Ancient History: Greece : Art and Culture

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Ancient History: Greece

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Art And Culture

Aristophanes is most frequently remembered as __________.

Possible Answers:

a playwright who wrote influential comedies

a philosopher who contributed to the development of Epicureanism

a playwright who wrote influential tragedies

a philosopher who contributed to the development of Stoicism

a military tactician who led the Athenian forces at the Battle of Marathon

Correct answer:

a playwright who wrote influential comedies

Explanation:

Aristophanes is perhaps the most famous and celebrated of the ancient Greek comedy playwrights. Comedy was widely used in Greek society (particularly in Athens) to satirize and criticize society.

Example Question #1 : Art And Culture

Sophocles is most well known for __________.

Possible Answers:

formalizing the Athenian legal code

reforming Athenian democracy

authoring tragedies

authoring dramas

establishing a school of philosophy

Correct answer:

authoring tragedies

Explanation:

Sophocles is one of the three famous Athenian authors of tragedies, along with Aeschylus and Euripides. Sophocles’ most famous work is probably Oedipus Rex.

Example Question #2 : Art And Culture

What was an acropolis in ancient Greece?

Possible Answers:

None of these

A fortified area on top of hill, often used for ceremonial purposes

A defensive fortification designed to protect against land-based invasions

An open space designated for public meetings

A shallow harbor designed to prevent naval invasions

Correct answer:

A fortified area on top of hill, often used for ceremonial purposes

Explanation:

In ancient Greece an acropolis was a fortified area on top of hill that was often used for religious or ceremonial purposes. The most famous example of this is the Acropolis in Athens, which is the site of the famous Parthenon temple.

Example Question #3 : Art And Culture

Many of the more famous Greek dramas address ancient Greek concerns about __________.

Possible Answers:

the efficacy of different forms of government

the rise of the Macedonian Empire and the threat of foreign invasion

private property and the wealth disparity in Athenian society

social hierarchy and the importance of democratic institutions

the relationship between fate and free will in people’s lives

Correct answer:

the relationship between fate and free will in people’s lives

Explanation:

Many of the more famous Greek dramas, such as the works of Aeschylus and Sophocles, are focused on the relationship between fate and free will in people’s lives. This is often examined in dramas through the intervention of the Gods and the inescapable truth of prophecy.

Example Question #4 : Art And Culture

The Golden Age of Greece was a time of advancements in art and architecture. Pericles goal was to have Athenian artists and architects create magnificent sculptures and buildings to bring glory to Athens. The various examples of Athenian art set the standard for artists of the future. At the center of Pericles plans was the Parthenon. The Parthenon was a masterpiece of Athenian architectural design and craftsmanship. The Parthenon was a temple built by the architects Iktinos, Kallikrates and possibly Karpion, to honor Athena, the goddess of wisdom and patroness of Athens. The temple was built in the Doric style occupying 23,000 square feet of the city. The main purpose of the Parthenon was to house the 30 foot gold and ivory sculpture of Athena carved by Pheidias. Greek sculptors created figures that were graceful, strong and perfectly formed with faces expressing serenity. Their aim was to capture an idealized human body in motion. 

Athenian artists framed their works in ideal beauty not realism. This attention to harmony, order, balance and proportion became the standard for what art form?

Possible Answers:

Cave painting

Modern Art

Decorative Art

Classical Art

Abstract Art

Correct answer:

Classical Art

Explanation:

The Athenian style of art became the standard for classical art. Their attention to detail combined with a focus on grace and idealistic form established the tradition for art for centuries. Modern and Abstract art are trends of the twentieth and twenty first century. Cave paintings predate the work of the Greeks to prehistoric times. Decorative art is another term for abstract, botanic and scenic art.

Example Question #5 : Art And Culture

The Athenians developed drama and comedy as written and performed art.  The first Western theaters were in Greece. Theatrical productions were an expression of civic pride and tribute to the gods.  Wealthy citizens paid the cost of producing plays seeing this as an act of civic duty. Tragedies were serious dramas about love, hate, war or betrayal. The hero was an important person who was gifted with extraordinary abilities. The hero also had a tragic flaw, often hubris, which caused his downfall. The themes of the tragedies were leadership, justice and duties owed to the gods.  Athenian tragedies included a chorus that sang, danced and recited poetry. Tragedies were serious dramas about love, hate, war or betrayal. The comedies in contrast were more slapstick in tone and often with crude humor. The comedies made fun of politics, respected citizens and the social ideas of the time. 

Athenian comedies were very satirical for their time. Which of the following is a logical conclusion to reach regarding the acceptance of this style of comedy in Greece?

Possible Answers:

The Athenians viewed the world full of laughter and wit

Athenian playwrights soon began to moderate their comedies in fear of imprisonment or death

Not many Athenians could afford to view the plays so few people knew the context of the plays

Athenians accepted criticism of themselves as a sign of their openness to public discussion and freedom of speech

Athenian plays were reviewed by a special committee to ensure the plays did not offend anyone

Correct answer:

Athenians accepted criticism of themselves as a sign of their openness to public discussion and freedom of speech

Explanation:

The Athenians believed strongly in freedom and public discussion. They recognized that the humor of the comedies, while a bit bawdy and crude, was presented to make them think about events and activities in Athens and correct the mistakes made in political activities or social contact. Life, for the Athenians, was not a witticism. The comedies were intended to teach a lesson in a lighthearted manner. The plays were paid for by wealthy citizens of Athens to make attendance free and open to the public. The playwrights of the comedies were free to express their satire in any manner or form. One would say it was “no holds barred” with their comedy. The Greeks playwrights were free to write their satire, as stinging as it may have been, without fear of punishment.

Example Question #6 : Art And Culture

Alcman was a(n) __________.

Possible Answers:

Spartan choral lyrical poet

Athenian poet, who wrote extensively on the foundation of Athens

Athenian tyrant, who ruled in the sixth century

Spartan philosopher, who reformed Sparta’s legal code in the seventh century

Athenian legal reformer

Correct answer:

Spartan choral lyrical poet

Explanation:

Alcman of Sparta was a Spartan choral lyrical poet. He is one of the famous “nine lyric poets” of the Greek Archaic Era. Alcman wrote many poems praising Spartan society and celebrating martial prowess. These poems were traditionally performed, accompanied by music, in large groups at Spartan public gatherings and religious festivals.

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