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History (Ancient)

Ancient History focuses on the history of Ancient Greece and Rome with half of the course dedicated to each culture. The Greek units include an overview of the history of Sparta, Greece’s most militarised culture. You will discover how the Spartans governed themselves, their liberal views on the place of women in society, as well as their relations with their slave population. Coupled with this is an overview of the Greek city states in the fifth century BC; starting with the reasons for the war with the Persian Empire and then looking at how the Greek city states ended up at war with each other later in the century.

The other half turns to the beginning of the Roman Empire with a focus on Roman Britain. Firstly you will study the civil wars which erupted after the murder of Julius Caesar and focuses on the Julio-Claudian Emperors, a family who struggled to rule Rome. From the first emperor Augustus and his success in creating an empire, followed by the stern Tiberius, and the supposed fool Claudius, to the mad and dangerous to know Caligula and Nero, these are some of the most interesting characters to govern Rome. The study of Roman Britain looks at Roman military policy towards Britain from the Claudian Invasion through to the retrenchment under Hadrian and Trajan. You will look at Roman attempts to subjugate the native tribes as well as resistance to the Romans including Boudicca’s infamous revolt.

The main difference between History A Level and Ancient History A Level is that in this course you will study the history through reading ancient source material from the time period; therefore you will study the Greeks as viewed by writers such as Herodotus, Thucydides and Plutarch, and Rome according to Suetonius and Tacitus, amongst others. You can take both History and Ancient History A Levels as part of your courses at King Edward’s College.

In the first year you will study:

The Julio-Claudians
•Claudius and Nero

Ruling Roman Britain
• Roman military policy towards Britain: Conquest and consolidation
• Frontier policy: Consolidation and retrenchment AD85-c.128
• Resistance to Roman rule
• Roman control
• Effects of Roman rule

In the second year you will study:
•The social structure
•The political and military structure
•The education system
•Other states’ views of Sparta

Relations between Greek and non-Greek States, 492-404BC
•The challenge of the Persian Empire 492-479BC
•Greece in Conflict 479-446BC
•Peace and Conflict 446-420BC
•The end of the Peloponnesian War and its aftermath 419-404BC

Based on research into how students learn best, each subject will set independent work to allow you to recap what you have done in the past, consolidate understanding for what you are studying in the present and develop the skills and experiences which will help you for the future. You can read more about the college’s approach to independent study here

The Past
Click here for the suggested ongoing revision activities in this subject which research has shown are most likely to boost your achievement

The Present
Each subject will set weekly homework tasks to help you consolidate your understanding and prepare for your next lesson. This work is typically set through Microsoft Teams, so you will have an electronic log of all your work, notes and feedback.

The Future
A key part of your independent work in this subject will be to prepare for a range of potential jobs and higher education courses when you leave us. To get started, look below at the top higher education courses and jobs which previous students of this course have gone on to do.

As part of a wider programme this course provides an excellent basis for progression to many careers or university courses. Former students of this course have gone to study subject such as Classics, Archaeology, History, War Studies, and related subjects such as Law or English. Many students are at top universities such as Oxford, Durham, Nottingham, Birmingham and York.

5 x GCSE grades 4-9 (incl. English Language)

Additional Requirements
5 in English Language
5 or above in one other essay based subject from this list: History, English Literature, Religious Studies, Geography

Not essential but it will help your success…

A love of reading as this subject involves looking at primary source materials in every lesson.  A fascination for the Ancient World.

Pairs well with other essay-based subjects. Popular choices are History, English Literature, Politics, Philosophy and Ethics (Religion).

Teaching contact time is 4 hours and 20 minutes per subject. Other workshops will be available throughout the year including over some holiday periods. Students are expected to complete up to 4 hours of independent study to complete assignments, homework, extra reading and independent research.


100% exam

2 exams: Both 2 hours and 30 minutes long

  • Sparta and the Ancient Greek World: 50%
  • The Eleven Caesars: 50%

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