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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 AS Classical Civilisation component: The World of the Hero (H008/11). This component is compulsory for the AS Classical Civilisation qualification. We will study Homer's Odyssey. 

The poems of Homer were considered by the Greeks themselves to be a foundation of Greek culture, standing as they do at the beginning of the Western literary canon. This component provides learners with the opportunity to appreciate the lasting legacy of the Homeric world and to explore its attitudes and values. The epics of Homer, with their heroes, gods and exciting narratives, have been in continuous study since their conception, and remain popular with learners and teachers today.

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

To obtain the AS in Classical Civilisation one must sit the exams for both components ('The World of the Hero' and 'Greek Theatre'). To obtain a full A Level in Classical Civilisation, one must complete the AS course, the A Level (second part) and sit the A Level examinations at the end of the two years. 

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

The prescribed books of the Odyssey studied will be: 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23.

Topics studied may include:

  • literary techniques, such as structure and plot, language of the epic, and literary context
  • characterisation and themes of the heroic world, such as values of the hero, how the different societies are depicted, fantasy and the supernatural
  • the social and religious context, such as the power of fate, relationships between immortals and mortals, justice and revenge, women in society, role of slaves


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, 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.

For the full A Level in Classical Civilisation:

The World of the Hero: Virgil's Aeneid. (H408/11)

Content of Beliefs and Ideas: Love and Relationships (H408/32)

You will need to purchase the following:

The World of the Hero, ed. Sally Knights, Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. ISBN: 9781350015074. 

This book may be purchased from

While the study sessions provide a link to an electronic translation by A.S. Kline, we strongly advise that you purchase this translation: The Odyssey, Homer, Peter Jones (introducer), E.V. Rieu (translator), Penguin Classics. ISBN: 9780140449112.  
(If you prefer an ebook, it is avaialable here: 

OCR will use both translations on the examination paper.

The following files are available to download to assist with your course.

*** Only students enrolled on the course and the course tutors can access downloadable course materials ***

The advised study time is 2 hours per session. As there are 20 sessions in the course, the total advised study time is in the region of 40 hours.

AS (Advanced Subsidiary) 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.

Compulsory component The World of the Hero: Homer's Odyssey (H008/11)
65 marks, 1 hour 30 minutes paper. This paper makes up 50% of the total AS Level
Section A contains short answer questions, responses to two stimuli from the prescibed books and a shorter essay question
Section B contains a choice of one from two essays. There are four question types in this exam, they are: short answer questions, 8 mark stimulus questions, 16 mark essay, 25 mark essay.


For the full AS qualification, you must also sit:
Culture and the Arts: Greek Theatre (H008/21)
65 marks, 1 hour 30 minutes paper. This paper makes up 50% of the total AS Level

The cost covers: 
  • 20 study sessions
  • 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: we cannot accept cheques at this time.

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 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?: 
Fixed number of weeks
Fixed weeks duration: 

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.)

Please note: the distance learning office is closed from 22-30 September. Pending enrolments will be processded from 1 October.

Note: Due to Covid restrictions, the University has now shut the CSCP office to an indefinite date; the CSCP team are therefore working from home. You may still enrol on a course. IL course materials are being supplied as digital downloads -accessible once your enrolment is processed. Audio CD sets are not available at this time; please do not order the CD sets when enrolling.

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