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CC 200 : Essays
Introduction Guidelines Topics Schedule Resources
Introduction.
 

In each of our four primary units, students will write an essay on an aspect of community in the Greek and Roman worlds.

The literary, archaeological and historical approaches on display in CC 200 will not only provide the context for your writing, but also teach you the fundamentals of writing from these perspectives.

   

 

 

In addition, students will develop skills as critics of others' work and as responders to critiques of their own writing;  and they will learn to revise their work to craft a polished final product.

   
Guidelines.
 

The essays will be weighted as follows, to account for continued improvement:

-- Essay 1: 15% of the total essay grade
-- Essay 2: 20% of the total essay grade
-- Essay 3: 25% of the total essay grade
-- Essay 4: 40% of the total essay grade

We will devote many of our fourth-hour sessions to the writing process, from proper citation practices, to organization, to the art of revision.  Here are three of the most important issues pertaining to your essays.

Formatting.  All essays must

-- contain the author's name, the course title ("CC 200: Classical World"), the date of submission, and the essay's title at the top of the first page (no need for a separate title page);

-- duly cite primary and secondary sources throughout and feature a "List of Works Consulted" (i.e., a bibliography, even if you have only consulted primary sources) at the end of the essay;

-- have main bodies between 1200 and 1800 words in length (excluding titles, footnotes, and bibliographies);

-- be typed and double-spaced, and have numbered pages and one-inch margins;

-- use a standard 12-point font;

-- have immaculate spelling and grammar;  and

-- be submitted to Profs. Curley and Murray via email (along with a completed Academic Integrity Checklist -- see below) before the specified deadline.

Evidence and citations.

No matter what your topic, you cannot write an effective paper without citing examples from our readings or from other sources.  For example, if you are arguing that Odysseus has not lied to anybody, you must cite the corroborating portions of the Odyssey.  Keep citations brief and pointed, quoting the text when making a point, rather than summarizing plot.  We will talk about various kinds of citation over the course of the semester.

See the Citations Guideline Sheet for further information (and some strategies on organizing your essay)

Academic integrity.

Students must follow established standards of responsible scholarship, avoiding plagiarism at all costs.  Plagiarism is defined as presenting as one's own...the work of another person (for example, the words, ideas, information, data, evidence, organizing principles, or style of presentation of someone else).  Failure to indicate accurately the extent and precise nature of one's reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism.

Students are responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging his or her academic, scholarly, or creative indebtedness, and the consequences for violating the Skidmore Honor Code.

Each essay you submit must be accomanied by a completed Academic Integrity Checklist.

   
Topics.
 

Essay 1 (due Saturday, February 19, 11:00 p.m. via email)

The Homeric Age.

This first essay asks you to synthesize your thinking about Homer's Odyssey and the worlds in which the poet and his characters operated.  Specifically, you are to respond to the idea of community in the Homeric age.  The following are not specific questions which you must answer in your essay, but more a series of prompts to help you focus your reaction to the notion of Homeric community.  You may address other topics and themes raised in our discussion of the Homeric age as well.

-- What do we learn about community from the poetry of the Odyssey?

-- What kinds of communities existed in Homer's poem, and how are they constructed?  What are the limitations on these communities, and how do they define themselves?

-- What do we learn about community from the art of the Homeric age?  How do the sculpture, pottery and temples represent aspects of community in the archaic period?

-- What do we learn about community from the history of the Homeric age, which led to the development of the polis ("city-state")?  How did the Greeks construct and define their communities?

-- How important is the idea of “community” to Odysseus, to the other Greeks, to Penelope or to Telemachus?  How do these and other characters define community?

-- How do generational (e.g., fathers and sons), gender (husbands and wives, goddesses and mortals) or host-guest relations figure in the Greek sense of community?

--  How are women, both human and divine, characterized in the Odyssey?  How do these characterizations compare with those of men?  How important are women to the movement of the narrative?

Essay 2 (due Saturday, March 5, 11:00 p.m. via email)

The Periclean Age.

Select one community value from the age of Pericles (your choice) and select one piece of evidence -- an historical text, a literary text, an object -- that exemplifies your chosen value.  Discuss through close analysis of your evidence, the ways in which it is representative of the value you have chosen.  NOTE:  For this essay alone, your minimum word limit has been reduced to 950 words; you may write more, if you wish.

Essay 3 (due Saturday, April 16, 11:00 p.m. via email)

The Ciceronian Age.

Select one Roman value from the age of Cicero (your choice) and discuss one or more works -- speeches, letters, treatises -- that exemplify your chosen value.  Discuss through close analysis of your evidence, the ways in which it is representative of the value you have chosen.

