Assignment Due Date Instructions Topic(s): Attempt ONE question.
1 6/14/08 11:59PM The essay should be about 1500 words in length, footnoted with clear reference to all sources used.

1. Hammurabi's Code. "Emphasizing the law belonged to everyone, this legal and literary work gives a remarkable portrait of the hierarchical and patriarchal society of Mesopotamia." Discuss.

2. Divine Kingship. "Pharaonic Egypt's sacred monarchy combined religious and political authority, symbolized by the vast funeral monuments of the pyramids and the tombs of the Pharaohs." Discuss.

3. Life and Afterlife. "With an abundance of deities and an innovative concept of an afterlife, Egyptian religious life was rich and varied." Discuss.
[Look at the elaborate rituals attached to embalming the body of the dead Pharaoh and the accompanying rituals and texts to help him/her on their way to the abode of the gods. cf. The Egyptian Book of the Dead]

4. What was the position of women in ancient Near eastern societies? How were their roles similar or dissimilar? Were there contradictions between ideals and reality?
[Look at (i) The statutes in Hammurabi's code on women, property and divorce. (ii) do you think was the high status of female deities in Egyptian religion a reflection of their status in society in general. (iii) All Near and Middle eastern societies were patriarchal, some more so than others. Look at the laws against women the Old Testament, especially Leviticus. Take note that women had no role in the priestly caste or in the rituals of the Hebrew religion. This is reflected in the NT, especially the Pauline epistles.

2 06/26/08 11:59PM The assignment should be about 1500 words in length, with sources clearly referenced.

1. Why, in your opinion, did the Eastern empire survive longer than the Western one?

2. Was there anything in Christianity that led to the problem of heresy and the appeal of monasticism? How did Christianity's "legalization" affect these? 
[Christianity has been beset for most of its 2000 year history with the problem of heresy ("non-orthodox" beliefs by groups within or on the margins of the Church). In the Eastern and later in the Frankish empires, royal authority took upon itself the role of "guardian of the faith." Why was this?]

3. "Tireless in his efforts, Justinian's amazing record of military conquest, administrative and legal reform, and religious leadership reflected his traditional conception of imperial authority."  Discuss.

4. What factors affected the creation of Charlemagne's empire, and what caused its destruction?

3 07/08/08 12:00PM The assignment should be about 1800-2000 words in length, with sources clearly referenced.

Final Research Paper

Copyright ©2008 Aidan Breen, Ph.D.
Citation: Breen, A. (2008, July 29). Assignments. Retrieved November 06, 2014, from UMass Boston OpenCourseware Web site:
Copyright 2014, Aidan Breen. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License