Here at St Catherine’s, a thriving Classics Department offers Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation. Classical subjects allow students to develop an incredibly broad range of skills (in particular, logical analysis and the evaluation of conflicting sources) and interests, as they touch upon just about every area of Greco-Roman civilisation.

Studying the ancient languages is an enjoyable challenge and facilitates close analysis of some of the world’s most powerful and beautiful literature.  We regularly send our students to read Classics at some of the country’s most prestigious universities. They then enter a range of exciting careers from Law and Management Consultancy to Publishing and careers in the Arts.  

Over at the Prep School, pupils receive an introduction to studying Latin using resources linked to the Minimus course. Latin is compulsory for the first three years of the Senior School where we use the Cambridge Latin Course. We supplement its lively stories and clear grammatical explanations with rigorous material of our own. Both Latin and Greek are offered at GCSE level: Greek as a two-year accelerated course for really enthusiastic linguists. Students may continue with the Classical Languages at A Level, exploring their chosen language(s) more deeply and broadening their experience of texts by Classical authors. For AS Classical Civilisation, students take modules in Greek Epic and Greek Theatre. There is no linguistic element to this course as texts are studied in translation, allowing more time to explore the wider culture, society and beliefs of the Ancient Greeks.

Staff List

  • Mrs Jessica Ashby- Head of Department
    Mrs Ashby teaches Latin and Classics. She also runs the School's Linguistic Society. She especially enjoys Latin poetry of the late Republic and early Empire.

  • Mrs Kirsty Meredith
    Mrs Meredith teaches Latin and Classics. She is the department expert on Greek Art and Architecture as well as being the Senior Housemistress.

  • Miss Grace Whittingham
    Miss Whittingham teaches Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation. She has a particular interest in the poetry of Ovid, especially his representation of women.

  • Dr Guy Brindley
    Dr Brindley teaches Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation. His doctoral research explored the theme of conflicted fatherhood in Greek Tragedy.

Curriculum - AS/A Level

Examination Board: OCR

Classical Civilisation

AS Specification

A Level Specification

Why study Classical Civilisation?

Classical Civilisation is a rewarding, stimulating and enjoyable subject – brilliant for lovers of Literature, Drama, History and Art. You will revisit many of the myths that might have inspired you as a child, examine works of art that you will have seen in books and on posters, and study the history and culture that shaped Western Civilisation.

Through your studies you will learn how the ideas and institutions, the artefacts and achievements of the Greeks and Romans continue to have an enormous impact on our modern lives.

As well as appealing to Arts students, it makes an exciting and enjoyable 4th subject for scientists. No knowledge of Latin or Greek required.

Course Content

You will study two modules at AS Level - The World of the Hero, and Culture and the Arts.

The World of the Hero Paper involves the study (in translation) of one of Homer’s incredible epics, the Odyssey, charting the Greek hero Odysseus’ adventure-packed journey home to Ithaca. Among the many themes this story presents, you will explore the concept, values and behaviour of a hero, including the ideas of honour and reputation.

The Culture and Arts Paper explores different aspects of Greek Theatre. You will look not only at three plays from both the comic and tragic genres - texts which continue to be performed today and which have had a profound and wide-reaching influence on modern culture - but also at the physical and cultural context in which theatrical performances developed: for example, looking at evidence for costumes, masks and the theatres themselves.

At A-Level, you will supplement your AS study of Homer’s Odyssey with study of Virgil’s Roman epic, the Aeneid. You will also develop your awareness of the culture of Greece and Rome by exploring in more detail some of the religious, political and social beliefs which underpinned these societies.

Assessment (no coursework)

AS Level: The World of the Hero paper, 1 hour 30 mins, 50% of AS Level mark Culture and Arts paper, 1 hour 30 mins, 50% of AS mark
A-Level: The World of the Hero paper, 2 hours 20 mins, 40% of A-Level mark
Culture and Arts paper, 1 hour 45 mins, 30% of A-Level mark Beliefs and Ideas paper, 1 hour 45 mins, 30% of A-Level mark

Classical Greek

AS Specification

A Level Specification

Why study Classical Greek?

