Ancient History – A Level
Studying Ancient History at Lansdowne will allow you to gain a thorough understanding of the key concepts and themes of the culture, literature and intellectual life of the ancient world. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to study the work of those historians who shaped the Western tradition of historical writing: Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus and Plutarch. Apart from studying the work of such notable historians you will examine archaeological evidence and descriptions of and commentaries on life in the ancient world provided by philosophers such as Plato and the satirists Juvenal and Horace.
Through the study of a choice of topics in Greek and Roman History from the sixth century BC to the fourth century AD you will examine significant events, individuals and issues which helped shape the modern world: from the Spartans to the Emperor Augustus, Greek philosophy, the plot against Caesar and his assassination, Roman imperialism, revolt and all-out war.
You will acquire the skills required by a historian and develop your ability to critically assess primary and secondary sources: training which will equip you with a set of transferable skills for further study in this or other fields.
What will I study in Ancient History?
AS Units 1 and 2
Greek History from Original Sources. You will study how ancient historians recorded events and examine how modern historians analyse and evaluate records from the ancient world. Through the study of texts by authors such as Herodotus and Plato you will examine the origins of democracy in 5th century BC Athens, the importance of public speaking and the art of rhetoric, the growth of Athenian imperialism and the social and political structure of Sparta.
Roman History from Original Sources. Focusing on Rome at the height of its power you will study the machinations of the Roman senate, the life of the Emperor Augustus and his relationship with Rome’s wealthy and plebeian public. You will also examine Rome’s colonisation of Celtic Britain and what life was like in a remote outpost of the Roman Empire. Attention is given to the nature of Celtic society and, for example, Boudicca’s revolt against Caesar’s troops.
A2 Units 3 and 4
Greek History: Conflict and Culture. Focusing on the expansion of the Persian Empire you will study the conflict between Greece and Persia through the work of the historian Herodotus. The histories of Thucydides and Xenophon will form the basis for an understanding of conflict between Athens and Sparta in 4th century Greece. Lastly, you will examine artistic and religious life in Athens: for example, the rise of comedic and tragic theatre, and religious festivals and cults.
Roman History: the Use and Abuse of Power. Focusing on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire you will learn how the Senate and the Emperor lost power, how violence and fraud became popular weapons of persuasion in Rome’s political life, and how continued expansionism of the Empire and Rome’s interests eventually sowed the seeds of its own destruction. An in depth study will be made of the careers of Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, Titus and Domitian.
How will I be assessed?
The course is assessed by short answer question and essay based papers – two in the AS year and two in the A2 year.
Do I need to have studied Ancient History before?
No, but you should be broadly interested in historical and socio-cultural issues in ancient society.
Who will teach me?
Claire Hoult has been teaching Classics for nearly twenty years, first in the United States and then in London. She has a BA and a PGCE from Oxford University.
Peter Olive is an Oxford graduate with a particular interest in Ancient Greece and Classical Greek.
Which subjects compliment Ancient History?
Ancient History can be combined with many subjects but sits well with Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation. At a broader level it is relevant to academic disciplines such as History, Government and Politics, Religious Studies, English Literature, Philosophy, Psychology.
Which careers can Ancient History lead to?
Ancient History is suitable for students planning to enter a wide range of careers such as journalism, education, law, business, advertising, the civil service, government, social services, the City, etc.