Classics

At More House, we study the Latin language and how it is still relevant today. We also explore the culture of the classical world, delving into how both the Greeks and the Romans lived in order to broaden our understanding of how the ancient world has helped shape the world we live in today.

STAFF

Head of Department 

Mrs R Gilbertson

rgilbertson@morehousemail.org.uk

 

Mrs R Tunnicliffe

rtunnicliffe@morehousemail.org.uk

Aims

We aim to develop a knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the classical world, its languages, literature, and cultures. Through teaching the Latin language, we aim to instill in pupils an understanding of the way language works and help establish a framework that will be useful for learning languages throughout their lives. We teach an awareness of the links between the ancient and modern world, particularly in relation to language, literature, and art.


KS3 (years 8 and 9) 

Latin is introduced in year 8. We follow the Cambridge Latin course, learning the language through the stories of Caecilius and his family in Pompeii. The focus at this early stage is on translation and understanding Latin sentence structure by recognising the verb and noun endings. The girls are encouraged to learn new vocabulary, which broadens their knowledge of English through derivations.

In year 9, the girls are split into two or sometimes three groups. Two groups continue with Latin, while the other group focuses solely on classical civilisation studies.

Year 9 – Latin

We move on to book II of the Cambridge Latin course in year 9. Having witnessed the devastation caused by Vesuvius at the end of book I, we move to Roman Britain where the translations are set to the backdrop of King Cogidubnus and his palatial abode at Fishbourne. New language topics are covered, which allow the girls to attempt the translation of more complex sentences. Particular attention is given to the introduction of adjectives and pronouns, while verbs are broken down into their principle parts to ensure a deeper understanding of the syntax.

Year 9 – Classical Civilisation

The course is designed to give the girls a flavour of what to expect from GCSE classical civilisation. Some of the topics covered include:

  • The Greek and Roman gods and their influence on the ancient world.
  • Hercules and how he is viewed by the Greeks and Romans.
  • Greek and Roman civilisations – their religious practices, temples, festivals, and the underworld.
  • Two books from Homer’s Odyssey, which is the GCSE set text.

KS4 (years 10 and 11) - GCSE Syllabus 

Latin

Latin GCSE at More House is exciting, challenging and rewarding. It is comprised of three modules, which are studied over the two-year course.

The Language paper is worth 50% of the GCSE and requires knowledge of prescribed vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Students build on their translation and comprehension skills while learning the required constructions through passages that retell both mythological stories and historical events. The paper also requires students to either answer questions on the use of grammar in a short passage or a prose composition, translating three English sentences into Latin.

Students also work on a verse set text worth 25% of the GCSE. This allows students the opportunity to translate selections of Virgil’s Aeneid and learn how to analyse his style and the poetry itself.

The final module, Literature and Culture, is also worth 25%. This module invites students to interpret a range of sources, both visual and textual, in English, which gives an insight into the society and culture of the ancient Romans. 

Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation covers two components. The Thematic Study provides the opportunity to study both Greece and Rome, literature and visual/material culture. These components are wide ranging and encompass a variety of interesting and engaging material. In Component 1 (year 10), we study Myth and Religion. Topics include the gods/goddesses, Heracles/Hercules, Temples and Festivals, to name but a few, which will inspire and motivate students to engage further with the classical world.

In Literature and Culture, students will be able to undertake an element of cultural study then couple this with a related body of literature. This approach enables a diverse course of study and preserves the variety of material, which has always been such a popular feature of Classical Civilisation. In Component 2 (year 11), students will be taught one in-depth cultural study and one of related literature, the latter focusing on Mycenaean society and weapons used in battle before reading selected books from Homer’s epic, The Odyssey.

Each component is worth 50% of the GCSE.


KS5 (sixth form) - A-level syllabus

Classical Civilisation

Our A-level course is comprised of three components:

  1. The World of the Hero
  2. Culture and the Arts
  3. Beliefs and Ideas

In component 1, covered in year 12, students study Homer’s epic poem, The Iliad and in year 13, Virgil’s Aeneid. This is solely focused on the study of literature in translation. Students 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. This component is worth 40% of the A Level.

Component 2 is Greek Theatre and is also taught in year 12. This involves the study of visual and material culture and will be combined with the study of literature in translation. The drama produced in the ancient Greek theatre forms some of the most powerful literature of the ancient world and has had a profound and wide-reaching influence on modern culture. The three plays for study are:

  1. Sophocles’ Oedipus the King
  2. Euripides’ Bacchae
  3. Aristophanes’ Frogs

Component 3 is Greek Religion, delivered in year 13. This module involves an area of classical thought, in combination with the study of literature in translation and visual and material culture. Religion was an essential part of ancient Greek identity, permeating all strata of society and all aspects of an individual’s daily life. Religion could be connected to the household, to life in the city or life in the countryside; moreover politics and religion were intertwined to the extent that political decisions were sometimes made on the basis of divine oracular intervention. Religion was also an important tool for the creation of local and Panhellenic identities, as well as competitions between the Greek city-states.

Both components 2 and 3 are each worth 30% of the A level.

All three components are examined at the end of the two-year course.


Clubs and Activities

The Greeks and Romans left behind a wealth of resources for us to explore. At More House, we pride ourselves on providing enrichment for the girls across year groups by giving them the opportunity to visit some of the ancient world’s most remarkable sites. We run a variety of trips, including:

  • Year 8 trip to the Roman Baths at Bath.
  • Year 9 trip to the London Museum.
  • Years 10-13 trip to Athens, Greece or Rome, Italy.

Our central London location affords us regular visits to the British Museum: years 10 and 11 are able to study some of the artifacts that may appear in their exams, while year 12 girls are able to study the Greek vases that depict characters from Homer’s Iliad, the A-level set text. The sixth-form pupils are able to attend lectures hosted by Sovereign Education, which cover a variety of the topics studied at A level. Moreover, the Greek plays studied in year 13 are frequently staged in London – these are booked on an ad-hoc basis whenever they become available.