Nipissing University

HISTORY 2055-- Ancient Civilizations (2000-1)

Second Paper


This paper will be due on February 7.   It is worth 20% of your course grade.

The paper should be 8-10 pages in length (assuming double-spaced printing).   It must be properly footnoted and have a bibliography.   For other requirements, see the handout Policies Regarding Essays.

I have suggested below a number of topics based on Julius Caesar’s Gallic War (called The Conquest of Gaul in the Penguin edition).   You are free to take the suggested topics and modify them.   Think of them as suggestions, from which you will distill your own topic, which you will define on the first page of your own paper.

If none of these topics suit you, I am willing to discuss with you a topic of your own devising.    You will need my approval to do such a topic.    If you have an idea, please talk to me as soon as possible.    I will expect you to do some library research before I give final approval to proceed.

1.   When Julius Caesar wrote his history of the Gallic wars, he was involved in an intense struggle for political power at Rome.   How was this work meant to promote his political position?   How did it attempt to make him look good to a politically aware Roman audience?

2.    Caesar’s history provides us with a detailed description of politics in Gaul.   Use his account to examine the Gallic tribes as examples of ancient republicanism.

3.    Use The Conquest of Gaul to show how and why the Romans routinely defeated their neighbors.

4.    Does it make sense to classify the Gauls as barbarians?   (Modern notions of what a “barbarian” is may have some relevance to this question, but you should start with an understanding of what Greeks and Romans meant by the word “barbarian.”)

5.    Use Caesar’s account to discuss Gaul as a case study of the expansion of the Roman empire in the Late Republic.   What were the goals of imperial expansion, and what were the means used to achieve those goals?

6.   Caesar was wildly popular with some Romans, and reviled by others.   Use The Conquest of Gaul to make the case that Caesar was dangerous to the Roman Republic.