Some professors like to use Ask the Ancients to get their students interested in history. Here is a sample assignment I used for several years with the book in HST 101, PCC’s Introductory Western Civilization course. For many students, this is their first history course and first major assignment.
(10 points) (2-3 pages, double-spaced, indented)
First, read the book! Remark in the first paragraphs of your paper on at least two things that caught your attention – whether you were amazed, entertained, offended, or other.
Pick one of the ancient authors cited in the book, track down some of his (or her) writings, and read 15 pages or more.
(Many writings are easily accessible on the internet, but some may be “oldish” translations. You can still get the gist of things.)
In the rest of your paper include:
Who wrote the passage, with brief information about him or her.
What you read, with a brief summary.
An illustrative quotation. Refer to the “chapter/verse” numbers rather than page numbers.
How the reading relates to the present (or if not, why not?)
Your personal reaction.
Three citations: one for Ask the Ancients, one for ancient author information, and one for the reading. See this link from the PCC library for help on proper formatting. All the punctuation is very important.