A History of World Societies Combined Volume 10th Edition by John P. McKay – Test Bank


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Sample Questions Posted Below






Answer each of the following questions with an essay. Be sure to include specific examples that support your thesis and conclusions.



1. Describe Greece in what historians have called the Dark Age. How did the development of the polis help Greece avoid some of the weaknesses of this period?



2. Trace the development of philosophy and science from the Pre-Socratic origins through Aristotle. What were the most significant developments? What was the general principle that guided Greek philosophers? How did this change in the Hellenistic period?



3. Like Mesopotamian society, Greek civilization lacked political unity. Why? How did disunity affect the development of Greek society in general? What, if any, were the factors that fostered homogeneity?



4. The Hellenistic civilization saw the spread of cities founded by Alexander and his successors. What were the role and impact of these new cities?



5. How did trade in the Hellenistic period provide the most enduring legacy of Alexander’s empire? What long-distance trade patterns and relationships were established?




Answer Key


1. Answer would ideally include:


· The Dark Age saw widespread problems, including invasions, disasters, and migrations. Craftsmanship became simpler, and skills such as writing declined. Greeks dispersed beyond the mainland. The Iliad and Odyssey recorded events of the Trojan War and included heroes, divine characters who were larger than life but also petty, and populations that had to endure suffering. The polis helped organize a community of citizens with their own laws and customs. Poleis were generally small and self-governing but helped Greek individuals find their place in the world.

2. Answer would ideally include:


· The student should discuss the development of Greek science and philosophy, noting the belief in basic elements (Pre-Socratics), atomic theory (Democritus), medicine (Hippocrates), Sophist concentration on logic and the study of human beings, the Socratic method, Platonic dualism and political thought, and the impressive achievements of Aristotle in natural science and political philosophy. A good essay should stress the Greek emphasis on rational thought and the belief that the universe could be explained and understood. In addition, the essay should emphasize the Greek concentration on the study of human beings. The essay should conclude with a discussion of how Hellenistic philosophy introduced concepts of personal happiness and an increasingly more pragmatic view of science, such as the heliocentric theories of Aristarchus.

3. Answer would ideally include:


· To explain the lack of political unity, one should emphasize the geography of the Greek peninsula. Next, the distinctiveness and independence of the Greek city-states should be discussed, using Athens and Sparta as examples; the Peloponnesian War and the Macedonian conquest of Greece can also be used as evidence of the independent nature of Greek civilization. In contrast, the Olympic and Delphic games, language, religious beliefs and customs, and philosophical inquiry can all be used as examples of unity.

4. Answer would ideally include:


· The student should discuss the urban nature of the Hellenistic world. This discussion should include the motivation behind the founding of the new cities and the growth of established cities, the official functions of the cities, their role in the spread of Greek ideas and peoples, and their importance in the emergence of the trading networks in this era. The essay should also consider how the cities provided a place for Greek and non-Greek cultures to merge. A good essay should also mention how the urbanized and economically unified Hellenistic world proved valuable to the Romans after their conquest of the Mediterranean world.

5. Answer would ideally include:


· In the Hellenistic period, the urbanization of Alexander’s empire (and its successor divisions) was marked by trade in basic commodities and luxury goods. Coinage and the use of koine as the common language of the Mediterranean world provided links between Greece and other cultures that remained in place and facilitated the Roman Empire. The essay should describe the trade patterns established by the Greeks, such as indirect contact with China and after Alexander, direct contact with India. There were also trade ties between the Hellenistic world and Arabia and sub-Saharan Africa. Generally, the Greeks exported metal weapons, wine, olive oil, and cloth, while importing silk, ivory, precious stones, spices, and so forth. Slaves travelled in all directions. More important, however, than the long-distance trade in luxury goods was shorter-haul trade in basic bulk items such as grain.




Use the following to answer questions 1-10:


Select the word or phrase from the Terms section that best matches the definition or example provided in the Definitions section.



  1. polis
  2. hoplites
  3. democracy
  4. oligarchy
  5. mystery religions
  6. Platonic ideals
  7. Hellenistic
  8. Hellenization
  9. Epicureanism
  10. Stoicism



1. In Plato’s thought, the eternal unchanging ideal forms that are the essence of true reality. _________________



2. A system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, who viewed a life of contentment, free from fear and suffering, as the greatest good. _________________



3. Generally translated as “city-state,” it was the basic political and institutional unit of ancient Greece. _________________



4. A type of Greek government in which a small group of wealthy citizens, not necessarily of aristocratic birth, ruled. _________________



