Greek Society Commonlit Answers

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  • 10th Grade
  • Lexile: 1280

Source: Greek Society by Mark Cartwright

Assessment Answers

QuestionAnswer
Which of the following statements best describes the social structure of free male citizens in ancient Greece?There were three divisions of free men in ancient Greece: the nobles, the secondary landowning class, and the middle business class.
PART B: How did this structure change over time in ancient Greece?It stayed relatively the same, but loss of money or a great increase in wealth provided some mobility.
How did slaves in ancient Greece differ from models of slavery in later societies?Slaves worked in various positions in society, spread out rather than concentrated in large, hard labor groups.
PART A: Which of the following captures how foreign residents, or xenoi, regarded their status or position in ancient Greek society?While their rights were limited and their relationship with locals shaky, metics had the opportunity of social mobility and full citizenship status, for either themselves or their children.
PART B: Which of the following quotes best supports the answer to Part A?“Despite the suspicions and prejudices against foreign ‘barbarians’ which often crop up in literary sources, there were cases when metoikoi did manage to become full citizens after a suitable display of loyalty and contribution to the good of the host state.” (Paragraph 16)

In 3-5 complete sentences, summarize what life was typically like for a woman in ancient Greece. Cite evidence from the text to support your answer.

In ancient Greece, women typically led restricted lives with few rights compared to male citizens.

They were unable to vote, own land, or inherit, and their primary role was centered around managing the household and rearing children.

Women’s contact with non-family males was discouraged, and they spent much of their time engaged in indoor activities like wool-work and weaving.

Marriage for women was generally arranged by their fathers, often at a young age (around thirteen or fourteen), and love was not the primary consideration in these unions. The text states, “Unable to vote, own land, or inherit, a woman’s place was in the home and her purpose in life was the rearing of children.

Contact with non-family males was discouraged and women occupied their time with indoor activities such as wool-work and weaving” (Paragraph 5). This description reflects the limited scope of women’s roles and rights in ancient Greek society.

Discussion Answers

Ancient Greek culture is considered a foundation of modern Western civilization. In what ways, based on your reading, has ancient Greek society influenced us today? Discuss whether these influences are positive or negative. Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

Ancient Greek society has had a profound influence on modern Western civilization in various ways. One of the most significant contributions is the concept of democracy, which originated in Athens.

The idea of citizens participating in governance, albeit limited to free male citizens, laid the groundwork for modern democratic systems. While today’s democracy is more inclusive, the fundamental principle of citizens having a say in their government is a direct inheritance from ancient Greece.

Another influence is in the realm of philosophy and thought. Figures like Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates, mentioned indirectly in the text through the discussion of education and intellectual pursuits, have shaped Western philosophy, ethics, and logic. Their teachings continue to be fundamental in various fields, from science to moral philosophy.

In the arts, the classical Greek principles of balance, harmony, and proportion have deeply influenced Western art and architecture. The aesthetic values developed by the Greeks can be seen in the enduring popularity of Greek-style columns and facades in modern buildings.

However, not all influences are wholly positive. The social structures and attitudes of ancient Greece, especially regarding gender roles and slavery, were deeply flawed by modern standards.

Women had limited rights and freedoms, a fact that has been a point of contention and evolution in Western societies striving for gender equality. Likewise, the acceptance of slavery in Greek society is starkly at odds with modern views on human rights and dignity.

In conclusion, while ancient Greek society has positively influenced modern Western civilization in democracy, philosophy, and the arts, it also had significant shortcomings in social equality and human rights, which have been addressed and improved upon in contemporary societies.


In the context of this passage, how did ancient Greece define the roles of men and women? What kinds of exceptions were allowed to these rules? How does contemporary society define these roles similarly or differently? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

In the context of this passage, ancient Greece had a very clear and distinct separation of roles based on gender. Men, particularly male citizens, had full legal status, the right to vote, hold public office, and own property.

They were the dominant figures in society. Women, on the other hand, had few rights in comparison. They couldn’t vote, own land, or inherit. Their primary role was in the home, focusing on the rearing of children and engaging in indoor activities like wool-work and weaving.

Marriages for women were usually arranged, and love wasn’t considered important in these unions. As the text says, “Unable to vote, own land, or inherit, a woman’s place was in the home and her purpose in life was the rearing of children” (Paragraph 5).

