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Ancient History

A LEVEL

Xaverian and Ancient history. We go way back.

This is a history course like no other.

They say truth is often stranger than fiction. You’d have no reason to disagree after spending a couple of years on this course unearthing the faintly believable, bloodthirsty world of the first five Roman emperors.

If there wasn’t documented evidence of it happening, you’d be inclined towards scepticism about the brutal, often-terrifying goings-on of ancient Rome.

It’s a real life story of good versus evil. Or is it? Who’s really good and who’s evil?

Taught by incredibly passionate historians, laced with loads of fun, exciting projects, workshops and packed with movies that bring these very-olden days to life, Ancient History will be a treat for any student fascinated by culture, gaudy costumes and living tanks of bronze, spears and human muscle.

You’ll be analysing texts, evaluating evidence and gaining confidence in expressing a considered opinion. Ancient History will help you understand different cultures without judging them. You’ll also do a lot of reading outside class.

There is a surprising amount of modern life that owes its existence to ancient Greece and Rome. Much of our language, clean water, sewerage and baths are the stuff of Ancient History. And let’s not forget the democratic world. Athens’ citizens were the first people to choose their rulers. We can trace the roots of Western democracy back there.

LESSON TIME!

Buckle up. We’re hitting rewind in a big way. How’s 2,500 years for you? In this Ancient History lesson we’re heading to Greece, where we’ll quickly discover that truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

We’ll start our adventure in 492 BC, as yet another Asia Minor squabble is about to kick off, initiated as ever by Persia’s grumpy, power-hungry King Darius I.

We then whizz forward a few hundred years to not-so bella Italia where we’ll see what it was like to kick around under a procession of predictably angry Roman emperors. Politics, street gangs and civil war.

Fascinating facts:

  • In ancient times, Greeks didn’t wear trousers.
  • Sparta was all about its warriors and a relentless commitment to being battle-ready.
  • At seven, kids were taken to a military bootcamp and belonged to the state. Underfed, their ‘stealthiness’ was tested as they stole food to survive.
  • At 12, they got a red cloak.
  • At 18 they were initiated into adulthood through a gruesome challenge when they’d kill big slaves. And these single-minded warriors kept fighting until 60.
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What’s next?

Accordion Content

Humanities courses are great all-rounders in giving you skills that endure in any career you choose.

Ancient History students have gone on to work in the media, such as the BBC, and even found work in other countries. Other popular jobs include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Archivist
  • Archaeologist
  • Museum curator or exhibitions officer
  • Teacher

History students are held in high regard by universities due to the courses’ academic nature. A lot of Xaverian students become history, politics, law or teaching undergraduates.

Greek period study: 

Relations between Greek and non-Greek states, 492–404 BC (25%)

Greek Depth study: 

The Politics and Society of Sparta, 478–404 BC (25%)

Roman period study: 

The Julio-Claudian Emperors, 31 BC – AD 68 (25%)

Roman Depth study: 

The Breakdown of the Late Republic, 88–31 BC (25%)

Entry requirements:

Six good passes at GCSE including two at grade 6 or above

Course specific entry requirements:

Grade 5 from English
(4 will be considered)

Course duration:

2 years

Assessment methods:

3 final exams

Course type:

Linear A-level

Exam board:

OCR

If you have done GCSE History, we will be building on the foundations of your skills of evaluation and source work. Nevertheless, we assume students know nothing about the Ancient World so we start from scratch and are open to all; all we ask is an open mind and a willingness to read and work hard.

The major difference with Modern History courses is the deeper focus and reliance on the original sources, whether it be contemporary historians, archaeology, biographies or poetry. You will also learn to reference ancient and modern secondary scholars in essays, preparing you well for further study at university.

There is lots of discussion in the classroom, and we believe that extra-curricular experiences and visits are particularly advantageous in opening your eyes to topics we study: we hope you will take advantage of our trips to ancient sites and the British Museum as well as our links with Manchester University.

I chose Xaverian because of the combination of courses, the location and the Campus. Everyone seemed really friendly and it is fun to be here. My courses ar really interesting and, when we are together in a group, we have interesting chats about the subjects for hours.

Oscar Standidge, Ancient History

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