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Classical Studies

Classical Studies

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What is a hero? What is beauty? What makes a leader? What is the nature of war? Ancient Greece and ancient Rome confronted many of the questions that we still grapple with today. VCE Classical Studies explores the literature, history, philosophy, art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. Students examine classical works that have captivated and inspired generations. These works explore love and devotion, as well as the cost of anger and betrayal. In presenting ideas about fate and freedom, VCE Classical Studies deepens understanding of what it means to be human.

Classical societies have exerted a powerful influence on Western civilisation. These ancient worlds are both familiar and strange. Reflections of ourselves can be seen in the myth of Troy, the Olympic Games, the drama festivals of ancient Greece and the struggles in the Roman senate. Classical Studies also reveals other ways of being. Many of the values reflected in classical works differ from our own. Their spirit of inquiry creates rich opportunities to learn about the past and provide a window on the present.

VCE Classical Studies is a multidisciplinary study. Students develop skills in textual and art analysis, constructing arguments, challenging assumptions and thinking creatively. These skills are valuable for further study and work as they are readily transferable across a range of disciplines.

Defining ‘Classical’

For the purposes of this study design, ‘Classical Studies’ is the study of the two great classical societies in the Western tradition, Greece and Rome. In Greece, the rise of Greek society is traced from the late Bronze age to the Hellenistic age. The chief focus is the fifth century BC. In Rome, the late Republic and the Empire under the Julio-Claudian and Flavian dynasties into the second century AD are the focus of study.


This study enables students to:

  • understand the multidisciplinary nature of classical studies and its methodologies;

  • develop an interest in the classical world;

  • analyse, evaluate and critically respond to classical works;

  • examine ideas of contemporary relevance through classical works;

  • develop an understanding of the socio-historical contexts of classical works;

  • understand that there is a range of perspectives and emphases in classical studies;

  • come to a deeper understanding of themselves through the study of classical works.


The study is made up of two units.
Unit 1: Mythical worlds
Unit 2: Classical imaginations

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