However, there were exceptions. Spartan women, for instance, were treated somewhat differently. They had to do physical training, were permitted to own land, and could drink wine. This was a stark contrast to the general Greek norms and indicated that societal rules could vary significantly between different city-states.

In contemporary society, these roles have evolved considerably. Modern Western societies generally advocate for gender equality, with men and women having equal rights in voting, owning property, and choosing their career paths.

Women are no longer confined to domestic roles and have the freedom to pursue education and careers just like men. The concept of arranged marriages has largely been replaced by marriages based on love and personal choice.

These changes reflect a significant shift in societal values and norms, driven by centuries of social, political, and cultural evolution. This evolution can be seen in various aspects of contemporary literature, art, and history, which often highlight themes of gender equality and challenge traditional gender roles.

For instance, feminist literature and movements have been pivotal in redefining these roles and advocating for equal rights and opportunities regardless of gender.

Thus, while ancient Greece laid many foundational aspects of Western society, the roles and definitions of gender have undergone significant changes, moving towards a more inclusive and equitable framework.


In the context of this passage, what is fair? Is this an important factor in society, both modern and ancient? Compare what you learned of Greek society from this text to your knowledge of other ancient societies – was ancient Greece a more or less “fair” society? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.

In the context of this passage and the broader concept of fairness in society, we can observe that ancient Greece, like many ancient societies, had a complex and often unequal social structure.

Fairness, particularly as we understand it in modern societies with an emphasis on equality and human rights, wasn’t a guiding principle in ancient Greece.

In ancient Greek society, fairness was not necessarily a priority. The social structure was rigid, with clear divisions between free male citizens, women, slaves, and foreigners. Free male citizens enjoyed the most rights and privileges, including voting, owning property, and holding public office, as mentioned in the text.

Women had limited rights and were largely confined to domestic roles. Slaves and foreigners had even fewer rights. The text states, “Unable to vote, own land, or inherit, a woman’s place was in the home and her purpose in life was the rearing of children” (Paragraph 5), highlighting the gender inequality.

In comparison to modern society, where fairness is often equated with equal rights and opportunities for all individuals regardless of gender, race, or social status, ancient Greek society was less fair. Contemporary societies generally strive for equality and the protection of individual rights, although achieving total fairness is an ongoing challenge.

When comparing ancient Greece to other ancient societies, it’s a mixed picture. For instance, in ancient Egypt, women had more rights compared to their Greek counterparts. They could own property, initiate divorce, and engage in business. However, like Greece, ancient Egypt also had slavery, which is inherently unfair.

In ancient Rome, society was also stratified, with a clear hierarchy and limited rights for women and slaves. However, Roman women could own property and were somewhat more involved in social life compared to Greek women.

In summary, ancient Greece, while advanced in areas like philosophy, democracy, and arts, did not necessarily excel in fairness, especially when judged by modern standards. The society was structured in a waythat inherently favored certain groups over others, a common trait in many ancient civilizations.

The evolution towards a fairer society, where equality and individual rights are central, is a relatively recent development in human history.


In the context of the passage, how easy was it for a citizen living in ancient Greece to change his or her class status? In your opinion, is socioeconomic status in contemporary society more fixed or more fluid than during ancient Greece?

In the context of the passage, changing class status in ancient Greece was possible, but it wasn’t particularly easy or common.

The text describes a society where class was primarily determined by birth, wealth, and land ownership. The aristoi (nobles) were at the top, owning the most fertile land and holding political power. Below them were the secondary landowning class and the middle business class.

While the text does mention some mobility, such as individuals rising through accumulating wealth or falling due to bankruptcy or political upheavals, these cases were more the exception than the rule.

Regarding contemporary society, the fluidity of socioeconomic status can vary significantly depending on the country and its economic and social policies. Modern societies generally offer more opportunities for social mobility compared to ancient Greece. Education, economic growth, social welfare policies, and a less rigid class system contribute to this increased mobility.

However, it’s essential to recognize that significant barriers still exist, and not everyone has the same opportunities to change their socioeconomic status. Factors such as family background, education, and economic conditions play a crucial role.

In my opinion, contemporary society is more fluid in terms of socioeconomic status compared to ancient Greece. The existence of educational opportunities, career paths that aren’t predetermined by family background, and social mobility programs contribute to this fluidity. However, the degree of this fluidity can vary widely, and significant disparities and challenges remain in achieving true socioeconomic mobility for all.

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