Classical Civilisation ACE Pupil Programme

ACE Pupil Programme (Able, Creative, Engaged)

Classics is the study of the languages, culture, history and thought of the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome. It is one of the most varied and interdisciplinary of all subjects offering opportunities to study literature (epic, drama, historical writing, and so much more), the history and archaeology of the Greek and Roman Mediterranean, philosophy and linguistics.

Because of its broad scope Classics has something for everyone. You only have to scrape the surface of our art and culture, and you find the ancient world alive and well.
If you enjoy Latin and Classical Civilisation and want to take it to the next level then these ACE pages are designed for you. If you would like to have a discussion about how to go about selecting things from the list below, Mrs. Gummery will be delighted to have a chat, or to give general advice on pieces of work. Remember, though, this is your opportunity to take your studies into new and exciting directions and so this work will not be formally set, assessed or marked.

You can read, write, explore, watch or make

There are many text books you can dip into to take you back in time. Check with Mrs. Gummery, please, before you try any of the books to check that they are suitable for your age group. You could dip into the following books which you will find either in our library or at your local library:
• The Oxford History of the Classical World
• The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilisation

There are also several biographies of famous figures:
• Cicero, A Portrait by Elizabeth Rawson
• Alexander the Great by Robin Lane Fox
• Julius Caesar by John Buchan

Novels are a great way to get inside the ancient world. You could start your own Classics Book Club, perhaps, to talk about agreed historical novels. Ask Mrs. Gummery for a list of Book Club questions. Try some of these:
• The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller
• The Silver Pigs by Lindsay Davies (the first in a series of 20 novels featuring the detective Falco)
• The King Must Die by Mary Renault
• The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe
• I, Claudius by Robert Graves

I would also recommend reading some of the great literary or historical works in translation. Penguin Classics have the best range: try
• The Aeneid by Virgil;
• The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer;
• The Annals of Tacitus;
• A History of the World by Livy;
• The Letters of Pliny;
• Cicero’s speeches.

There are several essay writing competitions with topics based on the Ancient World. They are usually open to students in Year 12, and winning a prize in a competition like this can only be a bonus on your UCAS form:
• Vellacott History Prize, which includes ancient history topics (for Year 12 students) –
• St John’s History & Ancient History essay Prize (for Year 12 students) –;-Ancient-History-Essay-Competition.html
• The Perceval Maitland Laurence Classics Essay Competition –
• Fitzwilliam College Ancient World/Classics Essay Competition –
• ARLT often run a Latin reading competition:
• Try the Cicero Certamen :


  • Browse the Ancient Greek and Roman collections in the British Museum. Form an opinion on the Elgin Marbles – should they be returned?
  • Look out for specialist exhibitions, like the recent one on Pompeii and Herculaneum.
  • Visit a Roman Britain site – try the website below for some ideas but the Roman Baths at Bath or Hadrian’s Wall are great places for a family day out.
  • And if you fancy a holiday, why not choose Rome? You could visit Pompeii at the same time. Or Athens where you could climb the Acropolis and follow the Sacred Way to the Parthenon. Most Greek islands have lovely sites to visit, especially Knossos in Crete where you can see evidence of the Minotaur…
  • How about a summer school exploring ancient languages intensively with like-minded people?

The Ancient World has spawned many Hollywood blockbusters. Try Ben Hur and Spartacus; or the more recent Troy, Gladiator or even Disney’s Hercules.There are also many excellent documentaries available online or on DVD. The BBC has two or three superb documentaries about Pompeii, and an excellent one re-enacting the life of a real gladiator called Verus. The History Channel did a series about the Greek Gods, and there was a recent documentary on the BBC about the Greeks. And then there was the classic drama series I, Claudius, and the more recent one called ‘Rome’.

Please check with Mrs. Gummery before you try any of the movies to check that they are suitable for your age group.