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Classic Civilization A-level

Hi, I was wondering what students do in this subject and what it involves as someone who has an interest in history and exceeds in essay-based subjects !
Reply 1
Hi! I'm currently Y13 taking ClassCiv and intending to carry it on at university next year.

As an A-Level, I've found there's a large variety in the content you learn depending on which units your school offers - e.g. mine does Greek Theatre and Love & Relationships, which are both very literature based and so resemble English Lit more than they do history. Other units such as Politics of the Late Republic or Invention of the Barbarian are (I assume) more history-based.

The best way to get an understanding of the course is through the spec (here) and looking specifically at the units offered by wherever you hope to study.

Course breakdown



I absolutely love ClassCiv, it's by far my favourite of my subjects (others are EngLit and Psychology) as the content is about as fascinating as you can expect when looking at the Greeks and Romans. I do get the impression, however, that as a subject it can often be very dependent on your teachers - mine are excellent, whereas another local school that teaches the same units seems much more lacking (anecdotally), despite across subjects being a higher-achieving school.

It is very much essay-based, so sounds right up your alley (6 essays in 2hrs30 for WOH!). Very content-heavy, however. And no coursework to supplement.

It notoriously is one of the harsher subjects when it comes to the % of students getting As and A*s, particularly compared against a subject like English Literature that will often have double the number of top grades. I believe there's an ongoing complaint about this by the CA, however, so this may be rectified by the time you're sitting exams in the subject.
Original post by alecks
Hi! I'm currently Y13 taking ClassCiv and intending to carry it on at university next year.
As an A-Level, I've found there's a large variety in the content you learn depending on which units your school offers - e.g. mine does Greek Theatre and Love & Relationships, which are both very literature based and so resemble English Lit more than they do history. Other units such as Politics of the Late Republic or Invention of the Barbarian are (I assume) more history-based.
The best way to get an understanding of the course is through the spec (here) and looking specifically at the units offered by wherever you hope to study.

Course breakdown


I absolutely love ClassCiv, it's by far my favourite of my subjects (others are EngLit and Psychology) as the content is about as fascinating as you can expect when looking at the Greeks and Romans. I do get the impression, however, that as a subject it can often be very dependent on your teachers - mine are excellent, whereas another local school that teaches the same units seems much more lacking (anecdotally), despite across subjects being a higher-achieving school.
It is very much essay-based, so sounds right up your alley (6 essays in 2hrs30 for WOH!). Very content-heavy, however. And no coursework to supplement.
It notoriously is one of the harsher subjects when it comes to the % of students getting As and A*s, particularly compared against a subject like English Literature that will often have double the number of top grades. I believe there's an ongoing complaint about this by the CA, however, so this may be rectified by the time you're sitting exams in the subject.


Thank you for the information! :smile:)
Original post by cargoesbroom
Hi, I was wondering what students do in this subject and what it involves as someone who has an interest in history and exceeds in essay-based subjects !

Classics student here ! just finished the course
Studied Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, themes, content and context of the epic (love this personally as a literature student)
My college picked the Imperial Image and Greek religion components. II was generally about Octavian/Augustus’ propaganda, from visual sources like coinage and statues to literary such as poetry and Augustus’ res gestae. In my opinion this part of the course was more history/fact based.
Greek religion included healing cults, sanctuaries, priests/priestesses, festivals, sacrifice - very broad, I think very interpretation heavy in comparison to II.
Though I know friends taking the course who have done to Love and Relationships component, which includes studying Sappho’s poetry…pretty sure some have also done tragedies.? In conclusion, I can’t recommend the subject enough :smile:) sustains interest and has proved to be very fun!
Original post by cargoesbroom
Hi, I was wondering what students do in this subject and what it involves as someone who has an interest in history and exceeds in essay-based subjects !

I do world of the hero (Iliad), Greek Theatre (the Bacchae, oedipus rex and Aristophanes' frogs) and love and relationships and I love it! I'm slightly more of an ancient history focused girl and the course doesn't go that much into it... the context of the aeneid and love and relationships give you a taste of more history based classics but I'm not sure about the other modules. obviously modules like politics of the late republic will be more history based but you should ask a teacher at your school which modules they do

its almost all essay based, with 10 20 and 30 markers

with love and relationships you study Sappho's poetry, plato's symposium, Seneca's letters and ovid's ars amatoria 3
Original post by lamia24jne
Classics student here ! just finished the course
Studied Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, themes, content and context of the epic (love this personally as a literature student)
My college picked the Imperial Image and Greek religion components. II was generally about Octavian/Augustus’ propaganda, from visual sources like coinage and statues to literary such as poetry and Augustus’ res gestae. In my opinion this part of the course was more history/fact based.
Greek religion included healing cults, sanctuaries, priests/priestesses, festivals, sacrifice - very broad, I think very interpretation heavy in comparison to II.
Though I know friends taking the course who have done to Love and Relationships component, which includes studying Sappho’s poetry…pretty sure some have also done tragedies.? In conclusion, I can’t recommend the subject enough :smile:) sustains interest and has proved to be very fun!


Thank you!
Original post by cinmnsoul
I do world of the hero (Iliad), Greek Theatre (the Bacchae, oedipus rex and Aristophanes' frogs) and love and relationships and I love it! I'm slightly more of an ancient history focused girl and the course doesn't go that much into it... the context of the aeneid and love and relationships give you a taste of more history based classics but I'm not sure about the other modules. obviously modules like politics of the late republic will be more history based but you should ask a teacher at your school which modules they do
its almost all essay based, with 10 20 and 30 markers
with love and relationships you study Sappho's poetry, plato's symposium, Seneca's letters and ovid's ars amatoria 3


Thank youu!!

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