Discussions

   






'A document is a witness,
and like most witnesses, it
rarely speaks until one
begins to question it'
(Marc Block)







Specific primary documents and questions will be assigned to augment topics discussed in lecture. For those discussions with papers, each response must be about 2-3 pages, typed and is due at the beginning of the period. Responses are worth 20 points. Students must refer to the documents in question in order to receive full points. Please complete assignments in Foxtale

Please reference as follows: (author, pp# or author, section #)


1. Sparta, (2 pages), September 8

Xenophon, The Constitution of the Spartans (selections)
Plutarch, Lycurgus (selections)
Tyrtaeus, The Reality of Battle (fragment)

Unfortunately, few documents survive actually written by Spartans.  Instead we have the interpretation of outsiders.  The poetry of Tyrtaeus is one of the few exceptions.

1. Looking just at the poem by Tyrtaeus, what values or ideas does he promote?

2. Examining the selections by Xenophon and Plutarch, which values and aspects of Spartan culture do these authors especially praise or highlight?  What examples do they give to support their claims?


2. Everyday Life in Athens (in class only) September 18

You can find the ebook online in the library webpage - http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.georgefox.idm.oclc.org/lib/georgefox/detail.action?docID=3443534

Group 1 -  Against the Stepmother
                    On the Estate of Cleonymus
                Against Callicles

Group 2 - Murder of Herodes
               On the Estate of Apollodorus
             
Against Athenogenes

Group 3 -
Death of Eratosthenes
               On the Estate of Ciron
               For the Disabled Man

Group 4 - Against Conon
               Against Diogelton
               Trapeziticus

Group 5 - Against Simon
               Against Aphobus
               Against Lacritu

1. As we have been discussing in class, historians must use a wide range of sources in order to reconstruct a culture.  For this discussion, I want you to read these trail transcripts.  Prepare a SHORT summary of the case and discuss what you can learn about daily life, values and morals, religion, etc. from these cases.


3. Democracy and Empire (2-3 pages) September 25

Thucydides, Pericles' Funeral Oration
The Burdens of Empire
The Mytilenian Debate
The Melian Debate

1.  These discuss Athenian values and their foreign policy during the Peloponnesian War.  What aspects of Athenian culture or values does Pericles highlight?

2.  What arguments are set forth regarding the policies which must be used in a successful foreign policy?  Which are identified as Athenian weaknesses?


4. Socrates and Propaganda (2-3 pages) October 2

Reeve, The Trials of Socrates

1.  First, read lines 1-436 and 1030 to the end of the Clouds.  How does this play present Socrates and those who follow him?

2.  Next read Plato's Apology and Crito.  Where are the ideas presented by Aristophanes in the Clouds present in the trial?

3.  Finally read the excerpt by Xenophon. Where are the similarities and differences between Plato's and Xenophon's presentation of Socrates?
 

5. Death Penalty (2-3 pages), October 30

Sallust, Conspiracy
Cicero, Against Cataline 4 

1. Outline the arguments for and against the death penalty. Which ideas resemble those used for or against capital punishment today?


6. Elections (2-3 pages), November 6

Selections Quintius Cicero's letter to his Brother on Winning Elections

1. You are reading part of a letter Quintius wrote to his brother Marcus Cicero who was running for consul.  According to Quintius, what groups would Cicero need to win over in order to run a successful campaign?  What advantage would each group bring?

2.  What additional strategies does he propose so that Cicero will win the election?


7. Paganism (in class only), November 13

Accounts of Roman State Religion
The Worship of Cybele
Lucius Apuleius, Isis: Queen of Heaven
Mithriatic Prayer

1. Pagan religion provides the backdrop to understanding the conversion of the Roman world to Christianity. The first Christians lived in a world where the surrounding religions were both very different and at times apparently very similar. This could cause many problems in attempting to share the new faith. Looking at the  documents, discuss what you see as the most important differences and similarities with Christianity (Nota Bene: In terms of similarities, look for things which on the surface sound like Christianity, even if the real practice or doctrine is quite different. Early Christians were having to deal with a world which knew little about Christianity and these apparent similarities caused a lot of confusion).

8. Daily Life in Rome (Pinterest or powerpoint assignment), November 20

For this assignment you will be creating a board in Pinterest, a Powerpoint, or a Prezi to illustrate daily life in ancient Rome.

Working in a group of two or three, create a board with 8 images that you believe best illustrate the most important aspects of life in ancient Rome.  You must provide a commentary below each image identifying the picture and why you believe it is critical to understanding Roman society.


9. Christianity and other religions (2 pages), December 8

Constantine I: Laws for Christians
Constantine I: On the Keeping of Easter
The Codex Theodosianus: On Religion
Banning of Other Religions
Jews and the Later Roman Law
Damascious, Life of Hypatia (pagan account)
Socrates Scholasticus, The Murder of Hypatia (Christian account)
John, Bishop of Nikiu, Life of Hypatia (Christian account)

During the early years of Christianity, Christians had to interact with both the government and with the surrounding, mostly pagan society from a position of weakness. However, with Constantine's acceptance of Christianity and its growing influence in government, Christians' relationships with the non-Christian majority changed.

1. In what ways did Christians, or at least the Christian emperors, attempt to change the traditional pagan culture? What does this reveal about what they thought would characterize a Christian empire? 

2. The three accounts of Hypatia's death present different versions of the motives behind this event. What explanations are given by the different authors?

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