Paper #2

Topics for Paper #2

  • Polybius on the Rise of Rome: The concepts of fortune or chance on the one hand and reason or calculation on the other are prominent in Polybius’s explanation of the rise of Rome. How does his reliance on those concepts operate in the selections we looked at together: i.e. his analyses of the causes of the Punic Wars, the nature of the Roman constitution, and the culmination of the Second Punic War? If his history is meant to offer pragmatic advice to the statesman, what is it that Polybius thinks the rise of Rome should teach his reader about the role of fortune and reason?
  • The Deaths of the Gracchi: According to P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica, Tiberius Gracchus had become a tyrant and a threat to the republic, and so had to be removed. L. Opimius and his senatorial colleagues claimed the same was true of Gaius Gracchus. Can that argument be justified? Or were the assassinations of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus just extreme examples of selfishly-motivated aristocratic competition? Or something else?
  • A strong essay on this topic will be based on a close reading of Plutarch’s biography of the Gracchi (taking account of Plutarch’s preoccupations as an author) and on the relevant sections of the Romans textbook.

  • A topic of your choice, to be approved by Prof. Broadhead by Session 11.

Paper #2 is due by Session 12.