Classical Studies

"If you want your children to be intelligent read them myths.
If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more myths" (Albert Einstein)

Classical Studies is a very popular subject in many New Zealand Secondary Schools and Lynfield College is no exception. To understand ourselves, and our place in a bicultural society, we need to know about the societies that have laid the foundations for the world in which we live. Classical Studies is the study of the people, places and events of the classical world and how they influence the modern world.
Western civilisation has many roots in these cultures, yet our knowledge of them is often very slight. As an interdisciplinary subject, students of Classical Studies engage with topics concerning law, medicine, philosophy, religion, science, democracy, art, literature and morality - aspects of which all have their origins in the classical world.
Students explore community, cultural identity, values and perspectives and think critically about human behaviour and relationships to appreciate the civilisations of ancient Greece and Rome, understand the past and the present, and to imagine possible futures.
Connecting the topics in both the Yr 12 and Yr 13 courses are Greek ideas and values. What were the cultural expectations of the Greeks? What ideas and values did the Greeks hold important? How are these reflected in their myths, art and architecture and daily lives? Students are asked to reflect on the values that we today regard as important – and are surprised to learn that our cultures are very similar. This explains the appeal of the classical world to the present day.


In this course you will study:
Homer's "Odyssey"                       AS91200 (2.1)          External        4 Credits
“Examine ideas and values of the classical world”
As communicated through the stories of Odysseus' adventures on his return home from the Trojan War.
Athenian Art & Architecture                   AS91201(2.2)           External        4 Credits
“Examine the significance of features of work(s) of art in the classical world.”
A study of the features of Athenian sculpture and public architecture and how they reflect Athenian ideals.
Persian Wars                                  AS91202(2.3)           Internal          4 Credits
“Demonstrate understanding of a significant event in the classical world.”
A study of why the Persian Wars were important to Athens and world history.
Athenian Socio-political Life                 AS91203(2.4)           External        6 Credits
“Examine socio-political life in the classical world.”
In particular we look at the privileged life of aristocratic men compared to the secluded lives of women. We learn about the ancient Olympics, Greek theatre, religious festivals and much more.
Mythology & Modern Film             AS91204(2.5)           Internal          6 Credits
“Demonstrate understanding of the relationship between aspects of the classical world and aspects of other cultures”
Explain the relationship between the classical epic poem ‘Odyssey’ and the movie of the same name.
Classical Mythology
Associated with all the topics are the mythological stories of ancient Greece, with particular emphasis on the Trojan War.
Yr 12 Classics spend a day in downtown Auckland, including a visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Students observe the influence of Classical ideas on our architecture today. In particular students learn that our very own Auckland Museum was modelled on the mighty Parthenon in Athens. 
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Cyclops from Bk 9 Odyssey
Greek Symposium.png
Greek Symposium - male only dinner party


In this course you will study:
Aristophanes’ Comedies                  AS 91394(3.1)          External        4 Credits
"Analyse ideas and values of the classical world."
The study of Greek Drama, in particular comedy. We analyse the play "Wasps" written by Aristophanes in the 5th century BC. These plays are a satirical comment on the social and political life in Athens during the Peloponnesian War. They are highly amusing and very popular with the students.
Greek Vase Painting & other Art     AS 91935(3.2)          External        4 Credits
"Analyse the significance of a work(s) of art in the classical world."
This involves the study of the development of Attic vase painting in the 6th and 5th centuries BC through their depiction of mythology. The Greeks were the first to explore how to portray realism in art. Through the medium of Greek Vases (mostly because, besides sculpture, there is little else left) students study the development in art.  In addition students look at the relationship between the function of the vase and the nature of the decorations.
The Alexander the Great mosaic and Greek theatres are also studied.
Alexander the Great                             AS91936(3.3)           External        6 Credits
"Analyse the impact of a significant historical figure on the classical world."
Students learn about the career of Alexander the Great whose conquest of the Persian empire was achieved in a period of only twelve years. They study his military conquests, his relations with Macedonia and Greece and his religious views and evaluate the qualities that made Alexander ‘Great’.
 Alexander the Great                            AS91937       3.4       Internal          6 Credits
"Demonstrate understanding of significant ideology(ies) in the classical world."        
Analyse Alexander’s Orientalising policy or ‘Policy of Fusion’ which aimed to combine the ruling classes of Persia and Macedonia to govern as one race.
Myth Perennial                                       AS91938       3.5       Internal          6  Credits
“Demonstrate understanding of the lasting influences of the classical world on other cultures across time”
Examine the depiction of Herakles & the myths associated with him in the ancient Greek world and analyse the influences of Greek ideas and values on Renaissance art and another culture of your choice. Another culture might be the art the NZ artist Marian Maguire or modern film.
A modern take on the Greek Symposium
Year 12 and 13 students partake in our annual ‘Symposium’ - our very own Greek themed dinner held at a Middle Eastern Restaurant. Students dress up in a Greek or Roman themed costume and prizes are awarded for the best dressed. Quizzes are held and the winning team members are each presented with a ‘laurel’ wreath in honour of their success. Authentic Mediterranean style entertainment is provided in the form of a belly dancer!
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Theatre Mask
Alexander the Great
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Niobid Painter Vase
Herakles-6 Symposium dinner-136

Left : Herakles

Above : Greek Symposium Winners 2011