Classics

Classics
We believe that the advantages given by a classical element in education should be open to all students, and that every pupil gains from exposure to the languages and culture of the Ancient World.
Classics is the study of the Ancient Greeks and Romans and anything to do with them, including their languages, Classical Greek and Latin.

Many schools are not able to offer these subjects, owing to a growing shortage of Classics teachers. At Hereford Cathedral School we are lucky enough to have two full-time teachers in the department, supported by the Academic Deputy Head.

We aim to provide stimulating courses which develop skills in language, communication, ICT, expression (written and oral), analysis and perception. These skills will help students in both their academic and general lives. We also aim to nurture a love of learning for its own sake.

> Years 7-9


We take a flexible approach to the study of Classics in Years 8 to 9, depending on individual experience and circumstances.

Year 8:
You will take a taster course in Classics, exploring Greek Mythology and then moving on to study the Latin language, using ‘Who Said Latin’s Dead’, a course designed for beginners.

Year 9:
In Year 9, you continue to increase your knowledge of Latin, using ‘Who Said Latin’s Dead’. You will also explore aspects of life in the Roman World, such as Gladiators, Chariot-Racing and Baths. Typically about a third/half of you choose to study Latin at GCSE.

> GCSE

GCSE Latin: Latin is more than just a language! Latin is a discipline that will inspire you across the curriculum, both benefiting and complementing all subjects. You will discover the logic of language, it will improve your vocabulary, your confidence in using words, and your ability to write with accuracy.

The good news is, that once you've mastered it, you might as well go on to A Level!

GCSE Greek: The ultimate privilege. A fast-track course for high flyers – especially scientists, medics, linguists, lawyers.

Only around 1500 candidates in the country enter for this exam, so you will really stand out if you take Greek. You can take it from scratch over two years in the Sixth Form, or you can start earlier in Greek Club. Speak to Miss Wright if you want to know more.

> A Level

AS/ A-level Latin: We offer both a stand-alone AS level and a two-year course leading to a full A-level. There’s no more grammar to learn, just a wider vocabulary and literature –

AS - Latin Language & Latin Verse and Prose Literature. Murder and Love - you study Cicero's defence speech in which he tries to prove that a murderer should be found Not Guilty, and a selection of love poetry.

A-level - building on from your knowledge gained in your Lower Sixth year, you continue to study more poetry and more oratory. You also continue to improve your ability at unseen translation.

--and/or--

GCSE Greek: The ultimate privilege. A fast track course for high flyers – especially scientists, medics, linguists, lawyers.

Only around 1500 candidates in the country enter for this exam, so you will really stand out if you take Greek. And you can take it from scratch up to GCSE over two years in the Sixth Form.

AS Greek: If you have already studied Latin, you will find that you can make swift progress in Greek, since much of the structure of the language is similar. We offer AS Greek taken over two years. The course is structured like the AS Latin course, with a mixture of unseen language, prose literature and verse literature, studied in the original.

> AS/A2 Classical CiviliSation

AS/A2 Classical Civilisation: How to blow your mind and answer more questions on University Challenge. All the stories and gossip from Ancient Greece and Rome, but in English!

AS

- Homer’s Odyssey and Society: The first novel of the Western World. Forty-something superhero outwits monsters, cannibals and lovesick nymphs to return home to wife Penelope and rescue her from the attentions of 108 hopeful boyfriends.

- Greek Tragedy in its context: Greek drama from the dawn of time. Aeschylus’ Agamemnon: While her lord and master is away, repressed dominatrix, Clytemnestra, couples up with her husband’s cousin to exact revenge for past mistakes. Blood on the carpet.
Euripides’ Elektra: Clytemnestra's daughter takes revenge on her mother and her lover for her father's death. Blood everywhere.
Euripides’ Medea: Domestic tragedy. After the glory days of the Golden Fleece, Jason dumps his witch of a wife to marry a teenage princess. Revenge is sweet.
Sophocles' Antigone: The ultimate dysfunctional family. When your father married his mother, and your mother hanged herself in shame, it seems more than bad luck when your brothers kill each other and you fall out with your uncle over the funeral.

