Ancient Civ.

Final Exam Review

Use this page to plan your review of the course material for the final exam.

To see this review sheet in PDF form instead, click here.
  For the date and time of the exam and other details, see the Exam page.

Description of the Exam

The exam will consist of four different kinds of questions:

  1. Identification and Impact (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. Note: All terms will come from the names and terms on this sheet.
  2. Multiple choice (6 or so)
  3. Short answer (1 or 2) —sort of like the quiz questions, a couple of paragraphs on a topic we’ve discussed
  4. Essay (1) —a longer discussion giving your interpretation and analysis of a major theme we’ve covered
    • You’ll be asked to give an opinion and support it with evidence—three examples from three societies we’ve studied
    • The other sections cover only since the midterm, but the essay section is cumulative for the entire course.

For each written section, 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 identifications, I’ll give you a choice of 10 or 12.

Approach to Preparing

  • Events: Make a list of the most important milestone events in the periods we’ve discussed.
    • CAUSES—Make sure you can identify the key 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?
  • Questions: 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 your notes at least the “weak” ones.
    • Approach the questions below as a means of gauging topic to spend more time with in review, and as a guide to how you’ll express and illustrate what’s really important—the larger themes of the course.
    • Note that there is seldom one and only one answer to the kind of questions on this sheet.
    • WHY almost always means “For what reasons…”? HOW almost always means “In what ways…?”
  • Terms: Take note of the terms below and review ones you’re unfamiliar with.
  • Pregame the essay: Try to come up with possible essay questions and map out in advance the kinds of examples and interpretations that might pertain.
    • Topics might relate to important periods of change—wars or reforms that changed everything, and so on.
    • Discussion groups can be helpful in comparing others’ interpretations of topics and ideas with your own.
    • You should be able to discuss, and use as examples, key moments from Gilgamesh and Clouds where relevant.
Concerning dates
  • Periods and sequence: I’m not going to ask you for exact dates but you should know the period in which a people are important or an event occurs, and which events occur before or after which other events.
  • You’re best off if you know centuries (e.g., the Greeks recover writing and emerge from the Greek Dark Age during the 8th century BCE).


