What is it about at sixth form level?
The Roman world empire may have fallen over fifteen hundred years ago but until then Rome had been a continuous presence and a power for over a thousand years. No modern-day nation can rival it for longevity. The legacy of Rome continues to be felt in many ways today. It is to them we owe town-planning, sanitation, viticulture, great architecture, the law and, across much of Europe, the languages we speak. By studying Latin at A level, you will develop the linguistic skills necessary for you to penetrate the Roman world and discover just how complex and surprisingly familiar a world it was. Through studying Cicero, for example, you will be understand just how true the claim is that to understand modern politics, you need to start in the Roman Forum.
Alongside Ciceronian politics and rhetoric, you will look at history, poetry and prose and develop a profound sense of the richness of the Roman world and the debt we owe them. You will also learn to appreciate the beauty of the language and, through mastering its complexities, come to better understand your own.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
The study of Latin has long been a respected part of an education and it develops a wide range of skills. In order to master the complex grammar, you will have to develop a logical mind. Alongside learning linguistics, you will be exploring historical, philosophical and literary ideas and making connections between them and the modern world. Close analysis of texts will develop a careful eye for detail and an appreciation of literary form. Classicists have long been admired for the measured and beautiful powers of oral and written expression such study yields. These universally-respected attributes means that Latin works well with any combination of academic subjects.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
An A or A* at Latin is desirable with a B as a minimum as the jump from GCSE to A level is considerable. You will also need an interest in literature, history and politics.
How is the course assessed?
For the A level, there are four exams. The Unit 1 exam (Unseen Translation) will test students’ ability to translate seen prose and verse. The Unit 2 exam (Prose Composition or Comprehension) will test their ability to understand more advanced prose unseen passages or their ability to translate into Latin. The Unit 3 exam (Prose Literature) will test students’ knowledge and understanding of Tacitus and Virgil. The Unit 4 exam (Verse Literature) will test their knowledge and understanding of Virgil’s Aeneid XII. Paper 1 is worth 33% of the A level and lasts 1 hour 45 minutes. Paper 2 is worth 17% and lasts 1 hour 15 minutes. Papers 3 and 4 are worth 25% each and last 2 hours each.
Virgil Aeneid XII: A Selection
By J. Burbidge
Published by Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN 9781350059221
Tacitus Annals IV: A Selection with Introduction, Notes and Commentary
By R. Cromarty
Published by Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN: 9781350060326
Exam Board and Specification Codes
A level: OCR H443
Head of Department
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