CIV2F The Second Punic War Report on the Examination

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1 AQA Qualifications GCE Classical Civilisation CIV2F The Second Punic War Report on the Examination Specification Version: 1.0

2 Further copies of this Report are available from aqa.org.uk Copyright 2013 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved. AQA retains the copyright on all its publications. However, registered schools/colleges for AQA are permitted to copy material from this booklet for their own internal use, with the following important exception: AQA cannot give permission to schools/colleges to photocopy any material that is acknowledged to a third party even for internal use within the centre.

3 CIV2F The Second Punic War General Comment The standard overall was very similar to Nearly twice as many students attempted Option B, with its focus on Hannibal, as answered Option A (Fabius Maximus). This follows a pattern of previous years where students tend to choose a Livy-based question over one with a passage of Plutarch. The higher mean marks for the 10 and 20 mark questions were however gained by those who went for Option A. For the 30 mark questions there was a similar split with the larger group choosing Option C (the Roman Senate) over Option D (Scipio). Here performance was on average the same over both options, although a higher percentage of the Option C students reached Level 4, while the reverse was true at the Level 3 border. In fact performance was quite closely matched at all points over both questions. Generally it was clear which students had revised sensibly by their performance across all areas of the paper; a few students seemed to have made little acquaintance with either author, but most showed at least a fair understanding of the period. The gap in set reading between Livy Books XXII and XXX still leaves some students believing that Scipio s venture to Sicily and Africa came shortly after Cannae. This sometimes led to a downgrading of Fabius contribution or even confusion between the two leaders. Both ten mark questions this year required a degree of literary analysis; some students struggled to deal with this and clearly more practice in this skill would have helped them. Finally in a general sense, a larger number of scripts than in the past were very difficult to read. All efforts were made not to disadvantage such students, but it is very much in their interests to write clearly and legibly. Section 1 Option A Question 01 asking for qualities Plutarch attributed to the young Fabius caught out many students, three quarters of whom came up with the physical strength or fighting answer, but few of whom gave both or added his oratorical skills. There was some confusion in that the delaying tactics were often mentioned here; they came later. Most students knew the two alternatives offered for Question 02 (war or peace) but more than half believed that the Carthaginians response was to choose war, rather than put it back in the Romans court. As mentioned in the introduction there was a rather mixed performance on the ten mark questions. For Question 04 the students were asked to consider the passage in the light of how vividly Plutarch portrayed the young Fabius. Some responded by giving a short life of Fabius, others opined that it was very vivid (or not vivid at all) but failed to support their assertions directly from the text. More than three quarters however reached at least the Level 3 border by employing words or phrases from the text to assess how well the picture was painted. Some missed the change of emphasis in the second half of the passage and felt that Plutarch failed to give a positive picture; others scored more highly by seeing the first half as setting up an apparent impression of weakness, only to knock it down in the second half. There was some very good work here, but many missed opportunities. The longer 20 mark essay (Question 05) was generally well done. Many students were confident in their knowledge of Fabius career and judged sensibly whether his actions constituted soundly based judgement. On the whole it was felt that they did, although modern moral judgements were often applied negatively to his tactics and behaviour at Tarentum (found only in the Plutarch selection, so good to see it well known here). In the weaker answers the confusion with Scipio and the time line of the war were apparent, but it was pleasing to see over half of all these essays reaching Level 4. 3 of 5

4 Option B Here again the short answer questions caused some problems, in particular Question 02; few students were confident in their knowledge of Hannibal s actions and movements after Zama, although most gained one mark. Question 01 looking at the battle itself was much better done with students scoring particularly well on the Roman tactics to counter Hannibal s elephants. A small minority simply outlined the battle as described in the passage. This was used better by many in the ten mark question, 08 (although not quite as well as the Option A students had with their passage). Some were determined to prove that, as a Roman, Livy had little or no regard for Hannibal s abilities. Often they struggled to prove this from the passage. Many however saw that the including of witness statements in his favour, direct compliments ( remarkable skill etc.), and even excuses for the failings of his troops did suggest a degree of appreciation from Livy. A few went as far as to ask whether by praising the loser, Livy was seeking to emphasise further the abilities of Scipio and his fellow commanders; such ideas were fully credited. Again three quarters of all answers reached at least Level 3. One regular misunderstanding concerned the meaning of mercenary ; some rather strange misapprehensions occurred as a result. For the longer essay on how far the overall loss of the war was down to Hannibal (Question 09), there were again some very good answers. Students were particularly strong on anything directly related to Hannibal, less so on other factors. Many seemed confused by the role of the Carthaginian Senate, writing a general sentence or two which suggested a tendency to see it being a mirror image of its Roman equivalent. The twelve years following Cannae were also a problem (as mentioned earlier); few seemed aware of these or of the importance of actions in Spain during this time. Some mentioned Hasdrubal Barca as a weak link, but there was little else in this area. In short, many essays lacked balance, confining most to Level 3 or lower, which was a disappointment as students clearly felt real empathy for Hannibal. Section 2 Option C Question 10 asked students to consider the decisions of the Roman Senate during the war. Given that this required students to range widely across the specification, rather than focus on one individual, the overall performance was gratifying. There were three times as many Level 5 answers on this question and 8% more who reached Level 4 than on the Option D alternative; slightly fewer however made it to Level 3, suggesting a more polarised performance on this question. Some students really understood their Roman politics and wrote a full account, analysing with confidence whether their decisions, particularly in the earlier years were disastrous or whether other factors were to blame for Rome s problems. A lack of background understanding, however, led some to see the original declaration of war as simply a disastrous decision as many men on both sides were killed. Students who understood the background better talked of the need for Rome to accept the inevitable and sort out a recurring problem by taking the initiative. Common misunderstandings revealed by the weaker answers included a lack of knowledge of the role of a dictator (noted as an issue last year); also a failure to understand the basis on which consuls were appointed and the nature of their working relationships with the Senate. Finally confusion over the Senate s attitude to and decisions regarding Scipio s roles in Spain, Sicily and then Africa brought some students down; often they simply wrote a potted history of his exploits. Overall the question achieved a good degree of differentiation between students. 4 of 5

5 Option D For Question 11, students were asked to discuss the portrayal of Scipio, a topic which has been a popular choice when set in recent years. His career was well known in general and those students who realised that this was a literary-based question as much as a historical one did well. If there were fewer top answers than on Question 10, here three quarters of students reached at least Level 3, a higher proportion than on Option C. Apart from a few really weak answers, most were at least able to produce an outline account of Scipio s career. These responses tended to remain within Level 2, or at best lower Level 3 if an occasional poorly supported comment about exaggeration was offered. Many students went further. Realising that Livy s picture of Scipio was aimed at a set audience, they set out to examine the portrayal of key incidents in that light. This brought varying degrees of success but ensured a mid-level 3 mark even where some key points were missed or (as often happened) not fully justified too many efforts claimed that Livy greatly exaggerated (or equally often didn t exaggerate) Scipio s exploits, say, at Zama, without giving any evidence to suggest that this was the case. A few excellent (high Level 4 and Level 5) answers considered what Scipio did alongside how Livy chose to portray it, weighed up the degrees of shade implied in the question and based their judgement on this evidence. In summary there was much to commend again this year, but it would be pleasing to see rather more essays displaying secure knowledge of the key incidents, combined with careful attention to the wording of the question. Mark Ranges and Award of Grades Grade boundaries and cumulative percentage grades are available on the Results Statistics page of the AQA Website. Converting Marks into UMS marks Convert raw marks into Uniform Mark Scale (UMS) marks by using the link below. UMS conversion calculator 5 of 5

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