Persian Wars

ESSAY PROMPT Discuss an example of modern art, literature, or cultural discourse that engages with the history of the Persian wars. This might be a film clip (e.g. from the movie 300), a poem or a passage from a book, a piece of art (e.g. the sculpture “Thermopylae” at Boston City Hall), or maybe a news op-ed about foreign policy. How does this modern cultural artifact’s portrayal of the Persian Wars compare to that of Herodotus? What ideological values does the modern artifact promote? Guidelines Format Classics 281 Short Essay Guidelines and Rubric The purpose of this assignment is to provide you with an opportunity to synthesize and reflect on the course’s readings and lectures, as well as an opportunity to practice argumentative writing. Over the course of the semester, you will write four essays. For the first essay, everyone will respond to the same prompt. For the subsequent essays you will have a choice of prompts. If you wish, you may substitute one of the essays with a creative project (see the end of this document). Short essays do not need to be long, but they should be substantial enough to respond to the prompt. 3-5 pages is a reasonable length. This is not, however, a strict page limit. Longer essays (and in rare cases shorter essays) are fine, as long as the essay adequately responds to the prompt. Your essays should have a clear thesis (i.e. a main point that you are trying to argue) which is supported by convincing evidence (i.e. citation of sources). There is no particular structure that is required (e.g. you don’t need to write a “five paragraph essay”). All that is important is that your argument is clear, reasonable, and supported by evidence, and that it adequately responds to the essay prompt. Sources and references Your essay’s argument must be supported by evidence. This means using and citing sources that prove or support the point you are trying to make. In historical study, there are two kinds of sources: Primary sources are direct witnesses to the thing you are studying. For the study of the ancient world, primary sources are sources that date to antiquity. There are essentially two kinds of primary sources in ancient history: textual sources (e.g. the ancient literature we read in this course), and material culture (e.g. art, architectural remains, archaeological survey information). Secondary sources are sources which provide information or arguments about the thing you are studying but aren’t direct witnesses of it. For the study of the ancient world, secondary sources are modern scholarship (e.g. the course textbook by Sansone and the course’s lectures). The key difference is that although the authors of secondary sources might have more expertise than you do on a topic, they don’t have access to any more evidence about it than you do. In other words, secondary sources are relying on the same primary sources available to you. Your essays must make use of primary sources to support your thesis. Your essays may draw on secondary sources for additional support. Using sources means quoting or paraphrasing them when appropriate to support your argument. Style, citation, and works cited Essays should be submitted as a Word document (.docx or .doc), Open Office document (.odt), or Google Doc (share to and Students who use Apple devices should note that the instructor is not able to open .pages files. For information on how to obtain a free license for Microsoft Word from UMB, see Essays should be double spaced, 12- or 11-point font, and in a professional, readable font (e.g. Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond, Palatino Linotype, Helvetica, etc.) Quotations and paraphrases of sources should be cited, either in a footnote or in parentheses at the end of the sentence. In the field of Classical Studies, it is customary to use different citation formats for primary sources and secondary sources: Primary textual sources (i.e. ancient literature), are cited with a traditional citation method that lists the author, work title, book number (if applicable), and section number (for prose) or line number (for poetry), e.g. (Homer Odyssey 1.1-5) would refer to book 1, lines 1-5 of Homer’s Odyssey. If a classical author has only one surviving work of literature, the title is unnecessary, e.g. (Herodotus 2.35.2-3) would refer to book 2, section 35, subsection 2-3 of Herodotus’ Histories. For more information, see “Referring to ancient Greek texts” on Blackboard. Citations of archaeological objects in museums should give the museum’s name, city, and accession number, e.g. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1980.196) refers to this sculpture of Athena: parthenos-the-virgin-goddess?ctx=2751bf35-10ea-46eb-8f1e-91ceb350bd96&idx=10 Secondary sources are cited using the author-date format, e.g. (Sansone 2017: 30-31) would refer to pages 30-31 of David Sansone’s 2017 book Ancient Greek Civilization (our course textbook). At the end, your essay you should include a list of works cited. This is a list of all of the sources that you cited in the essay with the information necessary for a reader to go find those sources. Entries on the list should include the following information: • Books: author, publication year, title, publication city, publisher.    o Sansone, David. 2017. Ancient Greek Civilization. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell • Lectures: speaker’s name, year, title, location/venue o Cochran, Christopher 2020. “Achilles and Priam: Xenia and Supplication.” Classics 281. UMass Boston. Lecture. Entries for ancient Greek literature should provide the publication information of the modern book that you actually read. For example, if you cite Emily Wilson’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey, you would write: Wilson, Emily, trans. 2018. Homer: Odyssey. New York: W. W. Norton and Company. The modern translator or editor is treated as the “author” and the publication year is 2018, even though the text was actually written by “Homer” thousands of years ago.

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