5. A type of Greek government in which all citizens administered the workings of government. _________________



6. Heavily armed citizens who served as infantrymen and fought to defend the polis. _________________



7. The most popular of Hellenistic philosophies, it considered nature an expression of divine will and held that people can be happy only when living in accordance with nature. _________________



8. Religious systems in the Hellenistic world that incorporated aspects of both Greek and Eastern religions; they were characterized by secret doctrines, rituals of initiation, and the promise of an afterlife. _________________



9. Literally means “like the Greek”; describes the period from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.E. to the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 B.C.E., when Greek culture spread. _________________



10. The spread of Greek ideas, culture, and traditions to non-Greek groups across a wide area. _________________




Answer Key


1. f. Platonic ideals
2. i. Epicureanism
3. a. polis
4. d. oligarchy
5. c. democracy
6. b. hoplites
7. j. Stoicism
8. e. mystery religions
9. g. Hellenistic
10. h. Hellenization



Choose the letter of the best answer.



1. How did the geography of Greece affect its development?
  A) It had little impact on the development of Greek society.
  B) It enabled a strong central government to dominate the political order.
  C) It helped to unite the Greek city-states.
  D) It was a divisive force in Greek life.



2. Why was the growth of great empires (like those in Mesopotamia and Egypt) less likely to develop in ancient Greece?
  A) The dominance of a middle class, not peasants, worked against empire building.
  B) Its people were too ethnically and culturally diverse.
  C) The rugged terrain discouraged expansion of any one center.
  D) Greek military technology was slow to develop.



3. Which of the following is true of the Minoans?
  A) They formed a society that lived on the island of Crete.
  B) They settled in Greece after they were driven from their homes in Persia.
  C) They were a matriarchal society that lived on the island of Sicily.
  D) They were the first peoples who formed a society on the Greek peninsula.



4. How are the gods portrayed in the Homeric poems?
  A) With many human characteristics
  B) As seemingly obsessed with their desire to be human
  C) As largely unconcerned with humanity
  D) As bitter toward humans for their sacrifices



5. How was the Greek polis different from older models of city-states?
  A) The polis was strictly a political institution.
  B) The polis was a community of citizens.
  C) The polis was unified by one shared religion.
  D) The polis was seen as a kingdom under a divine ruler.



6. What was an agora?
  A) A temple complex
  B) A fortified stronghold
  C) A marketplace
  D) A plot of arable land for farming



7. Which of the following refers to heavily armed Greek foot soldiers?
  A) Hoplites
  B) Acropolis
  C) Chora
  D) Legionaries



8. What does the term oligarchy mean?
  A) “The rule of the few”
  B) “The rule of the people”
  C) “The rule of the excellent”
  D) “The rule of the king”



9. Which of the following was one of the causes of Greek colonization, and a particularly persistent problem for Sparta?
  A) A lack of financial prosperity in the polis
  B) Overpopulation and a limited food supply
  C) The need to find new gods to worship
  D) An overabundance of natural resources



10. How did the Lycurgan system in Sparta shape its political organization?
  A) It led to the creation of a society ruled by an aristocratic, warrior elite.
  B) It led to the start of a dictatorship controlled by the most powerful Spartan general.
  C) It led to the development of a democratic state in which helot and Spartan ruled together.
  D) It led to the erosion of Spartan military power in favor of the helots.



11. Which of the following is true of Spartan women?
  A) They were expected to assist their husbands and travel with them on military campaigns.
  B) They enjoyed a more active, public life than most other Greek women.
  C) Their single responsibility was to have many children.
  D) They were more restricted than most other Greek women.



12. How did the Spartan military view same-sex relationships between Spartan soldiers?
  A) They were seen as detrimental because they promoted fighting between comrades.
  B) They were ignored by leaders because personal choices were of no concern to the military.
  C) They were viewed as advantageous because lovers would fight harder to defend one another.
  D) They were prohibited because homosexual behavior was looked down upon by other Greeks.



13. What important position did Solon hold as he reformed Athens?
  A) King
  B) Archon
  C) Emperor
  D) Tyrant



14. What did Solon accomplish through his reforms in Athens?
  A) He established democracy.
  B) He established social equality.
  C) He gave common citizens a place in the assembly.
  D) He eliminated the position of chief magistrate.



