World History : Ancient Rome

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for World History

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Ancient Rome

Hannibal, the legendary general, led which power's army against Roman forces in the Second Punic War?

Possible Answers:

Mesopotamia

Egypt

Carthage

Greece

Correct answer:

Carthage

Explanation:

The Punic Wars were fought between Rome and Carthage. Carthage, with its extremely powerful navy, were expanding their empire to the East, as Rome secured the Italian peninsula and began greater expansion via land. In the second Punic War, Hannibal lead the Carthagian army over the alps to confront the Roman forces.

Example Question #2 : Ancient Rome

Which of the following is the chronological order of emperors of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty?

Possible Answers:

Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero

Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Augustus

Tiberius, Augustus, Caligula, Claudius, Nero

Augustus, Caligula, Nero, Tiberius

Correct answer:

Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero

Explanation:

The Julio-Claudians was the first Roman dynasty, started in 27 BCE with Augustus and ended in 68 CE with the assassination of Nero. The Julio-Claudians set the tone for the first few eras of Roman rule; good emperors tried to behave like Augustus, bad ones tended to err on the side of Caligula or Nero. In this way, the Julio-Claudians function as a lesson in the power, capability and debauchery of the emperors of Rome.

Example Question #3 : Ancient Rome

Emperor Constantine moved the capitol from Rome to which other city?

Possible Answers:

London

Constantinople

Gaul

Beijing

Venice

Correct answer:

Constantinople

Explanation:

Venice, while a city in Italy, was not ever the seat of the Roman Empire, so it would not be a good choice. Gaul was the name of the Roman province that encompassed much of modern day France and Germany, not a city at all, so that would not be the best answer. Beijing is a city in China and was never held by the Roman Empire, so that would not be the best choice here. London was founded by the Romans but it was never a large civic center for them, so that too would not be the correct answer. Lastly, Constantinople was named after Constantine and was where he moved the capitol of the empire, so that would be the best choice.

Example Question #4 : Ancient Rome

The Edict of Milan, drafted in 313 CE, established official Roman tolerance for which religion?

Possible Answers:

Buddhism

Christianity

Judaism

Zoroastrianism

Islam

Correct answer:

Christianity

Explanation:

Judaism, while having a sizable following in parts of the Roman Empire, was not mentioned in the edict of Milan, so that would not be the best answer. Islam was founded by the prophet Muhammad several centuries after the Edict of Milan, so that would not be the best choice. Zoroastriansim did not have a particularly notable following in Rome nor was it mentioned in the Edict, so that too would not be the best choice. Buddhism was similarly not a religion followed extensively in the Roman Empire nor was it mentioned in the Edict, so it would not be the correct answer. Finally, the Edict of Milan specifically decreed tolerance for Christianity, so that would be the best answer here.

Example Question #5 : Ancient Rome

In the Roman Republic, the term for the citizen-commoners was which of the following?

Possible Answers:

None of these

The Aristocracy

Plebeians

Patricians

The Third Estate

Correct answer:

Plebeians

Explanation:

The Patricians was the term used for the ruling class of the Republic, so that would not be the best choice here. The Aristocracy was not a term that was in use during the period, and when it was popular it referred to a ruling class also, so that too would not be the best choice. The Third Estate was a term used in 18th century France to refer to the common people, so that too would not be a good answer here. Lastly, Plebeians was the term specifically used for the citizen-commoners of the Republic, so that would be the best choice.

Example Question #1 : Ancient Rome

In the Roman Republic, the term used for the ruling class was which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The Aristocracy

The Patricians

The Brahmans

None of these

The Plebeians

Correct answer:

The Patricians

Explanation:

The Plebeians was the term used for the citizen-commoners of the Roman Republic, so that would not be the best choice. The Aristocracy was not a term in use during the Roman Republic, so that would not be a good answer here. The Brahmans were at the top of the Indian caste system, so they too would not be the best answer. Finally, the Patricians were the ruling class of the Republic that the Senate was drawn from, so that would be the best answer here.

