Textual Analysis: What the text says at hand

Use the primary source excerpt provided by the professor and use it to write a history paper about the society it was a part of. Write a coherent essay of 5-7 pages (1500-2000 words), double-spaced, typed or word-processed, and stapled. Take care to use appropriate grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage. The paper should thoroughly answer all of the questions below (especially the last two), though not necessarily in the order given. This information should be incorporated into a logically constructed argument which is evident throughout the paper. The paper should begin with an introduction which states the theme of the essay and your main point (i. e. thesis), and end with a conclusion which draws together the various aspects of your argument. The body of the essay should include smooth transitions from one subtopic to another, and specific documentary evidence and analysis to illustrate the various points made in supporting your main argument.

Although your background knowledge from the course textbook, lectures, class discussions, and other sources may affect the way you answer these questions, your real task is to analyze carefully the excerpt you have selected for what it reveals about the time and place from which it came.

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1. Identify the larger source from which the excerpt has been taken. Indicate as applicable its title, author, time and place of composition, broader historical period, and type of source (i. e. genre).

2. Summarize in your own words the main point(s) of the passage and the part it plays in the larger text from which it has been excerpted.

3. Analyze the excerpt closely. Consider the author’s aim(s), method(s), and intended audience(s). As you discuss the ideas the author wishes to express, explain as necessary any significant words or phrases and their significance to the text. If you need to refer to other parts of the larger source in order to explain something which appears in the given passage, remember to keep your focus on analyzing the excerpt assigned.

4. Relate the passage to its historical period. What in particular does it tell you about the time and place in which it was written, and the people who made up the society? What is the historical significance of the text? Be specific, base your analysis on evidence drawn from the excerpt, and provide specific examples from the passage in support of your assertions.
Your essay should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the text and its context, expressed in organized prose easy for the reader to follow. Provide parenthetical references as needed in the body of your paper.

B. When Praesens, for the second time, and Claudianus were the consuls, on the seventeenth day of July, at Carthage, there were set in the judgment-hall Speratus, Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata, Secunda and Vestia. Saturninus the proconsul said: Ye can win the indulgence of our lord the Emperor, if ye return to a sound mind.

Speratus said: We have never done ill, we have not lent ourselves to wrong, … but when ill-treated we have given thanks; because we pay heed to our emperor,

Saturninus the proconsul said: We too are religious, and our religion is simple; we swear by the genius of our lord the Emperor, and pray for his welfare, as ye also ought to do.

Speratus said: If thou wilt peaceably lend me thine ears, I can tell thee the mystery …

Saturninus said: I will not lend mine ears to thee, when thou beginnest to speak evil things of our sacred rites; but rather swear thou by the genius of our lord the Emperor.

Speratus said: The empire of this world I know not; but rather I serve that God, whom no man hath seen, nor with these eyes can see. I have committed no theft; but if I have bought anything I pay the tax; because I know my Lord, the King of kings and Emperor of all nations. … Donata said: Honour to Caesar as Caesar: but fear to God.

Saturninus the proconsul said to Speratus: Dost thou persist in being a Christian?

Speratus said: I am a Christian. And with him they all agreed.

Saturninus the proconsul said: Have a delay of 30 days and bethink yourselves.

Speratus said: In a matter so straightforward there is no considering. …

Nartzalus, Cittinus, Donata, Vestia, Secunda and the rest having confessed that they live according to the Christian rite, since after opportunity offered them of returning to the custom of the Romans they have obstinately persisted, it is determined that they be put to the sword. … Nartzalus said: To-day we are martyrs in heaven; thanks be to God.

Saturninus the proconsul ordered it to be declared by the herald …

And so they all together were crowned with martyrdom; and they reign with the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

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