15. What two law-making bodies guided Athenian political life?
  A) The boule and the ecclesia
  B) The agora and the chora
  C) The archon and the boule
  D) The agora and the archon



16. Athens and Persia began a series of wars over Greek cities in what region?
  A) Peloponnesus
  B) Macedonia
  C) Ionia
  D) Crete



17. What Mediterranean island did Athens invade during the Peloponnesian War?
  A) Crete
  B) Cyprus
  C) Lesbos
  D) Sicily



18. Which of the following contributed to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War?
  A) Spartan domination of the Aegean
  B) Athenian imperialism
  C) A Persian invasion of Asia Minor
  D) A Spartan attempt to gain control of Ionia



19. What did Thucydides believe caused the Peloponnesian War?
  A) Divine intervention in Athenian politics
  B) Athens’s desire to spread democracy
  C) Sparta’s need to find new food sources
  D) Human greed and desire for power



20. The crowning achievement of Pericles’s rebuilding of the Acropolis was the Parthenon, a temple dedicated to which of the following?
  A) Athena and the greatness of Athens
  B) Zeus and the idea of a unified Greece
  C) Poseidon and Athens’s control of the seas
  D) Aphrodite and the importance of love



21. The plays of Sophocles emphasized the precedence of which of the following over human law and customs?
  A) Family needs
  B) Personal happiness
  C) Military success
  D) Divine law



22. How was the daily life of Greek elites similar to the lives of more ordinary people?
  A) All people in Athens were relatively affluent and could afford a “good life.”
  B) Everyone paid heavy annual taxes regardless of social class.
  C) They had a relatively modest material standard of living.
  D) All families depended almost entirely on slave labor.



23. What was unusual about slaves in Athens?
  A) All slaves were captured and imported from the wars in North Africa.
  B) Slaves were legally forbidden to read.
  C) Slaves could vote as a result of democratic reforms.
  D) Slaves were paid for their work.



24. What was the main function of women from citizen families in Athens?
  A) To accompany their husbands in public settings
  B) To run family estates and manage businesses while their husbands were at war
  C) To perform manual labor in the fields or sell goods in the agora
  D) To bear and raise children



25. By the classical era, Greek religion focused on which of the following?
  A) Worship of a group of gods understood to live on Mount Olympus
  B) Monotheistic worship of Zeus as the one true god
  C) Worship of only male deities, as female deities came to be seen as too powerless
  D) Individual worship of a polis’s chosen deity and abandonment of all Pan-Hellenic rituals



26. What was the most important result of the athletic contests held at Olympia?
  A) The contests allowed Greek leaders to identify the greatest soldiers.
  B) The contests led to the creation of a Pan-Hellenic trading network.
  C) The contests were unifying factors in Greek life.
  D) The contests put an end to political competition between Greek city-states.



27. What did the Pre-Socratics conclude from their observations?
  A) That the universe consisted of four substances––air, fire, earth, and water
  B) That one god had created the entire world
  C) That the universe was too complex to be understood
  D) That humans had achieved physical perfection



28. What did Hippocrates think was the best way to treat illnesses?
  A) Pray that the evil spirits would leave
  B) Use bloodletting and other invasive techniques to remove evil spirits from the body
  C) Use natural means to address imbalances in the four basic humors
  D) Offer more sacrifices to the gods



29. What crime was Socrates tried and executed for in 399 B.C.E.?
  A) Giving information to a Persian intelligence agent
  B) Undermining the authority of the government
  C) Denying the divinity of Zeus
  D) Corrupting the youth of Athens



30. Which student of Socrates developed the theory of “forms”?
  A) Plato
  B) Aristotle
  C) Ptolemy
  D) Zeno



31. According to Aristotle, true knowledge could be discerned from which of the following?
  A) Contemplation of perfect possibilities
  B) Observations of the real world
  C) Prayer or divine intervention
  D) Specialized religious ritual



32. After defeating Athens in the Peloponnesian War, Sparta was defeated in 371 B.C.E. by what city-state?
  A) Alexandria
  B) Corinth
  C) Delos
  D) Thebes



33. Philip II of Macedonia was able to conquer Greece because the Greek city-states were
  A) still occupied fighting the Persians.
  B) severely weakened by earthquakes.
  C) unable to put aside their quarrels and unite to defend themselves.
  D) unprepared for his surprise attack.



34. After Philip II of Macedonia unified Greece, he called upon Greeks and Macedonians to do which of the following?
  A) Promise five years of peace to allow for recovery from the war
  B) Work together to liberate the Ionian colonies from Persian control
  C) Move the royal court to Athens and build him a new palace
  D) Form a naval alliance with Persia and invade India



35. What did Alexander the Great do in Egypt once he had conquered it?
  A) Ordered the construction of the city of Alexandria
  B) Overturned Egyptian traditions in favor of Greek customs
  C) Decimated the land and pillaged the trade centers
  D) Forced the Egyptians to open new trade routes to Greece



36. How did the Hellenistic city differ from the polis?
  A) It perceived itself as a community of citizens.
  B) It was united by religious rituals.
  C) It tolerated same-sex relations.
  D) It was not autonomous and had to follow royal orders.