Archaic Greece
  • If all of the cities of Greece had different self-identities, what does the term “Greek” (Hellas) really describe?
  • In what ways does polis mean more than just “city-state”? What were the special attributes of a Greek polis?
  • How does Sparta develop differently from Athens? How did their differences affect the Greek community?
  • What social classes develop in Sparta? What classes were important in Athens?
  • What was the role played by Homer and Hesiod in the development of Greek culture?
  • Why does colonization become important in the Archaic period? How did the colonies relate to the homeland?
  • TERMS: polis – Hellas – hoplite – phalanx – Doric and Ionic Greeks – helot – metic – colony
Classical Greece
  • What exactly was democracy as developed in Athens? How was it brought about? How does it function?
  • What were some of the downsides to radical democracy as it was practiced in Athens?
  • How does Athenian hegemony develop? What effect does it have on Hellas?
  • What factors make possible the rise of Athens as an economic, political, and cultural power?
  • What ideas were involved in the physis/nomos debate? Why was this discussion so relevant to Athenian society?
  • Why were sophists feared by some? How does Socrates relate to the sophists? Why was Socrates seen as a threat?
  • How did Plato and Aristotle describe the ideal society?
  • TERMS: barbarian – Aristophanes – Herodotus – trireme – ostracism – hegemony – physis/nomos
Wars Between the Greeks
  • What were the causes of the Peloponnesian War?
  • What case would you make for blaming Athens for the war? What about blaming Sparta? Corinth?
  • What factors do you think make the war last so much longer than ordinary Greek wars?
  • What makes the two forces evenly matched at first? What allows Sparta to eventually win this war?
  • What was the war’s 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?
  • How does the Peloponnesian War bring about the problems of the following century?
  • TERMS: Pericles – Delian League – Sicilian Expedition – Alcibiades
Philip and Alexander
  • How was the social order of Macedon different from that of the Greek city-states? How did the Macedonians see themselves in relation to the Greeks? What role does this play in Macedon’s eastern conquests?
  • What factors help Philip II to become strong enough to absorb Greece and prepare to attack the Persian Empire?
  • What were the achievements and failures of Alexander and his successors in their handling of the east?
  • What was Alexander’s legacy?
  • TERMS: Macedon – Philip II – Alexander – sarissa –Aristotle – Hellenistic era – Ptolemaic Empire – Seleucid Empire
  • What are the major conflicts in Clouds? How do these conflicts in the play relate to Athenian society?
  • What messages was Aristophanes trying to communicate? What techniques does he use?
  • What does Strepsiades stand for or represent?
  • How was the Socrates in the play different from the real Socrates? Why did Aristophanes depict him so differently?
  • TERMS: Strepsiades – sophists – Unjust Argument – the Thinkery
Early Rome
  • What were some geographic factors in making Rome important in central Italy?
  • What do we know about the Etruscan city-states? Why were Etruscans eventually eclipsed by Romans?
  • How were government and society ordered in the three major Roman eras (Regal, Republic, Principate)?
  • For what reasons did the Romans reject their kings? What effect did this have on the Roman idea of the state?
  • What were some of the Roman ideals regarding women?
  • TERMS: Apennine Mountains – Magna Graecia – imperium – Lucretia – vestal virgin
The Roman Republic
  • What principles characterize the government of the Roman Republic?
  • What were the different assemblies of the Republic and how were they different?
  • What was the significance of the Twelve Tables?
  • What role was played by religion in the Roman state?
  • Why were the patricians dominant in the early Republic? How did the plebeians gain a greater voice?
  • What role does the military play in Roman politics and society? How does the relationship between the military and the community change over the course of the Republic, and why?
  • Why were the conquest of Veii (396 BCE) and the sack of Rome (390) so significant?
  • Why did the Romans abandon hoplite warfare? How was their new manipular legion more effective?
  • TERMS: consul – patrician – plebeian – SPQR – imperium – mos maiorum – collegiality – cursus honorum – proletariat – tribune of the plebs – veto – triumph – dictator – Pyrrhic victory
Republic and Empire
  • What do you think are the main factors that made Rome able to become the master of Italy in the Middle Republic?
  • What were the secrets to Rome’s success in dominating the entire Mediterranean world?
  • How does Rome govern the territories it conquers or acquires?
  • What kinds of social, cultural, and economic effects does the acquisition of empire have on the Romans?
  • How does Rome deal with the Western Mediterranean differently from the Eastern Mediterranean?
  • What effect does Roman dominion have on the Mediterranean World?
  • TERMS: province – proconsul – publican – client kingdom
Rome and Carthage
  • What issues—long-term and immediate—brought Rome into conflict with Carthage?
  • What was the nature, and outcome, of each of the three Punic Wars?
  • What was the significance of the siege and sack of Syracuse?
  • TERMS: Hannibal – Fabius the Delayer – Scipio Africanus – “Carthago delenda est” – Siege of Syracuse
Fall of the Republic
  • Why did Rome have so much trouble adjusting politically and militarily to its empire?
  • Why does the legislation of the Gracchus brothers cause so much turmoil?
  • What factors were 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 did the warlords—e.g., Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Caesar, Octavian—attempt to stabilize Rome in their own ways?
  • What role does Egypt play in the end of the Republic and why?
  • How was the triumvirate of Pompey, Crassus, Caesar different from the triumvirate of Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus?
  • TERMS: ager publicus – optimates – populares – Gracchi – Marius – Sulla – Cicero – Caesar – proscriptions – Mithridates
The Principate
  • What challenges does Augustus face after his defeat of Antony and Cleopatra?
  • What accomplishes relate to Augustus being called a refounder of Rome?
  • What role does Roman citizenship play in the empire?
  • What difficulties were involved in succession under the Principate?
  • How was this problem resolved? What were the advantages of this form of succession?
  • Who were the Julio-Claudians? What conflicts typify this period?
  • What role did female members of the imperial family play in society and succession?
  • What role was played by the army in Principate society?
  • What were the key cultural developments in the early Principate?
  • How does the rise of Christianity affect the empire? Why was Christianity a threat to Rome’s dominion?
  • TERMS: second settlement – Augustus – princeps – year of four emperors – Vespasian – Romanization