8: Myths for an Empire


In this unit our task is to understand why the Augustan age was an age in which Roman myths were give new canonical versions, the versions we know best today.  What about the shift from republic to Empire inspired a literary renaissance, one with an intense focus on the the legendary past?

You are required to bring a PRINT OUT of the reads to class.  You may not earn full participation points for the class unless you have a print out.

First print and read extracts from Vergil’s Aeneid, Book 1.  Make full use of the comprehension questions I give.

Second print and read extracts from Livy Book 1.  In this second file underline or highlight anything that is similar to what you read in Vergil.

Who turns into a god in each narrative?

To save paper and printing costs print double sided. For the Livy print-out be sure you set up the print directions in Adobe correctly.  Use these images below to help:

Make sure it looks like this:




Blog Prompts

Founding Heroes

  1. Find any three Brooklyn College students to help you with this assignment.  Don’t interview anyone who has already been interviewed by another classmate.  Ask them the following questions:
    1.  Are you comfortable if I ask you some questions about you ethnicity and origins?  Can I write about your answers on a public class blog?
    2. Do you identify yourself with an country or ethnicity beyond the United States of America?  If so, which one?
    3. How have you learned about the origins/history/past/importance of that place? (If they feel no strong connection to other place or identity, then ask them to talk about being American.)
    4. Is there one person, maybe a hero or ‘wiseman’ or king or law-giver, that is important to your people–someone people tell stories about, maybe legendary, maybe true?  Can you tell me a story?
    5. What values do you think that story teaches?  Are those values important in the traditions of your people?  how?
  2. Write up a summary of each interview in your blog post.  Include the interviewee’s first name, when and where the conversation took place.  For example, “Mehmet A., West quad gym, Tuesday evening lifting weights –“.  “Jazmin R., via SnapChat, Thursday Morning –“
  3. What are similarities or differences between these stories and the stories you read about Rome’s origins?
  4. Include a quote from the homework that typifies the virtue(s) of one of the Roman founders.  Explain how the quote compares to your interviews.
  5. Sign off your blog with your first name, and team name.  “Ibrahim, Team Dionysus”
  6. Tag your blog: CLAS8, Foundations, Livy OR Vergil, anything else appropriate.
  7. Give it a fun title and image (latter is optional).

Picturing the Past

  1. Go to ArtStor a library database and search using any of the following key words Lucretia, Rhea Silvia, Sabine Women, Tarpeia, Aeneas Carthage, Romulus, Remus, Faustulus,  Foundation of Rome.  Select any image not already chosen by a classmate!
  2. Snip a copy of the image (On a Mac: Press COMMAND+SHIFT+4 simultaneously to snip a specific area of the screen; on a PC: look for the snipping tool under programs) and add it to your blog post
  3. Use the citation generator and generate an MLA format reference and paste this below your image.
  4. Describe the image based on what you’ve learned in Prof. Simon’s class.
  5. Select a quote from the homework that relates to the image and add it to your blog post.
  6. Describe what is similar and different about the image and the literary version.
  7. Speculate what is the artist’s own invention/contribution.  Why might s/he add these details?
  8. What most interests the artist?  Is this what is most important in the homework text?
  9. Tag your blog: CLAS8, PastPictures, Livy OR Vergil, anything else appropriate.
  10. Sign off your blog with your first name, and team name.  “Ibrahim, Team Dionysus”
  11. Give it a fun title.