In this essay you should pay special attention to your overall thesis, your conclusion, and the path that connects the two (that is, the overall organization of your paper).

For help in defining one of the Roman values we've discussed in class, check the meanings listed in the Oxford Latin Dictionary, which is available in the Classics office or in Scribner Library.  Feel free to consult with Professors Curley or Murray on what you find there, or for help in choosing a value we have not yet labeled in class.

NOTE: When you discuss your value and its meanings, be sure to cite the Oxford latin Dictionary appropriately.

EXAMPLE (an in-line citation): "The Romans also defined pudor as anything that caused shame or remorse (OLD 4).  In this example, OLD is the standard abbreviation for Oxford Latin Dictionary, and 4 indicates the heading under which you found the definition.

If you prefer to cite the OLD in a footnote/endote, simply transfer the information in parentheses on our example to the note.

Essay 4 (due Tuesday, May 12, 6:00 p.m. via email)

Revise either Essay 1, 2, or 3 in light of the writing lessons learned this semester.  Take into account your instructors' comments as well as peer critiques.

   
Schedule.
 
 

Tuesday, February 1:  Standards and expectations.

We will outline the Classics Department's standards and expectations for writing essays. Also:  Essay 1 guidelines released.

Tuesday, February 8:  Supporting arguments with evidence.

DUE: Norton Field Guide to Writing, Chapter 32: "Arguing."  We will review the reading and explore some test cases for making arguments and substantiating them with evidence of various kinds.

Tuesday, February 15:  Best practices for citations. 

DUE: Norton Field Guide to Writing, Chapter 46: "Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing." We will explore different methods of citing and quoting from primary and secondary sources.  Citations and quotations not only allow students to substantiate their claims, but also are essential for preserving academic integrity.  We will also review the Citations Guideline Sheet.

Saturday, February 19:  Essay 1 due (11:00 p.m. via email).

Remember to submit a completed Academic Integrity Checklist along with your essay.

Tuesday, February 22:  Essay 2 guidelines released.

Saturday, February 26:  Essay 2 rough draft due (11:00 p.m. via email).

Submit a rough draft of Essay 2 -- "rough" here means that about 60% of your paragraphs, including your opening paragraph, must be complete;  the rest can be sketched out in a sentence or two (e.g., "Paragraph describing the impact of tragedy on the polis").  Your rough draft will be distributed to a partner for critique.

Tuesday, March 1:  Peer critiques of Essay 2.

Bring to class a typed critique of your partner's rough draft.  Your critique should address his/her thesis, support of argumentation, use of citations and quotations, and overall organization.  Bring two copies of your critique, one for your partner, another for Profs. Curley and Murray.

Saturday, March 5:  Essay 2 due (11:00 p.m. via email).

Profs. Curley and Murray will read your essay with an eye toward your progress from rough draft to final version and your incorporation of peer critiques.  Remember to submit a completed Academic Integrity Checklist along with your essay.

Tuesday, March 22:  The art of the paragraph.

We will explore strategies for crafting unified paragraphs that advance one's topic.  Special attention will be devoted to opening paragraphs.

Tuesday, March 29:  The art of organization.

We will explore strategies for organizing and arranging essays in order to do the work suggested in opening paragraphs and to keep the reader focused and attentive.  Also:  Essay 3 guidelines released.

Tuesday, April 12:  Essay 4 guidelines released.

Saturday, April 16:  Essay 3 due (11:00 p.m. via email).

Remember to submit a completed Academic Integrity Checklist along with your essay.

Tuesday, April 19: Essay 4 guidelines released.

Saturday, April 23:  Essay 4 page revision due (11:00 p.m. via email).

Submit a page from one of your previous essays (preferably the one you are reworking for Essay 4), which you have revised by using the "Track changes" option in Microsoft Word.  Your revisions should reflect the work we have done not only on citations and quotations, but also on paragraphs and organization.  Your tracked page will be submitted to a partner for critique.

Tuesday, April 26:  Essay 4 peer critiques.

Bring to class a typed critique of your partner's one-page revision, which addresses his/her progress in line with the guidelines of the assignment.  Bring two copies of your critique, one for your partner, another for Profs. Curley and Murray.

Tuesday, May 12:  Essay 4 due (6:00 p.m. via email).

Profs. Curley and Murray will read your essay with an eye toward your progress from initial to final version and your incorporation of peer critiques.  This is the culminating piece of the semester, so be sure to treat it as such.  Remember to submit a completed Academic Integrity Checklist along with your essay.

   
Resources.
 

The following sites will be helpful to you when developing your analysis:

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 the Web Resources Page for other research tools.

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