FLIT 350: Paper 1





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Starting out:
Some basic directions for


  • (1) The lists in the topics section below are just ideas, not titles for an actual paper.. You must narrow down the focus of these broad ideas into something workable in 8-10 pages (narrow 1-inch margins). Not meeting the minimum 8-page requirement will result in a lower grade for the paper; but do not attempt to `pad' the paper with useless material or repetition.

  • (2) To begin the process, you should find out something about the people, events, or topic. Try to consult the Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd edition) in the Reference Room of the Library; or Boardman et al., or De Romilly, or Levi (See other possibilities on the Bibliography sheets, following these Directions). Look in the back of books on the Bibliography handout to see if there are books about your subject.

  • (3) Read a bit of background, gathering references to ancient material in particular. use index cards, as suggested by K. Turabian, Student's Guide to Writing Term Papers

  • (4) Consult the Professor at an early point, even if only to let him know what you are interested in; he has thousands of bibliography cards, and can tell you which books are most valuable to you.

  • (5) Keep bibliography cards (as Turabian suggests), for a bibliography which should be put at the end of your first draft of your paper. Your paper MUST contain a Bibliography, on a sheet of paper which is separate from the Footnotes sheets and separate from the text sheets. The Bibliography and Footnotes pages do not count in the 8-page minimum requirement.

  • (6) Bibliography cards and note cards are very useful (as are xeroxes, usefully highlighted or properly noted) when you plan and write your footnotes. Your paper MUST contain footnotes; failure to include footnotes will result in severe consequences for the paper grade. Your paper must use footnotes, and in the proper format. Any use of another person or source's ideas or quotations, or paraphrases of their ideas or quotations, constitutes `use', and failure to acknowledge that use constitutes an illegal act called PLAGARISM. Consult the Schedule of Classes general academic information pages for the University's rules on illegal use of material and the consequences of plagarism.

  • (7) Begin at the very start to list ideas (in outline form) that you think (or your books think) are important. You can rearrange them and add to them for the first draft. and/or Rome

  • (8) Keep in mind that this is a course in F(oreign) L(iterature) I(n) T(ranslation). It is a good idea to plan to focus your paper on one or several pieces of ancient literature, and to be generous in your use and quotation of ancient works of literature. This is one of the criteria which will be used to judge the quality of your paper.

Some Possible topics
for Term Paper 1

[These are offered as suggestions, for students who do not have any experience in the Greek and Roman area. It is always a good thing if students have ideas and enthusiasms of their own. If you have an idea, perhaps one that fits in with your major or with another interest, PLEASE consult the professor for encouragement and suggestions.]

Heroes of Various Sorts (epic, historical, philosophical; Greek & non-Greek)

-What kinds of hero exist? (Achilles, Odysseus, Oedipus, Themistocles, Pericles)
-How is a hero defined? (heredity, occupation, deeds)
-What behavior is expected?
-What behavior is frowned on?
-What is the reward/payoff (here/hereafter) for being a hero?

Images of Kingship: David, Solomon, Agamemnon, Oedipus, Creon, Philip II, Alexander, Spartan Kings (e.g. Cleomenes, Agesilaus),

Ptolemies (Rosetta Stone).
-What makes a king a king? (e.g.: Hesiod, Works and Days, Homer Iliad XVIII)
-How does he justify what he does?
-What must a king do to be and stay a king

Where does justice come from, for the Greeks?

-What do the gods have to do with justice (see, e.g., Hesiod)?
-What do humans have to do with justice (Aeschylus, Eumenides)?
-How do you get and guarantee justice in society (e.g. Aristotle, Constitution of Athens; Plato, Laws)?

The Greek Gymnasium as a political and social force

-What is membership like (criteria)?
-What do people do there?
-How is it paid for and staffed?
-What is the purpose of a gymnasium?

Women as characters in the Greek theater (5th century)

-Electra, Alcestis, Lysistrata, Medea, Creusa (Euripides' Ion), Clytamnestra (Aeschylus' Agamemnon)
-What do women do, and think?
-Is their behavior `normative' or extraordinary?

Greek Slaves and their Masters

-How do you get to be a slave?
-How much does the law protect you?
-How do you get out of slavery? how long does it take?

Death, the Grave, and its Ceremonies on Greek Vases

-What kind of tombstones do people buy and pay for?
-What kind of inscriptions do they put on them?
-What do the pictures on tombs say about their beliefs?
-What does the grave pottery say about their belief (white lekythoi)?

The life of a boy/adolescent in Ancient Sparta

-What are the various stages in a boy's life from birth to 20?
-How does his education begin?
-Where does it take place?
-What does he learn? For what purposes is he educated?

Theognis and Solon: Conservative Society and Ethic

-How does the poet use literature to express his values?
-To what extent do these two poets try to `teach'?
-What is each one's message?
-What does the message have to do with the poet's society?

Pericles and Athens. (Plutarch Life of Pericles, Life of Cimon)

-What was the good he did? What was the bad?
-How did he achieve what he did? (his methods)
-Is Thucydides right in saying it was nominally a `democracy', but in truth the rule of one man, Pericles the Monarch?

Democracy in Athens: The Worse Side:

-Opinions of the `Old Oligarch'
-Opinions of Plato (Republic, Laws)
-Opinions of Aristotle (Politics)

The Socrates Trial: Bad Justice, Indirect Suicide, Martyrdom?

-Why did Socrates act the way he did, according to Xenophon, Memorabilia?
-Why did Socrates act the way he did, according to Plato, Apology, Crito, Phaedo?
-What was the Prosecution trying to accomplish by getting Socrates executed?
-Did the Athenian jury know what it was doing?

Greek Ideas of The Soul and what happens when you're dead

-Hermes, Guide of Souls (Psychopompos)
-Immortal soul? (Aristotle, De Anima; Plato, Republic)
-Heaven (Olympus)? Hell (Tartarus)? What is the House of Hades like?
-Do puppies and kitties have Greek souls?

Public Buildings in Greece (Themistocles, Kimon, Pericles, Polycrates of Samos)

-Who builds them? Why (motives)?
-Who pays for them? How?
-Uses (and things for which there is no public provision)?
           -single-use facilities
           -multiple use facilities

Alexander the Great: Mystic, Madman, Cultural Missionary, Supreme Politician, Adventurer, Son of God? (Arrian, Quintus Curtius, Plutarch, Life of Alexander)

-What did Alexander say he was doing?
-What did Alexander think he was doing?
-What did Alexander actually do?

Writing History, the Greek Experience.

-What kind of people decide to write history?
-Why do they say they are going to write history? (Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon) --educational, moral, escapist, political, apologetic, vengeful philosophical
-Why are they really writing history? (e.g. Herodotus' constitutional Debate in Book 3)
-Thudydides, in Book 1 and in Book 5. 22 ff.
-Polybius, criticizing his predecessors in Greece.


May 16, 2009 1:37 PM

John Adams, CSUN

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