Head of Department

Mr M Weston

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Aims of the Department

The study of the Greek and Roman civilisations and their languages deepens and enhances our understanding of the modern world and the influences that have shaped it. In addition these subjects offer academic rigour and training in thought and communication that is second to none. Our aim is to offer the challenges and rewards of studying the language, literature, art, history and philosophy of the Greeks and Romans to all students, awakening wherever possible an interest that will enrich their lives as much as it will their academic profile.

Students may have the opportunity to study Latin (if there is enough demand) and classical civilisation at GCSE and A level from the fourth form onwards. Ancient Greek may also available as an extra-curricular option. However, both of these would be subject to demand and availability.

Summary of subject content

Upper school (KS4/GCSE)

Classical civilisation

This subject offers the chance to study some of the most influential ideas, events and literature of the Greeks and Romans without requiring knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages. The study of the ancient world casts light both on the modern world and more specifically on other areas of the school curriculum, often in unexpected and delightful ways.

Topics currently studied include:

  • Homer’s Odyssey
  • Euripides’ Medea and the Ancient Greek Theatre
  • Nero and Imperial Rome (controlled assessment topic)
  • The Ancient Olympic Games and Panathenaia or Pompeii and Herculaneum

Exam board: AQA

Latin (subject to demand)

This may be available as an option to all students in the fourth and fifth forms. If the subject is offered students would have the opportunity to find out more about Latin in the third form before making their choice of options, and are encouraged to consider the following points:

  • GCSE Latin involves the rigorous study of grammar and so can greatly improve students’ command of English;
  • Learning Latin provides a helpful framework for the more rapid learning of any other language;
  • The detailed study of set texts provides a chance to hear what the Romans thought and wrote around two millennia ago in their own words;
  • The way in which set texts are analysed greatly improves students’ skills in understanding and appreciating literature generally;
  • A good grade at GCSE carries weight with universities;
  • This is a fast course – from scratch to GCSE in two years where many other schools allow at least twice the time. Students should be prepared for rapid and highly focused study.

Exam board: OCR

Lower and upper sixth

Classical civilisation

This subject can be taken at AS and A level not only by GCSE students of the subject who wish to take their studies further but also by those with no prior knowledge of the subject.

Topics currently studied include:

  • Homer’s Odyssey and Society
  • Roman Society and Thought
  • Epic: Virgil and Homer
  • Greek Art and Architecture

Exam board: OCR

Latin (subject to demand)

Students may have the opportunity to study both language and literature in greater depth for this very demanding and rewarding subject if it is offered at A level.

Latin is commonly studied alongside science and mathematics or arts and humanities, adding highly respected evidence of literacy to the former profile and of logical rigour to the latter.

Set texts currently include extracts from:

  • Cicero’s De Imperio
  • Ovid’s Metamorphoses
  • Virgil’s Aeneid
  • Tacitus’ Annals
  • Pliny’s Letters

Exam board: OCR

Trips, special projects, extra-curricular clubs/activities

The department offers Ancient Greek at lunchtime and after school for students. This can lead to a qualification such as OCR’s GCSE or AS level.

The department runs classics trips to Greece or Italy every two years.

Career opportunities

Students of classical subjects go on to many varied careers, not just as classics teachers. The skills inherent in these subjects are exceedingly transferable and highly regarded.

Reading lists

GCSE Classics

Homer’s Odyssey


Homer, Rieu, D.C.H.(tr.) The Odyssey Penguin Classics(2003)978 - 0140449112

Griffin, J. Homer: The Odyssey (Landmarks of World Literature) CUP (2003) 978-0521539784

Jenkyns, R. Classical Epic: Homer and Virgil BCP (1998) 978-1853991332

Thorpe, M. Homer (Inside the Ancient World) BCP (1991) 978-0862922412


Drama and Tragedy


Euripides, translated by Vellacott, P. Medea and other Plays (Penguin Classics) Penguin (1963) 978-0140441291

Baldock, M. Greek Tragedy: An Introduction BCP (1991) 978-1853991196

Ferguson, J. Medea and Electra: A Companion to the Penguin Translation BCP (1991) 978-0862922689

Milch, R. J. Notes on Euripides Medea and Electra (Cliff Notes) Hungry Minds Inc.

