Classical Civilisation GCSE

Classical Civilisation GCSE

Explore the story of Hercules and Theseus, the foundation of Rome and the great battles, beliefs and cultural artefacts of the ancient world. You will also study the gods, monsters and cannibals of the Odyssey, as you consider themes of vengeance, love, justice and fate.

Why St Mary's

Explore the Classical world supported and inspired by teachers who are passionate about this broad, engaging subject which covers key issues of history, society, literature and culture in one qualification.

The majority of European art, architecture, literature, music, philosophy, government, politics, law and language traces its roots to ancient Greece or Rome. This GCSE course will enable you to understand how people lived in ancient times, through exploration of Classical literature, historical and archaeological information.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

Please note: Previous study of Latin or Greek is not necessary: everything in the course is studied in English. Students do not need to have studied Classical Civilisation in Year 9.

Course overview

You will study two components:

  • Myth and Religion - this component includes study of the roles, symbols and depictions of the Greek and Roman gods, their festivals and temples, mythology and ancient beliefs in the Underworld
  • The Homeric World - this is focused on Homer’s Odyssey, and includes personal response to the characters and plots as well as analysis of themes such as fate, revenge and justice. It also includes study of real life in the Mycenean age through sites and artefacts.


Compenent 1: Myth and Religion - written examination (1 hour 30 minutes) - 50% of total mark

Component 2: The Homeric World - written examination (1 hour 30 minutes) - 50% of total mark

At a glance
  • Syllabus: OCR Classical Civilisation
  • 2 written examinations
  • Classics trip to Italy or Greece
  • Previous Classics study not necessary
  • Course is studied in English
You will enjoy this course if you...
  • Have an interest in mythology and history
  • Are curious about ancient societies
  • Like studying and evaluating primary sources
  • Enjoy debate and communicating ideas

What our teachers say...

“I was initially drawn to Classical Civilisation through a love of mythology and literature and enjoyed a chance to study such a varied discipline covering literature, history and culture. I like contrasting ancient views with how we think today.”

“Cleverness is not wisdom.” Euripides, The Bacchae

Classical Civilisation is a study of literature and culture which offers unique insights into human nature and the mistakes and successes of history. Knowledge of this ancient society, which shaped so much of today’s world is key if we want to build a future that doesn’t repeat the mistakes of history.

Classical Civilisation encourages you to look at the big picture, to think analytically and to confidently communicate your own ideas and opinions – all skills that are great preparation for higher education. It is also interesting to note that GCHQ and MI5 seek to recruit Classicists because they develop an aptitude for code-breaking!

The University of Cambridge ranks Classicists as one of the most employable Arts graduates due to the wide range of transferable skills they possess, and they pursue a wide range of inspiring career paths including law, journalism, politics, academia and the civil service.

Beyond St Mary's

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