Hi. 213: Ancient Rome
Fall 2003: Sample Research Topics
As you develop your
research topic, you are welcome to use the following topics as models. In each
of them, any one of the issues might serve as the basis of your investigation.
- Marriage, Roman style. Investigate
the Roman institution of marriage and discuss what you feel are its most significant
differences from American marriage. Among other things, you may want to consider
the tradition of arranged marriages, relations between husbands and wives,
the dowry, and divorce.
- Parents and children. Compare
and contrast the relations between parents and children in ancient Rome and
in the U.S. Consider the legal relationships between the generations, the
authority (or lack thereof) of parents and children in the two societies,
and the challenges to a peaceful life that a typical family faced.
- Read Lucian's tract, "The
False Prophet," and then discuss "true believers," ancient
and modern. What persuaded Glycon's followers to worship him? Also, compare
the priests criticized by Lucian with modern charlatans. Finally, do you think
that Lucian's criticisms are fair?
- Read Quintus Cicero's letter to
his brother, Marcus, about running for high elective office in Rome, and then
compare electioneering strategy ancient and American. What resources did an
ancient candidate need to stage an effective campaign? What were the main
elements of his election strategy?
- Roman baths. Vast, public bathing
facilities are practically unknown in the United States but were common features
of Roman cities. What were the Roman baths like, what functions did they play
in Roman society, and why did the Romans take them so seriously?