This photo was taken at the Temple of Athena in Paestum, on a school trip almost two years ago 🏛
Whenever I have a conversation about my a levels, the first question people usually have is “what is classics” or ask if it is related to Classical literature. Well not quite.
This post is in collaboration with the lovely Iliadtea.wordpress.com🏛Go and read her post after you have read this one!
What is Classics?
Classics is such a vast and wonderful subject. The best way to describe it is a mix of ancient history and English literature but it is so much more. In classics you can study about ancient civilisations (mostly Ancient Rome or Greece). Or you can study traditional classics books like the Iliad or the Aeniad, or plays such as Oedipus.
In my opinion classics is such a unique subject which very few schools offer. I think it is such a shame that more people do not get to experience classics for themselves. If you ever get the chance to study it, please do!
Famous people who studied classics (it’s on one of our walls in classics so why not)!
J K Rowling
My experience of classics
Pre- GCSE My first taste of classics was at my first high school. We were supposed to study Latin instead of Classics but we all HATED it so our teacher gave us a taste of some mythology. It’s safe to say this was quite a hit with us all and we didn’t learn much Latin for the rest of the year. ‘Ecce Romanae anyone’?
GCSE. We studied the Odyssey and Greek Tragedy/ Medea in year 10.
I enjoyed the Odyssey a lot at the time, I think it is a good classical book to start with as it is fairly easy to understand and at the same time very enjoyable to read.
Medea oh Medea. What a play it is. It is such an unexpected and very entertaining play. Don’t even get me started on what I think about Jason.. I’m no fan by any means. I felt very sorry for Medea whilst reading the play even through to the end. It wasn’t right at all what she did but Jason’s actions effected her in many ways.
Then we studied the Aeneid and Nero for our coursework in year 11.
The Aeneid is probably my favourite classical epic, ( a bold statement I know). Although we only studied a few books for GCSE, I really enjoyed the story. I love the fact that Aeneas is a hero who is shown with his flaws at the beginning of the epic with the focus being on his journey towards founding the Roman race. I sympathise a lot with Aeneas: he is someone who constantly overthinks his actions whilst he is sleeping and someone who cares so much about doing the right thing for his men and his future.
Although our coursework was a lot of work but I really enjoyed it. Our coursework mainly concentrated on u the women in Nero’s life which shone light on some strong, power hungry women.
In year 12 we did the Iliad and Greek sculpture/architecture
I enjoyed the Iliad a lot. There are a huge variety of characters in it with some very lovable ones too. It explores lots of typical heroic themes such as the heroic code. It is a good book to read to understand periods around the Bronze Age.
We are doing the Aeneid again for year 13 and four Greek tragedies.
I am so glad we are studying the Aeneid again, I enjoyed it so much. I find Greek Tragedies interesting too but they can be difficult to get your head around at first.
We did lots of historical background reading in preparation for these topics which I found fascinating such as about: Roman religion/ marriage, Roman armies, Anthony and Cleopatra.
Reasons to study classics:
It is very useful to study alongside English Literature or History as it helps to give an overview of Ancient societies which are very interesting.
As well as being a very interesting subject, lots of the texts also focus on character development which I find especially interesting; everyone can be a better person if they try to!
You can get similar skills as other essay subjects such as: analytical skills, précis, ability to be concise, essay writing skills etc. You can tell I have been editing my personal statement recently!
It’s also a very unique subject if you want something to stand out on UCAS forms etc.
Thank you all for reading and I hope you found this post interesting!! Sending you all good vibes and happy times 🦋🌻✨