Gilgamesh Epic Essays and Research Papers

Instructions for Gilgamesh Epic College Essay Examples

Title: A compare and contrast of democrasy from the viewpoints of Pericles Plato and Aristotle

  • Total Pages: 9
  • Words: 3340
  • Sources:7
  • Citation Style: APA
  • Document Type: Essay
Essay Instructions: Thesis statement
Although the organization of the Greek city state of Athens is often idealized in modern culture as being the birthplace of democracy, the truth is classical democracy, as it is known, was perhaps most eloquently endorsed by Pericles, while Plato and Aristotle, viewed democracy as an unjust or corruptible way to run a society.

1. Title Page—note the running head at top; pledge at bottom
2. Abstract page—usually a 120-word summary paragraph indicating main points and ideas. Ok to single-space this part.
3. 5-full pages of essay (double-space; organize with introductory paragraph that goes from general to specific about what you will cover and your thesis; body of essay of a few paragraphs; then a concluding paragraph), Use parenthetic or in-text citations in APA style throughout as needed.
4. References list page or pages—in APA style.

I. TYPE OF PAPER: Thesis paper Compare and contrast
This paper is to be an analytical, interpretive essay which will involve some limited library research. The focus will be on PRIMARY SOURCE materials related to the course. By primary sources I mean literature or records from the culture and/or period being studied--though in English translation. For instance, a primary source on Plato or Greek philosophy would be Plato's Republic, or some segment of it. A primary source on early Christianity would be from the New Testament; on early Islam from the Quran (=Koran). You also should use secondary sources (later books about your topic, sources, or documents). You are expected to have a topic that is reasonably specific or narrow for a paper this short. You will be expected to take a position (which will be your THESIS) on your topic. This thesis should be clear and supported by plausible argument from primary source material and background. When I say the paper is to be analytical and interpretive, that does NOT mean descriptive. Descriptive summary of something I can read in an encyclopedia will NOT do it (that would be a summary report). Finally, I highly recommend that the paper be comparative: compare different cultural patterns or values by analyzing primary sources from each culture; compare different philosophers on a limited number of issues; compare different religions on some aspect of their history or doctrine (but do so without advocating or demonizing any one belief system—that would be a different type of assignment). These are just a few ideas of many.


IMPORTANT !!! : You must use AT LEAST two printed sources (not internet or CD-ROM) beyond the class texts. I do insist on specificity in parenthetic notes. This specificity usually would mean specific page number(s) or passage number(s). When that is not possible, the guideline is to be as specific as possible. [For example, normally do NOT cite an entire book or article when you can specify the page(s) or passage(s) from which you got a quote or some specific information.] I also want a URL to be as specific as possible in your alphabetized list of sources at the end of the paper—so test the link when you give a URL—the instructor must be able easily to go to that internet site and find the specific article and information you are citing.
SOME SUGGESTIONS ON SOURCES: Your class text by Cunningham & Reich is generally a good secondary source. “Volume I” of this class text does have very short portions from some PRIMARY documents (examples on p. 9 and 17)—and longer selections from primary sources at the end of each chapter (such as the sections of Gilgamesh on p. 30-31). For secondary sources, at the end of each chapter is a “Further Reading” list of secondary sources and also some web sites—occasionally those web sites will have selections of primary source material. But often it is a matter of doing a search with a writer’s name or a title--like Plato, Hammurabi, Quran or Koran, or whatever you hope to use. The search can be in a library—and you can also find some primary sources on the internet this way. Your research work—though relatively little as these things go for this assignment-- will require some time in a physical library as well as some internet surfing. Also, make use of the “Resource Center” tab on the lower left side of the screen in our course shell.

See Thucydides 2.35-46 and 2.60-64. See also . You could also get a copy of Plato's Republic from library (or online)...and find useful passages there. And/Or Aristotle's "Politics" or his "Constitution of Athens". Other works by Plato are also fair game. Then you would find some scholarly secondary works that might inform you well about the political ideas of each. PLATO did not like democracy...and especially detested the form of democracy at Athens from Pericles on. Pericles was a big fan of democracy as it existed in his day...after all, he was the chief executive of Athenian democracy for close to 30 years. I think you will enjoy this. Donald Kagan has written a good book on Pericles—if you happen to be able to find it.

