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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 collapse of the Roman Republic and birth of the Empire. Firstly you will study the rise of military leaders such as Pompey and Caesar in the first century BC and how their choices led to the collapse of the Republic. The second unit looks at 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 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 social structure
•The political and military structure
•The education system
•Other states’ views of Sparta

The Breakdown of the Late Roman Republic
•The form of the constitution and challenges to this
•The means by which politicians achieved success and their importance in the breakdown of the Republic
•Social and Economic relationships and their importance in the breakdown of the Republic
•The roles and importance of individuals in the breakdown of the Republic

In the second year you will study:

The Julio-Claudians
•Claudius and Nero

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

This course is taught based around the written source materials which you will be provided with. In many ways you will learn to work like professional historians by learning not only what ancient authors said about Greece and Rome, but also their own personal background and biases and how this shaped their views. Students will be expected to complete wider reading around the study topics and learn the key elements of the source materials and therefore a real passion for the subject material is essential. In addition, your teacher will review and discuss your progress with you and will be available for advice to support your learning.

Classroom activities will include:

  • Analysing source materials
  • Essay based assessments
  • Interactive online quizzes
  • Terminology tests
  • Group work and discussions

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%

Staff Contact Details

Michelle Wohlschlegel  michelle.wohlschlegel@ke6n.ac.uk

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