37. Why did Alexander’s eastward expansion of his empire stop at the Hyphasis River?
  A) His Macedonian army refused to continue fighting.
  B) The powerful Indian army defeated the Macedonians.
  C) The Persian army attacked him from the west.
  D) His spiritual advisors warned of unfavorable omens.



38. What happened to Alexander’s empire following his death?
  A) His empire was torn apart by more than forty years of civil war.
  B) His son ruled briefly as emperor until he was assassinated.
  C) Athens declared its independence from Macedonia.
  D) His empire was peacefully partitioned by a trio of powerful generals.



39. Which of the following is true of the Hellenistic city?
  A) It had homogenous populations.
  B) It was hampered by an inefficient bureaucracy that proved difficult to maintain.
  C) It was overseen by kings with limited authority.
  D) It resembled modern cities and served as both a cultural and economic center.



40. The spread of Hellenistic culture was bolstered by Alexander’s tradition of doing what in his newly conquered territories?
  A) Forcibly resettling conquered peoples in Greece
  B) Founding new cities with mixed populations
  C) Placing Macedonian kings in charge
  D) Censoring art and culture that criticized him



41. What was koine?
  A) The term used for Greco-Macedonian immigrants in one of the new cities
  B) The political organization that governed Jewish affairs
  C) The philosophical belief that fate, Tyche, ruled the world
  D) A common Greek dialect that developed throughout the Hellenistic period



42. How was Hellenistic trading made easier?
  A) Most traders spoke a variety of languages.
  B) Slaves working as pirates moved goods all over the Hellenistic world.
  C) Coinage was developed to facilitate convenient, standard payments.
  D) Traders began using camels to move goods in Europe.



43. Which of the following were major exports from Greek cities during the classical and Hellenistic periods?
  A) Gold and precious stones
  B) Olive oil and wine
  C) Feta cheese and lamb
  D) Silks and pearls



44. Why were slaves in high demand throughout the Hellenistic world?
  A) Slaves were traded for goods from China and India.
  B) Large-scale agriculture was dependent on slaves.
  C) Monarchs equated their power with how many slaves they owned.
  D) Manual labor continued to produce most goods.



45. Mystery religions featured which of the following?
  A) The promise of reincarnation
  B) The worship of a wide range of spirits and deities, both known and unknown
  C) A belief in the mysterious and sometimes malevolent force of Tyche
  D) A body of rituals and beliefs not divulged to anyone not initiated into them



46. What did Epicurus believe was the principal good of human life?
  A) Individual contribution to the civic life of the polis
  B) Pleasure, which he defined as the absence of pain
  C) The accumulation of power and wealth
  D) Helping others



47. What did the philosophy of Stoicism strongly emphasize?
  A) Personal achievement
  B) The acceptance of Tyche or chance
  C) The ability to endure suffering
  D) Living a virtuous life



48. What was Aristarchus’s most important contribution to astronomy?
  A) He argued that Earth is far larger than the sun.
  B) He theorized that the stars are close to Earth and to one another.
  C) He believed that Earth and the planets revolve around the sun.
  D) He asserted that telescopes are necessary for all astronomical work.



49. Archimedes’s many contributions to Hellenistic science include his theories about which of the following?
  A) Hydrostatics
  B) Heliocentrism
  C) Physics
  D) Astronomy



50. Which early scientist dissected corpses to learn more about anatomy and physiology?
  A) Euclid
  B) Archimedes
  C) Hippocrates
  D) Herophilus




Answer Key


1. D
2. C
3. A
4. A
5. B
6. C
7. A
8. A
9. B
10. A
11. B
12. C
13. B
14. C
15. A
16. C
17. D
18. B
19. D
20. A
21. D
22. C
23. D
24. D
25. A
26. C
27. A
28. C
29. D
30. A
31. B
32. D
33. C
34. B
35. A
36. D
37. A
38. A
39. D
40. B
41. D
42. C
43. B
44. D
45. D
46. B
47. D
48. C
49. A
50. D





Answer each question with three or four sentences.



1. Describe the geography of the areas inhabited by the Greeks. How did it affect the development of Greek civilization?



2. Describe the complex of Knossos on Crete and what it indicates about Minoan culture.



3. We know that Mycenaean civilization was particularly prone to warfare because of what evidence?



4. How do the democratic and oligarchic styles of government in the Greek polis compare? At what point might a tyrant be called for?



5. What were some of the problems that led to Solon’s reforms in Athens?



6. How did the Peloponnesian War grow out of the Persian Wars?



7. Discuss how Athenian playwrights used their forum to address issues and attempt to understand or resolve life’s basic conflicts.



