Four essays will be assigned during this session. Below are the questions
for this session's essays. You are expected to express your reaction and
answer the question given for each due date in a the equivalent form of
a typed,and double spaced paper at least two but not more than three pages
in length. The lowest score of the four essays will be dropped. Each essay
will be worth 50 points for a total of 150 points toward the course grade.
Each essay will be due by E-MAIL to firstname.lastname@example.org
by 12:00 PM on the day stated in the syllabus. Only those who can show that
they have no possible access to a computer will be allowed to turn in a
hard copies of the essay. No essays will be accepted after this deadline
and there are no makeups.
Questions for the First Essay:
- 1) Compare and contrast the accounts of Prehistoric human development
given in the web source based on a 1904 textbook with that of the Penguin
Encyclopedia. How do they differ in their views of the agricultural revolution.
- 2) Comment on this isuue of gender relations in prehistoric societies.
What evidence supports or refutes the existance of matriarchies in remote
- 3) While visiting Babylon, the Greek traveler Herodotus meets a Jewish
rabbi and a Chaldean priest and hears the story of a great cataclysm (which
occurred in remote antiquity) from two different perspectives. While listening
to the two versions, he made a connection with the Greek legend of Deucalion.
In a lost section of his history, he described the stories of the priest
and rabbi and analyzed them by comparing the flood story in Greek religion.
Recreate this lost section of his history by using available among the
- 4) Herodotus' descriptions of Mesopotamia and Egypt were written over
2500 years after the emergence of those civilizations. Chronologically
their origins were as distant to Herodotus, as Herodotus is to us. Nonetheless
Herodotus was one of the only sources ( along with the Old testament) for
the history of the river valley civilizations until the development of
modern archaeology in the 19th century. Compare and contrast Herodotus'
description of either Egypt or Mesopotamia with what we know about those
civilization today. How accurate are Herodotus vignettes on the state,
society, economy, and cultures of Egypt or Mesopotamia? Use the Penguin
Encyclopedia,and the web sources (as well as other materials, if you wish)
as your the bases for your discusssion.
Questions for the Second Essay:
- 1) In a brief essay discuss the effect that migrations of nomadic peoples
had upon the development of the ancient Near East from earliest times to
the about 800 B.C. How disruptive were they? Was there a continuity or
a restoration of city life in their wake? In discussing this issue, concentrate
on the Hyksos invasion of Egypt in the 1880's B. C., the movement of Sea
Peoples, Hebrews, and others in the 1200's B. C. In composing your essay,
use lectures, the Penguin Encyclopedia, the web sources, and other materials,
if you wish.
- 2) While the Ancient Near East came to be dominated by region-wide
Empires, such as Persia from 700 B.C. onward, these Empires were far from
monlithic. From the primary-source readings on the Persian Empire, what
weaknesses do you percieve in that state? What strengths do you see that
could have been be used to consolidate and maintain Persian rule? In your
view of the readings, how did they legitimize the authority of the Kings?
In presenting your views, cite the reading you consider the most important
in answering the question.
- 3) In your opinion, who were the Sea Peoples? Where did the come from
before their invasion of Egypt? Where did they go afterwards? Use the text
and web sources in answering this question.
- 4) Comment of the differing views of Bernal and Lefkowitz regarding
one the follwoing: 1) the ethnic composition of ancient Egypt; or 2) the
diffusion of civilization. Which position do you support and why. Use available
sources to back your opinion.
Questions for the Third Essay:
- 1) Of the primary source readings on India, except for Arrian, which
would you consider the most similar in theme and outlook to those of the
Ancient Near East and Greece? Enumerate the reasons for your opinion, citing
evidence from the four readings?
- 2) Of the primary source readings on China, which would you consider
the most similar in theme and outlook to those of the Ancient Near East
and Greece? Enumerate the reasons for your opinion, citing evidence from
- 3) The Greeks are said to have developed two of the important forms
of western literature--Drama and History. Compare and contrast the historical
and dramatic approach to confronting or depicting the problems of war and
peace in classical Greece by using either Herodotus and Aeschylus, or Thucydides
and Aristophanes. How do Herodotus and Aeshylus portray the Greek victory
over the Persians? Or how do Thucydides and Aristophanes confront the dilemma
of prolonged civil war among the Greek city states? Use the Penguin Encyclopedia
and the web sources (as well as other materials, if you wish) as your the
bases for your discusssion.