If you have studied Greek GCSE, AS and A-Level should be well within your grasp as we have plenty of time to cover the syllabus and revise grammar. The girls currently studying the subject in the Sixth Form love the small groups and informal nature of the lessons.

Discussions range from the sublime to the ridiculous, taking in all sorts of aspects of the Greek World – from the status of women in Athenian society to why Persians got drunk when making decisions.

Course Content

The key elements of the reformed course are still Language and Literature.

The AS Level Language paper involves unseen translation from Greek into English and a choice of further unseen translation or English-Greek sentences. These are very straightforward and even enjoyable! Translating into Greek can be very satisfying and excellent for your knowledge of those tricky principal parts.

At AS Level you will study one prose and one verse set text. You will extend these linguistic and literary studies at A-Level by studying further prose and verse set texts, which can be tailored to suit the interests of the typically small but stimulating teaching groups.

Assessment (no coursework)

AS Level: Language paper: 1 hour 30 mins, 50% of AS Level 
Literature paper: 2 hours, 50% of AS Level

A Level: Unseen Translation: I hour 45 mins, 33% of A Level 
Prose Composition or Comprehension: 1 hour 15 mins, 17% of A Level
Prose Literature: 2 hours, 25% of A Level 
Verse Literature: 2 hours, 25% of A Level


AS Specification

A Level Specification

Why study Latin?

No translated text can ever express in full the nuanced and layered meanings which are exposed and explored when studying a text in the language in which it was originally written. By choosing Latin at AS and A-Level you will have the opportunity to read some of the world’s greatest literature in the original language – a challenging, exhilarating and enlightening experience!  Latin appeals to lots of different sorts of students: we regularly have scientists as well as arts students in the Department.  Several successful Oxbridge science applicants have done Latin as their 4th subject for example. To enjoy Latin at AS and A Level, you should like one or more of the following: variety, challenges, logical analysis and problem solving, discussion, great literature, sarcasm and scandal!

Course Content

The reformed Latin A-Level retains the same key components of study: Language and Literature.

The Language paper at AS Level involves unseen translation from Latin, and English to Latin sentences. Translating into Latin is enjoyable and satisfying and we teach it in bitesize chunks to build up your confidence and precision.  

At AS Level you will study one prose and one verse set text. You will extend these linguistic and literary studies at A-Level by studying further prose and verse set texts, which can be tailored to suit the interests of the typically small but stimulating teaching groups.

Assessment (no coursework)

AS Level: Language paper: 1 hour 30 mins, 50% of AS Level 
Literature paper: 2 hours, 50% of AS Level

A Level: Unseen Translation: I hour 45 mins, 33% of A level
Prose Composition or Comprehension: 1 hour 15 mins, 17% of A level
Prose Literature: 2 hours, 25% of A level 
Verse Literature: 2 hours, 25% of A level

Curriculum - GCSE


By studying Latin GCSE, you will be able to build on the linguistic skills you have developed in the Middle school and put these into practice by reading ‘real’ Latin - you will prepare one prose and one verse text prior to the examination and will be required to translate sections as well as answer comprehension questions about the text.

  • 2 x 1h language papers worth 50% of the overall mark
  • 1 x 1h prose literature paper worth 25% of the overall mark
  • 1 x 1h verse literature paper worth 25% of the overall mark

Latin Specification

Classical Greek

This is an intensive 2 year course, using John Taylor’s Greek to GCSE. Whether or not you choose to study Greek alongside Latin, you will be able to apply the linguistic concepts you developed by studying Latin in the middle school. All students of Greek find it extremely rewarding that by the end of the first year of the course they are already translating the prose literature.

Greek Specification

Curriculum - KS3

Prep School L3 Latin: 

Students in the Prep School in L3 are taught simple Latin grammar and core vocabulary for one period a week. The course aims to consolidate and extend students’ understanding of English grammar via Latin, and to introduce students to the concept of Latin derivatives in both the English language and other Romance languages they may have encountered. Students also explore Greco-Roman mythology, analysing its moral messages and artistic interpretations.

Students will still start the Cambridge Latin Course when they enter the Senior School.

