A Level Course Listing


Latin A Level offers the perfect opportunity to pursue the curiosity about the ancient world and the linguistic skills that propelled you to a good grade at GCSE. The ‘step up’ to A Level is surprisingly gentle; having acquired the key skills of literary analysis at GCSE, you will now be required to expand your vocabulary and investigate verse and prose Latin texts that have been very well selected to appeal to their audience.

From stinging political invective to satire (a literary genre invented and bequeathed to us by the Romans), from extracts of love manuals to ancient myths, the irresistible, incredible and yet strangely familiar world of Roman culture comes to life in a way that you have been unable previously to access. A welcome aspect of the new A Level specification is a further requirement to read around the set literary texts in translation to aid contextual understanding.

We have a well-resourced department and also make use of the splendid textbooks which have been published to accompany each aspect of the new A Level specification, enabling you to easily review, revise or push ahead with your independent learning.

Why choose Latin?

Latin is a traditional A Level and one of the few facilitating subjects which foster skills which are directly applicable to independent study of any subject at undergraduate level. It is highly regarded by all good universities, especially Oxford and Cambridge. Honing skills of literary analysis, cultural sensitivity and historical enquiry alongside linguistic accuracy, A Level Latin explores multiple aspects of an ancient world that has informed so much of the modern western world today. It is an excellent complement to the study of Literature, History, Languages, Politics and of course Classical Civilisation.

Course outline

Examination board: OCR H443

Entry Requirements

At least a grade 6 at GCSE.


Component 1 (H443/01): Unseen Translation

33% of total; written examination of 1hour 45mins.

You will be required to translate into English a passage of unseen narrative prose by Livy and a passage of unseen verse by Ovid; you will also be required to scan two lines of verse.

Component 2 (H443/02): Prose Composition or Comprehension

17% of total; written examination of 1hour 15mins.

You will need either to translate unseen material from English into Latin or demonstrate your understanding of a passage of unseen prose text through comprehension, translation and questions on syntax and accidence.

Component 3 (H443/03): Prose Literature

25% of total; written examination of 2 hours.

In Lower Sixth, you will enjoy analysing Cicero’s famous defence speech pro Cluentio which included one of his most successful oratorical character assassinations. In Upper Sixth we shall either continue to study this famous Ciceronian law case, or turn our hands to Tacitus Annals IV (a study of the emperor Tiberius and his notorious right- hand man Sejanus), or to Livy’s History of Rome Book 1 which historicises the mythical founding of the city of Rome.

All the set prose texts studied will be examined together in the final paper at the end of the two years.

Component 4 (H443/04): Verse Literature

25% of total; written examination of 2 hours.

In Lower Sixth we shall study either the love poetry of the renowned poet Catullus or Book XII of Virgil’s unequalled epic – the Aeneid. Both texts plunge their audiences deep into the culture of ancient Rome, exploring its values and political and historical contexts. In the Upper Sixth we shall analyse extracts from Ovid’s Heroides in which the poet addresses his audience in the persona of famous women from the ancient world, in this case Penelope writing to Odysseus, Briseis appealing to Achilles, and Queen Dido begging Aeneas not to leave Carthage.

All the set verse texts studied will be examined together in the final paper at the end of two years.