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Fast Track A Level in Classical Civilisation (2017)

Examining Board: OCR
Next Examination Period: May / June 2020
Exam Specification Code: H408
Coursework Element: None
Practical Element: None
Course Fee Includes: Online course materials and tutor support. Additional materials available at extra cost.
Standard Option: Classical Civilisation A Level
Payment Options: Interest free instalment plans available

OCR A Levels are available for study anywhere in the world. Examinations must be taken in a registered UK exam centre. It is recommended students check with UK examining centres that the chosen exam is available.


Oxford College is pleased to offer the new specification OCR A Level in Classical Civilisation.

This course consists of three units:

  • The World of the Hero.
  • Culture and the Arts: Greek Theatre (Component 21).
  • Beliefs and Ideas: Democracy and the Athenians (Component 34).

The study of Classical Civilisation is highly respected by Universities who look favourably on applicants who can demonstrate knowledge in the Classics. In addition the Oxford Learning College course in Classical Civilisation will help you to:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of the ancient Greek & Roman world through study of ancient art and literature.
  • Encourage and develop an enthusiasm for the Greek & Roman ancient world.
  • Form your own personal responses to the art and literature which you study.
  • Enhance you critical and evaluative skills through critical source examination and understanding of good analytical method.

Classical Civilisation A Level

Entry Requirements

Although the A-Level programmes build on the course content of GCSE, it is not necessary to have this qualification before undertaking an A-Level. However, in order to meet the demands of the course, it is recommended that candidates have literacy and communication skills equivalent to C or higher at GCSE. Please note that full tutor support is still provided throughout your course duration.

All students must be 16 years of age or above.

Course Duration

1 year.

Study Hours Required

Approximately 350 hours.

Awarding Body


OCR A Levels are available for study anywhere in the world. Examinations must be taken in a registered UK exam centre. It is recommended students check with UK examining centres that the chosen exam is available.

Examination Information

Students are required to arrange and pay for their examinations and manage the course work element if the subject requires this. Students must check the relevant examination board website for further information and final examination sitting dates for the specification.

All examinations are held during the May / June exam period of every year.

Course Content

Unit 1: The World of the Hero

In this compulsory component you will study Homer’s Odyssey, as well as Virgil’s Aeneid.

In this unit you will develop an increasingly sophisticated level of knowledge and understanding of the epics themselves, the way in which they were composed, and the religious, cultural and social values and beliefs of its society.

The poems of Homer were considered by the Greeks themselves to be a foundation of Greek culture, standing as they do at the beginning of the Western literary canon. This component will provide you with the opportunity to appreciate the lasting legacy of these works and to explore their attitudes and values. The epics of Homer, with their heroes, gods and exciting narratives, have been in continuous study since their conception, and remain popular today.

Virgil’s Aeneid, is a cornerstone and landmark of literature. Drawing inspiration from Homer, as well as from his own cultural and political context, Virgil explored what it was to be a hero in the Roman world and created a work which has proven enduringly popular.

Required Texts: 

• Homer, Odyssey translated by E V Rieu, revised translation by D C H Rieu (Penguin). Or The Wanderings of Odysseus’, translated by A.S. Kline, online at

• Virgil, ‘Aeneid’ translated by D. West (Penguin) or Virgil, ‘The Aeneid’, translated by A.S. Kline, online at

Unit 2: Culture and the Arts: Greek Theatre (Component 21)

The drama produced in the ancient Greek theatre is some of the most powerful literature written, and continues to have a profound and wide-reaching influence on modern culture and readers today. To fully understand Greek theatre, this unit will take you on a study not only of the plays but also the context in which they were first performed in front of the Athenian audience.

You will study three plays, all of which have proven to be enduring favourites. The themes and concepts explored by these plays are of significant relevance and interest both to the modern audience as well as that of the original performance.

These plays are:

  • Euripides’ Bacchae.
  • Sophocles’ Oedipus the King.
  • Aristophanes’ Frogs.

In this unit we will also study of the physical theatre space used by the Greeks to stage their dramas, and also depictions of this staging in the surviving material record.

Required Texts: 

Unit 3: Beliefs and Ideas: Democracy and the Athenians (Component 34)

In this final unit, the focus of study is to examine the concept of Democracy; what this meant to the Athenians, and to consider its positive and negative aspects. You will study the reforms of two key thinkers in depth, Solon and Cleisthenes, and assess the extent to which they laid the foundations for the democracy of the 5th century BC.

You will also explore how democracy permeated Athenian identity, and how it was not only celebrated and idealised, but also how it was criticised. The concepts of ‘popular’ leaders who mislead the people, or give them what they want rather than what they need, and a voting public who may not be fully informed on the issues, may resonate with today’s learners and make this study of one of the West’s foundational political ideas engaging and relevant. Finally, you will study extracts from the comedies of Aristophanes, whose wit and political satire can still capture a modern audience as much as he did an ancient one.

Required Texts:

  • Aeschylus, Eumenides.
  • Euripides, Suppliants.
  • Aristophanes Acharnians.
  • Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae (Assemblywomen).
  • Aristophanes Frogs.
  • Aristophanes Knights.
  • Aristophanes Peace.
  • Aristophanes Wasps.
  • Plato, Republic.
  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War.

The above texts are not full texts and the required excerpts will be provided in the course materials. It is also recommended that you obtain your own full copies of as many of the above as possible. Many can be accessed for free online.

It is recommended however that you obtain your own copies of the following texts:

  • Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians.
  • Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War.
  • Old Oligarch.
  • The format of the Examinations.


Assessment Overview

  1. The world of the hero (H408/11) paper is marked out of 100 marks and is an examination paper taken over 2 hours and 20 minutes and comprises 40% of the total A level.
  2. The Culture and the Arts: Greek theatre (H408/21) paper is marked out of 75 marks and is an examination paper taken over 1 hour and 45 minutes and comprises 30% of the total A level.
  3.  The Belief and Ideas: Democracy and the Athenians (H408/34) paper is marked out of 75 marks and is an examination paper taken over 1 hour and 45 minutes and comprises 30% of the total A level.
  4. Exams from 2019 via this specification will not be available in Welsh.


The titles of the qualifications as will appear on certificates are:
OCR Advanced GCE in Classical Civilisation: A level in Classical Civilisation.


Our A-Level programmes are eligible for UCAS points, making them a great choice for students aiming to progress to University. UCAS points are awarded according to the grade earned, please see below for details.

A levels are also widely recognised by employers and are useful for students looking to progress their careers or meet requirements for promotion.

UCAS Points Table

A* = 56
A = 48
B = 40
C = 32
D = 24
E = 16

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