History students often find it difficult to identify argument in historical narrative. Particularly when modern historians write about the ancient world, their fluent narrative style does not always seem as trenchant or polemical as writing about the modern world.

 

This activity takes a passage from Averil Cameron's The Later Roman Empire and asks students to locate all the instances of argument and interpretation within a single paragraph, and to say how they function to argue a point or interpret evidence. It does not require any knowledge of the period, and can be used as a stand-alone task for a Stage 6/age 16-18 history class.

 

A sample answer is provided, showing where, and of what kind, the argument and interpretation is in the passage.

Where's the Argument? Identifying argument in historical narrative

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