Research Essay, Thesis & Dissertation Topics Sample Assignments:

Review Virgil’s Aeneid 2, 6, and 8; these “books”

November 30, 2022 0 Comments

The purpose of this assignment is for you to explore Augustan architecture and to compare/contrast it with the image of Augustus and Augustan Rome presented in the Aeneid. In other words, the Assignment examines what we might well call “Augustan propaganda” in architecture and literature, and considers whether Augustus was successful in promoting a favourable public image of himself.

Your essay will be graded on its argumentation, its use of specific evidence (including citation), and its written style.

How to Proceed and Assignment Details
Explore the architectural world of Augustan Rome, always keeping in mind the matter of Augustan propaganda. (a) Use the map function in Pay special attention to Areas VIII, X, and IV–especially the sites around the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Area VIII) and the House of Augustus (Domus Augusti, Area X), and the sites in the (Roman) Forum (Area IV). (b) Read about the Forum Julium, the Forum Augustum, and the Temple of Mars Ultor at
Review Virgil’s Aeneid 2, 6, and 8; these “books” (they are much like chapters) of the Aeneid were assigned to be read as a part of Unit 6. As you read, you should again be watching for episodes and speeches which bear on the public image of Augustus.
Write an essay (400-500 words) addressing ONE of the following topics. Whichever topic you choose, your essay should answer the following question: How did Augustus promote himself as a powerful and benevolent ruler?
Compare/contrast the use of Roman history and myth in the Forum Augustum and in Virgil’s Aeneid (pay special attention to the procession of Romans in Book 6). In what ways do the Forum and the epic represent Rome’s past, and what do those representations imply about Augustus and his reign?
Read about Domus Augusti (Augustus’ House) — no. 204 on the Digital Augustan Rome map — and its surrounding buildings on the Palatine Hill in the map of Rome. Why might Augustus have chosen to live at this site? On this question, consult also the imaginary view of prehistoric Rome which Virgil includes in Book 8 of the Aeneid. In both cases, what might Romans infer, from his House, about Augustus himself?
Discuss the importance of family to Augustus’ message, as evidenced in his building program (including the Ara Pacis—no. 56 on the map [Pax Augusta, Ara]) and in the Aeneid (consider e.g. Aeneas’ interactions with his family members in Aeneid 2). What messages about Augustus are being conveyed to the Roman public?
Submit your paper (in PDF, DOCX, or DOC format) to the Assignment 2 Dropbox.
To prepare your paper, you will need to use the textbook, Virgil’s Aeneid (each topic identifies a focal book), the course notes for the last three units (i.e. Units 4-6), and what you have learned through the websites above. Be sure to cite each source every time that you use it, and to provide specific evidence and/or examples to back up every claim you make. Choose what you wish to quote judiciously: long block quotes do not belong in a short paper such as this.

When referencing the Aeneid, cite the epic by book and line number (not by page number); this is best done parenthetically—e.g. for a single line of text (Virgil, Aeneid 8.100); for multiple lines (Virgil, Aeneid 6.200-210). If you do not have access to a hard copy of Aeneid, the course creator gave a link to a free online copy in “Unit 6 – Introduction”. But it is easy enough to locate free English translations of Aeneid online. Translations in the public domain tend to be old, and thus not the easiest to understand. One example is:

This translation includes general indications of line nos., which are crucial for references.

For secondary/modern sources, use Chicago Style: Footnotes/Bibliography. Students of the Classics, and of the Humanities more generally, should be made aware that the best student guide to Chicago Style is:

Turabian, Kate L.. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students & Researchers. 9th ed.. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2018. [ISBN: 9780226430577]

When you cite the course notes, an initial (full) footnote would look like this, e.g.:

Dina Guth, Introduction to Ancient Roman Culture [CLAS 1280 D01] course notes (Winnipeg, Man.: University of Manitoba, Winter 2020), “Unit 6: The Augustan Golden Age (30 BCE-14 CE)”, Augustan Rome, para. 2.

A subsequent (abbreviated) footnote, referring to the same work, would look like this, e.g.:

Guth, Ancient Roman Culture, “Unit 6: The Augustan Golden Age”, Architecture, para. 1.

The bibliographic entry would reproduce much of the content of the first footnote, but with the usual changes (e.g. author last name, first name; use of periods rather than commas as separators; publication information not enclosed in parentheses; no passage location information; hanging indent); on the format of bibliographical entries, check a style guide like Turabian (see above).

I would consider the url to be optional in the case of the course notes (it would come at the end, if you do include it). What is crucial is to list enough information so that your reader easily can locate the specific passage to which you are referring in each case. Thus I have included not only the Unit name, but also the relevant sub-heading and para. no. under that sub-heading.

In fact, any non-paginated source (e.g. the online sources indicated above) must be cited instead by para. no.. You will probably have to count the paragraphs yourself.

Your paper should be written in essay format, with a clear introduction and thesis statement, body paragraphs supporting your position (as given in your thesis statement), and a conclusion. The paper should include a title page and bibliography; it should be double-spaced, use a standard font and font size (e.g. Times New Roman 12 point), and have 2.54 cm (1 inch) margins all around. As already indicated, the length of the paper (excluding the title page and bibliography) should be 400-500 words.

Be sure to have a single argument (thesis). Relate every body paragraph clearly to the thesis statement, and sum up your position again in your conclusion. Your writing should be clear, concise, and focused. For this Assignment you do not need to cite any sources beyond those listed above (but cite any that you use).

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