Roman Empire


Papers MUST have an argument and a thesis – these are college papers, not book reports
Often the most effective format includes an introduction (culminating in a thesis), 3-4 examples to prove/illustrate your argument, and a conclusion which sums up your perspective and tells us why this matters.  This is not a requirement, but it may serve as a useful guide.
Not only your ideas, but also your style, punctuation, and general effectiveness will be graded.
Papers should be no shorter than 5 pages (not counting the title page, if used)
Papers should be double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12 pt font
This paper does not require secondary research, BUT, if you use sources/ideas that are not your own, you MUST cite them, either in footnotes, parenthetically, or in a bibliography
I am more interested in YOUR ideas and thoughts than in a professional-level bibliography
That having been said, plagiarism will NOT BE TOLERATED. If you are AT ALL in doubt about this – PLEASE contact me.
The first draft of this paper is due February 1

A.  Read the selections from Livy’s description of Romulus’ life and reign: pg. 34-49 (1.4-1.16)

1.  The life of Romulus (especially his early life with Remus) may seem very familiar to you from other ancient/modern sources.  What are some of the common facets that Romulus’ life shares with that of another famous/mythological figure?  What do you think these similarities tell us about human interactions with the divine and/or perceptions of greatness?

2.  How does Livy report the questionable death of Romulus?  What do you think this says adds to the mythology of Rome’s founder?  If Livy was writing after the death (and later deification) of Julius Caesar, how should we (re-)interpret the death of Romulus?

3.  The Romulus narrative is full of violence, especially within the family unit.  What do these stories about Rome’s founding (and its founder) tell us about ancient attitudes toward violence (especially as Rome had just survived decades of civil war, and was currently involved in one when Livy was writing)?

B.  Read the selections from Livy concerning the “Secession of the Plebs”: pg. 133-35, 141-43, 145-147  (2.23, 2.29, 2.31-33)

4.  Briefly describe the social issue(s) that began the so-called “Secession of the Plebs.”  How did the political action of the plebeians force government reform?  How was the metaphor of the “body politic” used in this situation, and what did that formulation of the metaphor imply?

5.  What does this first interaction between “rulers” and “ruled” during the Roman Republic tell us about the kind of governance at Rome?  What attitudes towards the plebeians come across from the senators?  What about the opinions of the plebs towards the ruling elites?

C.  Read the selection from Livy concerning the Gallic sack of Rome in 390 BCE, and Camillus’ speech to the people: pg. 416-35 (5.39-55)

6.  How does Livy portray the foreign invading Gauls as “barbarians”?  What does Livy’s depiction of the Gallic sack tell us about Roman ideas of non-Roman “Others”?

7.  After Camillus drove off the Gauls, there was a debate about whether the Romans should leave Rome and go to Veii instead.  What does Camillus advise, and what does this tell us about Roman ideas of place generally, and Rome specifically?