(1965) 978-0822004240

Renshaw, J. In Search of the Greeks BCP (2008) 978-185399-6993

Taylor, D. The Greek and Roman Stage BCP (1999) 978-1853995910


Olympics and Panathenaia


Amos, H.D. & Lang, A.G.P. These Were The Greeks Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd (1996) 978-0715627310

Connolly, P. & Dodge, H. The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens & Rome

OUP (1998) 978-0199172429

Newby, Z. Athletics in the Ancient World BCP (2006) 978-1853996887

Renshaw, J. In Search of the Greeks BCP (2008) 978-1853996993

Swaddling, J. The Ancient Olympic Games British Museum Press (2004)





Suetonius, Graves, R. (tr) The Twelve Caesars Penguin Classics (2007) 978-0140455168

Tacitus, translated by Grant, M. Annals Penguin Classics (2003) 978-0140440607

Champlin, E Nero Harvard University Press (2005) 978-0674018228

Griffin, M. T. Nero: The end of a Dynasty Routledge (1987) 978-0713444650

Holland, R. Nero: The Man behind the Myth Sutton Publishing (2002) 978-0750928762

Scarre, C Chronicle of the Roman Emperors Thames and Hudson (1995) 978-0500050774

Scullard, H. H. From the Gracchi to Nero: History of Rome from 133 BC to AD 68 (5th Edition) Routledge (1982) 978-0415025270

Shotter, D. Nero Lancaster Pamphlets, Routledge (2005) 978-0415319423

Shotter, D. Nero Caesar Augustus: Emperor of Rome Longman (2008) 978-1405824576

Tingay, G. Empire and Emperors CUP (1983) 978-0521281904

Wiedemann, T. Julio-Claudian Emperors BCP (1991) 978-1853991172

Websites (Follow link to Nero Page)

AS / A level classical civilisation

Homer's Odyssey and Society

Boardman, J., Griffin, J. and Murray, O. Oxford History of the Classical World (chapter 2) 1986,

Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198721129

Clarke, H. W. The Art of Odyssey 1989, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853990523

Edwards, M. W. Homer: Poet of the Iliad 1987, John Hopkins. ISBN 0801840163

Emlyn-Jones, C., Hardwick, L. and Purkis, J. (eds.) Homer: Readings and Images 1992,

Duckworth. ISBN 0715624385

Finley, M. I. The World of Odysseus 1979, Pimlico. ISBN 0712665730

Griffin, J. Homer: the Odyssey 1987, Cambridge University Press. ,ISBN 0521539781

Jones, P. V. Homer’s Odyssey: a Companion to the English Translation of Richard Lattimore

1988, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853990388

Thorpe, M. Homer 1991, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 0862922410

Willcock, M. M. A Companion to the Iliad 1976, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226898555

Roman Society and Thought

Balsdon, J. P. V. D. Life and Leisure in Ancient Rome 2002, Weidenfeld & Nicholson. ISBN


Braund, D. C. The Administration of the Roman Empire 1988, University of Exeter Press. ISBN


Braund, S. Roman Satirists and Their Masks 1996, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853991392

Coffey, M. Roman Satire 1995, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853990469

Conté, G. B. The Hidden Author: an Interpretation of Petronius’ Satyricon 1997, University of

California Press. ISBN 0520207157

Edwards, C. Writing Rome. Textual approaches to the city 1996, Cambridge University Press.

