Humanities 110

Introduction to Humanities: Greece and the Ancient Mediterranean

Paper Topics | Fall 2017 | Paper 2

Paper Due: Saturday, October 7, at 5:00 PM in your conference leader's Eliot Hall mailbox
Maximum length: 1,500 words

The topics for paper two ask you to think comparatively about some of the texts/objects we have encountered so far this semester. In writing this essay, it is important that you be specific about the points of comparison. You do not need to fully describe each text/object about which you write. Instead, think carefully and critically about each text/object and include in your essays only those details that are integral to your comparative analysis. Build from analysis of each text/object to construct your argument. Select one of the topics below.

  1. Both the material objects and the texts we looked at from Egypt communicate messages about order and disorder in the individual and in society. With this in mind, compare the Great Pyramid complex at Giza to either The Tale of Sinuhe or The Teachings of Khety. How are order and disorder represented? Consider the different perspectives of the individuals represented and the different ways in which objects and texts are able to “speak” to the viewer/reader.

  2. Egyptian literature offers various, different views of life and death.  Compare how the relationship between life and death is explored in “A Harper’s Song from the Tomb of Neferhotep” (Lichtheim II 115-116) with how it is explored in The Dialogue between a Man and His Soul. What does this suggest about understandings of life and death in ancient Egypt? How might this comparison present problems for our understanding of ancient Egypt?

  3. Compare the characters of Helen and Andromache, paying particular attention to their speeches in Books 6 and Book 24.  What do they suggest of the ideal aristocratic woman in archaic Greece? Is there a single ideal?

  4. The Iliad begins and ends with scenes of a father desiring to be reunited with his child. Considering both the similarities and differences, what effect does this symmetrical frame have for our understanding of the epic as a whole?