U3-U4 Latin: Cambridge Latin Course

Students in the middle school cover stages 1-20 of the Cambridge Latin Course. We use the Cambridge Latin Course at St Catherine's because it is the most enjoyable of all the Latin courses available. It is a story-based course that aims to build up reading skills and vocabulary through constant exposure to Latin. It delivers the grammar in a clear and accessible manner, although all teachers supplement the course with additional grammatical materials.

The grammar features covered in U3 are: the nominative, accusative and dative cases, declensions (first, second and third), and the present, imperfect and perfect tenses. In U3 we also focus on the civilisation topics of Roman houses and households, daily life, slaves and gladiators.

The grammar features covered in L4 are: infinitives, irregular verbs, agreement of adjectives, relative clauses and the pluperfect tense. The civilisation topics are the eruption of Vesuvius and the Roman invasion of Britain. Literature passages are also introduced in L4 for the first time.

The grammar features covered in U4 are: the genitive case, gender and agreement, demonstrative pronouns, imperatives and present participles. The civilisation topic is Roman Alexandria. Further literature passages are studied as preparation for the GCSE course.


Bi-annually we run a trip to classical sites in the Mediterranean. This opportunity is offered to any student in L5 upwards with priority given to those studying a classical subject.  Previous trip locations have included:

  • Rome and the Bay of Naples
  • Sicily
  • Greece (A multi-site trip)


Reading Lists

* meansthat this is a book you could read for pleasure
** means a pretty easy read
^ means that this is a book that is relevant to the syllabusAS & A2 Reading Lists * meansthat this is a book you could read for pleasure

  • Classical Epic: Homer and Virgil
  • Camps, W.A, An Introduction to Virgil’s Aeneid ** ^
  • Edwards, Mark, Homer: Poet of the Iliad ^
  • Finley, M.I., The World of Odysseus ** ^
  • Fowler, Robert, The Cambridge Companion to Homer ^
  • Griffin, Jasper, Homer ** ^
  • Griffin, Jasper, Homer: the Odyssey ^
  • Griffin, Jasper, Virgil ^ **
  • Harrison, Stephen, Oxford Readings in Vergil’s Aeneid ^
  • Homer, The Iliad (translated by Peter Jones) ^ *
  • Homer, The Odyssey (translated by D.C. Rieu and edited by Peter Jones) ^ **
  • Jenkyns, Richard, Classical Epic: Homer and Virgil * * ^
  • Jones, Peter, Homer’s Odyssey, a companion to the English Translation by Richmond Lattimore ^
  • Luce, J.V., Homer and the Heroic Age * ^
  • Martindale, Charles (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Virgil ^
  • Silk, Michael, Homer: the Iliad ^ *
  • Thorpe, Martin, Homer * ^
  • Virgil, The Aeneid (translated by David West) * ^
  • Williams, R. Deryck, Aeneas and the Roman Hero ** ^
  • Wood, Michael, In Search of the Trojan War *
  • Zanker, G., The heart of Achilles: characterisation and personal ethics in the Iliad ^

Greek Tragedy

  • Aeschylus, Prometeus Bound, Suppliants, Seven against Thebes, Persians (Penguin) *
  • Aeschylus, The Oresteia (Penguin) * ^
  • Blundell, Mary, Helping Friends and Harming Enemies: a study in Sophocles and Greek Ethics ^
  • Easterling, Pat, The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy ^
  • Easterling, Pat, Greek Drama ^
  • Euripides, Electra and Other Plays (Penguin) * ^
  • Euripides, Heracles and Other Plays (Penguin) *
  • Euripides, Medea and Other Plays (Penguin) * ^
  • Euripides, Orestes and Other Plays (Penguin) * ^
  • Goward, Barbara, Aeschylus: Agamemnon * ^
  • Hughes, Ted, Alcestis (his translation of Euripides’ tragedy) *
  • Kitto, H.D.F., Greek Tragedy: a literary study ^
  • Knox, Bernard, The Heroic Temper: studies in Sophoclean Tragedy ^
  • Lloyd, Michael, Sophocles: Electra ^ *
  • Mills, Sophie, Euripides: Bacchae ^ *
  • Mills, Sophie, Euripides: Hippolytus ^ *
  • Segal, Erich, Oxford Readings in Greek Tragedy ^
  • Sophocles, Philoctetes (Arris and Phillips) * ^
  • Sophocles, The Theban Plays (Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus) * ^
  • Taplin, Oliver, Greek Tragedy in Action ^ William, Allan, Euripides: Medea ^ *
  • Winnington-Ingram, R., Sophocles: an interpretation ^
  • Woodard, Thomas, Sophocles: a collection of critical essays ^

