SOCS 634

Nicholas Adams and Laurie Nussdorfer

This attachment contains instructions on the two papers that you will write before the course begins, and that are due on day 1 and day 2. We will discuss the format and topics of the final research paper in class, with your topic preference to be submitted June 19, approved by June 20, and submitted after the classes have completed, by July 21.

Written Assignments

3 page paper on Virgil’s Aeneid, due on day 1

3 page paper on The Life of Cola di Rienzo, due on day 2

Final research paper (8-10 pages plus bibliography) due 21 July

First Paper Assignment

Due at start of class on Day 1. 

This paper should be based on the assigned books (bks. 1, 8, 11, 12) of Virgil's epic poem, The Aeneid. Virgil began the poem shortly after the military triumph of Octavian/Augustus in 30 and the poem terminated with the poet’s death in 19 BCE. Although there are many topics of interest in this enormously influential Latin work, the focus of our reading will be what it reveals about the religious culture of ancient Rome (the Rome of Virgil’s day). Please pay particular attention to the relations between mortals and deities in the assigned books. Using specific episodes and passages from Virgil’s poem (not background textbooks), please answer the following questions: 

     What do gods and goddesses want from mortals?   Does piety pay? 

3 pages, double spaced, and stapled. Please number pages in the upper right-hand corner. Use numbered footnotes[1] for citations (Arabic, not Roman numerals) and cite in the following form:  Aeneid, 8: 123-26.   (meaning: Aeneid, book 8, lines 123-35.)   Do not use page numbers. (If you are not using the Mandelbaum translation, please indicate the translator in your first citation.)

1 Example: Aeneid, 8: 123-26.

Second Paper Assignment

Due at start of class on Day 2. 

Your second paper is on The Life of Cola di Rienzo, a section from a medieval chronicle written around 1358 by an unknown author (Anonimo Romano) in romanesco, the local dialect of Rome. It recounts the career of the notary Cola di Rienzo, son of a Roman tavern keeper, who led a political revolution on behalf of the hitherto powerless urban citizens, victims of warring feudal nobles, in Rome between 1347 and 1354. For a man who was not from the elite classes to become a political leader was unusual in pre-modern times; it was unheard of for one to do so with the goal of transforming the existing political regime. Rome’s past as a center of classical and Christian history was crucial to his success. Ancient Rome, republic and empire, and modern Rome, the papal capital, provided Cola with many useful symbols. Cola built support for his movement by drawing creatively on the rich variety of messages latent in Rome's dual inheritance. In your essay answer the following question: 

     What specific Roman places, traditions, individuals, or texts from Rome's older classical past and more recent Christian        past does Cola di Rienzo mobilize to achieve his political goals?   Be sure to treat both the city's classical and Christian heritage.

As in the first paper, we are most interested in your own use of textual evidence to support your argument so do not rely on the editor’s introduction or other scholarly treatments but instead read for yourself. Be sure to cite or quote specific details or passages from the text, using the footnote form indicated below.  

3 pages, double-spaced and stapled.   Please number pages in upper right-hand corner. Use footnotes with the following form of citation:

First citation: 2

Second and subsequent citations to the same source:3


2 The Life of Cola di Rienzo, trans. John Wright (Toronto, 1975), 34.

3 Ibid., 38.