A2

A2 Greek Art and Architecture

Study some of the finest art ever produced, from the earliest examples of free-standing sculpture to the optical illusions of the Parthenon.

There are four topics:

Free-standing sculpture: trace the development of the human shape from motionless early statues down to flying goddesses.

Architectural sculpture: how do you tell a story in rectangular marble blocks? How can you fit human figures into a triangular shape without losing all sense of scale? How do you decorate a 160 metre frieze?

Architecture: where, how and why the Greeks built their temples.

Vase-Painting: study miniature masterpieces packed with mythological detail.

A2 Comic Drama in the Ancient World:

Clouds: Aristophanes’ biting satire on higher education and the pretensions of academia - students wasting their time with philosophy and the high cost of tuition fees. Starring Socrates himself.

Aristophanes’ Lysistrata: Yes, that’s the one. Women of Greece unite in a multilateral sex strike to force World Peace. Full use of the phallus.

Menander's Swaggering Soldier: Damsel in distress abducted by macho military man, but rescued by friends and neighbours and restored to her boyfriend. The original rom-com.

Menander’s Brothers Menaechmus: Twice the fun! Identical twin brothers, separated as children, in bed-hopping Roman confusion. Lol.

> Co-curricular (including clubs)

Minimus Club: Sixth form pupils spend Friday afternoons at the Junior School, teaching pupils Latin and Classical Mythology.

Classics Club: For all years. Monday lunchtimes in Z3. Every year we put on one play (not the Classics Play, for which see below). Other hands-on activities include making mosaics, carving Greek statues or building Roman forts.

Greek Club: For Years 7 to 10. On Wednesdays from 4-5pm after school and Thursdays from 4-5pm after school. Greek Club offers a mixture of language and civilisation, including Greek history, culture and art.

Classics Play: Organised, created and put on by Hereford Cathedral School's Classics pupils for an end-of-year play.

Archaeological Society: A mixture of meetings and trips throughout the year.

> Trips

There is an active extra-curricular programme of trips to lectures and theatres, mostly in the evening (2 to 3 per term), which pupils attend on a voluntary basis, although attendance at performances of set texts is strongly advised. Every two years we run a trip to either Greece or Italy, open to all those studying Classical subjects.

> Explore Further

If you want to read more about the Classical World there are lots of books available from the Classics Dept. You might start with one of these:

Year 7-9
Caroline Lawrence, The Roman Mysteries – lots of copies in Z1.

Rex Warner, Greeks and Trojans.

Robin Lister, The Odyssey.

Wright, Inside Ancient Greece – 5 different books on different aspects of life in Greece. Includes War and Warfare, Mythology, Art and Architecture, City States, Philosophy and Writing.

Years 9-11
Peter Jones, Eureka: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Ancient Greeks – lots of random, fun information.

Charlotte Higgins, It’s All Greek to Me.

Natalie Haynes, The Ancient Guide to Modern Life - a very readable investigation of life in the ancient world and how various aspects (such as politics) still apply today.

Wright, Inside Ancient Greece – 5 different books on different aspects of life in Greece. Includes War and Warfare, Mythology, Art and Architecture, City States, Philosophy and Writing.

Year 11-Sixth Form
Robin Lane-Fox, The Classical World - a popular history by one of the world's experts. It covers the glory of Greece and the rise of the Roman Empire. Lots of short chapters which mean that you can dip in and out of it.

Natalie Haynes, The Ancient Guide to Modern Life - a very readable investigation of life in the ancient world and how various aspects (such as politics) still apply today.

Madeleine Miller, The Song of Achilles – a very readable historical novel about of the Trojan War

Stephen Kershaw, A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths – lots of different myths to dip into.

What to watch
Ancient Drama by Sophocles
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suN2Pq6qoKE Antigone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SESe4dHF8wc Elektra

History
Seven Wonders of Rome
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8wjVAUXvDQ

The Greek Empire (five thirty-minute chunks which narrate the history of Athens from early times down to the time of Alexander).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JflxXipzK_I

Greece, The Golden Age of Civilisation. (A shorter 1 hour documentary about 5th century Athens)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDcSDDSwXw4

Art
Some excellent short videos on various aspects of Greek Art.
https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ancient-art-civilizations/greek-art

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