A Level Ancient History (Reformed 2017)


What is Ancient History?

Ancient History focuses on key events, places and individuals in the history of Greece and Rome, such as the invincible Julius Caesar, the warrior-state of Sparta, and the mad emperor Caligula. Students will become familiar with, analyse and evaluate the ancient evidence, including written accounts, objects and archaeological sites, along with modern interpretations and opinions.

What sort of student does it suit and what will you get out of the course?

Students of Ancient History will study, analyse and evaluate the causes, significance and consequences of some of the most dramatic events in the ancient world:
  • the conflict between the Greek cities of Athens and Sparta
  • the Greeks’ wars against the mighty Persian Empire
  • the Roman Republic’s violent and chaotic last years
  • the bloody lives and deaths of Rome’s first emperors
Ancient History has a strong focus on analysis, evaluation and essay-writing skills, and therefore naturally combines very well with such subjects as History, English Literature or Politics and is excellent preparation for any Humanities degree or career which involves processing information and reaching informed conclusions.
Anyone who enjoys sensational stories, who has a passion for finding out about the past, or who loves to ask the question ‘why did that happen?’ will enjoy Ancient History.


AS Level

MPW approach to AS Level study

AS Ancient History covers two Period Study units, one Greek and one Roman, which focus on the unfolding narratives of events and issues at defining moments in the ancient world. Students will study the evidence for these events and issues, and will develop the skills necessary to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends and relationships and express their own opinions clearly and coherently. Weekly homework and timed assignments will test understanding and expression, and students will also undertake independent research to broad their knowledge.


AS Specification Number
OCR H007


Period Study – Relations Between Greek States and Between Greek and non-Greek States 492 – 404 BC

1 hour 30 mins written paper, 60 marks – 50% of total AS

Students will study the conflicts that defined the Classical period of Greece, focusing particularly on the conflicts between Athens and Sparta, and the conflicts between the various Greek city-states and the ancient superpower, Persia. This study focuses on military developments and their social and political consequences, and is examined through three essay questions based on ancient sources.

Period Study – The Julio-Claudian Emperors 31 BC – 68 AD

1 hour 30 mins written paper, 60 marks – 50% of total AS

Students will study the lives of Rome’s first five emperors, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. The principal focus will be on their military, social and political achievements, their failures, and how they were portrayed in the ancient sources, and is examined through three essay questions based on ancient sources.

Reading List

For the Greek Period Study:

Herodotus Histories  Penguin
Thucydides         History of the Peloponnesian War      Penguin
Xenophon History of My Times Penguin

For the Roman Period Study:

Suetonius  The Twelve Caesars Penguin
Tacitus       The Annals of Imperial Rome     Penguin
Cassius Dio The Roman History: the Reign of Augustus     Penguin

Additional resources will be provided

A Level

MPW approach to A Level study

A Level Ancient History includes the Greek and Roman Period Studies of the AS course, and combines them with two Depth Studies, one Greek and one Roman, complementing the narrative focus of the Period Studies with an in-depth and rounded study of some of the key themes evident in the history of the ancient world. Students will develop the skills of analysis, evaluation and expression required for the AS course, and in addition will discuss and comment on the opinions expressed by modern historians. The Period and Depth Study exams are combined, meaning that students will sit only two exams – one Greek, and one Roman.

A Level Specification Number
OCR H407


Depth Study – the Society and Politics of Sparta 478 – 404 BC

2 hour 30 mins written paper, 98 marks – 50% of total A Level

Students will explore the fascinating and controversial society of Sparta, the ruthless state designed solely to produce the greatest warriors in the world. Topics include the Spartan educational system, the Spartan class system, and the effects of Sparta’s military culture on society and politics.

The Greek Period Study discussed in the AS specification will be examined in the same paper as the Greek Depth Study. Relations Between Greek States will be worth 50 marks, Sparta will be worth 48 marks. Students will answer two essay-based questions for the Period Study, and two for the Depth Study.

