AS Classics

What will I study for AS Classical Civilisation?

You will study two topics in year 12 both of which are examined at the end of the academic year.

Homer’s Odyssey and Society

The principal focus of this unit is on literature, society and values. The unit is also concerned with history and archaeology.

Candidates must study Homer’s Odyssey. Passages for the commentary questions will be set from books 4-12 and 18-22 however we will read the entire book.

Candidates must be prepared to answer commentary questions on passages taken from any of the material prescribed for the unit.

Literary context

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of:

·         Oral tradition

·         Transmission of the texts, including when the epics were written down

·         What their preliterate form was and whether they were composed by one or more poets

·         Structure of the epic

·         Narrative techniques, including flashback, retardation, episodes

·         The language of epic, including formulae and similies

·         Presentation of character

·         Supernatural elements, such as monsters

·         Realism and fantasy

·         Disguise and recognition

·         Nostos (homecoming or longing for home)

Social and cultural context

Candidates should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the following:

·         The role of the gods and the power of fate

·         The stories of the heroes

·         The concept of heroism, including the ideas of honour (timé) and reputation (kleos)

·         Moral concepts, such as justice and revenge

·         Life and society as portrayed by Homer

·         The part played by women in the epics and their position in society

·         Hospitality and guest friendships (xenia)

·         The role of slaves

·         Historical and archaeological background

 

Greek Tragedy in its context

The principal focus of this unit is on literature, society and values. The unit is also concerned with history, philosophy and religion.

From June 2009 to June 2011, inclusive, the set texts will be: Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King and Euripides’ Medea and Bacchae.

From June 2012 to June 2014, inclusive, the set texts will be: Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Sophocles’ Ajax and Euripides’ Medea and Trojan Women.

Candidates must be prepared to answer commentary questions on passages taken from any of the material prescribed for the unit.

Literary context

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

·         The theatre building and machinery

·         Use of actors

·         Use of the chorus

·         Other dramatic conventions, such as the structure of the plays, messenger speeches and deus ex machine

·         Attitudes towards the portrayal of violence and death

·         Characterisation, including the role of minor characters

·         Language

·         Dramatic irony

·         The nature of tragedy, including concepts such as hamartia, peripeteia and katharsis

·         The particular styles and approaches characteristic of each of the three tragedians and their contribution to the development of Greek tragedy

Social and cultural context

Candidates should be able to demonstrate an understanding of how fifth-century Athenians viewed the following:

·         Dramatic festivals

·         The role of the gods and fate in the world

·         Oracles, omens and prophecies

·         Moral concepts, such as justice and revenge

·         Death and burial

·         The stories of the heroes and the ideas of honour and reputation

·         The role of men in the life of the city

·         The position of women in society

·         The importance of the children and the family



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