Discussions

 
 



Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child' (Cicero)





Roman Senate House
@c. corning

Specific primary documents and questions will be assigned to augment topics discussed in lecture. For those discussions with papers, each response must be 1-2 or 2-3 pages typed depending on the topic and due at the beginning of the period. Responses are worth 20 points depending on length. Students must refer to the documents in question in order to receive full points.

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

All documents are from the sourcebook unless otherwise indicated

1. Sparta, (2 pages), September 13

Herodotus, On the Kings of Sparta
Xenophon, The Polity of the Spartans
Xenophon, The Spartan War Machine
Aristotle, On the Lacedaemonian Constitution
Plutarch, Lycurgus (selections)

1.  Unfortunately, few documents survive actually written by Spartans.  Instead we have the interpretation of outsiders.  What do these authors see as the positive aspects of Spartan society?  Looking at each author individually, which values of Spartan culture do they especially praise or condemn.  Do these documents contradict in any way?

2. Everyday Life in Athens (in class only) September 23
From Christopher Carey, Trials from Classical Athens http://catalog.georgefox.edu/record=b1760862~S0


Group 1 - Case I: Lysias  - On the Killing of Eratosthenes
                    Case V: Lysias 3 - Reply to Simon, a Defense
                 Case XVIII: Lysias 7 - Defence on the Olive Stump

Group 2 - Case II: Antiphon 1 - Accusation of Poisoning against the Stepmother
                 Case VI: Demosthenes 54 - Against Konon for Battery
                 Case XVII: Demosthenes 57 - Reply to Euboulides

Group 3 - Case III: Antiphon 5 - On the Killing of Herodes

                 Case VIII: Lysias 32 - Against Diogeiton

                 Case XIX: Lysias 10 - Against Theomnestos

Group 4 - Case IV: Antiphon 6 - On the Choirister
                 Case VII: Demosthenes 55 - Reply to Kallikles on Damage to a Farm
                 Case XIV: Demonsthenes 37 - Against Pantainetos

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 30

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.  Where is there a divergence between the ideas expressed by Pericles and Athenian actions?

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 7

Reeve, The Trials of Socrates

1.  Read The Clouds first.  How does this play present Socrates and those who follow him?

2.  Next read the other documents, EXCEPT the Euthyphro.  Where are the ideas presented by Aristophanes in the Clouds present in the trial.

3.  Where are the similarities and differences between Plato's and Xenophon's presentation of Socrates.
 

5. Death Penalty (2-3 pages), November 4

Sallust, Conspiracy (to be handed out)
Cicero, Against Cataline 4 (to be handed out)

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

6. Daily Life in Rome (Pinterest assignment), November 13

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

Working in a group of three to four, 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. 

7. Paganism (in class only), November 20

Accounts of Roman State Religion
The Worship of Cybele
Lucius Apuleius, Isis: Queen of Heaven
Other documents to be handed out

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

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 majority pagan culture? Where do fourth century Christian leaders resemble their pagan counterparts during the period of Christian persecution?

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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