Paper AssignmentRoman Cities

As we have learned this semester, civic identity is not only defined by the physical presence of buildings within a city, but also by how people moved through and interacted with the spaces. Your paper assignment will require you to look at Roman civic identity through the eyes of a Roman and understand how a Roman would have perceived the physical landscape of the city. The assignment is as follows: You are required to write a paper about the importance of civic identity for the Romans and how physical space in the city contributed to this identity.  You may do this by writing a guide to ancient Rome, in which you explain the importance of the monuments. The successful paper will consult the ancient sources (in translation) to explain the importance of the monuments.

Your paper must answer at least two of the following questions: In what way do public monuments contribute to the Romans’ values and sense of identity? How are these monuments either being used or abused?  What kinds of values do these monuments convey?  Why is the city’s physical landscape so important to the Romans?  What else besides the physical structures and buildings is significant for its inhabitants?  How do public spaces function as a kind of theater in which the society’s tensions are played out?  Where are the places where the whole of Roman society came into contact?

The Rules

As this class is designed to teach you to use primary, not secondary sources, you will not be allowed to use internet sources such as wikipedia to assist you in writing this paper.  Examples of approved secondary sources would be Stambaugh’s book or Steinby’s Lexicon. 

Examples of primary sources: Propertius’s poem 4.1 & Ovid’s Ars Amatoria (we will be looking at both works in class in English)

Your paper topic must be approved by the instructor before you begin work on the paper.

Your paper should demonstrate a close reading of the texts rather than a superficial survey.

The rough draft must be 15 pages in length.