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Unit: Ideals in Ancient Greece

NAME: CLASS PERIOD:


Document Based Question: Ancient Greek Contributions
Directions: The following question is based on the accompanying documents in part A. As you analyze the documents over the next three days, do the following steps.

  1. Carefully read the document-based question. Consider what you already know about this topic.

  2. Now, read each document/primary source/secondary source carefully, underlining or highlighting key phrases and words that address the document-based question. You may also write brief notes in the margins.

  3. Answer the questions which follow each document.

  4. Based on the information found in the documents and your own knowledge, formulate a thesis statement that answers the question.

  5. Organize supportive and relevant information into a brief outline on the attached worksheet.

  6. Write a well-organized essay proving your thesis statement. The essay should be presented clearly and include information from the documents. You may include knowledge from outside the documents in addition to those provided here. In your essay, you must state where you get evidence from (for example: “In Document 6, it states…”) and use quotation marks if you are quoting directly from one of the sources. Also, do not use personal “I/me/my opinion” statements in a DBQ essay!


DBQ: How did the ancient Greeks contribute to lasting ideas in Western civilization? Explain and provide examples for at least two political, artistic, philosophical, or social ways. (Explain means “to make plain or understandable; to give reasons for or causes of.”) Use at least three examples from the documents to explain each influence (political, artistic, philosophical, or social) and to support your thesis.




Part A: The following documents will help you understand the various ideas and contributions of the Ancient Greeks. Examine each document carefully, and answer the question or questions that follow each one.
Document 1: A philosopher’s view on life

This quotation is from the philosopher Socrates, who lived in Athens from about 470 to about 399 B.C.E.

The unexamined life is not worth living.”
What was Socrates suggesting about each person’s individual life in this quote?
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Document 2: Humanism in Ancient Greece

This quotation is from the philosopher Aristotle, who lived and taught in Athens from 384 B.C.E. to 322 B.C.E.

Since human reason is the most godlike part of human nature, a life guided by human reason is superior to any other…For man, this is the life of reason, since the faculty [ability] of reason is the distinguishing characteristic of human beings.”
Why did Aristotle believe human nature was so superior to other beings on this planet?
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Document 3: A leader in Democratic Athens

This quotation is from the leader Pericles and his famous Funeral Oration (speech) given to his Athenians in about 430 B.C.E.


Our plan of government favors the many instead of the few; that is why it is called a democracy…While every citizen has an equal opportunity to serve the public, we reward our most distinguished [respected] citizens by asking them to make our political decisions…A man may serve his country no matter how low his position on the social scale.”
What type of government was Pericles describing? What were his expectations for citizens in this type of government?
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Document 4: The population in Athens, 430 B.C.E.
Adult male citizens with power to vote………………………………………………40,000

Citizens without political power (women, children, some men)……………………..80,000

Foreign-born residents of Athens………………………………………………….....80,000

Slaves………………………………………………………………………………...250,000

Total population……………………………………………………………………...450,000

--from Bertram Linder, A world History, 1979


According to this document, which sector (part) of the population was the largest? Which sector was the smallest?
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What do these two numbers tell us about who had the most power in Athenian society? (Was it a democracy for everyone? Why or why not?)
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Document 5: Medicine

Following is an excerpt from the Hippocratic oath (pledge). Hippocrates, a Hellenistic-age medical practitioner, lived from about 460 to about 377 B.C.E.


I will follow that [treatment] which, according to my ability and judgment, I will consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is [harmful].”
What was Hippocrates—and doctors who still take his oath—promising to do?
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Document 6: The Parthenon at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece

What elements of this building have influenced buildings in our own time? What examples of buildings can you provide?

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Document 7: Warfare in Sparta

The expression below was supposed to be the parting cry of mothers to their sons. Mothers whose sons died in battle openly rejoiced; mothers whose sons survived hung their heads in shame.


"Come back with your shield - or on it.”
How does this attitude reflect Spartan values [what beliefs are important to an individual or society]?

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In what ways is this attitude still reflected in our contemporary society? (Think about who is considered a type of “hero.”)

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Document 8: Statue of Doruyphorus & the Greek Ideal

What do this statue’s features reveal about Greek ideals?
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How did the ancient Greek Olympic Games influence later civilization?

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Document 9: Hellenistic Civilization & Greek Influence in Asia after Alexander the Great

What do these statue’s features reveal about cultural diffusion between Greece and

other places during and after the reign of Alexander the Great?_______________________________________

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NAME: CLASS PERIOD:



Use this MEAL worksheet to outline your DBQ essay:

How did the ancient Greeks contribute to lasting ideas in Western civilization?

Explain some political, artistic, and social ways.


  1. Paragraph 1: Thesis (Remember, no “I” or “me/my” statements!): What is this essay about?



  1. Paragraph 2: Body paragraph of topic #1: What is your first subject’s MAIN IDEA?



    1. Example one from documents and Analysis:



    1. Example two from documents and Analysis:




    1. Example three from documents and Analysis:

D. Link to the…





  1. Paragraph 3: Body paragraph of topic #2: What is your second subject’s MAIN IDEA:



    1. Example one from documents and Analysis:



    1. Example two from documents and Analysis:




    1. Example three from documents and Analysis:

D. Link to the…




  1. Conclusion with additional examples and/or sources to connect to the thesis:

Please Do Now: Copy the questions down on the back of #21 and leave some space in between them:
What are some topics for paragraphs 2 & 3?

the Golden Ratio & the Greek ideal (doc. 6, 7, 8)

the arts (doc. 6, 8, 9)

gov’t & society (doc. 3, 4, 7)

philosophy & religion (doc. 1, 6, 9, 2)

humanism & human abilities (doc. 1, 2, 5, 3)


What are additional sources I can include in the body of my essay or in my conclusion?

Alexander the Great

Greek topics in movies (300, Troy, etc.)

Hellenistic culture & cultural diffusion

Greek gods (Dionysis, Apollo, Zeus, Aphrodite, etc.) & myths

Oedipus Rex and Greek theatre; comedy and tragedy masks that represent theater



Plato & his Allegory of the Cave


Please Do Now:
Take out #21 to work on your essay. To be on track, you should have a completed outline and be ready to write. If you are NOT done, then you REALLY need to work with focus and concentration to catch up.
Your DBQ essay is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ASSIGNMENT of Unit Three!


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