Writing in History
Writing Assignment #1
This writing assignment (3-4 pages long) has two components:
1. A fictional discussion between representatives from the Greek cities of Herapolis (fictional), Athens, & Sparta in which Athens and Sparta are trying to convince Herapolis to adopt their particular form of government.
2. Herapolis’ decision about why they decided that the constitution of either Athens or Sparta was the ideal form of government for a Greek city and, thus, for theirs.
The Situation in Herapolis
• 440 BC (between the Persian Wars and the Peloponnesian Wars)
• Dedicated to Hera, Queen of the Gods
• Location: Euboea (see map below)
• Population: 150,000
• Citizen families: 40,000 people
• Adult Male Citizens: 13,500
• Slave Population: 200,000
• Because of thirty years of famine in the region, many citizen families have been sold into debt slavery.
• After twenty years of famine, about 20 families have managed to take control of most of the land.
• The polis also controls a large number of non-native slaves who work the land.
o These slaves are descendants of inhabitants of other Greek cities in the region that Herapolis conquered some 200 years ago.
o The slave population outnumbers that of the total free population of both citizens and non-citizens.
o Because of the famine, the slaves have had little to do and have rebelled five times in the last thirty years.
o 10 years ago, a tyrant named Icarus seized control of the polis.
• He sought to stop debt slavery by ruthlessly burning any head of a household (along with all his sons) who had enslaved a citizen family and/or their children and seized their land on account of debt.
• Icarus also looked the other way as gangs of restless poor young male citizens, non-citizens, and slaves roamed the street, brutally beating and killing wealthy heads of households along with their family members.
• Because the gangs carved out territories in the various neighborhoods, disagreement over boundaries led to gang warfare.
• Such warfare reinforced Icarus’ control because he often acted as an arbitrator between the gangs, ending conflicts at least temporarily. However, he did so by paying them off from the city’s treasury. As a result, they eventually fought each other again until he bribed them once more.
• Icarus also granted some gang members, both non-citizens and slaves, citizenship in order to stop them from fighting.
• A year ago, because of the terror that gripped the polis, wealthy aristocrats, poor citizens, and wealthier non-citizens banded together, overthrew Icarus, executed Icarus, his three sons, and the leaders of the gangs, and burned to death all slaves who were gang members.
• Icarus’ attempts at social reform has led to chaos:
o The city is now almost completely bankrupt.
o Wealthy aristocrats want the return of the land that Icarus took from them, and they demand to be compensated for the debts that he canceled.
o Poorer citizens want the restoration of familial land lost during the famine.
o Wealthy non-citizens demand citizenship, especially in light of their assistance in overthrowing Icarus and putting down the various slave rebellions.
o Virtually all wealthy and poor citizens refuse to recognize the new citizens that Icarus created.
• Though there are signs that the famine is finally coming to an end, many citizens and non-citizens are starving to death.
• As a result of this, the various segments of the population are on the verge of civil war, and there have already been a few attempts to overthrow the city government.
• A few months ago, the slaves of Herapolis rebelled again, and the polis only managed to put down the revolt with assistance from Athens and Sparta.
• In response to the problems, the Council of 300 elected two archons, Ajax and Philon, who have been charged with developing a new constitution to bring stability to the polis.
• To this end, Ajax and Philon have invited delegates from Athens (lead by Pericles himself) and Sparta to debate in the agora of Herapolis why their particular form of government and social structure works best for a Greek polis.
• In their questioning of the two delegations, the Herapolitian archons focus on government, social structure, household (men/women/children), economy, and education/training.
• In 2-3 pages, write a dialogue touching upon at least three of these themes, drawing upon the textbook and the sources.
• In 1-2 pages, writing as a Herapolitan, explain why Herapolis selected either Sparta’s constitution or Athen’s constitution
• See attached rubric.
• 3 pages means 3 full pages
• You must submit a copy via Writing Assignment #2 under the Writing Assignments tab in the sidebar by Wednesday January 28 @ 11:59 pm. Please note that your papers will be checked by SafeAssign in order to ensure academic integrity
• In order to be fair to everybody, assignments must be handed in on time unless they are late due to a documented medical or family emergencies. In these circumstances, students must contact me about submitting their papers late on or before the due original due date.
• Late papers will lose 5 points for every day that they are late.
• Writing assignments should be 12 Times New Roman Font/Double-Spaced with one-inch margins.
• The use of any unauthorized internet sources (except for databases and the Fordham Internet Sourcebook) will result in at least a 10 point drop in the assignment grade.
• Citation Style for primary sources:
o Sentence (Title).
o Example 1: “Hail to thee, O Nile! Who manifests thyself over this land, and comes to give life to Egypt!” (“Hymn to the Nile).
o Example 2: The author praised the Nile as the giver of life (“Hymn to the Nile).
• Citation Style for the textbook:
o Paraphrase (Backman, Cultures of the West, p. 49).
o “Quote” (Backman, Cultures of the West, p. 49).