Classics at Dauntsey’s is the study of Latin and Classical Civilisation. In Latin, we study the language and literature of the Romans; and in Classical Civilisation we study the history, culture and literature (in translation) of the Greeks and the Romans.
Latin is studied by all the First Form along with French, German and Spanish: pupils then choose two languages to study in the Second and Third Form: we welcome any keen enthusiast!
Third years can then choose either Latin or Classical Civilisation. This year, Latin GCSE candidates are reading about the mysterious death of the Emperor’s heir, and the Fall of Troy; while Classical Civilisation candidates are learning about the daily life of the Greeks and the Romans, their gods, their temples and their burial practices – next year, they will go back in time to Mycenae, and meet Odysseus.
Fifth years who continue with Latin A-Level read Tacitus’ Histories, and investigate what men will do for power (always a topical topic); Classical Civilisation A-Level is open to previous practitioners or newbies – no prior experience necessary! Students learn about the world of the Hero, and Greek theatre and religion.
In addition to all this academia, we also run a few Lower School clubs: Tales from Troy club, where pupils read The Iliad (in translation), and do a bit of sword-fighting; Odyssey club, where pupils read the Odyssey (in translation), and act out some of the scenes, including making pigs’ noses; and Ballistas club, where pupils have, so far, made a ballista, a gladiator, a gladiator’s helmet, and a Roman villa and fort.
Finally, we aim to support pupils’ learning through a range of other avenues; inter alia (that is your actual Latin!), First Form have staged an Ancient Greek tragedy; Second Form have made their own group mosaic of Medusa; Third Form visit Bath to decipher the curse tablets; and GCSE and A-level pupils take part in a Latin Speaking competition and attend lectures, both run by the Salisbury Classical Association. On the foreign trip front, we have visited Sicily (2014), Rome (2015), Greece (2016), and Pompeii in 2020. A return to Greece is the next tour in our sights.