Criteria and Guidelines for Papers

Papers receiving high grades will excel in each of the following:

Argument and Structure

Your paper should seek to convince its reader of an argument, a thesis, offered in answer to one of the questions set. The thesis should be clearly stated in the introduction to the paper. The body of the paper should then seek to support your thesis by marshalling an abundance of evidence from the ancient sources in a clearly structured, coherent, and linear argument. Finally, a conclusion should remind your reader of the thesis you have been supporting and show how that thesis is relevant to a wider historical context. Remember throughout that your paper should be a work of critical analysis.

Knowledge and Understanding

Your paper should display a close knowledge of the ancient source(s) on which your argument rests: knowledge both of the details of relevant passages as well as of the work as a whole. Your ability to subject the sources to critical analysis and to come to your own understanding of their significance should also emerge clearly from your paper.

Quality of Writing

Your argument should be expressed in clear, concise, and readable English. There should be no errors of grammar, syntax, or spelling. Precision and elegance of expression will be rewarded.


You must always acknowledge your sources. Please note: Every time you either quote directly from a source or even simply refer to a source, you must provide a full citation. Since your papers are intended to be written largely from ancient sources, your citations will most frequently be to the likes of Suetonius or Tacitus. It is conventional in the field of ancient history to cite ancient authors in the text of an essay, not in footnotes or endnotes; so, for example: 'Suetonius here suggests……. (Suetonius, Nero 23)' or 'Tacitus records that……. (Tacitus, Annals 1.10)'. Since your paper should include an abundance of ancient evidence in support of your argument, there should be many such citations along the way.

Should you choose to consult modern sources in addition to ancient (highly recommended), you must be sure to provide full references here also. Such references should usually be provided in footnotes.

Writing Assignment Topics

Paper 1 (PDF)
Paper 2 (PDF)
Paper 3 (PDF)