Assembly Assignment


Topic One: The occasion of public festival was an opportunity for display of wealth, power, and honor, and thus particularly coveted by the aristocratic clans. What privileges should the Praxiergidai clan have in the festival of Athena in Thargelion? The clan claims ancestral privileges of draping the statue with a new tunic, supervising and leading the procession to the sea to wash the statue and back to the temple before the festival, and conducting the sacrifices to the Fates, to Zeus leader of Fate, and to Athena protector of the City. Other citizens have suggested that only the privileges of draping the statue and conducting the sacrifice to the Fates are properly the ancestral privileges of the Praxiergidai and that the supervision of the procession and the other sacrifices should be undertaken by officials chosen by lot from those citizens offering to pay the expenses.


Topic Two: As AthensŐ wealth and power grows, the city is able to do more to further her interests in the Mediterranean world. Representatives from Tenos, a Greek city on an Ionian island near Delos in the Cyclades have come to Athens, asking for some help against Persian encroachment. They remind Athens of their common Ionian heritage and point out the dangers of the growing power of Persia. The date is 535 BCE, the Persians have just conquered Phoenicia, and they now have control of the Phoenician fleet. What aid, if any, should the Athenian people give to the people of Tenos? What might the consequences be of helping Tenos or of leaving the island to its fate?


You should prepare to participate in the Council (if you hold office in the Boule) and the Assembly (if you are a citizen) as debate is held on these two issues. Those on the Council will be responsible for drafting measures for the Assembly to approve or reject.  The preliminary proposals for such a measure should be posted (and then debated) in the online Moodle discussion group.  Those who are not in the Boule may not speak in this debate (although they may read the postings).  The Boule must vote (via Moodle postings) on proposals to put before the assembly before class on Wednesday, October 8.  In class that day, the whole Assembly will debate on both issues (non-citizens may not speak).  After the debates are concluded, you should write a brief essay explaining why you voted the way you did in each case and/or what solution you would have preferred to the one adopted and why that would have been preferable (around 2-3 pages each). Make sure to explain your position with regard to your status within Athenian society, your connections or conflicts with other groups in Athens, and your interests in Athenian interaction with other cities. Cite sources, both ancient and modern, to support your arguments, bearing in mind that specific points made with reference to particular facts are always most persuasive. The essays are due before the beginning of class on Monday, October 20. 



Basic Guidelines and Recommendations:


1. The papers are due before the beginning of class. If you need an extension, you must contact me more than 24 hours before the paper is due. As a general rule, the further in advance you contact me, the longer the extension I might be willing to give.


2. The papers should be type-written, double-spaced, with reasonable fonts and margins (e.g., my default font and margin settings are Garamond 12 point with 1 inch margins).


3. Please number the pages and clip, not staple, them together. Please ensure that your name is on at least the first page, if not in a header on every page. Also on the first page should be my name, the course title, the date, and the number of the assignment.


4. Make sure you read the question carefully. Your thesis and main points should be clearly stated and well-supported with citations from the text. Be sure to cite the sources for your information carefully and accurately so that a reader could quickly and easily check your reference. Please cite the book and chapter numbers from the ancient sources (e.g. Herodotus, Thucydides, Diodorus Siculus) for your quotations, not page numbers. Modern references such as Buckley should be cited using the bibliographic conventions found in Buckley's bibliography at the end of his textbook. You should bear in mind the spirit of the Bryn Mawr Honor Code in all aspects of the assignment.  Giving credit to your sources is not only the fair thing to do, it is also the task of any serious, scholarly historian. 


5. Please ensure that your paper is free from errors of spelling and grammar. I find such errors terribly distracting. The spell-checker in most word processors is useful, but you should proofread the paper yourself as well. You might try exchanging papers with a classmate and proofreading each other's papers. Another person can often catch the errors you have missed.


6. Not only are late papers anti-social, but they will be penalized unless you have obtained an extension from me before the day on which the paper is due. For every 24 hours the paper is late (including weekend days!), the grade will be lowered by one step (e.g., from 3.7 to 3.3).  I am willing to consider reasonable requests for extensions as long as they are made more than 24 hours before the deadline.