ROME PAPER #1 assignment
Primary data analysis, based on reading/recitation/lecture item from wks 2–5 (your choice).
15% of grade.
This paper should be 4–6 pages, double-spaced.
Your goal in this paper is to explore a specific theme in Roman history focusing on one or two pieces of primary evidence, focusing on what the evidence does and does not tell us about the theme within Roman history.
Note: Because this paper is about how you yourself work with the primary evidence, your paper should not make reference to any secondary literature. (Secondary/scholarly literature will be the focus of the second paper.)
Your theme may be any specific area or aspect of Roman history that you have become curious about in the course so far (up to and including week 5 on the syllabus, i.e., as far as Polybius’ Histories and the wars against Carthage).
For example: I noticed some interesting moments in both Livy and Plautus involving how older men are represented, and I have become curious about the social profile of older men in the Roman world. So I am planning to focus on the experience and perception of “old age” in one or both of these texts.
Note: We have chosen not to provide you with a list of sample themes, so as not to influence you too much in your choice. But if you need help homing in on a theme and/or identifying pieces of primary evidence, you may want to look at lecture titles, subheadings, etc. in the powerpoints. Also, please feel free to consult your instructor in office hours or via email: we’ll be happy to help you figure out your topic.
Piece(s) of Evidence
Your piece(s) of primary evidence can be anything that has come up during the course so far, whether in lecture, recitation, or assigned readings. (This may include something that has only been referred to in passing, but in this case you should consult your instructor about getting access to the full source.)
If you choose to focus on just one piece of evidence, you should plan to deal with several parts of it—for example, two or more chapters in Livy, or two or more moments in Plautus’ MG. If you choose to focus on two separate pieces of primary evidence, you should plan to compare and contrast them.
For example, let’s say I am still interested in the theme of “old age”. Depending on where I have seen this theme coming up, I might write a paper focusing on old age in: several moments of Livy’s account of the regal period; or, in both Livy and the Miles Gloriosus; or, in two scenes of the Miles Gloriosus.
Components of the paper
Your paper should include:
• A title that clearly indicates the focus of the paper.
• An introduction that identifies the theme and pieces of evidence; makes a thesis statement about what you think the emphases and limitations are in the evidence; and gives a brief outline of your discussion.
• Short-to-medium-sized paragraphs, each presenting some direct quotations from the evidence, correctly cited.
Relationship to your prior work and second paper
The theme and/or evidence may be something you have already written about in one of your response papers. You are welcome to elaborate your response paper.
Looking ahead, the same theme and/or evidence may [if you choose] also be the starting point for developing your second paper in the course, which will be concerned with reviewing modern scholarly approaches.
We will determine a score out of 15 for each paper. We will be looking for all of the following:
• Effective engagement with primary evidence, with attention both to what the evidence does tell us (its emphases, its narrative, etc.) and what it doesn’t tell us (its gaps, limitations, risks, etc.).
• A clearly defined theme.
• Effective use of primary evidence.
• Clear and accurate writing.
• All the major “components” listed above.
ROME PAPER #1 assignment