- 4) In the courts of Athens, defendants represented themselves at trial,
as did Socrates in his trial for impiety and corrupting the youth. Prepare
a brief for the defense for Socrates as a modern lawyer, using depositions
(affidavits) from Socrates, Xenophon, Crito and Euthyphro. Limit your brief
to five pages in which you present the main points made by your witnesses.
In composing your brief, use lectures, the Penguin Encyclopedia,, the web
sources, and other materials, if you wish.
- 5) Historians have debated over the nature of the personality and ultimate
goals of Alexander the Great. To some he was a military genius who eventually
envisioned one world living in peace under one government. To others he
was an erratic alcoholic who was prone to fits of murderous temper and
whose conquests were no different from those of previous megalomaniacs
of the Ancient Near East. In a brief essay discuss whether Alexander was
typical of other "world conquerors" or was he a visionary who
wanted to unite East and West, Europe and Asia. In preparing the essay,
use available materials in the web sources and text, as well as any outside
materials on Alexander you may wish to use.
Questions for the Fourth Essay:
- 1) According to the historian Polybius, what political and military
institutions made Rome able to dominate the Mediterranean? What did Rome
have over its rivals, Carthage and the Hellenistic monarchies, in the political
and military sphere that made it overcome them. Cite the readings of Polybius
and Aristotle that you consider the most important in answering the question.
- 2) Compare and contrast the careers of two "losers" in Roman
history, Crassus and Otho. One is representative of the late Republic and
the other of the early Empire. How did their careers and demises affect
the development of the Roman State? Cite Plutarch's biographical sketches
in answering this item.
- 3) The enlightenment historian Edward Gibbon commented that the Roman
Empire was a victim of Christianity and the Barbarians. In your opinion,
based upon the readings, was the migration of peoples in the 4th and 5th
centuries a negative or positive development in world history? Did the
Roman Empire fall and the ancient world end as a result of this factor,
or the migrations help to transform a civilization and a world order already
in crisis? In presenting your opinions cite specific examples from Pliny,
Josephus, Priscus, Salvian and other sources.
- 4) From the readings on the Christian church, how would you describe
the relationship between Christians and the Roman state? How did the Emperor
Constantine's edict change that relationship? What did Constantine do to
change that relations?
- 5) Comment on the lifestyle and social organization of the "barbarians"
with sedentary "civilizations. What is the attitude of authors like
Priscus, Ammianus Marcelinus, Jordanes, Salvian, and the others toward
nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples?
Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria for
- 1. Coverage of Subject: Be sure that your essay directly addresses
the question. Fully answer the question without side issues or repetition.
Make a significant effort to fully cover and reiterate the question or
topic of the essay in the conclusion. (10 points)
- 2. Analysis: The focus on the question should be maintained thoughout
the essay. Points and/or subtopics should be clearly conceived, presented
and discussed. Be sure to present your own view as well as the view of
the sources. (10 points)
- 3. Content: The information you present to subtantiate points and topics
ought to be accurate and clearly presented. The facts and the interpretation
of those facts that you offer in the essay should contribute evidence to
the general arguments you present. Do not make assertions in your essay
without backing them up with evidence from the sources. (10 points)
- 4. Organization and Form: Your essay should be composed in a clear
and logical manner. If your essay is a narrative essay, events should be
covered in a clear chronological outline. If your essay is analytical or
descriptive, your points should be presented in a logical sequence which
enhances your general argument. Make certain that your essay has an introductory
statement, a body of evidence, and a conclusion. (10 points)
- 5. Writing and mechanics: The writing style of your essay should be
clear and concise. Your essay should be written in proper English and addressed
the prospective audience of educated lay people. Be sure that each paragraph
leads logically into the other and that all terms, events, people and other
items are adequately defined. Be certain that all information is properly
documented. Make sure that you follow the fundamentals of paragraphing,
sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Be certain that
you have maintained proper margins and form. Have your essay carefully
proofread for mechanics, organization, continuity, and transition. (10
Score Sheet for the Essays:
- 1. Pertinance and coverage:____________ out of 10
- 2. Analysis: ________________________ out of 10
- 3. Content:_________________________ out of 10
- 4. Organization & Form:______________ out of 10
- 5. Writing & Mechanics:______________ out of 10
- TOTAL __________out of 50 ------GRADE_______