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CLASSICS 300 - The Roots of Western Sexuality
Dr. J. Francis, Rollins College (Fall 1993)

Specifications for Final Paper

As noted on the syllabus, your chief assignment for this course will be a RESEARCH PAPER of a MINIMUM LENGTH OF 15 PAGES of written text. The paper is DUE BY THE LAST DAY OF CLASSES - DECEMBER 10TH.

You are free to write on any topic pertinent to this course that interests you. You MUST, however, concentrate on using an ancient text or texts as the basis of your paper, e.g., a play or plays of Euripides, the poems of Theognis, Demosthenes' speech Against Neaera, Aischines' speech Against Timarkhos, etc. Use the text(s) to illustrate, prove, disprove your point, e.g., "The heroines of the Alcestis and Medea demonstrate that women in classical Athens could not have been as suppressed and sequestered as some historical sources and modern scholars would have us believe," or "The heroines of the Alcestis and Medea offer clear descriptions of the suppression of women in classical Athens and confirm other historical evidence and the opinions of many modern scholars."

The references in these examples to other evidence and modern scholars introduce another element of the paper that MUST be present. You need to incorporate other material on the subject; do not treat the sources you are working with in a vacuum! Use the ideas of scholar's such as Foucault, Keuls, Pomeroy, Dover, etc., where applicable to support your view or, if you disagree with their interpretation, to argue against them. I'm looking for a thoughtful and complete piece of work. As you have no doubt noticed, this course provides few "solid" answers to the issues. That is where your paper comes in. The task before you is to use your own thought and critical faculties to come to a CONCLUSION yourself on a specific issue.


Step 1 is to give some thought to what you would like to work on. Do not feel limited by what we have done in class so far. If you want to work on a topic on Greek homosexuality, the philosophers' definitions of love, Greek medicine and gynecology, or a topic on Roman culture, please do so! I WILL BE HAPPY TO DIRECT YOU TO SOURCES AND OTHERWISE SUPPORT YOU SO THAT YOU WILL NOT FEEL "LOST AT SEA." It is very important that you work on a topic that interests you. I will take into consideration for grading the degree of "challenge" involved in your topic.

Step 2 is to write up a ONE-PAGE abstract/proposal of what you want to work on - DUE NOVEMBER 8TH. It should include the topic itself, what direction you want to take it in, and what sources (both ancient and modern) you can think of right off the bat that you can use. Also use the abstract to ASK ME QUESTIONS. If you have an idea but don't know what sources you could go to, put that as a question in the abstract and I WILL DIRECT YOU.

Step 3 is to READ THE ANCIENT SOURCES. Get what YOU can out of them BEFORE you cloud your mind with what others have said! Use your own thought and ideas to determine whether the scholarship is useful to you or not.

Step 4 involves then going to the scholarship. For a start, look through the contents and index of books you have for the course. See what Foucault, Keuls, etc. might have to say about your.topic. Do the same for the BOOKS ON RESERVE for this course in the library. Further research can be done through the library catalogue by doing SUBJECT SEARCHES for "Women and Greece," "Euripides," "Homosexuality and Antiquity," "Women and Law and Greece," etc. A fundamental place to start any research in Classics is the OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY (in library reference) which will give you a basic bibliography on the topic at the end of each article.


  1. Remember your abstracts are due NOVEMBER 8TH.
  2. You MUST schedule at least one CONFERENCE with me to discuss your paper between November 8th and December 10th. Feel free to discuss your paper with me at any time along the way.
  3. Ancient sources are cited in a specific way, UNLIKE regular footnotes. For example, a Greek play is cited by line number and is often abbreviated: Eur., Alcest. 1049-60. References to ancient sources are most easily put into the text, avoiding unnecessary repetition, e.g.: "The clearest example of Euripides' radical views on the status of women (Medea 230 -66) states explicitly that..." See me if you have questions about this.
  4. Use the Writing Workshop and Academic Resources Center to assist you in your writing. For guidance on the mechanics of writing a paper, the WW and ARC recommend Diana Hacker, A Pocket Manual of Style, available in the bookstore.
  5. Remember that your FINAL EXAM will consist of a short, oral presentation of your paper to the class, as specified in the syllabus.