For online texts of Aristotle, you have . Plato’s works can be found at and more at . I don’t mind the use of online texts—just cite them with complete info by section or chapter instead of page number. I do find print versions easier to work with in my own research of primary sources.

Added Note: BE SURE TO USE THE CITING SOURCES SHEET to guide you as to what info to write down about your sources--and how to do your citations properly in APA form--go over it carefully. This CITING SOURCES sheet has an important section on citing ONLINE sources and ANCIENT sources.


Also, please remember that a paper like this will usually have a number of citations---one or two citations per paragraph is fairly normal (of course, most students will cite some sources more than once). And citations are NOT just for direct quotes—they are also for paraphrases, summations, or just identifying the source of certain information.
“No-No’s”: 1) a paper which has no sources cited will get an “F”; 2) a paper which lists a few sources at end but has NO “in text” or parenthetic citations in the body of the paper will probably get an “F”; 3) a paper which fails to observe the minimum of two sources gained through the “Resource Center” tab OR two non-electronic printed sources (as from a traditional library), may be marked down severely (you are still able to use any number of other online and electronic sources beyond this minimal requirement); 4) don’t put a web address in a parenthetic citation (but do put it in the reference list at end); 5) Avoid Plagiarism—read the required posted sheet in Doc Sharing called “Plagiarism”—I take this seriously and so should you; and 6) PAY ATTENTION TO THE SAMPLE PAPER WHEN FIGURING OUT HOW TO MAKE YOUR CITATIONS AND HOW FREQUENTLY ETC.

Below is a sample reference to an online site on Michelangelo as it might appear in the alphabetized list at the end of your essay.:

Bonner, Neil R., ed. (2001). Final days. Retrieved on January 15, 2006, from the
Michelangelo Buonarroti Website at

A sample sentence with the in text (parenthetic) reference to that same source might be like that below. Note, the “Final Days” is a title of a section of the web site and gives a reader adequate specific guidance as to where at the web site the information can be found.

SAMPLE SENTENCE WITH IN-TEXT OR PARENTHETIC CITATION TO THAT SOURCE: Michelangelo painted The Last Judgment under Pope Paul III Farnese, though it appears that Pope Clement VII probably suggested such a work (Bonner, 2001, “Final Days”).

Below is a sample of a reference to an online version of Hammurabi’s Code—and how it might be given on the alphabetized reference list at the end of your essay:

Hammurabi’s code of laws. (n.d.). L. W. King (Trans.). Retrieved January 18, 2006,
from Exploring Ancient World Cultures: Readings from the Ancient Near East, at:

The parenthetic or in text citation to this source in the body of your essay would be more precise as to what part of the law code was being referenced at that part of your essay. For instance, your essay might have this sentence below on the first such citation. But after the first parenthetic reference to this same source, you could drop the “trans. King”.

SAMPLE SENTENCE WITH IN-TEXT OR PARENTHETIC CITATION TO THAT SOURCE: An old law in Mesopotamia has a very familiar ring, because it applies the lex talionis (law of retaliation; “eye for an eye”) in a very specific way (Hammurabi’s Code, law 196, trans. King).

General rule of thumb: On a Reference list entry, the information generally flows from specific to general. So—before the date or n.d., your first want the specific author(s), then the date, then the article title, then the larger web site name or periodical name. If no author is given then put the article title before the date, then the date, then the general web site name or periodical name.


NOTE: This is for Dr. Stansbury’s courses only (other instructors might take different approaches on this). This will apply more to the HUM101 course where ancient sources are essential for many of the term paper topics.

We use the APA style as our general method of citation on writing assignments. When it comes to citing ancient and classical sources (in our courses—normally in translation), the APA style guides provide little guidance. The APA style experts tell us that they suggest deference to the Chicago/Turabian style for scriptural, classical, and other ancient sources being cited. So, I have adapted. I have taken Chicago/Turabian style to the extent possible—with some accommodation for the APA style of the paper as a whole. It takes some judgment and discretion, but the guidelines below are clear enough. If the student tries to follow these guidelines, I as instructor will show some flexibility in evaluating the citation. The guidelines I have developed are below.

