broken-down by aspects of Augustus’ public image, often accompanied by one of his official titles. This will allow students to assess the effectiveness of each strand of his self- presentation, as well as the effectiveness of his public image as a whole. The final key topic is concerned with representations of Augustus in later art and literature, enabling students to assess how successful Augustus’ self-presentation was in the long-term.


3.            Unit 3: H408/33 Politics of the Late Republic (30% of the final grade)

The Late Roman Republic was a period of upheaval and conflicting views on how the Roman state should function. These conflicts eventually led to the downfall of the Republican res publica (state) and the rise of the Roman Emperors.
In this component students will study the political thought of the period from Sulla’s retirement in 79 BC to the death of Cicero in 43 BC, through examining Marcus Porcius Cato (‘Cato the Younger’), Gaius Julius Caesar, and Marcus Tullius Cicero. The exploration of the very different ideas of three contemporary political figures brings this tumultuous period to life for learners and moves beyond simply studying ideals and abstracts, and into discussion of the practical difficulties familiar to states throughout history. By examining their distinctive attitudes, political beliefs, conduct, and impact, learners will explore the ways in which the later Republican res publica (state) developed, changed, and ultimately fell.
The final two topics are devoted to an in depth study of two of Cicero’s major works: his early speech
against Verres, and a selection of his letters. Students will study these works in stylistic terms as well in order to see Cicero’s ideas in action.



Unit 1: OCR Classical Civilisation as and A Level Component 11 (Bloomsbury, 2017)

Unit 2: OCR Classical Civilisation as and A Level Components 21 and 22 (Bloomsbury, 2017)

Unit 3: OCR Classical Civilisation A Level Components 32 and 33


Sample exam papers (click on the unit to see the paper)

The World of the Hero (2 hours 20 minutes)

Imperial Image (1 hour 45 minutes)

Politics of the Late Republic (1 hour 45 minutes)