Roman Empire and Book Review Essay example

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ART 382, Book Review ASSIGNMENT

The paper will consist of a critical book review of around three to five pages in length on a book approved by the instructor that you will use as a source for your research paper. You should read your chosen book carefully, noting the author's arguments, and comparing them to what you find in your texts. You likely will want to do some supplementary reading to check further on these, and to compare them to other scholarly opinion. In your book review, you should summarize the contents of the book, noting the author's arguments, and comment critically on them, noting also other points the author might have discussed. The review should be written in clear English, and must be typed. The review is due November 10. Books approved by the instructor are listed below. If you wish to review another book, it must be cleared with the instructor before October 13, when a prospectus listing the book to be reviewed and the supplementary reading you plan to do before writing the review is due.

The Book Review

A critical book review is an informed critique of a scholarly work. It should take something like the following form:

1. Bibliographical information about the work: author, title, place and date of publication. This is given as a heading.

2. A brief statement of the book's purpose or thesis (why it was written). This may be combined with an introduction to the material dealt with in the book.

3. A synopsis or overview of the order in which the author presents his or her information.

4. Critical evaluation of the success or failure of the book in meeting its thesis. This may include any errors in the book you find (including typos), any features which made the book difficult to read, and mention of additional material that the author failed to include.

5. A final evaluation of the book as a success or failure, including what readership it is suitable for.


Write a research paper of approximately seven or eight printed pages in length. A bibliography of works consulted should be appended to the paper. The bibliography must include at least three sources beyond your text books, and these three may include only one web source. Of, course, if you have over three sources beyond your text you may use as many web sources as you wish. The following topics are suggested. If you wish to do another topic you will need to clear that with the instructor: Due November 17.

1) Discuss the Roman podium temple from its origins as an Etruscan form through the first century CE. Include reference to the siting of these temples with relation to other architecture. Attention should also be paid to outside influence on architectural decoration and sculptural decoration. Book ro review: J. Stamper, The Architecture of Roman Temples : the republic to the middle empire (Cambridge 2005); Boethius, A., Etruscan and Roman architecture (Penguin 1978)

2) Discuss the development of Roman portraiture from the first century BCE to c. 100 CE, focusing on either images of women or men. What types of themes are presented in Roman portraits of this period and what role do different styles play in enhancing the appreciation of these themes? Books to review: Wood, Susan, Imperial women : a study in public images, 40 BC-AD 68 (Boston 2000); Bartman, E. Portraits of Livia : imaging the imperial woman in Augustan Rome (Cambridge 1999); Kleiner, D.E.E., Roman Sculpture (New Haven 1992); Hallett, C., The Roman nude : heroic portrait statuary 200 BC-AD 300 (Cambridge 2006); J. Breckenridge, Likeness; a conceptual history of ancient portraiture (Evanston IL 1968)

3) Discuss the development of Roman portraiture in the third and the fourth centuries A.D. What themes are presented in portraiture in these two centuries and what do they indicate about the Romans of the Late Empire? What role does style(s) play in presenting these themes?
Book review: Wood, S., Roman Portrait Sculpture,