Women in Antiq.

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 different kinds of questions:

  • Identification and Impact—I’ll have a few terms and individuals and ask you to discuss what they mean/who they were and their impact or importance.
    • You’ll choose terms you’re most comfortable writing about from a selection (so if I ask for 5, there might be 10 to choose from).
    • All of the terms will come from this sheet.
    • Remember, the definition itself will only be half of this question—you must also be able to discuss in detail why it’s important.
  • Essays—I will ask you to write two essays having to do with overall themes of the course. You will need to provide an argument supported by three solid examples on a topic related to a major theme 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%).

Approach to Preparing
  • Make a list of the 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?
Using this review sheet
  • 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.
  • Take note of the terms below and review ones you’re unfamiliar with.
  • Note that there is seldom one and only one answer to the kind of questions on this review sheet.
    • WHY almost always means “For what reasons…?”
    • HOW almost always means “In what ways…?”
Preparation for the essays
  • Try to come up with possible essay questions and map out in advance examples and interpretations that might pertain.
  • List the key topics that might relate to important periods of change, such as wars or reforms that changed everything.
  • Discussion groups can be helpful in comparing others’ interpretations of topics and ideas with your own.
  • In the essays you should be able to talk about, and use as examples, relevant primary source documents and assigned articles.
  • Concerning dates: 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.
Introduction and Evidence
  • Why is gender in antiquity so difficult to study?
  • How do ancient gender roles relate to the ideas of public and private? Past and future? Mortal and divine?
  • Why does intercourse with Shamhat transfer Enkidu from the wild to civilization? How dioes he change?
  • What is the significance of Shamhat being a harlot?
  • What do Ishtar’s interactions with Gilgamesh tell us about her as a goddess? What factors spur his rejection of her?
  • What role does Ninsun, Gilgamesh’s mother, play in his story?
  • TERMS: Shamhat – Ishtar – city-state – “the work of a woman”
  • What’s the relationship between Egypt’s gods and its pharaohs? How does this relate to the pharaoh’s gender?
  • How does Hatshepsut come to be accepted as pharaoh? Is Hatshepsut a queen, or a female king? Is there a difference?
  • How did Thutmose III treat her memory at the end of his reign? What are some possible explanations for his actions?
  • Why is might innovation such as a female pharaoh be more likely in the New Kingdom than in previous eras?
  • What role did Nefertiti play in the political and religious dramas of her time?
  • How does Cleopatra VII, the last of the pharaohs, represent both Egyptian and Hellenistic traditions?
  • TERMS: damnatio memoriae – ma’at – God’s Wife of Amun – Hatshepsut – Nefertiti
  • What factors help to bring about the exclusion of women from religious positions and rituals in the years following the return to Judea?
  • In the book of Esther, how is Esther characterized? How is she contrasted to Vashti, the Persian wife of the king?
  • What is the story of Esther trying to say about about community and gender? What’s the message of Ruth’s story?
  • Why do you think these tales were thought instructuve enough to be included in the sacred writings of the Jews?
  • TERMS: Babylonian captivity – Esther – Ruth
Gods and Goddesses
  • What gender roles characterize the pre-Olympian gods (the Titans), such as Cronos (male) and Gaia and Rhea (female)?
  • What might be the significance of the first children of Zeus being sets of daughters—the fates, the muses, and the graces?
  • How does Athena seem to stand astride gender roles? What’s the significance of her birth?
  • How does Hekate occupy a special place in relation to the gods and mortals?
  • Why do you think humans told stories of the gods misbehaving so often?
  • How is Pandora made the instrument of humanity’s punishment? How does this story relate to the story of Eve?
  • How did the Egyptian goddess Isis find a place in the Roman pantheon? What appeal did she hold in the empire?
  • TERMS: Homer – Hesiod – Rhea – birth of Athena – Pandora –Vesta – Fortuna – Bona Dea – Isis
Epic and Drama
  • How is marriage used in Homer’s works (Agamemnon/Klytaemnestra, Hector/Adromache, Meneleaos/Helen, Odysseos/Penelope) to make arguments about right and wrong?
  • Why is Klytaemnestra such a polarizing figure? What do you think she represents to different people?
  • What does the story of Nausicaa—and her parents—tell us about the expectations of women in the Greek world?
  • What does Penelope’s artifice (her holding off the suitors with her weaving) tell us about her role as lady of Ithaca?
  • Why is her son, Telemachos, seem comparatively useless?
  • How does Aeschylos’s play Eumenides show the Furies and Athena as goddesses? How does the fact that Orestes murdered his mother factor in? What does this play tell us about Athens at the time it was written?
  • What is Euripides’s The Bacchae telling us about relations between genders in Athens? Why is Dionysos angry? Why are the ones experiencing his frenzy women, and why does Pentheos end up dead? What is the playwright trying to tell us?
  • In Sophocles’s Antigone, what is the conflict between Creon and Antigone about? How is gender relevant to both of them?
  • In Euripides’s Medea, why does Jason cast Medea aside? How is Medea’s vengeance shown? Why does she get away with it?
  • TERMS: Klytaemnestra – Penelope – Iphigeneia – Antigone – Medea – Medusa – Nausicaa
Greek Society
  • How is lyric poetry different from epic poetry (like Homer)? How is Sappho’s poetry so representative of this form?
  • What are some possible explanations for Hesiod’s comments about women in Works and Days?
  • What do the stylized statue forms of archaic Greeks (kouros male, korÄ“ female) tell us about gender expectations then?
  • Sparta and Athens are atypical extremes in many ways, including the status of women. How were things different for women in Sparta? How are gender roles for men reinforced in Sparta?
  • As with Sparta, Athens was an atypical extreme. What do we know about the treatment of women in classical Athens? What are some of the explanations? How were things different between the upper and lower classes?
  • What role did Greek women play in the transmission of cultural narrative?
  • What do the presentations of adultery and prostitution amongst the Greeks tell us? How were hetaerae special?
  • TERMS: agora – korÄ“ – lyric poetry – Sappho – Athenian seclusion – hetaera
Roman Society
  • What do Roman names tell us about the expectations placed on both men and women in Roman public and private life?
  • What role does the guardian play in the life of a Roman woman?
  • What kinds of marriage were there in Roman society? What were the benefits and consequences of non-manus marriage?
  • Why did the vestal priestesses occupy such a special place in Roman culture? What did they represent?
  • What other ways were Roman women involved in the relations between Rome and her gods?
  • What can we say about the lives of Roman slave women and freedwomen? Why might a slave woman be said to be better off than a woman who was free but impoverished?
  • What’s significant about the story of the capture of the Sabine women? How does it reflect the role of the Roman matron?
  • Why does Roman legend use a rape (the rape of Lucretia) as the catalyst for the rejection of monarchy?
  • What attributes made Cornelia the ideal matron? What other Roman women were admired, and why?
  • What does graffiti in Pompeii tell us about the participation of women in Roman politics?
  • How does the debate over repeal of the Oppian Law relate to changing gender roles and the role of tradition in Rome?
  • TERMS: maiden and matron – guardianship – marriage with manus – freedwoman – manumission – Vestal virgin – Oppian Law – Lucretia – Cornelia the mother of the Gracchi – Octavia – Livia