2015年7月12日托福阅读真题+题目+答案:The Western Roman Empire in the Fifth Century

来源:原创作品 | 2019-10-1720


2015年7月12日托福阅读真题+题目+答案:The Western Roman Empire in the Fifth Century

1. Shortly after the death of emperor Theodosius in 395 A.D., the Roman Empire was permanently divided into Eastern and Western empires. By the fifth century A.D., the power of the Western Roman Empire had declined considerably, though the Eastern Roman Empire centered in Byzantium continued to flourish. Various problems contributed to this undermining of the West.

2. The accessions of Arcadius and Honorius, sons of Theodosius, as emperors in the East and West, respectively, illustrate the unfortunate pattern of child heirs that had unfavorable effects for both empires. When Arcadius died in 408, he was succeeded by his seven-year-old son, Theodosius II. Reigning until 423, Honorius was succeeded by his nephew Valentinian III, who was only five. Because of their young ages, Theodosius' sons and grandsons could not rule without older advisors and supervising regents upon whom they naturally became dependent and from whom they were unable to break away after reaching maturity. As powerful individuals vied for influence and dominance at court, the general welfare was often sacrificed to private rivalries and ambitions. Moreover, it was the women of thedynasty who were the more capable and interesting characters. Holding the keys to succession through birth and inheritance, they became active players in the political arena.

3. Compared with the East, however, the West faced a greater number of external threats along more permeable frontiers. Whereas the East could pursue war and diplomacy more effectively with their enemies on the long eastern frontier, the West was exposed to the more volatile tribal Germanic peoples on a frontier that stretched along the Rhine and Danube rivers for 1,000 miles. The East, however, only had to guard the last 500 miles of the Danube. In addition, the East had many more human and material resources with which to pursue its military and diplomatic objectives. The East also had a more deeply rooted unity in the Greek culture of the numerous Greek and Near Eastern cities that Rome had inherited from earlier Grecian empires. Latin culture had not achieved comparable penetration of the less urbanized West outside of Italy. The penetration of Germanic culture from the north had been so extensive along the permeable Rhine-Danube frontier that it was often difficult to distinguish between barbarians (speakers of German and other languages unrelated to Latin) and Romans in those regions by the fifth century anyway.

4. One of the most outstanding features at the beginning of this period was the prominence of Germanic generals in the high command of the Roman Imperial army. The trend became significant, and several practical reasons can explain it. The foremost probably was the sheer need for military manpower that made it attractive to recruit bands of Germanic peoples for the armies, which, in turn, gave able chieftains and warlords the opportunity to gain Imperial favor and advance in rank. Second, one way to turn Germanic chieftains from potential enemies into loyal supporters was to offer them a good position in the Roman military. Third, although Theodosius had risen to power as a military leader, he was also a cultured aristocrat and preferred to emphasize the civilian role of the emperor and to rely for protection on Germanic generals whose loyalties were primarily to him, their patron.

5. Unfortunately, the high positions achieved by Germanic officers often aroused the jealousy and hostility of high-ranking Roman military and civilian officials. Such positions also gave their Germanic holders a chance to act on both personal and tribal animosities in the arena of Imperial politics. Internal Roman rivalries and power struggles aggravated the situation.Rival factional leaders often granted Imperial titles and conceded territory to one Germanic leader or another in return for help against fellow Romans. While the Romans were thus distracted by internal conflict, other tribes seized the opportunity to cross into Roman territory unopposed. When the Romans could not dislodge them, peace was bought with further titles and territorial concessions as allies. In the midst of it all, alliances and coalitions between Roman emperors or powerful commanders and various tribes or tribal kings were made, unmade, and remade so often that it is nearly impossible to follow their course. Accordingly, all of these situations proved dangerous to the peace and safety of the West.


1..The word unfavorable in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. negative

B. uncontrollable

C. unexpected

D. long lasting

2..According to paragraph 2, which of the following was one result of the pattern of rule by child emperors

A. The common people lost respect for the position of emperor.

B. Regents and advisors attempted to put an end to traditional rivalries for dominance within the court.

C. Women within the dynasty gained increased influence and power.

D. Traditional rules of succession by inheritance were changed.

3..Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.

