AP World History : Religions from Prehistory to 600 BCE

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP World History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Cultural History

Which of the following claimed the "Mandate of Heaven" to justify their rule? 

Possible Answers:

The Zhou dynasty

The Mesopotamians 

The Egyptians 

The Aryans

The Shang dynasty

Correct answer:

The Zhou dynasty

Explanation:

While all of the governments listed above justified their rule with religion, the Zhou dynasty was the first dynasty to claim that Tien, or heaven, had abandoned a previous ruling order (the Shang) to take over. 

Example Question #1 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all ___________.

Possible Answers:

non-theistic religions

Abrahamic religions

secular philosophies

Dharmic religions

polytheistic religions

Correct answer:

Abrahamic religions

Explanation:

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all Abrahamic religions, meaning they all share Abraham as an important prophet.

Dharmic religions are Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism; dharma is a complicated metaphysical concept, important to all these religions, that has to do with proper balance in the universe.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam aren't secular philosophies because they have a supernatural component.

While there are many different ways to practice Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, they all affirm the existence of a deity, therefore they are all theistic religions.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all monotheistic faiths; Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in one God, not many such as in a polytheistic religion.

Example Question #2 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Who is the king that restored the polytheistic religion of the New Kingdom of Pharaonic Egypt?

Possible Answers:

Amenhotep IV

Khufu I

Tutankhamun

Akhenaten

Ankhesenamun

Correct answer:

Tutankhamun

Explanation:

Tutankhamun is most famous for his legacy as a mummy in an undisturbed tomb. He also, however, restored the polytheistic Egyptian religion that his father, Akhenaten, had controversially overhauled into a monotheistic, heliocentric religion.

Example Question #3 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Whereas incorporating Greek religion and myths had a huge impact on Roman art, the indigenous, original Roman myths are largely restricted to _________________.

Possible Answers:

stories about apocalypse, the end of the world

racist caricatures of the "exotic", more eastern, Greeks

stories about their old alliances with the Trojans during the Trojan war against the Greeks led by Agamemnon

stories about the founding of Rome and the ancestry of powerful families

the concept of heaven, its layout and different castes

Correct answer:

stories about the founding of Rome and the ancestry of powerful families

Explanation:

Indigenous Roman myths were largely restricted to legends regarding the founding of Rome itself and its powerful families; myths on other subjects are almost always the result of influence from other cultures.

In Roman legend, one of the founders of Rome was a refugee from the Trojan war, Aeneas, but this means that Rome couldn't have been an ally of Troy because Rome was founded after Troy was destroyed.

Characterizing Greeks as exotic, emotional, and vastly different from Romans became a standard feature of Roman culture after the Roman Empire had expanded into Greece. The original, indigenous myths of Rome, therefore, did not revolve around stereotypes about Greeks.

The original Roman myths have no concept of a forthcoming apocalypse.

Heaven is not a concept found in early Roman myths, rather their ideas of the afterlife were largely influenced by Greek religion.

Example Question #4 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

According to myth, Rome was founded by two brothers, Romulus and Remus, whose __________________.

Possible Answers:

father was the God of war, Mars, and whose mother was Rhea Silvia, daughter of Humidor, last king of the Albans

father was the God of war, Mars, and whose mother was a she-wolf

father was a poor carpenter

childhoods were spent in a pleasure palace

mother, though a virgin, gave birth to them

Correct answer:

father was the God of war, Mars, and whose mother was Rhea Silvia, daughter of Humidor, last king of the Albans

Explanation:

According to Roman myth, Romulus and Remus were born to Mars, the god of war, and a human mother whose father was the last king of the Albans.

Romulus and Remus were supposedly suckled by a she-wolf, but she was not their mother.

Unlike the religious figure of Jesus, Romulus and Remus were not said to be conceived from a virgin birth.

Unlike the religious figure of Buddha, Romulus and Remus were not said to have been raised in a pleasure palace.

Romulus and Remus's father was a god, not a carpenter.

Example Question #5 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Tombs from Egyptian prehistory, especially those found above the Nile floodplain around 4000 BCE, often contain jewelry, personal items, and foodstuff ___________________.

