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Classical Civilisation

Dear Prospective Classical Civilisation student,

You probably will not have studied classical civilisation in school, but this doesn’t put you at a disadvantage for studying it at A level. This is because many of the ideas and characters you study in the classical civilisation course have direct links to issues which remain important today. Try out some of the tasks below to see how you can make links between the classical world and contemporary society.

1. Pietas is one of the central ideas of Virgil’s Aeneid, one of the texts you will study. It was one of the primary virtues of the Roman world and was defined by Cicero as the desire to “do our duty to our country or our parents or other blood relations.”

How important do you think the concept of pietas is in a world affected by the covid-19 pandemic?
Try to summarise your ideas in a mind map or other visual form.

2. Many of the texts you study in classical civilisation will explore the characteristics of heroes.

Choose one of these classical heroic figures to research, and try to find out which characteristics made them heroic:

  • Achilleus
  • Odysseus

Now have a look at this BBC article, which shows some of the ways people have paid tribute to the heroes of the NHS in the current crisis:

How have our ideas about what makes a hero changed since the classical era?

Try to record your response in a one to two minute audio file.

You might also want to interview a friend or family member about what they think makes someone heroic.