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Classics on Film : Semester project
Introduction Guidelines Milestones

The project will be a 4500-6000-word (15-20 page) research paper that addresses themes and films explored this semester.

The paper will be due Monday, December 12, at 11:00 p.m.


The topic of the research paper is wide open.  Successful papers might include (but are not limited to)

  • comparison of films in terms of subject matter, image, or theme;
  • comparison of directors and their approaches to filming antiquity;
  • discussion of how films have influenced public perception of the classical world.

As disparate as these and other topics might sound, they share a common methodology.  All papers would necessarily

  • discuss two or more films on our screening list (films outside the list are welcome, but only in addition to those on our list);
  • make extensive use of both primary sources (the films themselves and the ancient works that have inspired them) and secondary sources (articles, essays, reviews, and book chapters about the films);
  • describe scenes from the films in detail using appropriate cinematic vocabulary;
  • follow proper procedures for documentation of others' words and ideas;
  • be typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins, and numbered pages;
  • include a full bibliography (does not contribute toward word- or page-counts).

The in-class analyses of our films ought to provide a sturdy foundation for this work.


Some judiciously-spaced milestones will help keep the project on track.  Email completed milestones and attach your work as an MS Word document, which you should make sure it is double-spaced, with one-inch margins and numbered pages.

Overview (October 25, in class)

An in-class review of the project webpage, and an opportunity for students to ask questions.

Thesis (November 5, 11:00 p.m. via email)

A 300-word description of your tentative topic, and the films you intend to study). Prof. Curley will comment extensively on your thesis by way of offering guidance.

Preliminary outline and unannotated bibliography (November 19, 11:00 p.m. via email)

The outline should present your research to date within the structure of your paper, summarizing its parts in some detail.  You need not use traditional outline format.

It practically goes without saying that you should have already begun to gather and review the scholarship. Accordingly, your outline must be accompanied by an unnanotated bibliography of at least five germane secondary sources (articles, essays, book chapters, and the like), listed in a standard bibliographic format.

Full outline and annotated bibliography (November 27, 11:00 p.m. via email)

Email Prof. Curley with a more developed and detailed version of your preliminary outline. Your prose need not be completely polished, and there may be some gaps in the overall struture.  Think of it as a rough rough draft.

Also include an annotated bibliography, a comprehensive list of seven secondary sources (hopefully the same ones listed in the preliminary bibliography plus two more) formatted as follows:

  • the source itself, presented in a standard bibliographic format;
  • a paragraph summarizing the source -- its main idea or ideas; and
  • another paragraph describing how the source has informed the project.

The annotated bibliography should list only those sources that have proven useful to the project.

Final paper (December 12, 11:00 p.m, via email)

A polished-to-perfection, ultimate version of your paper, due at the end of our regularly scheduled final examination period. This version should include an unannotated bibliography, but one that lists any new sources gathered and used between now and Nov. 27.


The following web sites will be helpful when developing your project:

Writing in Classics.  A series of pages developed by Skidmore's Classics Department.  Good advice on every step of the process, from thesis to bibliography to final draft.

The Skidmore Guide to Writing.  More trustworthy advice, especially on matters of grammar and formatting.  See especially the page on citing sources in MLA format.

ILLiad, Scribner Library's InterLibrary Loan service.  Allows students to request articles, essays, and books outside of the Library's holdings.  NOTE:  No student requests will be processed after Monday, November 21.

Searchable index of film journals held by Scribner Library (print and electronic).

Scribner Library Course Reserves portal, where you can see the collection of useful books assembled for Classics on Film.

-- See also the Film & cinema section of our Resources page --

©MMXI Skidmore College Classics Department