Any topic (writer’s choice)

    Your short paper 1 must be double-spaced and maximum 2500 words, exclusive of notes, title, name, bibliography, block quotes, etc. (i.e., these do not count toward the word total). In other words, Your paper must be printed in a standard font (e.g., 12-pt. Times New Roman) and with margins (i.e., 1 inch on all sides). Please be sure to include:

    your name
    page numbers; and
    a word count.
    Your paper must have a title and an argument (i.e., this paper is not an exercise in description or summarization). Your essay must be written carefully with attention to presentation, style, and spelling. These formal requirements will be evaluated as part of your overall grade.


    Choose one of the suggested topics from the syllabus, or design your own topic after consulting with me. The topic has to be on pre-modern (pre-17th century) money and/or market. The questions under each topic are suggestions; you do not need to answer each of them. Having in mind the length of your paper (max. 2500 words), it is best to focus on one or two main questions.

    As outlined in the syllabus, you are required to do outside research for writing your papers. Do not only rely on the class readings and the extended bibliography. There are a number of online resources (google scholar, academia, researchgate, archive, etc.) that allow you to find and download publications.

    Bibliography and citing sources:

    If you rely on any material (e.g., publications, translations, images, websites, dictionaries, etc.), you need not follow any particular bibliographic or citation style, but you must be consistent. In practice this will mean picking a citation style. I suggest consulting the Chicago Manual of Style, which is available online via Bobcat.

    Please see the Writing Tips below for more on citation of ancient and modern texts. If you have any questions as to whether you need to cite a source, please ask. Both NYU and I take academic integrity very seriously: please err on the side of caution.


    Your essay will be graded on the basis of four criteria:

    the depth of engagement with ancient evidence (40%);
    the intellectual quality of your argument (40%);
    style, which is to say the clarity, elegance and persuasiveness of your prose (10%); and
    production quality, i.e., the extent to which it conforms to the formal requirements and the standards of professional intellectual work (10%).
    Writing tips (Remember: 20% of your grade is style and production):

    If you have questions on the points below or on any other points of style with respect to formal writing (e.g., when to use hyphens, apostrophes, serial commas, semicolons, etc.), please consult the Chicago Manual of Style, which is available online via Bobcat.

    The most important determinant of success is the quality of thought. Your paper should have a thesis. I do not mean a thesis statement, but an actual thesis. You should sit down, think for a while about the passage or question and then decide on a point of view, something to argue. The papers in this course are not assignments in description or summarization, but in thinking.
    Good thinking is articulated in crisp arguments. Now that you have a thesis, your paper needs to persuade me of your point of view. In order to do so, you will need to:
    understand the material;
    think about how you must re-present it in a way most conducive to your argument and where you want the paper to go (again, the point is not summarization: include only those points or steps that move you to a particular conclusion: be ruthless);
    order your presentation of points in a clear if not linear fashion that leads your reader logically and inevitably to your conclusion; and
    cite passages effectively to support your characterizations of others views. Quote only when you need the actual wording for your argument. In other words, the more extensive the quote, the more you are telling your reader that you consider it central to your argument as a whole, and your discussion should reflect this implicit assertion.
    Clarity is the cornerstone of elegance. If you are writing to persuade, you must first be clear. Of course, if you can also be elegant, so much the better; but you must be clear. So, do not use complicated sentences if they prove a stumbling block to comprehension. Do not reach for the impressive-sounding word, but the right word. Etc. Be ruthless in the pursuit of clarity and persuasiveness.
    Quotations are set off by double quotation marks; single quotation marks are for quotes within quotes.
    Aristotle said that happiness is an activity of soul exhibiting virtue.
    Plato complained that Socrates once remarked that the guardians are craftsmen of freedom without explaining what he meant.
    Block quotes are for quotations of more than 3 lines. They are indented and do not use quotation marks, unless there is a quotation inside the block quote, in which case use double quotation marks.
    Periods and commas go INSIDE quotations when a sentence ends with a quotation; colons and semicolons go OUTSIDE.
    Aristotle said that happiness is an activity of soul exhibiting virtue.
    Aristotle said that happiness is an activity of soul exhibiting virtue; but does this really jibe with our experience of happiness?
    Citations should go in parentheses and must be included in the sentence, i.e., they come somewhere before the period. Since people have been reading Greek and Roman texts for centuries, there are many, many editions. That is why we cite ancient texts by standardized book and chapter numbers, NOT the page number of your particular edition or translation.
    Tacitus had the Caledonian Calgacus say of the Romans, To robbery, slaughter, plunder, they give the lying name of empire; they make a solitude and call it peace (Agr. 30).
    There are standard abbreviations for ancient authors and works, e.g., Cic. Pro Sest. 89 = Cicero, Pro Sestio, ch. 89. Note that if the author or work are clear from the context (as in the example above), you need not use any abbreviation for the author. If you have questions about abbreviations, please consult the abbreviations list in the Oxford Classical Dictionary, 4th ed.

    If you mention modern publications, you must cite them appropriately and consistently in the text (eg. author name, year: page number).

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