VCE Classical Studies

Unit 1 can be taken in Year 10 in lieu of Year 10 Core History.

Either Unit 1 or 2 leads into Units 3 & 4 Classical Studies.

Units 3 & 4 can be studied by Year 11s. 

Units 3 & 4 can be studied even if you have not completed Units 1 or 2.

What is Classical Studies and why should I pick this subject?
In Classical Studies, we learn about the fascinating world of the Ancient Greeks and their myths and legends. We study the gods and goddesses, famous heroes and heroines through the literature they produced including dramatic and comic plays, epic stories and sculpture. This is known as studying the era of the ‘Classical Greeks’. If you love learning about ancient cultures, famous heroes and studying the past, this subject is for you! Many of the stories from ancient Greece are found in Homer’s famous work about the Trojan war called The Iliad and his other work, The Odyssey. We also read tragic plays as many other myths were transmitted this way. Students who commonly pick ‘Classics’ love learning about the past. They find it exciting and interesting.

Unit 1:      Mythical Worlds
What is a hero?  What is beauty?  What makes a leader?  What is the nature of war?  This unit explores these questions the Greeks had about their world through the fascinating study of myths and legends and the heroic and sometimes infamous deeds of figures such as Achilles, Helen, Hector and Andromache.  While learning about archaeological methods, students conduct research, questioning whether legends such as Homer’s Iliad were based on any historical truth.  Students also study works such as pottery and dramatic plays, as myths and legends were transmitted this way.

Areas of Study
•    GODS, HEROES AND MONSTERS
– What is a myth or legend? What is the nature of the gods?  Study and research heroic and mythological legends and quests.
•    MYTH AND ARCHAEOLOGY
– Are myths and legends true?
– Learn about archaeology and archaeological excavations – ‘digs’.  What happens on a dig?  Read parts of The Iliad by Homer attempting to link this epic literature to the site of Troy.
•    MYTH IN CLASSICAL CULTURES
– What was the place of myths in Ancient Greek life?

Assessment
•    Written analysis of passages from Homer’s Iliad
•    Tests
•    Written examination

Year 10 student perspective~ studying Unit 1 
Studying Year 11 Classical Studies as a Year 10 student has been wonderful and, at times, challenging. It has encouraged me to think and work at a higher and faster level, as well as teaching me how to further analyse and annotate passages from a text. It was an eye-opening experience to be treated as a Year 11 and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Undertaking Year 11 Classical Studies whilst still in Year 10 has taught me many things, not only about the Trojan War, but also about how to sit SACs, write responses to text analysis questions and deal with a greater work load. If you love studying History, then apply to study Classics! Simone, Year 10, Unit 1

Student Perspective
I chose Classical Studies Unit 1 because of an ongoing interest in the area of ancient history. Unit 1 has furthered my knowledge of the history and mythology of ancient Greece and has also opened up the world of archaeology through a unit on the fabled Troy. This unit has built up my analytical thinking skills through the study of Greek ancient texts (translated, of course!) and allowed me the freedom to form my own opinions of what we were studying.  The skills covered through this subject have really shown themselves to be useful in the majority of my other subjects, particularly Literature and other Humanities. Emily, Year 11, Unit 1 and 2

“I went into Classical Studies knowing next to nothing about mythology and by the end of the semester it was one of my favourite subjects. As someone who has always enjoyed history, I found the topics we studied intriguing and that the skills we learned were able to be applied in other subjects too.”  Jessica, year 11 Unit 1

 

Unit 2:      Classical Worlds

This unit examines classical works across time, beginning with the study of ancient Greek  society through an exploration of intellectual and material culture. Students work with translations rather than with the Ancient Greek. Classical works offer a means of exploring social and political life in classical antiquity. What does Homer reveal about the heroic code? How does Thucydides portray Athens during the Peloponnesian War?

Students analyse and compare the ways in which classical writers and artists use similar and different techniques within a classical work

 

Areas of Study
•    SOCIETY THROUGH CULTURE
– Greek history – Palace to Polis.  900-400 BCE:  Study key events such as the Persian wars.
– Emergence of Democracy: Building of the Parthenon and development of sculpture.
– Literature: Study comic and tragic plays.
•    CLASSICS THROUGH TIME
– Students learn about how ideas and knowledge from Ancient Greece influenced people in Melbourne in the twentieth century.

