Why study Latin and Greek? What will I learn?

Post GCSE, the aims of the department are two-fold: firstly we aim to sharpen and develop the linguistic skills thus far acquired (to enable the scholar to cope with the wider range of syntax and vocabulary to be encountered) and, secondly, to develop the historical perspective necessary to appreciate each author in his period. No one should think of tackling A level Latin or Greek unless he or she is excited by literature, history and language. We try to grapple with the great minds of the past, to study contemporary problems and we are ever conscious of the derivation of our native tongue. We believe that the discipline required to master the language is of great value; we know that the business world and the professions value the Classics graduate for his clear thinking and analytical ability. We also believe that the past has valuable lessons for the present. Latin and/or Greek can be successfully combined with any Arts or, indeed, Scientific subject.

University Classics Departments are crying out for Classics scholars and B/C grades may ensure entry to all but Oxbridge, Durham and Bristol. Meanwhile Classics scholars have pursued successful careers in accountancy, banking, computing, law and business.

Classical Civilisation (OCR) This is an opportunity to study a range of different subject areas and sources that include the literature, history and visual/material culture of Greece and Rome.

Candidates sit three written papers: history and visual/material culture of Greece and Rome. Candidates sit three written papers:

How am I assessed?

Latin (OCR)

Candidates must sit four papers:

Paper 1 (33% of the total A Level) requires the translation of one prose passage into English and one verse passage into English. Over the course of two years, candidates study texts written by a range of authors in order to develop linguistic competence.

Paper 2 is a prose composition or comprehension paper worth 17 % of the total A Level. This examination is designed to enable candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of Latin syntax and accidence either through translating a passage of English into Latin or by answering questions, both of a literary and grammatical nature, on an unseen passage of Latin prose.

Paper 3 (25% of the total A level) is a prose literature paper for which candidates study two prose set texts in depth and some additional literature in translation.

Paper 4 (25% of the total A level) is a verse literature paper which examines candidates’ knowledge and understanding of two verse set texts as well as some additional literature in translation in order to understand the context from which the set texts have been taken.

Authors studied at A Level include Cicero, Pliny, Tacitus, Livy, Seneca, Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Catullus and Tibullus.

Classical Greek (OCR)

Candidates must sit four papers:

Paper 1 (33% of the total A level) requires the translation of one prose passage into English and one verse passage into English. Over the course of two years, candidates study texts written by a range of authors in order to develop linguistic competence.

Paper 2 is a prose composition or comprehension paper worth 17 % of the total A Level. This examination is designed to enable candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of Classical Greek syntax and accidence either through translating a passage of English into

Classical Greek or by answering questions, both of a literary and grammatical nature, on an unseen passage of Classical Greek prose.

Paper 3 (25% of the total A level) is a prose literature paper for which candidates study two prose set texts in depth and some additional literature in translation.

Paper 4 (25% of the total A level) is a verse literature paper which examines candidates’ knowledge and understanding of two verse set texts as well as some additional literature in translation in order to understand the context from which the set texts have been taken.

Authors studied at A Level include Thucydides, Plato, Xenophon, Plutarch, Homer, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes.

Paper 1 Greek and Roman Epic: The important and ever popular literary genre of epic forms the basis of OCR’s mandatory component The World of the Hero (H408/11). This component will explore both Greek and Roman epic, with the study of either Homer’s Iliad or Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid.

The works of Homer are the foundation of the Western literary canon, and the Greeks themselves considered them the cornerstone of Greek culture. In his Aeneid Virgil pays homage to Homer, but also to Rome and its leader, the emperor Augustus. With their unique composition, and exciting tales of gods and heroes, these works of literature form an excellent grounding for exploration of the classical world.

Paper 2 Greek Art: The 6th–4th centuries BC were a period of great change in the Greek world, and this is reflected in the art which was produced during this era.

In this component candidates will gain a thorough knowledge and understanding of Greek art but they will also gain some understanding of, and insight into, the context in which it was created, particularly the areas of religion, society, values and history/politics. Candidates will have the opportunity to explore and engage with a range of the visual arts produced by the Greeks in 6th–4th centuries BC, including free-standing sculpture, architectural sculpture and vase painting.

Paper 3 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. Religion could be connected to the household, to life in the city or life in the countryside; moreover politics and religion were intertwined to the extent that political decisions were sometimes made on the basis of divine oracular intervention. Religion was also an important tool for the creation of local and Panhellenic identities, as well as of competition between the Greek city-states.

Studying the practicalities of religious ritual, and the role it played in society, alongside the functions and layout of famous temple complexes, will make this component tangible for candidates and help develop their sense of the central role religion played in the life of everyday people.

Students will also explore the nature of the gods and their relationships with mortals. Key to this is the depiction of the gods by Homer and Hesiod, whom Herodotus credited with giving the Greeks their first understanding of the characters of the Pantheon; also included are the very different role of Mystery Cults, and the tensions caused by the rise of philosophical thinking.