study of the history of Rome, or of any civilization, calls upon
a set of distinct skills that require time and patience to cultivate.
History is neither a collection of facts lacking careful and critical
analysis, nor an analysis devoid of factual information; indeed,
the historian needs to have the facts at his or her fingertips
in order to build a cogent and thoughtful analysis. The assignments
for this course will help you develop both skills: the exams will
test your ability to grasp and recall salient information, while
the short responses, essay, and research paper will ask you to
craft arguments based upon that information. The classroom will
serve as an informal laboratory where you can test your own abilities
to coordinate these two sets of skills.
Over the course of the semester you will develop an understanding
of ancient Roman geography. A
basic grasp of Roman topography and settlements is indispensable
to understanding what's going on in your primary and secondary
sources. You will also hone your writing skills
to help you craft clear and cogent prose, and study skills that
will assist you in doing fine work on an exam. The course requirements
are designed to help you sharpen these skills. You will write
one short (500-750 words) analysis and one long (2500 words) research
paper as the final project: the first will ask you to analyze
a primary source on a particular subject; the second offers you
a broader choice of topics. Having selected one of several subjects,
you will study the primary sources, identify and research secondary
sources relevant to the paper, and construct a thesis and conduct
an analysis. This final project will focus on building your research
skills so that they culminate with the successful completion of
this 2500-word paper.
You will take two exams: one midterm and one final. The midterm
will cover the lectures, readings and class discussions through
the middle of the semester, and the final exam will be comprehensive
but focus on the latter half of the course material.
assignments will have due dates specified in advance, and you
yourself must turn each one in, on time and in person. Failure
to hand any assignment in on time will result in an "F"
for that assignment. This is not open to negotiation.
help you master ancient Roman geography, there will be
three short (c. 5 min.) map quizzes over the course of
the semester, on 9/26, 11/7 and 12/8. In each, I will
give you a blank map and ask you to give the location
of 10 places, drawn from a pre-announced list.
World Mapping Center contains down-loadable versions
of all the maps in your textbook, plus many others that
may prove helpful, including the blank maps I'll use for
i.d.s, source analysis, essays, on 10/27
i.d.s, source analysis, essays, on 12/18, 6-9pm
will write one short (500-750 words) paper that asks you
to analyze a primary source, Livy's From the Founding
of the City 1.1-17. The complete assignment and excerpts
are available here. Due in
class on 9/22.
paper: 2500-word essay
final project is an opportunity for you to combine your
research and writing skills and develop a project that
reflects aspects of Roman history that interest you. Your
main source of material is Shelton's As the Romans
Did. You are to select one chapter, read all of the
primary source materials and Shelton's commentary, and
over the course of the rest of the semester write two
short essays (each 500-750 words) and one long paper (2500
words). All three components of the project will count
toward your final grade.
Write a short (500-750 words) essay stating which
chapter you have chosen and which issues you intend
to address. Feel free to write the paper in the first
person if you so choose. Compose it as you would any
paper, with an introduction, a body of a few paragraphs
and a conclusion. In that essay, explain why you have
chosen that chapter and what issues you intend to
consider. Due in class on 10/31.
Submit a sample (750-1000 words) of your final paper.
This could consist of the introduction or any other
part of the final version. It should include your
own prose, crafted to form a portion of the final
thesis you will present, and some of the primary sources
either as quotations or as citations, to substantiate
your arguments with evidence. This last issue is critical:
the second essay is not only an opportunity to demonstrate
your thinking and your cogent writing, but as well
that you know how to use, cite and analyze evidence
to persuade your audience. Click here
to access databases endorsed by the Classics faculty.
To assess any webresource, apply the checklist
maintained by Scribner Library. For proper citation
of ancient sources (the primary evidence) and modern
scholarship (Shelton's book), follow the Classics
Dept. guidelines. Due in class on 11/21.
15%: The final, polished version of your paper (2500
words). Due on Friday, 12/12 by 5pm. No late papers
will be accepted; this is absolute.
you wish, you may take a fictional stab at papers
two and three. That is, you may utilize the sources
just as you would in a research paper, but could do
so in a creative way. You might, for example, reconstruct
the life of fictional slave, or create your own Roman
historical source (a letter, an excerpt from a novel
or history, an inscription, a material object, etc.).
If you choose this path, you still must use, cite
and analyze the evidence to persuade, but can do so
in a more creative fashion. If this is the tack you
decide to take, please let me know in the first essay.
MEETINGS - 10%: Class participation is an essential
aspect of this course and consists of the preparation
of all readings before class, participation in discussions
in the classroom, and the responses you provide to the
CASE STUDIES and TEXTUAL ANALYSES scattered throughout
the semester (see below for details; your participation
in these components will be graded separately from your
CLASS MEETINGS grade). To earn class participation points
you need to come to class on time, contribute regularly
and thoughtfully, and demonstrate a grasp of the readings
and lectures. You must be respectful and tolerant of
Obviously, if you do not attend class you can not participate
in the in-class discussions. You may take TWO absences
from the classroom during the semester without penalty
- no questions asked, no explanation necessary, although
if you miss a class on which an assignment is due you
will fail that assignment. After two absences, each
absence will result in a significant lowering of the
CLASS PARTICIPATION component. If you do not participate
in classroom discussion you will earn 0 points for this
component of your final grade. Come to class and participate.
STUDIES: - 10%: On 9/17, 10/15, and 11/19, we will discuss
case studies that explore particularly complex issues
raised by the study of Roman history. The first compares
Roman elections to US elections; the second explores
the challenges presented by an attempted coup d'etat
in Rome; the third examines the "archaeology of
a text" and "the archaeology of a culture."
Your participation in these case studies will be graded,
so come prepared to contribute substantively to these
INTEGRITY AND HONESTY
you hone your skills as an historian you will develop your
own perspectives, methodologies and solutions to some of
the vexing questions that the study of Roman culture raises.
It is absolutely essential that you take credit for your
own work, and give credit to others when you draw upon their
ideas and words.
Accordingly, plagiarism and cheating of all sorts will not
be tolerated in this course and are grounds for an "F".
Be sure to read carefully the Academic
Integrity and Ethics
of Scholarship webpages.
All members of the College community are bound by Skidmore's
Honor Code, included here:
"I hereby accept membership in the Skidmore College Community
and, with full realization of the responsibilities inherent
in membership, do agree to adhere to honesty and integrity
in all relationships, to be considerate of the rights of
others, and to abide by the college regulations."