Paper topics

Paper 1 topics

Answer one of the following questions:

— How does Plautus’ Braggart Soldier dramatize the differences of power between the free and the enslaved?

— How are women portrayed in Roman storytelling and literature? You may wish to consider the Roman representations of: Ilia and Mars; the seizure of the Sabine women; the rape of Lucretia; female characters in Plautus’ Braggart Soldier (Philocomasium, Acroteleutium, Milphidippa); female characters in Catullus’ poetry (“Lesbia” and others).

— How does reverence for ancestors manifest in Roman literature, art, and culture?

— What role does spectacle play in Roman culture?

— To what extent is Catullus’ poetry “counter-cultural”?

Some tips for writing: 

  • although you should feel free to draw on things you’ve learned from lecture and/or section, you should also feel free to be original: I want to know what your ideas about these issues are; this class is not about you parroting back to me things I’ve told you — be creative! be argumentative!
  • in the first paragraph, limit your discussion to a few specific themes or pieces of evidence, e.g.:
    • SAMPLE: ‘In this paper, I will discuss Roman views of women by examining Plautus’ Braggart Soldier and the women of Catullus’ poetry.’
    • SAMPLE: ‘In this paper, I will discuss the following themes of Catullus’ poetry that suggest “counter-culture”:…
  • the best papers are those which pay close attention to the primary sources
    • primary sources are ancient sources, i.e.:
      • any passage that appears on the blog preceded by an ancient name, e.g.
        • Polybius (6.53): “Whenever one of their illustrious men dies,…”;
        • Livy (1.16): “As the king was holding…”
      • any passage from Plautus, Catullus, Vergil, Seneca
      • any ancient object, e.g.:
        • sculpture, inscription, monument, painting
    • secondary sources are quotations from scholarship, e.g.:
      • Mary Beard 2016: 170: “The careers of these men…”;
      • Cornell 1995: 121: “…if one thing is certain about the regal period…”
  • every time you make an assertion you should back this up with primary evidence, e.g.:
    • SAMPLE: “In Ennius’ version of the Ilia story, he pays close attention to her feelings. For example, he shows her isolation: ‘So alone, my sister, afterwards I seemed to wander…’ He also pays special attention to her relationship with other women: when she wakes, the female attendant brings light (‘the old woman brought the lamp with trembling limbs’) and she tells her dream to her sister (‘my sister’).”
  • you may also use secondary sources in combination with primary sources to make your argument stronger, e.g.:
    • SAMPLE: “The tomb of Scipio Barbatus shows a concern with self-presentation. The inscription on the tomb shows that Scipio wants the reader to know who his father is (‘offspring of his father Gnaeus’) and that he is manly (‘virtus‘). Mary Beard (2016: 134) writes that this inscription and tomb is a good example of the spirit of Rome at this time: ‘It is eloquent on the ideology and world view of the Roman elite at this period.'”
  • if you end up enjoying the writing experience and hand in a paper which is 6 pages instead of 5, you will not be penalized

Further instructions:

  • Your first paper is due March 1st.
  • This paper must be 4-5 pages in length and will make up 15% of your grade.
  • Format all papers double-spaced with Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1” margins at top and bottom, 1” margins on sides.
  • Papers must be printed and handed in (not emailed) on the stated date to your Teaching Fellow at the beginning of the lecture.
  • All papers MUST include references to primary sources discussed in this course (in lecture and/or in section).

One thought on “Paper 1 topics

  1. Pingback: Paper 2 topics | CL 102 — World of Rome —Spring 2018

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