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This is an email correspondence course based on online study sessions and prescriped texts. The course will prepare you for the OCR AS (Advanced Subsidiary) qualificaiton in Classical Civilisation, H008. 

There are two components to be studied in this course. One is the compulsory 'The World of the Hero' (H008/11). In this year you will study Homer's Odyssey . This component is soley focused on the study of literature in translation. The other component is 'Culture and the Arts' (H008/21) - Greek Theatre. This component involves the study of visual and material culture combined with the study of literature in translation.

This course can be taken to 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. To obtain a full A Level in Classical Civilisation, one must complete the AS course, the A Level (seond part) and sit the A Level examinations at the end of the two years. 

The works of Homer were considered by the Greeks themselves to be the foundation of Greek culture, standing as they do at the beginning of the Western literary canon. The Odyssey AS 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 popularwith learners and teachers today. Topics studied will be literary techniques and composition, the characterisation and themes of the heroic world, as well as the social cultural and religious context.


The drama produced in the ancient Greek theatre forms some of the most powerful literature of the ancient world and has had a profound and wide- reaching influence on modern culture.

To fully understand this cultural phenomenon requires study of not only the plays but the context in which their form and production developed. To develop this understanding the Greek Theatre component involves the study of the physical theatre space used by the Greeks to stage their dramas, and also depictions of this staging in the visual/material record.

This study of the production of Greek drama is coupled with an in-depth study of three plays, all of which have proven to be enduring favourites. The themes and concepts explored by these plays are of significant relevance and interest as much to the modern audience as they were to that of the original performance. Topics in this component include drama and theatre in Ancient Athenian society, the nature of tragedy and (old) comedy, and social and political themes in tragedy and comedy. 

The plays prescibed in this course are Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Euripedes' Bacchae and Aristophanes' Frogs. There are prescibed visual/material sources, some of which are the Theatre of Dionysus at Athens, a black-figure oinochoe depicting two chorus-members dressed as birds, a red-figure calyx krater depicting Medea's escape and more. 


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.

The World of the Hero: Homer's Odyssey (H008/11)

Culture and the Arts (Group 2): Greek Theatre (H008/21)

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

Greek Theatre and Imperial Image, edited by James Renshaw, Laura Swift, Robert Hancock-Jones, Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. ISBN: 9781350015111

These books can be purchased from

Learners may use any translation of the text. 

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. 

The cost covers: 
  • 40 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:

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.

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