FLIT 350: Paper 2





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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.. The focus is on Rome and on Christianity in the Roman Empire. 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 Levi (See other possibilities on the Bibliography sheets, following these Directions). Look in the back of books on the Bibliography page 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 2

[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.]

Libraries and the Preservation of Learning

-What was The Museum at Alexandria (founded by Ptolemy II) like and for?
-How did Libraries function in Rome (Asinius Pollio, Augustus' Palatine Library)?
-What did the Imperial Bureaucrat, the (Procurator) a bibliothecis do?
-What do we know about library buildings (e.g. the Vedius Library at Ephesus)?

Roman Gladiators: Religion, Politics, Sport, Entertainment, Sadism

-How did the custom of fighting gladiators begin?
-Who sponsored and paid for the productions in Rome (e.g. Caesar, Augustus)

Epicureanism at Rome

-Lucretius On the Nature of Things
-Diogenes Laertius, The Life of Epicurus
-Horace, Satires and Epistles (What is an epicurean life really like in fact?)
-Cicero's philosophical criticisms of the philosophy (Tusculan Disputations, On Duties)

Satire: The Last Laugh (Lucian of Samosata and Greco-Roman Culture)

-What is Lucian's perspective on gods?
-What is his perspective on philosophers and philosophy?
-Does he offer an alternative to what he sees and analyzes?

Old Age among the Romans (Literature, Tomb Art, Statuary)

-Cicero, De Senectute (`On Old Age')
-Plutarch, Life of Cato the Elder
-Plutarch, Whether Old Men Should Govern the State

Stoicism and the Roman Aristocrat

-Plutarch, Life of the Younger Cato (Loeb Classical Library, Plutarch Vol. VIII)
-Cicero, The Dream of Scipio (End of Book V of his fragmentary De Re Publica)
-Cicero, On Duties (De Officiis)

Julius Caesar: Last Generalissimo, Constitutional Reformer, or First Emperor?

-What was Caesar (100 B.C.--44 B.C.) really trying to do?
-Were his actions and his reforms intended to destroy or reform the Republic?
-What was `the Republic' like, politically, in Caesar's time (say, 60-44 B.C.)?
-Was Caesar's activity good for Rome, and a solution to problems?
-Were the Liberators right in their solution (assassination)? Was Caesar that dangerous?

Women at Rome: Society and the Law

-How does Augustan reform change the status of women at Rome?
-What is the importance of the Imperial Family and its women (Suetonius and Tacitus: Livia, Agrippina, Messalina, Antonia, Acte, Poppaea)

Other people worth a biographical investigation (through literature)

-Horace and Vergil, and the Emperor Augustus (Suetonius)
-The Younger Cato, in opposition to Julius Caesar (Plutarch)
-Caligula, the Crazy Emperor (37-41 A.D.) (Suetonius, Cassius Dio)
-Ovid, the Poet of Love in Augustan Rome
-Apollonius of Tyana, the Greek Christ (end of I st Cent. A.D.) (Philostratus)

- Image of a King? (Augustus and the Republic)

-What does the successor of Julius Caesar say about his own plans and achievements (in his autobiographical Res Gestae)?
-What does his biographer Suetonius show about the real man and the facade?
-What does Vergil (Aeneid, Book VI) show us about the way people were supposed to think about the new `Princeps' (First Citizen, Prince)

The Jesus Trial, from Pilate and the Roman Perspective

-How did Pilate feel about going up to Jerusalem for the Passover in March?
-How did Pilate feel when he was woken up on Friday morning by several thousand screaming natives coming at his Residence?
-What were Pilate's concerns in dealing with the leaders of the crowd?
-What were his strategies in being a fair and competent Roman governor?
-What was his opinion of Jesus' activities?

Unclear on the Concept: Earliest Christians in Roman Corinth

-What did the earliest (First century A.D.) Christians at Corinth in Greece think that Christianity was all about? Why are Christian leaders so upset at them?
-St. Paul: 2 letters to the Corinthians [New Testament of Bible]
-Acts of the Apostles [New Testament of Bible]
-Clement of Rome (3rd pope), Letter to the Corinthians

Literary views of Imperial Rome: City Life

-Suetonius, Life of the Emperor Augustus (on his buildings)
-Martial, The Poems (lived in Rome from about 63-100 A.D.)
-Juvenal, The Satires, esp. Satire III
-Inscriptions and Texts, in D. Dudley, Rome; discussions in H.T. Rowell, Rome of the Caesars

Emperors as Tyrants: Dangers in monarchy (Nero and Domitian)

-Suetonius, Life of the Emperor Nero, Life of the Emperor Domitian (in The Twelve Caesars)
-Tacitus, Annals of Imperial Rome (Books 12-16) [for Nero]
-Tacitus, Life of Julius Agricola (Tacitus' father-in-law) [for Domitian]

Hadrian and the Beautification of the City of Rome

-Lives of the Later Caesars (Penguin title, for Scriptores Historiae Augustae), `Life of Hadrian'
-Cassius Dio Cocceianus (in the Loeb Classical Library as Dio's Roman History, Volume VIII)
-William MacDonald; (and) Mary T. Boatwright, Hadrian and the City of Rome (1989)
-Paul MacKendrick, The Mute Stones Speak

Christian attitudes to Greek and Roman culture

-What do Christians think (and do) about books, schools, theater??
-What are Christian reactions to `pagan' religion, to the Games culture, to the gymnasium culture?
-Augustine, Confessions, City of God
-Tertullian, De Spectaculis (Loeb Classical Library)


May 16, 2009 1:45 PM

John Adams, CSUN

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