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AS and A Level: Classics

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  1. Compare the portrayal of Clytaemnestra in both Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Euripides’ Electra. Which portrayal do you think is more effective and why?

    One explanation for the changes in character of Clytaemnestra in these plays is the timescale in which they are set. The events in Electra happen several years after those in Agamemnon, and the more mature and calmer Clytaemnestra we see portrayed in Euripides' play could be due to the effect of time on her, and the fact that she has had several years in which to reflect upon her actions and realise the full extent of the crimes that she committed against her husband.

    • Word count: 1564
  2. Is Herodotus the father of History or the father of lies?

    Although little is known about Herodotus life other the fact he was born in Halicarnassus, Asia Minor and that must have been from the upper class since he had the financial capability to travel, many things can be inferred about his personality and therefore the credibility of his writing. What is clear is his curiosity about past events and different culture?s tradition all of which Herodotus wanted to learn firsthand not just by reading but rather experiencing them first hand either by visiting distant lands such as Egypt where they occurred but also by hearing about them from as many people who had lived through them themselves, only to conclude and form his own opinion.

    • Word count: 1409
  3. In what ways and to what extent Does Herodotus overemphasize individuals in the conflict between the Greeks and Xerxes?

    A prominent element in Herodotus's narrative concerning the aspects of political power is his portrayal of powerful and ambitious kings such as Croesus, Cyrus and Xerxes. Persian being a monarchy, and Darius is one of its most of successful rulers being proponent of the system itself ,individuals that held the empire?s power are of utmost importance and influence and this is shown not only by Herodotus work which depict their greatness but in his narratives, but too Herodotus displays the various downsides of such a system it has on the person ruling and the the effects on the empire they

    • Word count: 1663
  4. Do Augustan sources portray an accurate picture of the Battle of Actium?

    In addition to this, Horace highlights the idea of Eastern effeminacy when he writes about ?eunuchs? (line 14) and a ?foul and curtained tent? on line 15. These lines are referring to the castration of men and the Eastern use of mosquito nets, implying that Romans are not as feminine as the people of the East and so would never dare use such things. In addition to this, Horace also highlights Eastern effeminacy in Odes 1.37 when he writes ?diseased by vice, herself without restraint? (line 10).

    • Word count: 1257
  5. To what extent and for what reasons did Augustus resist the creation of an imperial cult during his lifetime?

    However, in public Augustus had to appear respectful of traditional practice, as shown on the Ara Pacis. After his death Augustus could be worshipped with no issues, during his lifetime however, it was in no way acceptable. Augustus had to resist the creation of an imperial cult during his lifetime to avoid losing all popular support and ending in the same way as his predecessor did. This said, the creation of an imperial cult, if successful, would bring together the disparate provinces that he governed, bringing not only power but also prestige.

    • Word count: 1688
  6. To what extent was the battle of Salamis a turning point in Xerxes' campaign against the Greeks?

    However, it provides valuable insight into how many viewed the Battle of Salamis as a Greek victory. Additionally, Aeschylus fought in the Battle and so had first-hand experience of the events the unfurled. By using the Battle to present Athenian supremacy in his play, Aeschylus must have viewed Salamis as a key component of Xerxes? campaign, perhaps the turning point, or it is likely he would have omitted any mention of it. It could be argued that Salamis was a turning point in Xerxes? campaign as, before the Battle, the Greeks were on a losing streak and appeared to be the unlikely victors of the campaign due to their defeat at Thermopylae, after, they defeated the Persian army twice more at Mycale and Plataea.

    • Word count: 1578
  7. Which do you think contributes more to the success of the Odyssey, realism or fantasy?

    The gods hold human emotions which has consequences on Odysseus throughout his journey, whether it being Ino?s sympathy or Poseidon?s wrath. Gods hold the ability to physically change into any human in the mortal world causing tests to the cities and enables Athena greatly in aiding Odysseus. The significantly differs to a modern audience?s potential view on a God, the Christian God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent. An Ancient audience is shown that the many gods do have the realism of human emotions but the powers to cause physical disasters (such as great waves and storms).