Assessment
•    Tests
•    Written analysis of works studied
•    Written examination

Student Perspective
“I chose Classical Studies because the content is not only extremely fascinating, but the subject itself covers interesting topics such as Greek gods, goddess, myths and the Trojan War. Classics is a great subject and the work you do is both intriguing and very rewarding. I strongly recommend if you enjoy writing and History, then you should undertake Classical Studies as a subject for VCE.”  Carla, year 11 Unit 1 & 2

Unit 3:      Classical Worlds:  Greece

This unit explores 3 classical texts that represent the cultural legacy of ancient Greece from c.750 BCE to 400 BCE.  Students study sections of Homer’s epic poem ‘The Iliad’ which reflect the concerns, beliefs and values of the sociohistorical context in which it was produced. Interpreting such material helps the Classicist to better understand the past and the present. Indeed, many of the ideas expressed throughout classical texts have captured the imagination of generations. Students analyse passages from these works to examine the ways in which classical writers

use techniques to express ideas, developing an appreciation of the classical literature they are reading in translation. Students also complete a comparative essay exploring sections of Homer’s epic ‘The Odyssey’ and Sophocles’ tragic play ‘Ajax’, as this enables Classicists to explore ways in which the same concept is presented by different texts. Exploring classical works from different periods highlights the ways in which ideas and societies changed over the course of time.

Texts are prescribed and selected from the text list published by the VCAA each year on the Study page.

Areas of Study
•    INDIVIDUAL STUDY OF A CLASSICAL WORK:
– Analyse the ideas and techniques of a classical text and evaluate the relationship of the work to its socio-historic context.
•    COMPARATIVE STUDY
– Compare the ideas and values of selected texts to contrast representations of these ideas.
– Contrast techniques behind these cultural works and how they express the ideas and values of the period.

Assessment
Unit 3 Graded tasks: 2 SACs

SAC 1: 4 extended answer questions on 1 text
SAC 2: 1 essay comparing 2 texts
School assessed coursework for Unit 3 contributes 25 per cent to the final assessment.

Unit 4:      Classical Worlds

This unit explores the dynamic and changing world of the Ancient Athenians of the fifth century (BCE), which is called ‘Classical’. Through a study of 1 individual text and 2 comparative texts, students investigate how the ideas and values of this society evolved through challenges by individuals such as historians, dramatists and politicians. These ideas included a desire for scientific and philosophical knowledge, questioning whether humanity controlled its fate. How Athens came to be considered the most cultured city in the Aegean is also studied. The role of war in influencing this evolution is also analysed. Through the study of the tragic play ‘The Persians’ by the father of Greek drama, Aeschylus, and the first ‘Histories’ of our era by Herodotus and Thucydides, students see how ideas such as the role of the gods and the concept of fate and destiny influenced this period.

Texts are prescribed and selected from the text list published by the VCAA each year on the Study page.

 

Areas of Study
•    INDIVIDUAL STUDY OF A CLASSICAL WORK:
– Analyse the ideas and techniques of a classical text and evaluate the relationship of the work to its socio-historic context.
•    COMPARATIVE STUDY
– Compare the ideas and values of selected texts to contrast representations of these ideas.
– Contrast techniques behind cultural works and how they express ideas and values.

Assessment
Unit 4 Graded tasks: 2 SACs
SAC1: 4 extended answer questions on 1 text
SAC 2: 1 essay comparing 2 texts
School assessed coursework for Unit 4 contributes 25 per cent to the final assessment.
End of year examination contributes 50 per cent to the final assessment.

Student Perspective
“Classical Studies is a thoroughly enjoyable subject which is different from many of the other subjects offered at VCE. It has allowed me to combine my love for history and interest in the Greek gods and enthralling quests of heroes such as Achilles, with writing and analysis. It gives you the opportunity to study Ancient Greece at its peak during the Classical period, and to study plays by famous playwrights that are over 2000 years old, such as Homer and Aristophanes. This subject is very rewarding because it also helps you to develop analytical writing skills. I chose Classical Studies because I was fascinated about the Ancient world. I would recommend this subject to anyone that is interested in history and who wants to expand their knowledge on the ancient world.”  Demi, year 12 units 3 & 4.

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