HUM/COM 205: Classical Roots of Western Literature:

Final Examination: January, 1996

Instructions: Please answer all questions in examination booklets. Sign and Number Booklets and write your preceptor's name on the cover of each. Answers to parts I and IIa should be brief and to the point, even telegraphic in style.

I. Short Identifications (1/4 hour. 15%)

CHOOSE 7 of the following concepts or figures and identify or define them concisely; mention any works we have read in which they play a significant role.

  1. eschatology
  2. covenant
  3. Areopagus
  4. theodicy
  5. in medias res
  6. Stoicism
  7. Camilla
  8. Pythagoras
  9. hubris (hybris)
  10. Augustus

II. Passages for Identification and analysis (1 1/4 hours. 50%)

IIa: CHOOSE 8 of the following 10 passages and identify briefly: (1) the work, (2) the author, (3) approximate date, (4) the speaker(s)/listener(s) and (5) the general context from which the passage is taken. (30%)

IIb. For any four of the eight you choose comment on their formal and thematic significance for the work in which they occur. (20%)

A. First of the gods I honor in my prayer is Mother Earth,
the first of the gods to prophesy, and next I praise
Tradition, second to hold her Mother's mantic seat,
so legend says, and third by the lots of destiny,
by Tradition's free will-no force to bear her down-
another Titan, child of the Earth, took her seat
and Phoebe passed it on as a birthday gift to Phoebus,
Phoebus a name for clear pure light derived from hers.
Leaving the marsh and razorback of Delos, landing
at Pallas' headlands flocked by ships, here he came
to make his home Parnassus and the heights.
And an escort filled with reverence brought him on,
the highway-builders, sons of the god of fire who tamed
the savage country, civilized the wilds...

B. Then downhill swiftly
they all repaired to the father's house, and there
tended him well-so well they soon could send him,
with Grandfather Autolykos' magnificent gifts,
rejoicing, over sea to Ithaka.
His father and the Lady Antiklea
welcomed him, and wanted all the news
of how he got his wound; so he spun out
his tale, recalling how the boar's white tusk
caught him when he was hunting on Parnassos.

C. Well, you're not impossible to look at, are you?
Women wouldn't think so, anyway. Not in Thebes,
they wouldn't, which is why you're here, of course.
What a mane of hair you have: very seductive.
Look at it falling down your cheeks.
Good hand holds for a wrestler.
And how white your skin is: you must be careful
about staying out of the sun.
Oh, yes, handsome you, in the shade,
hunting with Aphrodite.

D. The grief-stricken birds, the host of wild creatures, the flinty rocks and the woods that so often followed his songs, all wept for X. The trees shed their leaves and, with bared heads, mourned his loss. Men say that the rivers too were swollen with their own tears, and naiads and dryads tore their hair and pulled on black garments over their fine robes. The poet's limbs were scattered in different places, but the waters of Hebrus received his head and lyre.

E. Never command the land's own Latin folk
to change their old name, to become new Trojans,
known as Teucrians; never make them alter dialect or dress.
Let Latium be. Let there be Alban kings for generations,
And let Italian valor be the strength
Of Rome in after times. Once and for all
Troy fell, and with her name let her lie fallen

F. "Aren't you aware," she said, "that only there with it, when a person sees the beautiful in the only way it can be seen, will he ever be able to give birth, not to imitations of virtue, since he would not be reaching out toward an imitation, but to true virtue, because he would be taking hold of what is true? By giving birth to true virtue and nourishing it, he would be able to become a friend of the gods, and if any human being could become immortal he would."

G. The whole world spoke the same language with the same vocabulary. Now, as people moved eastwards they found a valley in the land of Shinar where they settled. They said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them in the fire." For stone they used bricks, and for mortar they used bitumen. "Come," they said, "let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top reaching heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves, so that we do not get scattered all over the world."

H. Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Grid up your loins like a man, I will question you and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations? Tell me if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? --surely you know!

I. I rank her higher
than my wedded wife--she's nothing less
in build or breeding, in mind or works of hand.
But I am willing to give her back even so,
if that is best for all. What I really want
is to keep my people safe, not see them dying.
But fetch me another prize, and straight off too,
else I alone of the Argives go without honor.
That would be a disgrace. You are all witnesses,
look--my prize is snatched away.

J. [X] This day is your mother and father--this day will give you birth it will destroy you too.
[Y] How you love mysterious twisted words.
[X] Aren't you the great solver of riddles?
[Y] Taunt me for the gift of my brilliant mind,
That gift is what makes me great.
[X] That gift is your destiny. It made you everything you are
And it will destroy you.

III. Essays (1 hour. 35%)

Instructions: CHOOSE one of the questions below and answer it in a coherent essay. You might first jot down your thoughts and put them in an outline before writing the finished essay. Please support your theses by referring as specifically as possible to relevant texts.

  1. All writers are self-conscious to some degree, of their own status as storytellers and narrators, and sometimes incorporate versions of themselves into their texts. Consider images or examples of the bard or other poet- or artist-figures within three texts we have read. Choose specific characters or scenes around which to center your analysis. How does the poet/author represent (or disguise) his own profession, and is the image given of the poet/artist ironic, self-promoting, or something other?

  2. The works that we have read present several different conceptions of the qualities that a "hero" or "heroine" should possess. Choose three figures (male or female) and discuss how they exemplify the qualities thought of as "heroic" in their cultural contexts, or, conversely, how they represent the antithesis of the "heroic code." Imagine then that they meet one another: how would they explain their differing viewpoints. (Suggested examples: Socrates, Job, Jesus, Moses, Achilles, Aeneas, Odysseus, Clytemnestra, Dido, Penelope, Helen.)

  3. You hold a symposium at your house, inviting THREE guests to discuss ONE of the following issues. Transcribe the ensuing conversation:

    (a) JUSTICE (choose 3 among: Homer, Aeschylus, Euripides, Ovid, Virgil, Job OR author of Job, Jesus, Matthew, Paul)
    (b) RELATIONS BETWEEN THE SEXES (Aeschylus, Euripides, Ovid, Virgil, Plato OR Socrates, Jesus OR Matthew)
    (c) EAST-WEST RELATIONS ('Moses,' Homer, Euripides, Virgil, Ovid, Paul)
    (d) IMITATION ('Moses,' Plato, Ovid, Virgil, Matthew)
    (e) IMMORTALITY (Homer, Plato, Virgil, Ovid, Jesus, John)
    (f) THE SOUL/PSYCHE (Homer, Euripides, Plato, Virgil, Ovid, Jesus)
    (g) VIRTUE (Homer, 'Moses,' Job, Plato, Virgil, Ovid, Matthew OR Paul)

    Extra points, of course, for conveying the speakers' style.

  4. The prophets petition Moses to write a letter of warning to some younger writers, known by the pen-names of Matthew and Paul, charging infringement of copyright and the unauthorized use of their books. To his letter Moses received a prompt reply offering less than complete satisfaction. Write these two letters.

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