Greek Comedy

  • Aristophanes, The Birds and Other Plays (Penguin) *
  • Aristophanes, Lysistrata and Other Plays (Penguin) *
  • Aristophanes, The Wasps and Other Plays (Penguin) *
  • Easterling, Pat, Greek Drama

Greek and Roman Philosophy

  • Annas, Julia, An Introduction to Plato’s Republic Aristotle, Classical Literary Criticism (Penguin) ^
  • Barnes, Jonathan, Aristotle **
  • Fox, Adam, Plato for Pleasure **
  • Guthrie, W.K.C., The Greek Philosophers from Thales to Aristotle
  • Nadaff, Ramona, Exiling the poets: the Production of Censorship in Plato’s Republic Plato, Protagoras and Meno (Penguin) **
  • Plato, Republic (Penguin) *
  • Sedley, David, The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy
  • Shields, Christopher, Aristotle Taylor, C.C.W., Socrates **

Greek Historians

  • Dewald, Carolyn, The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus ^
  • Dover, K.J., Thucydides Finley, M.I, Greek Historians: the essence of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius ^
  • Gould, John, Herodotus ^ *
  • Herodotus, Histories (Penguin) * ^
  • Romm, James, Herodotus ^
  • Rood, Tim, Thucydides: narrative and explanation
  • Thomas, Rosalind, Herodotus in Context ^
  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (Penguin)
  • Usher, Stephen, Herodotus: the Persian Wars ^ *
  • Westlake, H.D., Studies in Thucydides and Greek History

Greek History and Civilisation

  • Andrews, Anthony, Greek Society **
  • Buckley, Terry, Aspects of Greek History, 750-323
  • Cartledge, Paul, The Spartans **
  • Dover, K.J. Greek Homosexuality *
  • Easterling, Pat, Greek Religion and Society * ^
  • Easterling, Pat, The Cambridge History of Classical Literature I: Greek Literature
  • Forrest, W.G., A History of Sparta
  • Grant, Michael, The Classical Greeks *
  • Jones, Peter, The World of Athens: an introduction to classical Athenian culture * ^
  • Powell, Anton, Classical Sparta: Techniques behind her Success
  • Wycherley, Richard, How the Greeks Built Cities

Greek Art and Architecture

  • Beard, Mary, The Parthenon ** ^
  • Boardman, John, Athenian Black-figure Vases ^
  • Boardman, John, Athenian Red-figure Vases ^
  • Boardman, John, Athenian Red-figure Vases: the classical period ^
  • Boardman, John, Greek Art * ^
  • Boardman, John, Greek Sculpture * ^
  • Boardman, John, Greek Sculpture: the Archaic Period ^
  • Carpenter, Thomas, Art and Myth in Ancient Greece ^ *
  • Cook, R.M., Greek Art, its Development, Character and Influence ^
  • Jenkins, Ian, The Parthenon Frieze ^
  • Pedley, John Griffiths, Greek Art and Archaeology ^
  • Politt, J.J., Art and Experience in classical Greece ^
  • Robertson, Martin, The Art of Vase Painting in Classical Athens ^
  • Smith, R.R.R., Hellenistic Sculpture
  • Woodford Susan, Introduction to Greek Art ** ^
  • Woodford, Susan, The Parthenon ** ^

