The Roman Empire: Politics, Society & Culture from Augustus to Constantine


Your essay proposal should be a minimum of 250, and a maximum of 400 words. In your
proposal, outline your general subject area (Augustus’ moral legislation, for e.g.) and what you
think your research question(s) might be (What did Augustus hope to achieve with his moral
legislation? Who were they for?). You may not have worked out your thesis completely by this
stage, but you should have a pretty clear idea about it. You may even at this point introduce how
you plan to structure your paper. I want you to demonstrate that you have actually done a fair amount of research and have thought carefully about your topic and research question. What
sources are you using, primary (or ancient), and secondary (books and articles)? What are some
of the questions that the scholarship focuses on in your subject area? Are there differing
interpretations of the evidence? Since you will be employing scholarly articles and books, you
should be exploiting these not only for their ‘facts’ but also paying close attention to the
thesis/argument/interpretation that the author is trying to present.
Annotated Bibliography:
An annotated bibliography lists in alphabetical order all primary (or ancient) and secondary
sources in the correct format, and evaluates them in a paragraph. Separate your annotated
bibliography into a section on ancient sources, and one on scholarly sources. You must have a
minimum of 6 books and /or journal articles, and at least one ancient source (depends on your
topic). See Rampolla chapter 7 on correct format for bibliography.
Under each individual bibliographical reference write a paragraph evaluating that source
discussing the following:
A. For primary/ancient sources: If it is an ancient author, you must identify the source’s
relationship to his subject matter (when did the author write? Was he an eye witness? Is your
source reliable for the subject you are writing about? Is social class, status or gender of the
author important to understanding his/her point of view/interpretation?) What cautions do you
need to exercise when dealing with this source? If your primary sources are inscriptions or coins
or archaeological materials discuss their general content and what kind of information they will
provide for your essay. Provide a correct bibliographical reference to the book or journal in which
your coins or inscriptions, or archaeological reports are published. (NB. Remember, when you are citing ancient sources that you are using in translation you must record in your bibliographical
entry the name of the translator). See also the PDF I have posted on Blackboard that is a
shortcut to citing ancient sources.
B. For secondary sources. What is the author’s thesis/argument/interpretation? What sources or
evidence does s/he use? Does s/he use a particular theoretical framework? What is the value of
the source for your paper? (DO NOT just say ‘this source will be useful for my paper’ — explain
HOW) (Have a glance at Rampolla 8th p. 12 on evaluating secondary sources).

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