GCSE Classical Civilisation

GCSE Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation is the study of the ancient cultures, history, society, politics and religion of ancient Greece and Rome, covering a time span from 3,000 BC to 500 AD. Ancient Greece is thought of as the birthplace of modern civilisation, and the Romans had a huge influence on Britain’s future when they conquered the island in the first century AD. On this course we will explore these cultures through the existing literature and material evidence to gain an insight into how the Greeks and Romans lived, thought, loved and died. There will also be opportunities to visit ancient sites in the UK to help bring the subject to life.

Entry Requirements

No previous study of the Greeks and Romans is required, but an interest in these cultures is essential. All evidence is studied in translation, so no knowledge of Greek or Latin is required. It is possible that the study of both Latin and Classical Civilisation involves some overlap which may enhance your understanding of the two subjects.

Course Content

At GCSE we will study two distinct modules as part of the OCR GCSE 9-1 syllabus. Women in the Ancient World is a thematic comparison study of women’s lives in Greece and Rome, offering the chance to investigate the realities of life bound by stereotypical expectations using literary and visual evidence. Roman City Life will focus on the ancient towns and cities of Rome, Ostia, Pompeii and Herculaneum, examining archaeological evidence such as housing and artefacts, and using literary sources to tell us about Roman lifestyles, social and political systems and civic life.


Assessment will consist of two examinations during the summer exam series; one for each module studied.

Where does it lead?

Classical Civilisation at GCSE is great preparation for an A-level in the subject, and can be studied at degree level. As with other humanities subjects like History, Class Civ develops essential skills such as essay writing and source analysis, and teaches you how to structure a good argument. Classical Civilisation gives you a wide range of knowledge and skills that you can use in a variety of contexts. They show you are good at thinking and evaluating, and also that you have an interest in people and cultures. Universities and employers will be able to see that you are someone with broad interests who can communicate their ideas well.

Reading List

We follow the assigned OCR textbooks to guide our learning throughout the course, published by Bloomsbury. If you would like to do some advance study to pique your interest in the course content, there are many resources available online, such as documentaries, podcasts, and articles. Those of you with an interest in Rome might wish to check out Mary Beard’s ‘Meet The Romans’ series (available on YouTube, watch out for the swearing), and for Ancient Greece, Michael Scott’s ‘Ancient Greece: The Greatest Show on Earth’ (also on YouTube) will give you an excellent introduction to Athenian civilisation.