8. Describe the cultural diversity of Alexander’s empire. What happened (politically and culturally) to his empire after his death?



9. Describe the various commodities that were the basis of the commercial trading network of the Hellenistic world. Consider material and nonmaterial trade. How did this commercial network enhance the unification of the Mediterranean world and beyond?



10. How do the mystery religions of the Hellenistic world represent a merging of Western (Greek) and Eastern cultures?




Answer Key


1. Answer would ideally include:


· The Greeks referred to their land as “Hellas,” and it included land on a peninsula surrounded by the Aegean, Adriatic, and Mediterranean Seas, as well as numerous islands. Over time, cities in Ionia (Anatolia) were added to this civilization. Most of this land is mountainous and lacks navigable rivers. Harbors did provide access to the seas and encouraged trade. The disconnectedness of the geography contributed to the disconnectedness of the Greek city-states, which generally lacked unity and favored independence.

2. Answer would ideally include:


· Knossos is a large structure with more than one thousand interconnected rooms, as well as pipes to bring in drinking water and sewers to remove waste. Archeological evidence indicates a wealthy culture, led by a king and a group of nobles. Minoan art shows women in prominent roles, including religious and athletic ones. Long thought to be a peaceful society, new excavations are revealing more walls around the cities, indicating a need for defense.

3. Answer would ideally include:


· Archeological evidence reveals that Mycenaean cities had thick stone walls, and gravesites contain weapons such as spears, javelins, and swords. Also, they had the first metal armor that we know of. The civilization was led by a king and his warrior aristocracy. Finally, palace records written in the script known as Linear B have been deciphered and indicate frequent warfare.

4. Answer would ideally include:


· Although democracy should mean a style of government in which all members of the state have a say in the government, and oligarchy means rule by just a few (usually wealthy) members, as the Greeks practiced these systems, they had much in common. Greek democracy only allowed a select number of citizens (male only) to vote. The main difference is that more members had power in the democracy than the oligarchy, and the oligarchy included a greater number of prosperous citizens. Both systems allowed for advancement. Tyrants often came to power during a period of violent political or social upheaval, and they were not always oppressive, sometimes using their power to benefit the citizens.

5. Answer would ideally include:


· The aristocracy of Athens had been ruling oppressively. Wealthy aristocrats seized the land of small landholders, or small landholders became so indebted to the wealthy that they were forced to sell family members into slavery or be exiled. Spurred by these injustices, the poorer classes demanded access to political power. Solon supported the common people. When they elected him archon, he enacted reforms that freed people enslaved for debt, cancelled all debts on land, and allowed commoners into the assembly, where they could vote in the election of magistrates.

6. Answer would ideally include:


· Although the Greek poleis did come together to fight the Persians in the fifth century B.C.E., the creation of the Delian League (a naval alliance intended to liberate Ionia from Persian rule) was increasingly dominated by Athens as the Athenians used its power to create an empire. Under Pericles, Athens grew so powerful and aggressive that it alarmed Sparta and its allies. Athenian imperialism and Sparta’s fear of an Athens-dominated Greece led to the generation-long conflict known as the Peloponnesian War.

7. Answer would ideally include:


· The plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes often explored the conflicts between individual needs and the needs of the polis. In the process of asking what a model citizen should be, these playwrights might not always have had the same answers, but all concurred in their belief in the possibility of a just society.

8. Answer would ideally include:


· By incorporating Greek and non-Greek territories into his empire, Alexander built a multilinguistic, multireligious, multicultural world. It included Greek, Egyptian, Persian, Babylonian, Indian, and Arab cultures, among others, and created new hybrid cultures such as Bactrian. To bridge the diversity, a new dialect called koine facilitated communication. After his death, Alexander’s empire was broken up into three main states (Egypt, Persia, and Greece and Macedonia), and a couple of smaller states (Bactria and Parthia). These political divisions were less important than the shared Hellenistic culture.

9. Answer would ideally include:


· Trade in the Hellenistic world included the material goods of metal weapons, wine, olive oil, cloth (wool and silk), precious stones and ivory, spices, grain, and slaves. Nonmaterial trade goods included Greek philosophical ideas and religious beliefs, such as Buddhism. The trade in goods and ideas unified the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian worlds.

10. Answer would ideally include:


· Mystery cults were a common feature of the Hellenic culture before Alexander, but were tied to specific deities in specific regions. The mystery religions of the Hellenistic world, however, were not tied to one particular region and thus represented a less geographically centered world than one in which culture provided links. New or non-Greek deities such as Tyche or Isis could now be incorporated into the Greek tradition of the mystery cult.


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