ISBN 0521559529

Hutchinson, G. O. Latin Literature from Seneca to Juvenal 1993, Clarendon Press. ISBN


Rudd, N. The Satires of Horace 1994, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 0862920418

Sherwin-White, A. N. The Letters of Pliny: A Historical and Social Commentary 1966, Oxford

University Press. ISBN 0198144350

Taylor, D. Roman Society 1998, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853995533

Walsh, P. G. The Roman Novel 1998, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853994502

Wiedemann, T. The Julio-Claudian Emperors 1989, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853991171

Virgil and the world of the hero

Camps, W. A. An Introduction to Virgil 's Aeneid 1969, Oxford University Press. ISBN


Edwards, M. W. Homer: Poet of the Iliad 1987, John Hopkins. ISBN 0801840163

Griffin, J. Latin Poets and Roman Life 1987, Duckworth. ISBN 1853994308

Griffin, J, Virgil 1987, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853996262

Gransden, K. W. The Aeneid 1990, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521832136

Griffin, J. Latin Poets and Roman Life 1987, Duckworth. ISBN 1853994308

Griffin, J. Virgil 1987, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853996262

Kenney, E. J. and Clausen, W. V. Cambridge History of Classical Literature: Volume II, Latin

Literature, The Age of Augustus 1987, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521273730

Scullard, H. H. From the Gracchi to Nero 1988, Routledge (chapters 11 and 12). ISBN


Thorpe, M. Homer 1980, Macmillan. ISBN 0862922410

Wallace Hadrill, A. Augustan Rome 1993, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853991384

Willcock, M. M. A Companion to the Iliad 1976, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226898555

Williams, R. D. Aeneas and the Roman Hero 1998, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853995894

Williams, R. D. The Aeneid of Virgil: A Companion to the Translation of C Day Lewis 1992,

Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 0862920442

Art and architecture in the Greek world


Boardman, J. Greek Art 1996, Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0500202923

Burn, L. The British Museum Book of Greek and Roman Art 1991, British Museum Press. ISBN


Fullerton, M. D. Greek Art 2000, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521779731

Osborne, R. Archaic and Classical Greek Art 1998, Oxford University Press. ISBN


Pollitt, J. J. Art and Experience in Classical Greece 1972, Cambridge University Press. ISBN


Robertson, M. A Shorter History of Greek Art 1981, Cambridge University Press. ISBN


Woodford, S. The Art of Greece and Rome 1982, Cambridge University Press. ISBN


Woodford, S. An Introduction to Greek Art 1997, Gerald Duckworth. ISBN 0715620959


Boardman, J. Athenian Black Figure Vases 1985, Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0500201382

Boardman, J. Athenian Red Figure Vases: the Classical Period 1989, Thames & Hudson. ISBN


Carpenter, T. H. Art and Myth in Ancient Greece 1991, Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0500202362

Rasmussen, T. and Spivey, N. (eds.) Looking at Greek Vases 1991, Cambridge University

Press. ISBN 0521376793

Williams, D. Greek Vases 1998, British Museum Press. ISBN 071412138X

Woodford, S. The Trojan War in Ancient Art 1993, Duckworth. ISBN 0715624687


Lawrence, A. W. (rev.) Tomlinson Greek Architecture 1996, Yale University Press. ISBN


Robertson, D. S. Greek and Roman Architecture 1969, Cambridge University Press. ISBN


Tomlinson, R. A. Greek Architecture 1989, Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853991155

GCE Classics 35

Woodford, S. The Parthenon 1981, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521226295

Sculpture and architectural sculpture

Boardman, J. Greek Sculpture: the Archaic Period 1978, Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0500201633

Boardman, J. Greek Sculpture: the Classical Period 1985, Thames & Hudson. ISBN


Boardman, J. Greek Sculpture: the Late Classical Period 1995, Thames & Hudson. ISBN


Cook, B. F. The Elgin Marbles 1997, British Museum Press. ISBN 0714121347

Jenkins, I. The Parthenon Frieze 1994, British Museum Press. ISBN 0714122378