Possible Answers:

indicating that this area used to be nearer to the Nile, which has shifted dramatically over the course of human history

indicating that Egyptians shut up people into these tombs while still alive

from centuries or even millennium in the future, indicating that these sites were considered holy, and were well cared for, well into the Islamic period

indicating that prehistoric Egyptians had a formalized concept of life and death

indicating that these tombs were originally homes

Correct answer:

indicating that prehistoric Egyptians had a formalized concept of life and death

Explanation:

In late Egyptian prehistory, as agricultural techniques became more refined allowing for food surpluses, evidence of ritualized concepts of death and the afterlife are increasingly found in tombs and other archaeological sites.

Egyptian tombs were never originally homes.

Ancient Egyptian polytheism died out before the Islamic period.

Although in civilizations like China, tombs of powerful people were sometimes filled with their living servants, archaeological finds do not exhibit many examples of such behavior in ancient Egypt.

Unlike the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the neighboring Mesopotamian region, the Nile River has not shifted dramatically over the course of human history.

Example Question #1 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Ancient Southeast Asian religion was highly influenced by religion from what is today ______________.

Possible Answers:

Madagascar

North America

Russia

North Africa

India

Correct answer:

India

Explanation:

Ancient Southeast Asian religion was highly influenced by indigenous Indian religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Ancient Southeast Asian religion is Dharmic, just as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Indigenous Russian religions did not influence Southeast Asian religion; and neither did indigenous religions from Madagascar, North America, or North Africa.

Example Question #7 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

In Hindu religious culture, temples are often considered _________________.

Possible Answers:

prime real estate for community functions, which is why they double as venues for sporting events

contrary to faith since Hinduism stipulates the beauty of the natural world versus the fallacy of the artificial, human-made environment

dwellings or palaces for gods

sacrilegious which is why governments with large Hindu populations, such as India, have policies to systematically destroy ancient temple complexes

contrary to faith because meditation is primary to worship, and extravagant temples can detract from ones ability to meditate, but tolerated because laypeople enjoy them

Correct answer:

dwellings or palaces for gods

Explanation:

Similar to ancient Greek religion, in which gods and goddesses lived in temples, such as Pegasus, the flying horse, who was said to live in a stable in Athens, traditional Hinduism holds temples to be the homes for supernatural beings. 

While Hinduism may celebrate the natural world, temples are considered by many Hindu theologians and worshippers as places worthy of worship.

In Buddhism, rather than Hinduism, temples are usually considered by the clerical authority for laypeople to enjoy, as the more religiously orthodox understand that meditation and inaction bring about enlightenment, not extravagant temples. 

Unlike in Mayan or Aztec culture, Hindu temples were not sports venues.

In Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim Salafist nations, ancient archaeological sites, such as temples or graveyards, are destroyed in a systematic process by the state government; no Hindu-style government has such a policy.

Example Question #8 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Besides Hinduism and Buddhism, _________________.

Possible Answers:

Samaritanism is another Dharmic religion

Christianity is another Dharmic religion

Judaism is another Dharmic religion

Jainism is another Dharmic religion

Islam is another Dharmic religion

Correct answer:

Jainism is another Dharmic religion

Explanation:

Dharma is a complex theological concept that is difficult to explain, but it basically entails a belief in fate, proper conduct, and correct action, rather than a monotheistic deity.

Jainism teaches that dharma requires renunciation of violence; liberation is derived from peace and harmlessness.

Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Samaritanism are known as Abrahamic religions; they're all derived from the prophet Abraham, and they all mandate worship of a monotheistic deity.

Example Question #9 : Religions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

While in Greek mythology the gods live on Mt. Olympus, in some Dharmic cosmology the gods live on ________________.

Possible Answers:

the island of Delos

Jannah

Mt. Fuji

Mt. Meru

the Fortunate Isles

Correct answer:

Mt. Meru

Explanation:

In Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism, Mt. Meru is a mountain range of five peaks considered the spiritual center of the world.

Jannah is a Muslim conception of heaven.

Mt. Fuji is a large mountain in Japan; it holds some spiritual significance to Shintoism, or Japanese folklore religion.

The Fortunate Isles are an important spiritual location in ancient Greek pagan cosmology.

As the political center of the Delian league, the island of Delos was an important location for ancient Hellenic politics.

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