Word Count 750
Choose two primary sources from the list below. Write a short analytical
essay that uses at least three of the concepts historians use to understand
primary sources. You’re welcome to write a comparative essay, or to write
two small separate essays. It’s also okay to choose an alternative source from
your book. But at least one of your two sources must be from the list below.
Please write to me if you decide to choose one of your own. Here are your
four main tasks in the essay:
1. Locate each document by describing the context it belongs to historically.
2. Who was the author and why did he or she write this?
3. In your own words, what do the key themes of this document tell us about
values of the society that produced it?
4. Which historical concepts do you think would be most useful in
understanding this document, and why?
Hints and Guidlines:
It may help you to get right to the point early, organize your essay, have
strong and clear statements about the document, and skip any unnecessary
List of Sources you may Choose from
Remember to only pick two
1. The Epic of Gilgamesh, c. 2700 B.C.E.
2. The Bhagavad Gita: Caste and Self, c. 1500 B.C.E.
3. Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution: Territorial Sovereignty, c. 330 B.C.E.
4. Plato, The Republic, c. 360 B.C.E.
5. Sima Qian, Biographies of Harsh Officials, 104-92 B.C.E.
6. Confucius, The Analects, c. 479-221 B.C.E.
7. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, c. 167 C.E.
8. Vatsyana, On the Conduct of Wives, Husbands, and Women of the
Harem, c. 280-550 B.C.E.
9. Ban Zhao, Lessons for Women, c. 100 C.E.
10. Plato, The Symposium, c. 385 B.C.E.
11. Paul, Letters.
12. Eusebius, Life of Constantine
13. Selections from the Koran
14. The Magna Carta
15. Al-Tanukhi, A Government Job
16. Liu Tsung-Yuan, Camel Kuo the Gardener
17. Ulrich von Liechtenstein, The Service of Ladies
18. Kalidasa, Shakuntala
19. Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
20. Zhou Daguan, Sex in the City of Angkor
21. Anne Comnena, The Alexiad
22. Fulcher of Chartres, The Siege of Antioch
23. Raymond of St. Giles, Count of Toulouse, The Capture of Jerusalem by the
24. Ibn Al-Qalanisi, The Damascus Chronicle
25. Ibn Fadlan, The Viking Rus
26. Eirik’s Saga
27. John of Plano Carpini, History of the Mongols
28. Marco Polo, On the City of Hangchou
29. Bernal Díaz, Cities of México