Classical Studies

What is Classical Studies?

Classics is the study of Ancient Greece and Rome. The importance of the Greek and Roman culture is their immense influence on the development of Western civilisation.

Our language, art, drama, philosophy, political and legal systems, and architecture are all derived from Greece and Rome. In studying Classics we are studying the origins of our own culture.

At the same time Greek and Roman culture are fascinating subjects in their own right, and the inter-disciplinary nature of the subject means that there are links to almost all other Arts subjects.

Career Opportunities

Graduates in Classical Studies, as well as teaching the subject in schools and universities, have found careers in fields as diverse as foreign affairs, trade and industry, university administration, archaeology, law, librarianship, architecture, drama, museums and art galleries and journalism.

Preamble

            1.         Classical Studies is understood as the study of the civilisations of classical Greece and Rome without the study of the classical languages, Greek and Latin. While the study of any civilisation is recognised to be educationally beneficial, the particular case for including classical studies in the curriculum of New Zealand secondary schools rests on two main grounds:

                         (i)        The historical importance of classical civilisation in the cultural tradition of Western Europe which is an important part of contemporary New Zealand culture. In classical Greece and Rome are the origins of much of our art, science, literature, law, philosophy, politics and religion. Knowledge of the sources and development of a cultural tradition is essential to its continuing vitality.

                        (ii)       The intrinsic quality and interest of the products of classical civilisation. The Greeks and Romans produced works of the intellect and creative imagination which are recognised to be of the very highest quality and which can still evoke a strong and enriching response in New Zealand school students.

            2.         Classical Studies is a "multi-disciplinary" subject which includes a number of different types of study, e.g. history, literature and art, which are normally separated in the curriculum. Students may therefore gain experience of the connections that can exist between different intellectual disciplines.

Aims

1.       To provide students with a knowledge and appreciation of selected areas of Greek and Roman civilisation.

2.       To provide experience of a variety of different types of subject-matter, evidence and argument.

3.       To provide a course which will interest and stimulate students of differing abilities and academic backgrounds.

4.       To allow teachers reasonable freedom to choose aspects of classical civilisation appropriate to their own and their students' interests.

5.       To provide a progression in the subject from Year 12 to Year 13 while still allowing for students who may wish to begin the subject in Year 13.

6.       To encourage students to make comparisons between classical civilisation and contemporary New Zealand.

We also aim to ...

  • Develop the skills of enquiry, interpretation and communication in artistic, literary, philosophical and historical settings.
  • Develop students' ability to enter imaginatively into events of the past.
  • Increase students' knowledge and understanding of some of the major trends and developments in New Zealand and other societies through the perspective of the history, literature, art and architecture and philosophy of the Classical periods in Greece and Rome.
  • Increase the number of students studying Classical Studies by presenting them with teaching and learning programmes that challenge them to think and learn as young New Zealanders.
  • Foster an appreciation of Classical Studies as an important and worthwhile subject to study.

A typical Year 12 Programme

Roman Tragedy

Before being ordered by the emperor to kill himself, Latin author Seneca, wrote a number of plays. Students will examine the ideas and values of ancient Rome revealed through one of Seneca’s plays.

Pompeian Domestic Art and Public Architecture

Students will examine examples of art frozen in time by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. They will consider the art in its artistic and historical contexts, examining the significance of the art to the ancient Romans.  

The Early Days of the Roman Empire

Students will examine aspects of the socio-political life that existed in ancient Rome, up until the 2nd Century AD. They will look at aspects of Roman society, including the social divisions and entertainment, plus the politics involved in Rome’s expanding empire.Students will examine examples of art frozen in time by the eruption of Mt Vesuvius. They will consider the art in its artistic and historical contexts, examining the significance of the art to the ancient Romans.

A typical Year 13 Programme

Virgil’s Aeneid

The literature component of the course presents the story of Rome and its mission through its legendary founder, Aeneas.

Roman Religion

The history component of the course looks at religion in the early Roman Empire. Students will find many links to society today through the examination of various rituals and beliefs.

Roman Art and Architecture

The art component of the course examines significant examples of Roman architecture, such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Pont du Gard. This is an excellent topic for students interested in the future.

Greek Vase Painting

Students will study the development of vase painting in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. The vases that are studied reveal aspects of Athenian society and Greek mythology.

Students will study the development of vase painting in the 6th and 5th centuries BC. The vases that are studied reveal aspects of Athenian society and Greek mythology.The art component of the course examines significant examples of Roman architecture, such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Pont du Gard. This is an excellent topic for students interested in the future.The history component of the course looks at religion in the early Roman Empire. Students will find many links to society today through the examination of various rituals and beliefs.