A. As young rulers, the sons and grandsons of Theodosius necessarily depended on older advisors, and as adults, they were unable to rule independently of these advisors.

B. The sons and grandsons of Theodosius were too young when they came to power to rule without the assistance of older advisors.

C. On reaching maturity, the sons and grandsons of Theodosius attempted to break away from the older officials who had advised them since childhood.

D. Because the sons and grandsons of Theodosius were young when they became rulers, older advisors were able to prevent them from breaking away.

4..In describing the frontiers of the Western Empire as more permeable the author means that these frontiers

A. had more places where crossings could occur

B. were more distant from the center

C. were more likely to be changed

D. were more poorly equipped

5..The word pursue in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. expand

B. engage in

C. control

D. avoid

6..The word comparable in the passage is closest in meaning to

A. similar

B. desirable

C. necessary

D. noticeable

7..Which of the following is NOT identified in paragraph 3 as a factor contributing to the greater stability and success of the Eastern empire

A. A shorter border subject to invasion by Germanic tribes

B. Greater cultural unity among the inhabitants

C. More resources available for achieving political goals

D. Lower population densities outside of urban areas

8..In paragraph 3, why does the author discuss the Germanic culture

A. To compare the less urbanized West outside of Italy to the more urbanized East

B. To explain why Roman military and political objectives necessarily changed in the fifth century

C. To emphasize that the Romans had more of a cultural disadvantage in the West than in the East

D. To explain why there were as many speakers of German as there were Romans on the western frontier

9..Which of the following is NOT identified in paragraph 4 as a reason the practice arose of making Germanic chieftains generals in the Roman high command

A. It helped reduce the number of possible enemies against the empire.

B. It helped make it possible to maintain an imperial military force of sufficient size.

C. It was cheaper than recruiting and training Roman generals.

D. It gave Theodosius confidence that his generals would remain loyal while he focused on other matters.

10..According to paragraph 4, by becoming generals in the Roman army, Germanic chieftains were given a chance to

A. obtain benefits from the emperor

B. influence Roman civilian life

C. help shape military policy

D. attract Germanic recruits into the Roman army

11..Which of the following is identified in paragraph 5 as a negative consequence of making Germanic chieftains high-ranking officers in the Roman army

A. Romans no longer sought achievement through the military.

B. Germanic generals sometimes used their military power to advance their own and their tribes' interests.

C. Germanic soldiers focused on achieving imperial titles rather than military success.

D. Greater divisions developed between the Western Empire and the Eastern Empire, which lacked military leadership.

12..According to paragraph 5, what is one way that internal conflict in Rome endangered the peace and safety of the West

A. The conflict made it more difficult to make peace through the process of granting imperial titles and territorial concessions.

B. The conflict made it easier for invaders to cross the frontier and enter Roman territory.

C. The conflict discouraged Roman leaders from creating alliances and coalitions with Germanic tribes.

D. The conflict made it nearly impossible to track the activities of enemy tribes outside Roman territory.

13..Look at the four squares that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.

Once within Roman borders, they proved difficult to remove.

Where would the sentence best fit Click on a square to add the sentence to the passage.

14..Drag your choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on View Text.

Answer Choices

A. The division of the Roman Empire into two parts was particularly damaging for the Western Empire because it relied on the Eastern Empire for economic support.

B. The heirs of Theodosius came to the throne as young children, allowing them to be dominated by advisors who competed for influence at the expense of the empire's welfare.

C. Western emperors after Theodosius were unable to emphasize their civilian role because of their need to rely on the protection of Germanic generals loyal to them.

D. Compared to the Eastern Empire, the Western Empire had many disadvantages, including more foreign enemies and fewer material and human resources.

E. Resentment against Germanic chieftains achieving high rank in the Roman military and factionalism among Roman leaders were among the causes of the period's considerable instability.

F. As the resources needed to secure Rome's borders increased, serious conflicts developed among Roman leaders over how best to protect Roman territory against invading tribes.



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