Classical Civilisation is approached from the texts in English verse and prose translation. Additionally notes with photographs on Greek vases are written and supplied by the Department. Although marginally less demanding than Latin and Greek in the original, the breadth and depth of the course is highly attractive to anyone who has an interest in language, literature, history, philosophy and art. This course can be started from scratch in the VIth Form and requires no formal training in Greek or Latin.
In Classical Civilisation, through the media of art, architecture and literature, we are asking ourselves how we define ourselves and come to realise how fragile and limited is our social order. Through the study of history, tragedy and epic, all enshrined in the civic spaces of the Ancient World and its buildings, especially in Fifth Century Athens and Attica, we come to appreciate a very earnest message that all of us and especially the governments that rule, will need a sort of knowledge that goes beyond the mechanics and technologies of power, and that knowledge is linked entirely to the discovery of the self.
To read the ‘Oedipus Tyrannos’ of Sophocles or the ‘Bacchae’ of Euripides is to appreciate the limitations of human knowledge, the frailty of human existence, the irrationality of the gods and the issues of our very identity. To study the Art and and ceramics of the Greek World is to visualise not only a response to the questions of identity and man’s relationship with the gods and his immediate history but to appreciate a mathematical, symmetrical and scientific method of embodying that response.
Students wishing to study this course must obtain at least a 7 in GCSE English. A 7 or above in History is also preferred.