Example Question #7 : Ancient Rome

What geophysical aspects of the Italian Peninsula attracted the area’s first Latin and Villanovan settlers?

Possible Answers:

The fertile fields in the central region 

The East Coast's natural harbors 

The Apennine Mountains and lush forests

The vast wild groves of olive and fig trees 

The hills and the Tiber River

Correct answer:

The hills and the Tiber River

Explanation:

The Italian Peninsula’s first settlers, who arrived between 1000 and 675 CE and who would later establish the Roman and Villanovan cultures, were first drawn to the region by the lure of the Tiber River. The River offered the promise of an easy mode of transportation, as well as a supply of water and fresh seafood. These early settlers congregated around the Tiber on the area’s series of hills and set up a string of small villages, which would later become the great city of Rome. These hills (the most favored of which were the Capitoline, the Palatine, and the Esquiline) offered the perfect defensive positioning and allowed the Latins to gradually amass control of the Tiber River and the surrounding region from a naturally protected base.

Example Question #8 : Ancient Rome

The area below the Tiber River, originally known as the Sepulcretum, would later become the site of which famous Roman locale?

Possible Answers:

The Curia 

The Forum 

The Pantheon 

The Colosseum

The Temple of Saturn 

Correct answer:

The Forum 

Explanation:

Below the Tiber River was a large marshy plain, prone to flooding. During the tenth and ninth centuries, this area was used as a cemetery and necropolis – hence its original name: the Sepulcretum (aka “the place of tombs”). Later on, the Sepulcretum would be covered over and the marshes drained by the Etruscans to make way for the iconic Roman Forum, which would in turn become the heart of the city of Rome and the entire Roman Empire. (It is perhaps ironic that one of the most innately Roman symbols – the Forum – was initially erected by another culture.)

Example Question #2 : Ancient Rome

Select the correct definition of the historical/ethnological term: path dependence.

Possible Answers:

The different ways in which geophysical realities shape sociological and/or governmental institutions

Factors influencing human migration routes and patterns

The process by which genetic predispositions couple with environmental influences to produce cultural practices

Geophysical features which attract and/or deter human settlement

The process by which people, through repeated interaction, become an ethnic group

Correct answer:

The process by which people, through repeated interaction, become an ethnic group

Explanation:

According to historians and ethnologists, path dependence is the process by which different groups of people, through repeated contact and interaction, eventually coalesce together to form an ethnic group. The early settlers of the area around the Tiber River and the Roman hills underwent this process and gradually evolved into what we today recognize as the Latin (aka Roman) ethnicity. Originally, these individuals were members of various tribes and other scattered affiliations but through a prolonged period of sustained interactions – including agricultural and trade contacts, social mingling, and intermarriage – they fused together and developed a common sense of shared identity and origins. The Latins also subsumed some of the cultural identifiers of a few ethnic groups who were present before their arrival, most notably the Villanovans and the Etruscans.

Example Question #3 : Ancient Rome

Select the valuable natural resource, found in great quantities in the region immediately north of Rome, first discovered by the early Latins sometime around 1000 BCE.

Possible Answers:

Cattle 

Gold 

Copper 

Timber 

Oil 

Correct answer:

Copper 

Explanation:

The region immediately north of the city of Rome was home to rather large natural deposits of valuable metals, most notably copper and iron. Although these copper and iron caches had first been discovered by the Villanovans and the Etruscans, the Latins did not begin to exploit these resources in earnest until around 1000 BCE (perhaps due to prior Etruscan dominance of the area). Not only were these metal deposits inherently valuable in themselves, but their importance was heightened by their relative scarcity – the Italian Peninsula was not particularly rich in metallic resources and so the copper and iron fields around Rome were doubly vital due to this rarity. Some historians point to the Latins’ acquisition of these two metals as a key stepping stone towards the founding of the Roman Empire. 

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