If you happen to get a text that is online, the guidelines below should be easily adaptable to that. In general you would place the information as you would for a modern online citation. The main thing—when you cite an ancient source, be as specific as you can so that if your instructor went to look it up, he could know how to get the general source—and, once he has that, he could also fairly easily find the section or passage in question. Don’t refer to a whole book or work when you are really looking at one or a few passages or sections.

In papers for HUM101, students might have topics that lead them to find (in translation) primary sources like those described below. If these guidelines below are not enough, feel free to ask Dr. Stansbury directly about your source (he will need the info about the source to guide you).

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Gilgamesh: This is an ancient epic poem mentioned in chapter 1—Gilgamesh is the title of the epic and is also the name of the main character. Several English translations are available. In the in text or parenthetic citation of a passage of Gilgamesh that you give in the body of your essay (whether by direct quote, paraphrase, or just by reference)----Give the title Gilgamesh followed by the either the passage reference (usually Tablet number or chapter number and then line numbers) or the page # of the translation you are using. For examples: (Gilgamesh, V.262-279) or (Gilgamesh, p. 37). In your very first citation to the work, you should follow the reference by the last name of the translator. For examples: (Gilgamesh, V.262-279; Kovacs, trans. 1989) or (Gilgamesh, p. 37; Kovacs, trans. 1989). Then, in the alphabetized list of sources at then end, give full and accurate information to that work as you would to any book—probably with the last name of the translator/editor coming first and then the full title of the translated work and the rest of the information. The Gilgamesh epic can be found in English translation in print in many libraries and for purchase; it can also be found in translation online.

Hammurabi’s Code: This is not the oldest law code in the world—but it is the oldest to survive relatively intact—and so it is very valuable. It is mentioned in chapter 1. Several English translations are available. The code in most versions has a prologue, then 282 laws enumerated consecutively, and then an epilogue. In the in text or parenthetic citation of a passage of Hammurabi’s Code that you give in the body of your essay (whether by direct quote, paraphrase, or just by reference)----state the title (usually either Hammurabi’s Code or Code of Hammurabi) in italics; then give the number of the law or simply say “Prologue” or “Epilogue”. For examples: (Code of Hammurabi 13) or (Code of Hammurabi 196). In your very first citation to the work, you should follow the
reference by the last name of the translator. For examples: (Code of Hammurabi 13; trans. King 1910) or (Code of Hammurabi 196; trans. King 1910). If you are going from an editor’s comment about a passage in that same translation—and the editor is Hooker or Horne (as examples—different from translator), you should make that clear in your sentence or citation. Then, in the alphabetized list of sources at then end, give full and accurate information to that work as you would to any book—either with the last name of the translator/editor coming first and then the full title of the translated work and the rest of the information—or with the tile of the translated work coming first.

Classical and other ancient sources: The APA does not provide detailed guidelines on this, but defers to the Chicago/Turabian style. So these guidelines adopt that style with some accommodation to the APA. The pattern is something like this: In the in-text or parenthetic citation of a passage of the translated ancient source that you give in the body of your essay (whether by direct quote, paraphrase, or just by reference)---give the ancient author’s name first (if known) or the ancient title first (if author unknown); then give the passage reference if your translation makes that clear. But, if your translation does not make the passage reference clear, then you may give the page # from the translation followed by the name of the translator or editor and date. For examples: (Tacitus, Annals 2.78-81) or (Tacitus, Annals, p. 96-98, ed. Hadas 1942). If you are going from an editor’s comment about a passage in that same translation—and the editor

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Excerpt From Essay:


Burn, a.R. (1949). Pericles and Athens. New York: Macmillan.

Kimball, R. (2002). Freedom and Duty: Pericles and Our Times. The National Interest, 81-85.

Lakoff, S.A. (1996). Democracy: History, Theory, Practice. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.

Plutarch (1909). Plutarch's Lives: Volume 12. New York: P.F. Collier & Son.

Saunders, T.J. (ed.)(1981). Aristotle: The Politics. New York: Penguin Books.

Stockton, D. (1990). The Classical Athenian Democracy. Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press, 39.

Thucydides (tr. Benjamin Jowett)(1900). The Peloponnesian War. Second edition. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

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