    • Word count: 1307
  8. Homer's Odyssey - role of the Gods and questions on Book 18 Lines 152-168

    gives a clear image in the reader mind of just how Amphinomus is feeling whilst also creating a brooding sense of some significant series of events that are read to occur .The word ?foreboding? is particularly effective in enhancing a feeling of impending darkness. Homer's use of individual word also adds tension and mystery to the passage, he places words such as ?detest? and ?evil? into a normally restrained and considered Penelope, by placing such emotive word into Penelope's language the tension is increased as the reader is not used to Penelope using such visceral language .

    • Word count: 1893
  9. What impression have you formed of the Gods from books 1 and 3 of "The Iliad"?

    At first glance it may seem good of Apollo to rescue Chryses? honour, but to do this Apollo is causing the death of hundreds if not thousands of innocents. This is rather unfair, I feel, because surely Agamemnon alone should be punished for taking Chryseis away? Instead Apollo is punishing his entire army for the honour of one man. This may be a sign of the Gods? extravagance ? they seem to like to go over the top when handing out fate.

    • Word count: 1057
  10. To what extent did the military reforms of Marius contribute to the collapse of the Roman Republic?

    Marius? reforms, although achieved through economical and political means, were military in nature. One of Marius? key reforms was the eradication of the land requirement to enlist in the army, which in previous years had greatly restricted the number of men available to fight. In addition, it was this particular reform that was heavily emphasised by ancient historians, such as Aulus Gellius [Attic nights: 16.10.14], a Latin author and grammarian who often noted on Marius? reforms, suggests, ?Gaius Marius is said to have been the first man to have enrolled the capite censi?.

    • Word count: 1261
  11. Homers influence has inspired many authors and changed daily life for ancient and modern people.

    The Mycenaean?s were as much a mystery to the classical Greeks as they are to us (9). They were thought to be fierce and advanced Indo-European conquerors from the north (Powell, 12). Some believe that Perseus, slayer of Medusa and son of Zeus founded the capitol city Mycenae. Many famous heroes from myths, like Heracles and Atalanta lived in the Mycenaean empire (Edmonds, 8). Also many of Homers characters like Achilles and Odysseus lived in the Mycenaean age. ?The Iliad? and ?The Odyssey? by Homer were some of the greatest stories ever written. Homer only wrote two poems that we know of in his lifetime (Ancient History).

    • Word count: 1457
  12. How significant in Alexanders campaign to become king of Asia was the battle of Gaugamela

    According to the Roman historian Arrian, the Macedonian army numbered at around 40,000 infantry and 7,000 cavalry. Modern records put the Persian army at about 100,000 infantry and 34,000 cavalry, although Arrian says the Persian army numbered many times more than this. Regardless of the amount of troops at the disposal of the opposing generals it is a fact that Alexander was heavily outnumbered at Gaugamela, making his victory all the more impressive. Alexander?s supreme skill as a general, both in terms of tactics and leadership qualities were exhibited to their full in this battle. This was important as it maintained the strong loyalty of Alexander?s troops to him whilst increasing his reputation as an unbeatable enemy to the Persians.

    • Word count: 1183
  13. What is the role of Jupiters Prophecy in the Aeneid?

    would give birth to twins, sons of Mars, the Roman god of war. These, of course, were Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome. This does nothing but accentuate the divinity and honour of the Julian name, thus increasing the perceived worth of Augustus? blood ? it does not matter that he was adopted, due to the Roman belief that upon adoption it was no different than being born again into the family ? and so indirectly praises him. The prophecy goes further, praising Caesar, Augustus? adoptive father ? ?....there will be born a Trojan Caesar to bound his empires by Oceanus at the limits of the world, and his fame by the stars.

    • Word count: 1399
  14. Internal and External Conflicts in The Odyssey

    After a certain period of time of roaming the island, Eurylochus finds and discovers the goddess Circe's palace. The internal conflict within Eurylochus begins at this ver moment when he realizes that he has the choice to either enter the palace or not. Eurylochus wonders whether him deciding to enter the palace would benefit him and his men or be of grave danger. Eurylochus finally decides to enter the palace but taking all the chances of danger into consideration and take precautions. Unfortunately, the men dispatched with Eurylochus are all turned into swine by the vile and treacherous goddess, Circe.

    • Word count: 1505

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