“ non scholae sed vitae discimus - We learn not for school but for life”Seneca the Younger
This subject captures the imagination, enriching students’ understanding and appreciation of both their own language and cultures, as well as those that at first may seem more distant. It develops a range of transferable skills including analytical and critical thought, reasoned debate and argument, as well as greater empathy and compassion of civilisations not our own. With its insight into the people, images, iconic buildings, ideas and texts, it provides dazzling perspectives on the way we write, speak and think today.
Classics is the study of the ancient Greek and Roman world, including the study of Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation. By investigating these cultures through the original language, literature, history and material culture, we can better understand its wide-ranging influence and impact on later civilisations and cultures, including our own here in Bath.
Whether studying the ancient world through its archaeology, via the original classical languages or via texts in English translation, the stories, literature, art, technology, philosophy and science still inspire and provoke deeper thought so that every step of the classical journey there is always more to learn, different ways to think and greater scope for discovery.
Etymological explanations enrich the English language and students consider the nature of the human condition via our study of archaeological evidence from ancient Greece and Rome as well as through their study of literature, whether in translation or in its original language. The study of Classics truly is the study of life.
Students start their formal exploration of the ancient world in the Prep School with short weekly lessons in Year 6. Students follow the Minimus course, based on the lives of a real family at Vindolanda, which introduces the Latin language, our English roots and the importance of the Romans in Britain. There is also opportunity for plentiful creativity inspired by ancient mythology and story-telling.
In Years 7 and 8, all girls study the Latin language and the culture and daily lives of the Romans through an exploration of Pompeii via The Cambridge Latin Course. In Year 9, they continue to study either Classical Civilisation, Latin or ‘Gratin’, a mixture of Latin and Classical Greek. Students may then opt to pursue their study of Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation at GCSE, further testing and cementing their knowledge and understanding of classical culture and language.
In our Sixth Form College, Classical Civilisation and Latin are offered A Level Latin, along with the option to pursue Classical Languages at IB. Students may also opt to study AS Classical Greek as an enrichment subject if they have studied this course at GCSE.
Trips to local sites, such as the Roman Baths, Chedworth and Corinium, where we can see the evidence first-hand and even handle some ancient artefacts, help to enrich students’ understanding of the influence of the Romans in Britain. Further afield, trips to classical sites abroad, such as to Greece, Rome and Pompeii, really bring our studies to life.
In school, students are encouraged to enter creative-writing competitions, research their own interests into the ancient world and build confidence in presenting their findings. There are plentiful enrichment experiences, from the ever-popular Myth Club, the Classical Symposium, entry into the regional Latin Festival of Drama, author-visits and academic talks. Follow us on twitter at RHSBClassics to see some of the wide-ranging activities and topics the ancient world offers!