Classics is a subject area which at Belfast High School can be divided into three separate subjects. These are Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation.
Latin (which is studied by all pupils in Forms 1 and 2) is the language of the ancient Romans. We study their language, customs and some of their history using the Cambridge Latin Course. At the end of Second Form pupils can opt to continue with Latin and may proceed to GCSE and A Level. At every stage language and literature are studied in context with the history and society of ancient Rome. Pupils will gain a knowledge of how Latin language and literature have a lasting influence on modern languages and society. Parallels and contrasts are drawn between life in ancient times and today.
Classical Civilisation is the study of life, society, history and literature in ancient Greece and Rome. No knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages is required. It is an optional subject which can be taken by pupils from Form 3 and may be studied for GCSE and A Level. Some examples of areas studied include the history of the first democracy in the world at Athens, topics in Greek mythology, the life and achievement of Alexander the Great, society in ancient Rome. This is a popular subject in which pupils have achieved much success over the years.
Classical Greek is the language of the ancient Greeks. All pupils in Form 2 do a short module in Greek at the end of the academic year. If successful in this they will receive a certificate of achievement. Greek can be taken for GCSE, but only as an additional subject by a small group of able and committed pupils. Occasionally it can be offered at A Level.