Interest in the ancient world, in particular the culture of the ancient Greeks and Romans, remains high and shows that it is still felt to have a relevance to us today. Classical Civilisation offers girls the opportunity to study this culture, but by reading the works of ancient authors in English translation, rather than through studying them in the original language.
The subject is topic-based, with girls studying specific aspects of the society, history and literature of the Greeks and Romans. Girls study not only works of literature but also other sources, such as extracts from speeches in court cases and letters. “Women in Ancient Athens and Rome” is a fascinating topic, always provoking lively discussion and argument. “Homer’s Odyssey” gives girls the chance to study one of the foundation works of western literature, a story packed full of lively incident and adventure, but also displaying psychological insight and subtlety. Girls also study Virgil’s "Aeneid” and “Augustus”, these modules complement one other as girls develop their understanding of the context, the history and the politics surrounding the epic poem which details the founding of Rome itself.
In recent years we have attended lectures held by subject specialists, visited the British Museum, held a theatre trip to see a play examined as part of the module “Women in Ancient Athens and Rome”, and been on a trip to Pompeii and the Bay of Naples.
Students develop their skills in assimilating information, and most importantly, in assessing, analysing and evaluating source material. Through the writing of essays they develop their ability to structure and organise their ideas to produce a convincing argument. Girls are encouraged to read and research independently and to develop their critical thinking skills.
The subject is offered at A-level only and students enjoy a good success rate in public examinations. As well as studying Classics, recent students have gone on to study subjects as diverse as Law, Modern Languages, English and History of Art at University.
You can find out more about the Classics Department and what we do on Twitter @SheffHSClassics