CLEP Humanities : Identifying Titles, Authors, or Schools of Classical Poetry

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for CLEP Humanities

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Classical Poetry

Who is the accepted author of The Illiad and The Odyssey?

Possible Answers:

Sappho

Cicero

Demosthenes

Aristotle

Homer

Correct answer:

Homer

Explanation:

The authorship of The Illiad and The Odyssey is traditionally attributed to Homer.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Classical Poetry

The epic poem about an ancient Mesopotamian king that was written circa 1300-1000 BCE is __________.

Possible Answers:

The Egyptian Book of the Dead

The I Ching

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Lament for Ur

The Rigveda

Correct answer:

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Explanation:

Gilgamesh was likely a real king of Uruk, in modern day Iraq, probably sometime around 2500 BCE. He is most well known, however, as the main character of the lengthy poem The Epic of Gilgamesh, which was written between 1300 and 1000 BCE. The poem tells the story of his rivalry and then friendship with the wild man Enkidu and his subsequent survival of the great deluge.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Classical Poetry

What is the ancient Sanskrit epic that details a war between the related Kauravas and Pandavas?

Possible Answers:

Dharma Sutras

Pali Tipitaka

The Mahabharata

The Ramayana

The Rig Veda

Correct answer:

The Mahabharata

Explanation:

The Mahabharata is one of the epic Sanskrit texts of India, which details an epic struggle between two related families, the Kauravas and Pandavas. Included in the Mahabharata are smaller pieces which have been foundational in the development of Hinduism, such as the Bhagavad Gita.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Classical Poetry

Who is the Roman poet known for his short poems that lampoon Julius Caesar?

Possible Answers:

Suetonius

Cicero

Catullus

Vergil

Ovid

Correct answer:

Catullus

Explanation:

Catullus was a Roman poet most well known for his very short poems, typically on the love for a mysterious woman he refers to as "Lesbia." There is another element to Catullus' poetry, however, which includes biting comments about various politicians and notable Romans. Included among these figures is Julius Caesar, before he became the first Dictator of Rome.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Classical Poetry

The Homeric epics are primarily about what ancient conflict?

Possible Answers:

The Trojan War

The Battle of Thermopylae

The Punic Wars

The Battle of Marathon

The Peloponnesian War

Correct answer:

The Trojan War

Explanation:

The Homeric epics, a collective name for the epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer, are long verse retellings of the Trojan War. The epics were written around the eighth or ninth Centuries BCE, but the Trojan War, if it took place, happened some four hundred or five hundred years before the poems were first composed. Both epics tell of great heroes and the intervention of divine presences.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Classical Poetry

Which of the following biblical books is an extended love poem?

Possible Answers:

Psalms

Proverbs

Qoheleth

Wisdom

Song of Songs

Correct answer:

Song of Songs

Explanation:

Of course, the very name "Song of Songs" already tempts you to answer that this is a piece of poetry, even if you are not aware of its genre and content. The poem is actually a piece of erotic love poetry, detailing the back and forth of the desires of a bride and groom for each other's beauty and love. The poem was ultimately brought into the overall canon of the Hebrew Scriptures because of its allegorical interpretation for the relation between the Hebrew people and God. For many Christian mystics, this book played a massively important role for describing the relationship between the individual soul and God as well. For example, the great monastic, Cistercian writer Bernard of Clairvaux produced numerous sermons on the Song, not even making it through all of the text in spite of writing over eighty sermons. 

The Song is also known as the "Song of Solomon" or the "Canticle of Canticles."

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