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Studying Classical Civilisations as part of the Broadening Horizons course furnishes students with valuable transferable skills – such as the ability to examine and analyse primary sources – through our study of original classical texts.
Students will be encouraged to think analytically about the cultural constructs operating in the Greek and Roman worlds, including their politics, society and philosophy, in order to understand how different, as well as how similar, the ancient and modern worldviews are. You will understand how the ancient world contributed to modern society in the areas of architecture, politics, literature, religion, philosophy, sports, visual arts, warfare, drama and science, seeing the world through ancient eyes to gain a new perspective on present-day problems and situations.
Not only does this course provide students with an in-depth introduction to a fascinating subject that they may not previously have had the chance to study, but it also allows them to evaluate whether Classical Civilisations is something they might wish to study further at university.
Participants on the Classical Civilizations course will come to understand the life and times of people in the ancient world. This knowledge will expand their understanding - not only of how those civilizations have shaped our modern world, but also how our modern languages and philosophies have been formed. Students who might wish to study Classics at university will be able to explore whether this is a path they would like to pursue before coming to make their applications.
This subject is part of the Broadening Horizons course at Oxford Royale Summer Schools’s Oxford summer school.
The Broadening Horizons course, for students aged 16 to 18, is suitable both for those who are trying to decide what to pursue in further education, and for those who simply want to learn about a variety of interesting subjects - 30+ study options are available!
Students choose two morning classes and one afternoon workshop to provide a diverse and stimulating curriculum that is tailored to their needs, allowing them to pursue areas of interest or try out something new. Students studying Broadening Horizons in Oxford get the chance to live and learn in a college of the University of Oxford or in our 17th-century manor house, Yarnton Manor.
No previous knowledge of the subject will be assumed.
While there is no compulsory pre-course reading, students who wish to explore Classical Civilisations a little before the course commences may be interested in the following texts. We recommend that if students only read one thing before the course, it should be a primary text, such as the following:
The Iliad or The Odyssey – neither of these is studied specifically in our classes, but as they were the fundamental texts of Greek and Roman education for over a millennium, they’re important for understanding a huge amount of classical culture. Any good translation with a decent introduction, such as the Penguin Classics edition or Robert Fagles’ translation, would serve students well.
Any Greek tragedy – Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides. Euripides’ Medea and his Bacchae are a good place to start.
The Histories, by Herodotus, and The History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides - similarly to the above, in any easy-to-read modern translation.
Roman poetry – especially in collections of shorter poems by Catullus and Horace. They are very readable and modern.
If students wish to explore beyond primary texts, they may wish to read one or more of:
Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West, by Tom Holland. This is a popular history book, written by a non-specialist, condensing much of Herodotus’ work on the Persian wars.
Pagans and Christians, by Robin Lane Fox. This is a very readable account of religion in the Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity, written by one of the great Classics dons of Oxford University.
The Broadening Horizons programme - our flagship Oxford summer course - allows you to combine different subject options to enable a flexible, tailored programme that best suits your academic needs
To view other options, select your choice of options and apply, please visit the main Broadening Horizons Programme page
With the Broadening Horizons Programme you also get:
What our students have to say
Read how Sara has returned year on year, experiencing different summer courses in Oxford and Cambridge.Read Sara's story
Read how Mifta's experience with us introduced her to lifelong friends from across the world.Read Mifta's story
An aspiring cinematographer, Rebecca joined us at the ISC for our Future Filmmakers Gap Year Programme.Read Rebecca's story
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Oxford Royale Academy is a part of Oxford Programs Limited, a company registered in England as company number 6045196. Registered office: 14 King Street, Bristol, BS1 4EF. The company contracts with institutions including Oxford University for the use of their facilities and also contracts with tutors from those institutions but does not operate under the aegis of Oxford University.