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Final Exam Review Topics


The exam will consist of:

  • Identification and Impact — I’ll have a few terms and ask you to discuss what they mean and what their impact or importance is.
    • You’ll choose the terms you’re most comfortable writing about from a selection (so if I ask you to write 5, there might be 10 to choose from).
    • All of the terms will come from this sheet. (I’ve tried to limit the terms for each topic to four or five, most of which should be familiar.)
    • Remember, the definition itself (check the glossary in the text) will only be half of this question — you’ll also need to discuss why it’s important.
  • Essays — I will ask you to write two essays having to do with overall themes of the course.
  • There will be some kind of extra credit.
  • The essays will count for most of the grade on the exam (around 60 percent).


I. Early Greece and the Bronze Age

The Land of Greece – Greece and the Near East in the “Final Neolithic” Period (c. 4000-3000 BC) – Greece in the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (c. 3000-1600 BC) – the Discovery of Aegean Civilization: Troy, Mycenae, Knossos – Minoan Civilization – Greece and the Aegean in Late Bronze Age (1600-1200 BC) – the Years of Glory (c. 1400-1200 BC) – the End of the Mycenaean Civilization

  • How were the Minoans different from the Mycenaeans? What did they have in common, and why?
  • What kind of economy does Bronze Age Hellas have?
  • What factors might have led to a war between the Mycenaeans and Troy?
  • What factors help bring about the end of Mycenaean Greece?
  • TERMS: Bronze Age – Linear B – Minoans – Mycenaeans – palace state – primary sources – Anatolia

II. The “Dark Age” of Greece and the Eighth-Century “Renaissance” (c. 1200-700 BC)

Decline and Recovery (c. 1150-900 BC) – the New Society of the Dark Age – Revival (c. 900-750 BC) – Homer and Oral Poetry – Late Dark Age (Homeric) Society – Community, Household, and Economy in the Late Dark Age – the End of the Dark Age (c. 750-700 BC)

  • What is the dark age and why is it called that? What kind of society and economy were common in Hellas during this period?
  • What roles do Homer and Hesiod play in early Greek society, and why?
  • Why do the Greeks lose the technology of writing, and how do they recover it?
  • TERMS: Dark Age – xenia – Hesiod – Homer – time – arete – rhapsode

III. Archaic Greece (c. 700-480 BC)

The Formation of the City-State (Polis) – the Ethnos – Government in the Early City-States – the Colonizing Movement – Economic and Social Divisions in the Early Poleis – Hesiod: the View from Below – the Hoplite Army – the Archaic Age Tyrants – Art and Architecture – Lyric Poetry – Philosophy and Science – Relations Between States – Panhellenic Institutions

  • What are the characteristics of the polis?
  • What are the effects of the introduction of hoplite warfare?
  • How do colonies relate to their mother cities?
  • TERMS: agora – aristoi – hoplite – colony – phalanx – polis – symposion

IV. Sparta

The Dark Age and the Archaic Period – the Spartan System – Demography and the Spartan Economy – Spartan Government – Sparta and Greece – Historical Change in Sparta – the Spartan Mirage in Western Thought

  • How would the Spartans explain their warrior society? How does this pursuit make Sparta different for other poleis?
  • How does Sparta make possible a class of men dedicated to the craft of war?
  • What role do women play in Spartan society?
  • TERMS: agoge – helot – homoioi – Messenia – perioikoi

V. The Growth of Athens and the Persian Wars

Athens from the Bronze Age to the Early Archaic Age – the Reforms of Solon – Pisistratus and His Sons – the Reforms of Cleisthenes – the Rise of Persia – the Wars Between Greece and Persia – the Other War: Carthage and the Greek Cities of Sicily

  • How and why does Persia invade the Aegean world? How are the two invasions different?
  • What factors allow the Greeks to prevail against the Persians in these two invasions?
  • How is Hellas different after the Persian invasions? How does it relate to Athenian hegemony and the Delian League?
  • What are the stages involved in the development of Athenian democracy? What factors drive Athens in this direction? How do these developments affect class and society?
  • TERMS: Solon – Cleisthenes – Battle of Salamis – Battle of Thermopylae – satrap

The Clouds

  • What are the major conflicts in The Clouds?
  • How do these conflicts in the play relate to Athenian society at the time?
  • What messages is Aristophanes trying to communicate? What techniques does he use?

