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Final Exam Review Topics


The exam will consist of different kinds of questions:

  • Identifications (5 or so) — you’ll be provided with a term and you’ll need to give (a) a description of what it refers to and (b) its significance or importance. All identification terms will come from this sheet.
  • Multiple choice (6 or so)
  • Short answer (1 or 2) — like quiz questions, a paragraph or two on a specific topic we’ve discussed
  • Essay (1) — a longer discussion giving your interpretation and analysis of a major theme we’ve covered over the entire course.

The exam will cover the material since the midterm — essentially, Greece and Rome — except that the Essay will ask you to tie together major themes for the entire course.

For all the sections except multiple choice, you will be able to choose from several possibilities and write about the ones you’re most familiar with. For example, if you need to answer 5 or 6 identifications, I’ll give you a choice of 10 or 12. There will be at least two essay questions to choose from.

Approach to Preparing

  • Make a list of the five or six most important milestone events in the periods we’ve discussed.
    • CAUSES — Make sure you can identify the most important factors that helped cause these events — including long-term factors (“the environment”) and short-term factors (“the spark”)
    • LEGACIES — Make sure you can identify the legacies of the milestone event. How did it change the culture, society, etc.? What impact did it have on future milestones and events?
  • For each of the questions below, see whether you have a strong idea how to answer, an okay idea how to answer, or a weak sense of how to answer. Review from the books and notes at least the “weak” ones.
  • Take note of the terms and review ones you’re unfamiliar with.


Archaic Greece

  • If all of the cities of Greece have different self-identities, what does Hellas really describe?
  • In what ways does polis mean more than just “city-state”? What are the special attributes of a Greek polis?
  • How does Sparta develop differently from Athens? How do their differences affect Hellas?
  • What social classes develop in Sparta and Athens?
  • How do gender roles change over time in Greece? How does the ancient Greek family differ from our ideas of “family”?
  • What is the role played by Homer and Hesiod in the development of Greek culture?
  • What role does religion play in Greek society? How is Greek religion different from the other religions we’ve studied (e.g., Hebrew or Egyptian)?
  • TERMS: polis – Hellas – hoplite – phalanx – Doric and Ionic Greeks – helot – metic – pan-Hellenism

Persian Wars

  • What factors bring about the Persian expansion into the Aegean?
  • What is the significance of the battle of Marathon? Of the Battle of Salamis?
  • How is the military and political situation in Hellas fundamentally altered by the outcome of the Persian Wars?
  • TERMS: Ionian Rebellion – Battle of Marathon – Battle of Salamis – Battle of Plataea

Classical Greece

  • What exactly is democracy as developed in Athens? How is it brought about? How does it function?
  • How does the Athenian hegemony develop? What effect does it have on Hellas?
  • What factors make possible the rise of Athens as an economic, political, and cultural center?
  • What ideas are involved in the physis/nomos debate? Why is this discussion so relevant to Athenian society?
  • Why are the sophists feared? How does Socrates relate to the sophists? Why was Socrates seen as a threat?
  • How do Plato and Aristotle describe the ideal society?
  • TERMS: barbarian – sophistry – Aeschylus – Aristophanes –Plato’s Republic

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?

Wars Between the Greeks

  • What are the causes of the Peloponnesian War?
  • What case would you make for blaming Athens for the war? What about blaming Sparta? Corinth?
  • What is its legacy in terms of the power of the city-states?
  • What role does Persia play in the conflicts between the cities during and after the Peloponnesian War?
  • TERMS: Pericles – Delian League – hegemony – Sicilian Expedition – Alcibiades

Philip and Alexander

  • How is the social order of Macedon different from the Hellenic city-states? How do the Macedonians see themselves in relation to Hellas? What role does this play in its eastern conquests?
  • What factors help Philip II to become strong enough to absorb Greece and prepare to attack the great Persian Empire?
  • What were the achievements and failures of Alexander and his successors in their handling of the Persian empire?
  • What is Alexander’s legacy?
  • TERMS: Macedon – Philip II – Alexander – Hellenistic era – Ptolemaic Empire – Seleucid Empire

Roman Kings and the Roman Republic

  • What are some geographic factors in Rome’s history?
  • What do we know about the Etruscan city-states? Why are Etruscans eventually eclipsed by Romans?
  • How were government and society ordered in the three major eras of Roman history (Regal, Republic, Principate)?
  • What is the significance for Romans of their rejection of the kings? What effect does this have on the Roman idea of the state?
  • What is the significance of the Twelve Tables?
  • What role is played by religion in the Roman state?
  • How did the Roman system attach the elite firmly to the state? How to the nonelite gain a greater voice in the state?
  • Why do the Romans abandon hoplite warfare? How is their new manipular legion more effective?
  • TERMS: Apennine Mountains – Magna Graecia – haruspice – consul – patrician – SPQR – imperium – mos maiorum – collegiality – auctoritas – patronage – cursus honorum

Rome and Carthage

  • What issues — large and immediate — brought Rome into conflict with Carthage?
  • What is the nature and outcome of the three Punic Wars?
  • What is the significance of the siege and sack of Syracuse?
  • TERMS: Hannibal – Carthago delenda est

Republic and Empire

  • What made Rome able to become the master of Italy in the Middle Republic?
  • What are the secrets to Rome’s success in dominating the entire Mediterranean world?
  • How does Rome deal with the Western Mediterranean differently from the Eastern Mediterranean?
  • How do the Romans view the Greeks?
  • What effect does Roman dominion have on the Mediterranean World?
  • What are the limitations of Roman religion in its efforts to export its culture? How do the Romans meet this challenge?
  • TERMS: municipia – province – proconsul

Fall of the Republic and the Principate

  • What problems did the acquisition of empire create for Rome?
  • Why did Rome have so much trouble adjusting politically and militarily to its empire?
  • What factors are involved in the collapse of the Roman Republic?
  • What issues were involved in the Social War (Rome against the Italians) in the Late Republic?
  • How do the warlords of the late Republic — e.g., Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, Augustus — attempt to stabilize the state in their own ways?
  • What challenges does Augustus face after his defeat of Antony and Cleopatra?
  • What accomplishes relate to Augustus being called a refounder of Rome?
  • What difficulties are involved in succession under the Principate? What key factors in succession develop in the Principate?
  • Who were the Julio-Claudians? What conflicts typify this period?
  • What role do female members of the imperial family play in society and succession?
  • What role is played by the army in Principate society?
  • TERMS: ager publicus – Gracchi – Marius – Sulla – Caesar – Augustus – princeps