Soham Village College

Classical Civilisations

Classical Civilisations


GCSE Classical Civilisations

Class of 2017 Only

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Exam Board Qualification Specification
OCR Exam Board - GCSE Classical Civilisations (J280) GCSE Classical Civilisations J280

For those who want to explore the roots of European and British civilisation, Classical Civilisations GCSE offers something different. It is calculated that 85% of the English language has its roots in Latin. Greek words and ideas, such as democracy still drive our imagination in the age of the Internet. At the end of the course students will have a detailed understanding of key aspects of Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. The course does not require any knowledge of Latin or Greek, just a lively interest in the glory that was Greece and Rome. Students will use a range of sources to help them understand aspects of the Classical world including films such as 300 and Gladiator.


There are four units we will be studying:

  1. A351 Everyday life in Ancient Rome. Students will find out about the pivotal role of the father in the home, how Romans worshipped, how young Romans were educated and how people relaxed watching men hurtle round the biggest chariot racing arena in the Ancient World – the Hippodrome (seating capacity 250,000), while other men killed each other for sport in the Coliseum –a bloody and fascinating introduction to a world that was very different to our own. You will have a 1 hour examination to assess your understanding.

  2. A352 Epic and Myth. Students will study Homer’s Odyssey, focusing on issues such as Homer the storyteller, the role of the gods, the contrast between barbarism and civilisation in the representation of the Cyclops, and the role of women in Ancient Greece. You will have a 1 hour examination to assess your understanding.

  3. Unit A353 Community Life in the Classical World. Students will be focusing on Ancient Sparta – a militaristic hive society where boys were expected to be tough and fight, and women to bring up children with the heroic values of the warrior code that bound all Spartans together. You will have a 1 hour examination to assess your understanding.

  4. Unit 354 Option 6 Roman Britain. Students will study how the Romans came to be so influential in our island story. From the bloody rebellion of the iconic East Anglian heroine Boudicca to the establishment of opulent Roman villas and the tough Northern frontier of Hadrian’s Wall, students will develop a thorough understanding of the Roman heritage we all enjoy.  A weekend visit to the wall is being planned to bring the subject alive. Students’ knowledge and understanding will be tested using a controlled assessment.

Other Information

A qualification in Classical Civilisations will really broaden students’ understanding of their own society and will fire the imagination to explore the ideas and ways of peoples who were in many ways just like us. The course will be run by Mr Stenner who has qualifications in Latin and history.