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This is an email correspondence course based on online study sessions and prescribed texts. This course will prepare you for the OCR A Level qualification in Classical Civilisaiton (H408).

The pre-requisite for this course is the AS Level Classical Civilisation Independent Learner course, 2019-2020. Components: The World of the Hero: Homer's Odyssey, and Greek Theatre. (If you have studied at school a different AS CC Group 2 component (Imperial Image, Invention of the Barbarian, or Greek Art), you can enrol on this course.)

There are two components to be studied in this course. One is the compulsory 'The World of the Hero' (H408/11). In this year you will study Virgil's Aeneid. This component is solely focussed on the study of literature in English translation.

The other component (group 3) is 'Beliefs and Ideas' - Politics of the Late Republic (H408/33). This component involves an area of classical thought in combination with either the study of literature in transalation or visual/material culture.

This course can be taken in preparation for the examinations, or, you can take the course for pleasure or your own purposes.

You may also enrol on a single component - please see the links to the individual component courses in the left hand menu.

To obtain the A Level in Classical Civilisation one must complete the AS CC course, the A Level (second part) CC course and sit the A Level CC examinations at the end of the two years.

If you would like to enrol for the course, please click on the Cost tab to make your payment and then on the Enrol tab, where you will see a link to an online registration form.

The World of the Hero (H408/11)
This component provides learners with the opportunity to appreciate Virgil's Aeneid, a conerstone and landmark in Western literature. Drawing inspiration from Homer, as well as from his own cultural and political context, Virgil explored what it was to be a hero in the Roman world and created a work which has proven enduringly popular. Topics studied will be literary technique and composition, such as structure and plot of the epic, language of the epic, and Homeric influence; the heroic world: its characterisation and themes, such as the role of Aeneas in Rome's Imperial destiny, the portrayal of war and of different nations --Trojans, Greeks, Carthaginians, Italians; the historical and political background --the Augustan context in which the Aeneid was produced, Virgil's relation to Augustus and his regime, and the promotion of the Roman empire.

Politics of the Late Republic (H408/33)
The Late Roman Republic was a period of upheaval and conflicting views on how the Roman state should function. These conflicts eventually led to the downfall of the Republican res publica (state) and the rise of the Roman Emperors. 
In this component learners will study the political thought of the period from Sulla's retirement in 79 BC to the death of Cicero in 43 BC, through examining Marcus Porcius Cato ('Cato the Younger'), Julius Caesar and Cicero. The exploration of the very different ideas of three contemporary political figures brings this tumultuous period to life. By examining their distictive attitudes, political beliefs, conduct and impact, learners will explore the ways in which the later Republican state developed, changed and ultimately fell. You will study Cicero's speech against Verres and a selection of his letters, not only in terms of style but also to see Cicero's ideas in action.


Your e-tutor will always be an experienced, enthusiastic Latin teacher, who knows the course well and is familiar with ways to help you with any issues which may arise during the course. He or she is unlikely to be involved in this project for the money! Rather your tutor will want to help you get the most out of your study of Latin and the Roman world.

When you enrol for the course, we will send you, by post, or email for examination courses, amongst other materials, an Independent Learner's Guide, detailing what work to undertake in each session. Almost all sessions have a designated assignment to send to your e-tutor. Your e-tutor will mark your work and return it to you, with ideas on how you might improve and, like any tutor, will try to explain an idea or concept to you if you are not certain about it. You do not have to send work if you do not wish to do so, of course, but we strongly recommend that you do, as this will both inform you of how you are progressing, and help your e-tutor to assist you in your learning.

Most of our e-tutors tell us that they would like to be contacted by their students more frequently, rather than less, and no limit is placed on the amount of times you may contact your e-tutor.
All e-tutors have completed a Criminal Records Bureau disclosure and are competent in sending, receiving and marking work electronically. Should you have any concerns about your e-tutor at any stage, you can contact our office at any time.

As per our AS CC Independent Learner course: 

'The World of the Hero': Homer's Odyssey
Component Group 2: Culture and the Arts: Greek Theatre

(or any other AS Group 2 component that you may have studied at school).

The World of the Hero, ed. Sally Knights, Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. ISBN: 9781350015074. (May be purchased from

While the study sessions provide a link to an electronic translation by AS Kline, we strongly suggest you purchase: Virgil, The Aeneid, by D. West, Penguin, 2003. ISBN: 9780140449327 (Ebook option here

OCR will use both translations on the examination paper.