VI. The Rivalries of the Greek City-States and the Growth of Athenian Democracy

The Aftermath of the Persian Wars and the Foundation of the Delian League – the “First” (Undeclared) Peloponnesian War (460-445 BC) – Pericles and the Growth of Athenian Democracy – Literature and Art – Oikos and Polis – the Greek Economy

  • What factors are involved in the Undeclared War? How is this conflict different from the Peloponnesian War that begins in 431?
  • Given that Athens is a democracy, how does someone like Pericles become preeminent?
  • TERMS: hegemony – metic – Thucydides – Thirty Years’ Peace

VII. Greece On the Eve of the Peloponnesian War

Greece After the Thirty Years’ Peace – the Breakdown of the Peace – Resources for War – Intellectual Life in Fifth-Century Greece – Historical and Dramatic Literature of the Fifth Century – Currents in Greek Thought and Education – the Physical Space of the Polis: Athens on the Eve of War

  • Why does Athens become a center of cultural innovation? What role does this play in Athenian society?
  • How do cultural developments in classical Hellas affect women?
  • What developments stand out in history, drama, comedy, poetry, sculpture, and philosophy?
  • TERMS: Corcyra – sophist – pan-Hellenism

VIII. The Peloponnesian War

The Archidamian War (431-421 BC) – the Rise of Comedy – Between Peace and War – the Invasion of Sicily (415-413 BC) – the War in the Aegean and the Oligarchic Coup at Athens (413-411 BC) – Fallout from the Long War – the War in Retrospect

  • What are the long-term causes of the conflict between Athens and Sparta?
  • What incidents are the immediate causes of war?
  • What strengths and weaknesses does each side have?
  • In what ways does Alcibiades affect the war?
  • What makes it possible for Sparta to win this war?
  • How is Hellas different after this war?
  • TERMS: Alcibiades – Melos – Socrates – Sicilian Expedition

IX. The Crisis of the Polis and the Age of Shifting Hegemonies

Postwar Greece and the Struggle for Hegemony – Law and Democracy in Athens – the Fourth-Century Polis – Philosophy and the Polis

  • What is the fourth-century crisis? What brings it about?
  • How is war different in the fourth century?
  • How does the Second Athenian Empire compare to the First?
  • What advantages does Thebes have in its fight for hegemony? What vulnerability of Sparta’s do they exploit?
  • What philosophical ideas emerge in the fourth century? How are they a product of the time?
  • TERMS: Crisis of the Fourth Century – Aristotle – Plato – peltast – Sacred Band (Thebes) – King’s Peace

X. Phillip II and the Rise of Macedon

Early Macedonia – Macedonian Society and Kingship – the Reign of Philip II – Macedonian Domination of Greece

  • What elements of Macedonian society, state, and culture would have made the Greeks consider them to be barbarians?
  • What factors prevented Macedon from impacting on Hellas before Philip?
  • What reforms does Philip accomplish in Macedonian politics and society? What military reforms?
  • How does Philip become progressively more involved in Greek affairs?
  • How do the Athenians respond to Philip’s increasing power in Hellas?
  • TERMS: Amphictyonic Council – Philip II – Demosthenes – sarissa

XI. Alexander the Great

Consolidating Power – From Issus to Egypt: Conquest of the Eastern Mediterranean (332-331 BC) – From Alexandria to Persepolis: the King of Asia (331-330 BC) – the High Road to India: Alexander in Central Asia – India and the End of the Dream – Return to the West

  • How are Philip and Alexander similar? How are they different?
  • Was Alexander Greek?
  • What was Alexander trying to accomplish? What did he accomplish?
  • What made possible the extent of Alexander’s conquest?
  • TERMS: Alexander III – Battle of Issus – hellenistic – diodochoi