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Part IB of the Classical Tripos provides the opportunity for you to begin to choose your own path of study.

Translation exercises are included because the aim of developing your confidence and fluency in reading texts in Greek and Latin is one of the Faculty’s highest priorities, and the skills learned in producing different styles of translation are rewarding and valuable in themselves. The lists of prescribed texts are designed to allow a wide individual choice from works within and outside the traditional canon, allowing for thematic or comparative study. And besides continuing your work on language and literature, you will also engage with with one or more of the other classical sub-disciplines. Work on these papers will form a substantial part of your supervision programme, which together with lectures will help you develop your command of the relevant primary materials and interpretative methods, as well as your abilities in controlling information and argument. It should also help you prepare for your choice of Part II options.

If you choose to take up or continue writing compositions, in prose or verse, there is an optional paper in each language. Prose composition can take the form of translating an author like Plato or Cicero from a standard translation back into the original language, or of rendering into an ancient language a piece of English prose. In either case, you can find this a creative part of your work as well as a help in learning and learning to appreciate Greek and Latin.

Candidates who are successful in Part IB are awarded honours. The precise class depends, of course, on their marks in the various papers. However, the examiners do not simply take an average mark, and award a class on that basis. In particular:

  • your marks in the composition papers, if you take them, will never lead to your getting a class below that indicated by the rest of your marks, but may (if sufficiently good) lead to your getting a higher one.
  • if you are deemed to have failed overall in one of the languages, you may fall below the class suggested by your marks on other papers; in some circumstances this could lead to your failing Part IB as a whole, even if you get passing marks in most of your papers.



Part IB consists of a combination of papers selected from six main schedules (A-F), plus a seventh one (H):

  • Schedule A: papers requiring translation of unseen passages from Greek authors into English
  • Schedule B: papers requiring translation of unseen passages from Latin authors into English
  • Schedule C: papers on topics in Greek literature related to specified Greek texts
  • Schedule D: papers on topics in Latin literature related to specified Latin texts
  • Schedule E: papers on topics in Ancient Philosophy, Ancient History, Classical Art and Archaeology, Classical Philology and Linguistics, Interdisciplinary Classics and Classical Reception, related to specified Greek or Latin texts
  • Schedule F: papers on topics in Greek and Latin Literature, Ancient Philosophy, Ancient History, Classical Art and Archaeology, Classical Philology and Linguistics, Interdisciplinary Classics and Classical Reception NOT related to specified Greek or Latin texts
  • Schedule H: elective additional papers requiring translation of unseen passages from English into Greek and/or Latin


Combination Requirement

Candidates must offer 10 compulsory papers chosen from Schedule A-F in accordance to the following guidelines:

  • ONE paper from Schedule A
  • ONE paper from Schedule B
  • ONE paper from Schedule C
  • ONE paper from Schedule D
  • ONE paper from Schedule E
  • TWO papers from Schedule F
  • THREE ADDITIONAL papers from any of Schedules C-F, of which no more than TWO may be chosen from Schedule F (to give a maximum of four Schedule F papers in total)
  • choices may be subject to additional combination restrictions as indicated in the description of individual papers

Candidate may also elect to offer up to TWO (optional) additional papers from Schedule H.


Examination Format

The format of examination for each paper varies depending on their Schedule:

  • Schedule A-B: in person 3-hour assessment at the end of the Academic Year
  • Schedule C-E: in person 2-hour assessment at the end of the Academic Year
  • Schedule F: an essay to be submitted by the Monday of Week 5 of the Easter Term
  • Schedule H: in person 3-hour examination at the beginning of the Easter Term

Schedules C-F papers contain half of the equivalent workload and half of the equivalent assessment load of Schedules A-B papers. In other words, the mark awarded for each Schedule A-B paper will count as 1/6 of the aggregate exam mark, whereas the mark awarded to each Schedule C-F paper will count as 1/12 of the aggregate exam mark.

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