Love and Relationships and Politics of the Late Republic, by Matthew Barr, Lucy Cresswell, Alastair Thorley, Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN: 9781350021037 (may be purchased from Bloomsbury .com/uk)



There are 20 sessions per component. The advised study time is 2 hours per session. As there are two components in this course, the total advised study time is in the region of 80 hours. 

Please note that we are advising prospective Independent Learners to read the Aeneid before starting the course. This will allow the IL to then focus on the study session itself, without having to 'catch up' while doing the session.

A Level is a UK public examination and students should ensure that they have access to an examination centre which offers this exam before they enrol on the course.

School students are advised to approach their school's Exams Officer and ask that their school enters them for the examination.

Mature or homeschool students may either approach local schools or contact us for assistance finding an examination centre. We may be able to help you by providing you with the name of an examination centre.

If you cannot find a school that is willing to enter you for your exams then a company like Tutors and Exams may be an option. Tutors and Exams provides examination and assessment facilities primarily aimed at private and home educated candidates. They currently have five examination centres located around the country: Bolton, Coventry, Doncaster, St Neots Cambridgeshire and Wimbledon. Please note that there is a charge for their services, although CSCP Distance Learners are eligible for the reduced "Partner" rate.

In all cases, firm arrangements should be made in the Autumn Term before the exam. While CSCP takes responsibility for tutoring students for the exams, we are not ourselves an examination centre and are unable to enter students for exams.

Overall code: H408

OCR's A Level in Classical Civilisation exam consists of three components.

The World of the Hero (H408/11)

  • one of Homer's Illiad or Odyssey 
  • and Virgil's Aeneid

This is a written paper with a total of 100 marks and is 40% of the total A Level grade. The time for the exam is 2 hours and 20 minutes. 
Our AS IL course prepared you for Homer's Odyssey Our IL A Level (second part) course prepares you for Virgil's Aeneid.

The exam consists of three sections.

Section A focuses solely on Homer and will contain two sets of questions; one on the Illiad and one on the Odyssey. You will answer the questions on the Odyssey.
Section B focuses solely on Virgil's Aeneid.
Section C contains a stimulus question in which you will draw on both a passage from Homer's the Illiad or Odyssey (you will select the Odyssey) and one from Virgil, and a choice of essays. In these essays you are expected to make use of secondary sources and academic views to support your argument. 


Component Group 2: Culture and the Arts

Our AS CC IL course prepared you for Greek Theatre (H408/21)

This is a written paper with a total of 75 marks and is 30% of the total A Level grade. The time for the exam is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The exam will consist of two sections:
Section A:  all questions are compulsory and will involve short answers and commentary questions, as well as a shorter essay question.
Section B contains a choice of of one from two essays. In these essays you will expect to make use of secondary sources and academic views to support your argument.


Component Group 3: Beliefs and Ideas (H408/33)

Our A Level (second part) CC course prepares you for Politics of the Late Republic

This is a written paper with a total of 75 marks and is 30% of the total A Level grade. The time for the exam is 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The exam will consist of two sections: 
Section A: all questions are compulsory and will involve short answers and commentary questions, as well as a shorter essay question.
Section B contains a choice of of one from two essays. In these essays you will expect to make use of secondary sources and academic views to support your argument.



The cost covers: 
  • 20 study sessions of 'The World of the Hero': Virgil's Aeneid
  • 20 study sessions of 'Politics in the Late Republic'
  • marking and feedback from your tutor
  • support from the Cambridge Classics Project

To pay by debit/credit card, please click on the link below, which will take you to the University's secure e-sales website:

Please note that the above link will take you to the University's e-sales website, which is a different website to ours. You will need to create an account with University e-sales that is different to your course account to complete the purchase.

To pay by cheque, please make the cheque out to 'University of Cambridge' for the above amount and please send it to: IL Manager, CSCP, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, 184 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PQ, (England, U.K).  [If you do wish to pay by cheque please first email the Independent Learning Manager.]


If paying by cheque in a currency other than British pounds sterling, please contact the Independent Learning Manager at, who will provide you with the correct amount. There is a currency conversion charge for cheques in a currency other than British pounds sterling.

Fixed End Date or Fixed Number of Weeks?: 
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Click here to enrol on this course.

(Please note, payment is required before final approval of your enrolment. Full details on how to pay are in the course's 'Cost' tab.)

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