AP World History : Socioeconomic Classes 600 BCE to 600 CE

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP World History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Socioeconomic Classes 600 Bce To 600 Ce

Who formed the highest social class of Republican and early Imperial Rome?

Possible Answers:

Plebians

Equites

Patricians

Senators

Legionaries

Correct answer:

Patricians

Explanation:

The patrician class was a small number of elite families who could allegedly trace their lineages back to the founding of the republic. They would own slaves as well as massive parts of the city, and made great financial contributions to both the military and the city's infrastructure. Equites were the lower ranked level of the aristocracy, roughly equivalent to "knights" in later eras. Plebians (also known as plebs) were non-patrician members of society. Senators were non-elected legislators. Legionaries were professional soldiers. 

Example Question #1 : Socioeconomic Classes 600 Bce To 600 Ce

In which caste would you most likely find a Hindu priest?

Possible Answers:

 Vaishyas

Shudra

Kshatriyas

Dalit

Brahmin 

Correct answer:

Brahmin 

Explanation:

Brahmin are in the highest caste of Indian society, it is a cast reserved for holy men. Dalit, Shudra, Kshatriyas and Vaishya represent the untouchables, laborers, nobles and artisans respectively. The caste system is rigid and there is very little crossover between classes.

Example Question #2 : Socioeconomic Classes

Which of the following is a factor that contributed to the collapses of both the classical empires of Rome and Han?

Possible Answers:

Decreases in population

Invasion by the Visigoths

Difficulty collecting taxes

Increases in population

Invasion by the Huns

Correct answer:

Difficulty collecting taxes

Explanation:

Difficulty in collecting taxes was a major contributing factor to the fall of both the Han and Roman empires. In the Roman Empire, wealthy land owners avoided paying taxes, and tax collectors were often driven away by the private armies of these wealthy landowners. In the Han Empire, scholar officials were not required to pay taxes, and an increase in population led to smaller family farm operations, which in turn made it more difficult for people—especially in the peasant class—to pay taxes.

While the population increase in the Han Empire contributed to its collapse, the collapse of the Roman Empire was partially attributable to population decreases caused by plagues.

Invasion by the Huns and the Visigoths took place only in the Roman Empire, not in the Han Empire.

Example Question #1 : Socioeconomic Classes 600 Bce To 600 Ce

The caste system is most commonly associated with which of these countries?

Possible Answers:

The United Kingdom

Brazil

India

Kenya

China

Correct answer:

India

Explanation:

The caste system is a system of social hierarchy that is most commonly associated with India and Indian history.

Example Question #4 : Socioeconomic Classes

Which two Roman brothers led a movement in Rome itself campaigning to reform laws and protect the lower classes of the city?

Possible Answers:

The Caesars

The Cato brothers

The Antonys

The Gracchus brothers

The Sons of Brutus

Correct answer:

The Gracchus brothers

Explanation:

Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus were two Romans of noble heritage who attempted to pass land reform legislation and other measures to even the wealth disparity in Rome. Obviously, both were very unpopular with patrician classes, especially as their demonstrations had the habit of turning into angry mobs. While each brother was murdered (first Tiberius, then Gaius years later), their ideas and roles as champions of the common man live on. 

Example Question #2 : Socioeconomic Classes 600 Bce To 600 Ce

Tensions between Romans and Jews, during the Roman occupation of Israel, were primarily caused by __________.

Possible Answers:

Jewish refusal to worship the Roman Emperor

Jewish refusal to adhere to Roman conscription

Roman refusal to allow Jews to observe Yom Kippur

Jewish refusal to adopt Christianity

Roman refusal to allow Jews to observe Passover

Correct answer:

Jewish refusal to worship the Roman Emperor

Explanation:

The primary cause of tensions between Romans and Jews during the Jewish occupation of Israel, was the refusal of the Jewish people to accept the Roman Emperor as a living deity. At the time of Roman occupation, the emperor was considered divine and all conquered peoples were expected to recognize his divinity. The monotheistic Jewish people believed this violated one of their most sacred rules, and so, refused.

Example Question #6 : Socioeconomic Classes

What were the two main classes of Roman society? 

Possible Answers:

Plebians and Priests

Plebeians and Soldiers

Patricians and Plebeians

Patricians and Peasants

Patricians and Soldiers

Correct answer:

Patricians and Plebeians

Explanation:

The Roman society, at its heart, was divided into those with noble ancestry (Patricians) and those without it (Plebeians). Patricians tended to be the ruling class, construing most of the senate and other important positions of state. Plebeians were everyone else. However, there was definitely grey area; plebeian families looking for more legitimacy could marry into older, poorer, patrician families. Also, if a plebeian family was notable enough and rich enough for long enough, they would eventually become patricians (at least in practice).  

Example Question #7 : Socioeconomic Classes

Which of these statements about Helots is inaccurate?

Possible Answers:

They were bound to the land they worked on

They greatly outnumbered the rest of the population of Sparta

They were known to be exemplary fighters and soldiers

They did most of the hard labor in ancient Sparta

All of these statements are accurate

Correct answer:

They were known to be exemplary fighters and soldiers

Explanation:

Helots were serfs in ancient Spartan society. They did the majority of the hard labor in ancient Sparta and, like all serfs, were bound to the land they worked on. They also greatly outnumbered the rest of the population of Sparta. They were, however, not known for their fighting prowess and were not trained in combat like a regular citizen of Sparta might be.

Example Question #8 : Socioeconomic Classes

Who were patricians in the Roman Republic?

Possible Answers:

Aristocrats with legislative authority

Aristocrats with judicial authority

Merchants and artisans

Soldiers and sailors

Elected representatives of the common people

Correct answer:

Aristocrats with legislative authority

Explanation:

Patricians, in the Roman Republic (particularly the early years), were aristocrats who had significant legislative authority. They were distinct from plebeians and from less noble families in the Republic.

Example Question #9 : Socioeconomic Classes

Which of these most accurately describes Helots?

Possible Answers:

Serfs in ancient Sparta

Teachers and thinkers in ancient Athens

Rulers in ancient Athens

Gladiators in ancient Rome

Rulers in ancient Persia

Correct answer:

Serfs in ancient Sparta

Explanation:

Helots were serfs/slaves in ancient Spartan society. Helots were owned by the state and were bound to the land. They enjoyed some privileges that slaves did not, but practically speaking they were serfs who were tied to the land. Most Helots were comprised of the defeated enemies of Sparta.

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