Ancient History at A Level offers the student the opportunity to consider the use and abuse of power through ancient political struggles and also the nature of historical source material, especially ancient historical literature, but also epigraphic and numismatic evidence. In so doing students will study for 50% of the time 5th Century Greece, including the Persian Wars, Athenian Empire and Peloponnesian Wars and read in translation considerable sections of Herodotus and Thucydides, the two heavyweights of Greek Historiography. They will also study the Fall of the Roman Republic and the establishment and development of Empire under the Julio-Claudians, meeting characters such as Marius Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, Antony, Octavian who become Augustus, Tiberius and Nero. This is a great course to truly understand two of the most dynamic periods of Ancient History, with violence, intrigue, corruption and largesse all playing a part.
Although the course complements A Level Latin excellently, a knowledge of Latin is not required to take part as all texts studied are in English. The student will at the end of the course be able recognise the strengths and limitations of ancient evidence and make informed decisions about how power was applied in the ancient world from that evidence. The skills learned are useful for anybody who may in the future end up having to make informed decisions from limited or fragmentary data sets, especially if the A’ Level is followed up by a degree course in the Classics or History.