Ancient History: Greece : Classes and the Legal System

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Classes And The Legal System

Draco is most frequently remembered for __________.

Possible Answers:

leading the Ionian Revolt against the Persian Empire

leading the failed Athenian invasion of Syracuse during the Peloponnesian War

overthrowing the oligarchy and establishing democracy in Athens

establishing the first written legal code in Athens

his contributions to the development of drama and tragedy in Athenian society

Correct answer:

establishing the first written legal code in Athens

Explanation:

Draco, who lived in the seventh century BCE in Athens, is most frequently remembered for the written legal code he established. His written legal code made Athenian justice and law more equitable and consistent; however, he advocated for extremely harsh punishments and contributed to class tensions in Athens. We get the word “draconian” from Draco, which should provide an example of how his legal reforms have been viewed by historians and philosophers ever since.

Example Question #2 : Classes And The Legal System

More than any other Athenian, this man is responsible for the establishment of Athenian democracy.

Possible Answers:

Pericles

Draco

Alexander the Great

Cleisthenes

Socrates

Correct answer:

Cleisthenes

Explanation:

The two men most responsible for establishing democracy in Athens are Solon and Cleisthenes. Solon is known as the great reformer of Athenian history. He ruled as archon in Athens at a time when most of the citizens of Athens were effectively enslaved by the aristocracy. Solon established that all Athenian citizens were free, at the very least, to participate in the political process; however, Solon’s reforms were soon undermined when the tyrant Peisistratos seized power in 510 BCE. In the chaos that followed it fell to another aristocrat, Cleisthenes, to firmly establish the democratic principles that would guide Athens for the next century.

Example Question #3 : Classes And The Legal System

In the Archaic Era, Greek politics was reorganized along the revolutionary idea of __________.

Possible Answers:

democracy

private property

military conscription

communal ownership of the land

citizenship

Correct answer:

citizenship

Explanation:

In the early Archaic Era, many Greek city-states were coalescing and forming distinct identities. Although we tend to think of democracy as the major Greek development of this time period, it was only practiced in a few city-states. The real political innovation of the Archaic Era Greeks was the idea of citizenship. That is to say, that all native and free members of a community are equal and have a right and duty to participate in the governing of the community. This was not an idea that was practiced in the other parts of the world familiar to the ancient Greeks.

Example Question #4 : Classes And The Legal System

Most of the slaves in ancient Greece __________.

Possible Answers:

were prisoners of war from other Greek city-states

had been forced into slavery through excessive debts

were born into the households they served

were purchased from international slave traders

were prisoners of war from Persia and North Africa

Correct answer:

were purchased from international slave traders

Explanation:

Slaves in ancient Greece originated from all of these sources, but the majority of slaves were purchased from international slave traders. The Greeks enslaved defeated enemies, members of neighboring Greek communities, so-called “barbarians” to the north, and even, in some places, those who could not pay their debts. Slavery was extremely common in Greek society, particularly during the Archaic and Classical Eras.

Example Question #5 : Classes And The Legal System

Which of these statements about the introduction of political rights, citizenship, and republican institutions in Greek city-states is most accurate?

Possible Answers:

It took place suddenly and abruptly, during the Classical Era.

It took place gradually, over several centuries, beginning during the Archaic Era.

It took place suddenly and abruptly, during the Archaic Era.

It took place suddenly and abruptly, beginning during the Greek Dark Ages.

It took place gradually, over several centuries, ending in the Archaic Era.

Correct answer:

It took place gradually, over several centuries, beginning during the Archaic Era.

Explanation:

The introduction of political rights for all citizens and republican institutions was neither sudden nor abrupt. It took place over a period of several centuries, beginning in the Archaic Era and lasting all the way through the Classical Era. Athens, for example, notably withdrew and extended rights and citizenship on numerous occasions based on the social and political environment of each generation.

 

Example Question #6 : Classes And The Legal System

The poor gained political rights in many Greek city-states as a result of __________.

Possible Answers:

peaceful political revolutions, in which the elites voluntarily gave away some power

the emergence of republican institutions

violent political revolutions, in which the elites were massacred

tyrants and demagogues seizing power and seeking to curry favor with the common people

all of these answers are correct

Correct answer:

tyrants and demagogues seizing power and seeking to curry favor with the common people

Explanation:

In many Greek city-states the poor were excluded from the political process until some tyrant seized power from the usual ruling elites. These tyrants would not generally be able to rely on the support of these displaced elites, so they had to turn to the common people to reinforce their regimes. Many tyrants began to extend political rights to the poor in exchange for the poor supporting their regime.

Example Question #7 : Classes And The Legal System

The Greek legal system during the Archaic Era was based around __________.

Possible Answers:

repairing or maintaining peaceful and accepted social relations within a community

a complex legal code inherited from the New Kingdom of Egypt

a system of draconian punishments and rigid social hierarchy

the retributive principles established by Hammurabi’s Code

none of these answers; the Greek legal system was almost nonexistent during the Archaic Era

Correct answer:

repairing or maintaining peaceful and accepted social relations within a community

Explanation:

The Greek legal system during the Archaic Era was based around the concept of communal harmony. The most important aspect of justice to the Archaic Greeks was to maintain or repair peaceful social relations within a community. To this end, the punishment for a crime was not necessarily harsh (people might not even be executed for murder if the family of the victim accepted payment), the important thing was that the community could heal and move forward.

Example Question #8 : Classes And The Legal System

Solon is most notable for his contributions to __________.

Possible Answers:

the development of democracy in Athens

the Spartan assault on Athens during the Peloponnesian War

the Athenian defense of the city during the Peloponnesian War

the defense of Greece from the Persians during the First Greco-Persian War

the growth of philosophy in Ionia during the Archaic Era

Correct answer:

the development of democracy in Athens

Explanation:

Solon was an Athenian lawmaker and politician in the sixth century BCE. He was primarily a legal reformer who made several key changes to the Athenian legal code. These reforms are credited with paving the way for the development of democracy in Athens.

Example Question #1 : Classes And The Legal System

In ancient Greece citizenship tended to confer all of these rights and privileges to men except __________.

Possible Answers:

access to courts and a fair judicial system

protection from enslavement

the right to hold public office

the right to vote for legislative assemblies

freedom of speech

Correct answer:

the right to hold public office

Explanation:

The emergence of the idea of citizenship, during the early years of the Archaic Era in ancient Greece, was vital to the development of city-states and representative government. The degree to which citizenship was implemented varied significantly from city-state to city-state, but generally it conferred the right to vote for legislative assemblies, access to courts and protection of the law, protection from enslavement by other peoples, and the freedom to speak one’s mind. It did not, usually, guarantee the right to hold public office. This was generally limited by wealth, social status and property. It is worth noting that although women were considered citizens just like men, the freedoms and privileges afforded to them were less complete. Women, for example, generally could not vote or participate in the political process.

Example Question #2 : Classes And The Legal System

Which of these Greek city-states experienced the most frequent and violent slave uprisings?

Possible Answers:

Argos

Corinth

Athens

Sparta

Miletus

Correct answer:

Sparta

Explanation:

Slave uprisings were fairly uncommon in ancient Greek society. This is probably because in most Greek city-states, slaves never quite made up the majority of the population and were drawn from so many different backgrounds as to make communication and organization near impossible. The notable exception to this rule is Sparta. There were far more slaves in Spartan society when compared to other Greek city-states and slaves in Sparta were generally treated far more brutally. As a result, and not surprisingly, Sparta experienced several violent slave uprisings.

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