Latin Poets

  • Catullus, The Poems (Penguin Classics) **
  • Davis, P.J., Ovid and Augustus, a political reading of Ovid’s erotic poems ^
  • Hardie, Phillip, The Cambridge Companion to Ovid ^
  • Knox, P.E., Oxford Readings in Ovid ^
  • Lyne, R.O.A.M., The Latin Love Poets from Catullus to Horace ^
  • Nisbet, R.G.M., A commentary on Horace: Odes Book I
  • Nisbet, R.G.M., A commentary on Horace: Odes Book III
  • Otis, Brooks, Ovid as an Epic Poet
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses (in Penguin Classics) **
  • West, David, Horace Odes III: Dulce Periculum
  • West, David, Reading Horace
  • Williams, Gordon, Horace
  • Wiseman, T.P., Catullus and his World *


  • Cicero, Murder Trials (Penguin Classics) *
  • Cicero, Selected Political Speeches (Penguin Classics) *
  • Everett, Antony, Cicero **
  • Harris, Robert, Imperium **
  • Rawson, Elizabeth, Cicero: a portrait *
  • Shackleton, D.R. Cicero

Roman Historians

  • Goodyear, F.R.D., Tacitus ^
  • Goodyear, F.R.D., The Annals of Tacitus: Books I-VI ^
  • Grant, Michael, Greek and Roman Historians: information and misinformation ^ *
  • Livy, The Early History of Rome (Penguin Classics) *
  • Livy, The growth of Rome (extracts from his histories) **
  • Martin, Ronald, Tacitus ^
  • Mellor, Ronald, Roman Historians ^
  • Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars (Penguin Classics) **
  • Syme, Ronald, Tacitus ^
  • Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome (Penguin Classics) * ^
  • Walker, B., The Annals of Tacitus: a study in the writing of history ^
  • Walsh, P. G., Livy
  • Walsh, P.G., Livy: his historical aims and methods

Roman History and Civilisation

  • Alston, Richard, Aspects of Roman History, AD 14-117 *
  • Bradley, Keith, Slavery and Rebellion in the Roman World *
  • Dawson, Ian, Greek and Roman Medicine *
  • Flower, Harriet, The Cambridge Companion to the Roman Republic *
  • Gardner, J.F., Women in Roman Law and Society *
  • Grant, Michael, Julius Caesar *
  • Griffin, Miriam, Nero: the End of a Dynasty *
  • Holland, Richard, Augustus, Godfather of Europe **
  • Holland, Tom, Rubicon: the Tragedy and Triumph of the Roman Republic **
  • Jones, Peter, The World of Rome: an introduction to Roman culture **
  • Massey, Michael, Slavery in Ancient Rome *
  • Paoli, Unrico, Rome, its People, Life and Customs **
  • Richardson, J., Roman Provincial Administration *
  • Salway, Peter, The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain *
  • Sear, Frank, Roman Architecture *
  • Shelton, Jo-Ann, As the Romans Did: a Sourcebook in Roman Social History **
  • Shotter, David, The Fall of the Roman Republic **
  • Wallace-Hadrill, Andrew, Augustan Rome **
  • Ward-Perkins, J.B., Roman Imperial Architecture *
  • Woolf, Greg, Cambridge Illustrated History of the Roman World **


Website Links

Website Links

General sites and subject portals for classicists

  • Perseus Digital Library - a vast digital collection which includes an atlas, archaeological resources and extensive online texts - a wealth of information (this site is currently being redeveloped we will restore the link as soon as possible)
  • Ask the Oracle - Loxias will answer any classics-related question - on Latin or Greek literature, mythology, ancient history - if you can't find what you want on the site, send him an email!
  • Internet Ancient History Sourcebook - texts, images and sound files, as well as pointers to other classics portal sites
  • Encyclopedia Mythica - over 5,700 articles on mythology, folklore and legend
  • Bulfinch's mythology - the age of fable or stories of gods and heroes by Thomas Bulfinch, 1855. Suitable for KS4/5 pupils and teachers.
  • The Stoa Consortium - news, projects and links for digital classicists.
  • Art History Resources on the Web - links to resources on prehistoric to 21st century art, worldwide.
  • Diotima - materials for the study of women and gender in the ancient world.
  • Labyrinth - access to electronic resources on medieval studies.
  • Voice of the Shuttle: Classical Studies - provides a structured and briefly annotated guide to online resources

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

Latin and Ancient Greek literature: texts

Just for fun!