CLEP Western Civilization I Exam Answer Key

1. Choice (E) is the best choice. Ziggurats are tall stair-stepped towers built by Mesopotamians. The remaining choices are true: The Phoenicians developed purple dyes associated with royalty, sailing technology used all over the ancient world, an alphabet which formed the foundation of many writing systems still in use, and influential metalworking practices.

2. Choice (D) is the best answer. Around 600 B.C., the Lydians of Asia Minor were one of the first to coin metal currency.

3. Choice (C) is the best choice because Athenian culture developed more than a thousand years later than Minoan. The remaining choices all reflect true statements, so none is the best choice for the question. The legendary King Minos is the namesake for the island. Knossos was the center of Minoan culture and its capital was on the island of Crete. The capital was a mazelike structure from which we derive the term “labyrinth.” Many frescoes, or wall paintings, have been uncovered and reconstructed provide scholars a great source of information about Minoan culture.

4. Choice (A) is correct. The word “democracy” comes from two Greek root words: demos “people” and kratia “rule.”

5. Choice (A) is correct. Members of the slave class of ancient Sparta were called helots. Hoplites, refers to a type of foot soldier. The ephorate was a governing body in Sparta. Metics is a term that refers to a class of people living in Athens who were not Athenian citizens by birth and who could not own land or run for political office. Archon refers to a governing body in Athens that assumed the duties of the former kings.

6. Choice (A) is the answer. Draco was an Athenian who sentenced offenders to death for minor infractions. The word “Draconian” is still used today to refer to unusually harsh punishments. Solon is the legendary reformer of the Athenian legal system. Alcibiades is an Athenian famous for leading the navy in a disastrous campaign in Sicily. Pericles is the Athenian leader who incurred the resentment of other city-states in ancient Greece because of the amount of power he amassed. Aristophanes is considered the greatest author of comedies of the classical period.

7. Each of the statements is true except choice (C). The historical record indicates the Greeks were outnumbered by the Persians many times over. Persian forces did invade the Greek mainland in retaliation for Athens’ involvement in an uprising against Persian Satraps in Asia Minor. Greek soldiers did repel the Persian army at the battle of Marathon. Persian forces did penetrate the Greek’s defenses and sack Athens. Athens and Sparta did align themselves against Persia in their defense of the Greek mainland.

8. Choice (D) is incorrect. The Iliad and Odyssey were most likely composed in the 8th Century, B.C., not during the golden age of Pericles, which lasted from the end of the Persian Wars in 448 B.C. to the beginning of the Peloponnesian Wars in 404 B.C. Pericles’ oversight of Athens coincides directly with the life of Socrates, the great philosopher. The Acropolis was restored during Pericles’ time. The art form of the tragedy flourished while Pericles was in power. The famous histories of Herodotus and Thucydides were written during Pericles’ time.

9. Choice (D) is the best choice. Athens did not invade Sparta. Athens’ power did create resentment among other Greek city-states. Athens’ monopoly on trade accounts for a significant cause of the war. Sparta did establish an alliance to counteract the power of Athens. The Spartans did invade Attica, an area near Athens.

10. Choice (B) is the best choice. The Odyssey focuses on Odysseus, but he is only one of many characters depicted in the Iliad. Both epics deal with the Trojan War or its aftermath. Both works are attributed to Homer, even if some scholars have reason to doubt the attribution. The works appear to be written in the 8th Century, B.C. Both poems extend from an oral tradition.