Classics & Latin
The foundation of our modern western world
Although relatively small, the Classics Department is thriving. Situated in the Maths and Science Building (and therefore named Pythagoras), the classroom is a haven of the study of ancient literature both in the original language and in translation. We aim to encourage a real love of the ancient world, and lessons, usually in smallish groups, are intended to be fun, as well as rigorous. Almost all those who study Latin or Greek achieve top grades at GSCE and A level, whilst those who study through translations also do very well.
In year 9 pupils arrive from a variety of backgrounds. The aim is to enable each one to be in a position to start the GCSE course in year 10, and for most this will entail new vocabulary and learning new Latin idioms of expression.
This course will teach pupils to understand Latin, so that they can cope with quite sophisticated grammar and vocabulary; the aim is that pupils should translate the language into good English. During year 10, pupils meet “real Latin” for the first time, which is always an exciting moment, and this study of Latin literature, both poetry and prose, forms two of the four GCSE papers. It is a wonderful thing to be able to read great Latin literature and to begin to understand what enables it to be called “great”. The syllabus we follow can be found here
It should be noted that Greek can sometimes be taught to motivated pupils; the structure of the course is very similar to Latin.
It is possible to do either Latin or Classics at A level. Each of these courses still has an AS exam at the end of the first year.
Latin: the course continues to develop pupils’ understanding of the way the language works, with the level of difficulty being increased form GCSE. At this stage translating English to Latin is introduced, and many pupils fin this a particularly satisfying part of the course. There is also a literature paper, both prose and verse, and pupils are expected to carry out advanced literary criticism. The skills learnt and practised in A level Latin are eminently transferable to language and arts courses post-school, and it is still true that a high grade in Latin is looked upon very favourably by top universities. The syllabus is here (course codes H039, H439)
Classics: this subject covers a very broad range of different topics: the syllabus is here.
We study two topics at AS level: a) F383 Roman Society and Thought – here pupils study four Roman authors in translation and learn about them in their own right, as well as what they tell us about the ways the Romans lived and thought b) F391: Greek History from original sources – here pupils learn about the rise and eventual fall of the Athenian empire in the 5th Century BC.
At A2 level we study two more topics: a) F390 Virgil and the world of the hero – here pupils read most of Virgil’s Aeneid and some of Homer’s Iliad, learning to compare the two authors and in particular the way the Aeneid builds on, yet changes, the Iliad. b) F393 Greek History: conflict and culture – here pupils develop further their studies in year 12 and are expected to approach ancient texts in an increasingly academic fashion.
In recent years all pupils studying Latin have been to the Roman Baths, and several have been to lectures and other Classical occasions in Bath.
To arrange a visit, or for any other enquiries regarding admissions at the Senior School, please contact our Registrar, Mrs Carole Heritage on 01225 721 133
To arrange a visit, or any other enquiries at the Pre-Prep and Prep please contact Nicky Davis on 01225 831 238.
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Tel: +44 (0)1225 721 133
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