Depth Study – the Breakdown of the Late Republic 88 – 31 BC

2 hour 30 mins written paper, 98 marks – 50% of total A Level

Students will explore the complex interplay of factors – military, political, social, economic – that led to the decline of Rome’s republican government and the rise of the first emperor, Augustus, and will meet an infamous cast of characters including Julius Caesar, Mark Antony and Spartacus.

The Roman Period Study discussed in the AS specification will be examined in the same paper as the Roman Depth Study. The Julio-Claudian Emperors will be worth 50 marks, Breakdown of the Late Republic will be worth 48 marks. Students will answer two essay-based questions for the Period Study, and two for the Depth Study


Reading list

The texts listed for the Period Studies under the AS specification will be required.

Additional resources will be provided.


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Exeter University (Business Management)

I chose MPW because of the academic support provided by the college, which was instrumental in helping me throughout the challenging nature of my one-year A level courses. The weekly Timed Assignments and assistance provided by the Personal Tutor system helped me in areas I had previously struggled. Playing for the college football team was a great release from the challenging academic nature of the year and it helped me build friendships with other students in the college.


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Leeds University (Dentistry)

The best part about studying at MPW is the friendly, encouraging and supportive classroom environment that MPW provides.  It makes asking for help and reaching your potential easy and enjoyable. The college really helps students to believe in themselves.  The Personal Tutor system is great because it is available for you to use to whatever extent you might need whether that be having weekly meetings or meeting every now and then for a quick catch up to analyse my current progress.  The weekly Timed Assignments have also enabled me to build my confidence in the build up to my exams.  They help you to feel comfortable in an exam environment, as well as enable you to consolidate the material you need to recall in the final exams


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Exeter University (International Relations and History)

“Having not achieved the grades I wanted or needed in my A levels at my previous college I decided that retaking would be the best option for me.  I have found the small classes at MPW to be a real asset, and that, coupled with the fantastic teaching, has certainly enabled me to grow academically. Further to this, both the academic support and the university guidance provided by the college have been exceptional.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Manchester University (Dentistry)

After failing to get into Dental School last year I lost a lot of confidence and was worried that I might never get into my dream course.  The one-to-one support you get from MPW is so much more efficient compared to the main stream schools and colleges. The individual help you get for applying to University which includes interview support is amazing. No matter if you are a resit or a first time student, no one judges you and as long as you are hardworking and want to be a success.


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Oxford University (Mathematics)

I joined MPW because I wanted to be part of a close knit community that focuses on helping students attain the grades they are really capable of.  Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor who assists them in all aspects of student life.  I would recommend the individual and personally tailored care given to any student looking to expand their academic horizons.  The encouragement and support has allowed me to aim high and achieve results that I had previously thought weren't possible. 


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
King’s College London (Dentistry)

MPW gave me a second chance in pursuing a career in dentistry. The small class sizes and weekly timed assessments gave me and my tutors a clear indication of my progress.  The rigorous teaching schedules, structured and tailored to my personal needs, was exactly what I needed. MPW placed heavy focus on exam technique as the key to achieving the required higher grades. Being able to talk with my tutors at any time in the day was an invaluable aid. It was also clear how much the teachers took a personal interest in the development of each individual student.


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Warwick (Management)

I joined MPW having not fulfilled my academic potential during my AS level exams at my previous school. I decided to retake my AS year at MPW and it was the best decision I ever made. The tutors at MPW have pushed me to achieve my maximum potential and have greatly improved my academic performance. The best part of studying at MPW is the weekly timed assignments as they ensure that you continuously review and revise work as well as helping you to make weekly improvements on exam technique.


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Bristol University (Dentistry)

Throughout my time at MPW I have been provided with constant support.  The college has prepared me for not only my exams but also the university interviews I attended.  It has been an amazing experience from start to finish.  The friendly and welcoming environment created by the staff and students made it an ideal setting for me to concentrate on achieving my targets.


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Birmingham (Law)

I came to MPW with very low self-confidence after under-achieving at AS level at my previous school, and have left with greater confidence about my academic ability and with a definite degree of clarity about what I hope to achieve in terms of my career. My experience at my previous school was that those with Oxbridge potential receive the most support and attention. This is not the case at MPW. I have found that it does not matter about that what the student's potential may be, each student receives the same amount of help to achieve their goals.