GCSE Ancient History

OCR, Syllabus J198   http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/gcse-ancient-history-j198-from-2017/

Course Content

Students must study one Period Study and one Depth Study for both the Greeks and the Romans. The Period Study will focus on understanding the big narratives and themes of a coherent time period; the Depth Study will focus on the complexity of a historical situation, and will develop critical use of the source material.

GREEKS    (1 exam, 50%)

Period Study: The Persian empire 559-465BC

Depth Study: a) Athens: Tyranny to Democracy OR b) Athens in the Age of Pericles OR c) Alexander the Great

ROMANS     (1 exam, 50%)

Period Study: Kingship to Republic 753-440BC

Depth Study a) Hannibal 281-201BC  OR b) Cleopatra 69-30BC  OR c) Britain: Conquest to Province 43-84AD

Why Study Ancient History?

Ancient History requires you to be flexible, open-minded and willing to engage directly with the works of writers from the ancient world, in order to develop understanding. Having said this, the subject matter is what makes the subject itself exciting. With great characters (Alexander, Boudica), great battles (Thermopylae, Cannae), political intrigue, triumphs and disasters, there is much that pupils will find appealing. Pupils will also get to engage with the characters, ideas and critical moments that shaped Western Civilisation. As for A-levels, many who sit GCSE Ancient History will naturally go on to study Ancient History in the Sixth Form and quite a number enjoy the subject so much that they go on to read it at university. Ancient History improves your skills as a writer and thinker, and opens your mind to thinking about how cultures develop and differ from one another.


No prior experience is needed. Pupils may come from a Gratin, Latin or Ancient History background. It can be combined with other Classical subjects or none. The only pre-requisite is a willingness to engage with the cultures of Greece and Rome.

Complementary Courses

Ancient History goes well with any subject but there are perhaps most connections with History and English Literature. Study tours abroad (to Rome, Pompeii, Greece etc.) are encouraged.

Contact for further information:

Dr M Johncock mspj@wellingtoncollege.org.uk