CLEP Western Civilization I Practice Test Questions

1. Who is the Greek goddess of war?
(A) Aphrodite.
(B) Hera.
(C) Athena.
(D) Demeter.
(E) Artemis.
2. “In the 5th Century B.C., the most popular career choice for intelligent young Greek males was politics. To prepare children for life as a politician, many parents hired travelling teachers to instruct young pupils in such skills as rhetoric, politics, grammar, and history. The name for these educators derives from the Greek word for ‘wisdom.'”
Who are the teachers described in the above passage?
(A) Philosophers.
(B) Sophists.
(C) Rhetoricians.
(D) Orators.
(E) Politicians.

3. Which of the following statements about women in ancient Athens are not true?
(A) Many female infants were abandoned or killed.
(B) Women stayed in the home to manage servants and raise young children.
(C) Women were allowed to vote, but their vote did not count as much as men’s.
(D) Women could not hold public office.
(E) Women could not inherit property.
4. Which nation eventually overtook ancient Greece?
(A) Persia.
(B) Macedon.
(C) Egypt.
(D) Syria.
(E) India.
5. Which of the following explanations accounts for the spread of Hellenism, i.e. Greek culture, in the decades following the overthrow of Greek power?
(A) Many countries voluntarily adopted Greek government and culture because it was superior to their own.
(B) Greek soldiers took control of the Persian Empire, imposing Greek culture on all of Persia’s former conquests.
(C) The spread of Hellenism was stopped after the overthrow of Greek power.
(D) Rome was influenced by Greek culture and spread its version of Hellenism as it amassed power and territory.
(E) Alexander, ruler of Macedon, adopted Greek culture as his own and spread it throughout the ancient world.
6. Which of the following statements are not true of Alexander the Great?
(A) Alexander conquered Persia in 336 B.C.
(B) Alexander took control of Egypt and founded Alexandria in 331 B.C.
(C) Alexander conquered all of India.
(D) Alexander’s conquests ended after his troops mutinied.
(E) Alexander died in 323 B.C. at the age of 33.
7. Which of the statements below is not true of the century following the death of Alexander?
(A) Alexander’s generals began fighting for control over the empire.
(B) Alexander’s brother took power only to be executed.
(C) Alexander’s heir took power and was executed.
(D) Alexander’s son brought peace to the empire and ushered in the Golden Age of Hellenistic Culture.
(E) The generals divided the conquered lands into separate kingdoms and waged war with each other.
8. Which statement is closest to the core beliefs of the Greeks?
(A) “Seize the day.”
(B) “Everything in moderation.”
(C) “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
(D) “Live and let live.”
(E) “An eye for an eye.”
9. Which of these statements does not reflect an influence on Greek art?
(A) The symmetry of Greek sculpture and architecture shows the influence of geometry and mathematics.
(B) Sculptures of bodies in motion show the Greek admiration of athletic skill.
(C) The expressions of humility on the faces of statues reflect the belief that all humanity is fallen from grace.
(D) The popularity of vases and pottery shows Greeks valued functionality as well as beauty.
(E) The simple designs of Greek art reflect their distaste for excess and their praise of moderation.
10. Our primary source of knowledge about the philosophy of Socrates was preserved in what way?
(A) On stone tablets he composed.
(B) In the writings of his students.
(C) On scrolls of papyrus he composed.
(D) In comedic plays that depict his life
(E) In works written hundreds of years after his death.

CLEP Western Civilization I Practice Question Answer Key

  1. Choice (C) is the best answer. Athena was the goddess of war, wisdom, and the arts. Aphrodite was the goddess of love. Hera was the goddess of marriage. Demeter was an Earth goddess, whose name comes from a combination of the words “Earth” and “mother.” Artemis was often depicted as the goddess of the hunt.
  2. The best choice is (B), sophists. The word derives from the Greek word for wisdom, which is also the root of “philosophy” and “sophisticated.” Philosophers is not as accurate as sophists. Rhetoricians and orators refer to public speakers, not private tutors. Although the sophists vetted their students for a life in politics, politicians were primarily educators.
  3. Choice (C) is the best choice. Athenian women were not allowed to vote. The other choices are all true of Athenian women. Many families practiced infanticide, killing female infants. Women were expected to govern the household. The public domain was not considered the proper place for a woman. Women were not allowed to own or inherit any property.
  4. Choice (B) is the best answer. Phillip of Macedon defeated Greek troops in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C. The remaining choices are incorrect.
  5. (E) is true. (A), (B), and (C) are implausible or historically inaccurate. (D) is incorrect because Rome did not begin to expand its empire during these decades.
  6. Each of these statements is historically true except (C). Alexander did not successfully conquer all of India because his troops, weary from years of military campaigns, mutinied. Alexander agreed to return home and conquered many tribes along the western border of the country, but he did not enter the mainland as he intended.
  7. Choice (D) is the best choice. Alexander’s son did not bring peace to the region; he was executed after taking power over the empire. Each of the remaining choices is true statements about the period after Alexander’s death.
  8. Choice (B) is the best choice. The Greeks believed excess brought about negative consequences, while moderation did not. The remaining choices reflect other cultures’ values, some of which are present in Greek culture; however, the theme of moderation dominates Greek writing and art.
  9. Choice (C) is the best choice. The belief that humanity has fallen from grace is more in keeping with Christian beliefs. Furthermore, the faces of Greek statues rarely express humility. The expressionless faces of Greek statuary capture the belief that strong emotion should not be expressed in public. Each of the remaining statements is a valid interpretation. The symmetry and precision of Greek architecture was achieved through the application of geometrical and mathematical principles. The Greeks placed a high value on athletic skill as evidenced in the popularity of the Olympic Games. Much Greek art was functional. Simplicity was valued above excess and this value is reflected in the art.
  10. Choice (B) is correct. The majority of our knowledge of Socrates’ philosophy comes from the writing of Plato, and to a lesser extent, the writing of his contemporary, Xenophon. Socrates never wrote anything down. In one of Plato’s dialogs, he speaks out against the written word, arguing that it makes the memory weaker if people become too reliant on it. The comedian Aristophanes did depict Socrates in his play The Clouds, however, the comedic work only parodies and doesn’t explore in any depth. Many works about Socrates were written during his lifetime and shortly thereafter.


Last Updated: June 18, 2021