Total Quiz XIV

Archived questions and answers to AE's history contest
Total Quiz XIV was held on January 25, 2007 using the same 20-question model in the previous quiz. Questions were more challenging than those of the previous edition and a new style in which the writer of the question is hidden from contestants was introduced. Total Quiz XIV was also the last quiz to be run by long-time moderator Imperator Invictus, thus marking the end of a phrase in the development of the quiz and the beginning of another.

-- Summary --
Quiz moderators: Imperator Invictus, Poirot, Northman
Winner: Decebal

Total Quiz questions viewing options: Click here to hide answers

Total Quiz XIV

1. Who was the ruler of the Aztec civilization at the beginning of Spanish Conquest?
Answer: Monetzuma II
2. President of the United States during World War I who later helped create the League of Nations but was unable to get the support of Congress for the United States to join the League.
Answer: Woodrow Wilson
3. Which despotic Roman Emperor whose name means "little soldiers' boot" ruled from 37 to 41 AD, when he was assassinated by his guards?
Answer: Caligula
4. The Persian scholar Ibn Sina (Avicenna) of the Islamic period wrote what famous work that became the authoritative manual of health and medicine in the Islamic and European world?
Answer: The Canon of Medicine (Arabic: "qanun fil tibb")
5. What major city today derives its name from an influential clan of an ancient power known for its maritime trade? The same clan produced a famous military leader whose tactics resound in history texts today.
Answer: Barcelona, whose name is derived from the Carthaginian Barca family, from which Hannibal Barca originated.
6. He is known today by his title which is the same as that of another ruler 1500 years earlier. His rule was marked by constant war against Elam, Uratu, and Babylon, which he eventually captured, and another kingdom to his southwest, whose people he deported after his conquest. He ordered the construction of a massive new city as his capital but was killed in battle before he saw its completion. Name the king.
Answer: Sargon (Sharrukin: "True King") of Assyria; also known as Sargon II (to distinguish from Sargon of Akkad). Sargon captured Samaria and deported its people, giving rise to the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
7. A Tale of Two Tramps. This is a tale of two tramps, both born around the same time and having uncanny physical resemblance. One tramp brought laughter to the world, the other, misery. The two tramps journeyed into opposite extremes, one to the left, the other to the right. Nevertheless, the two tramps eventually converged in a famous film, which was radical for its time. Name the two tramps.
Answer: Charlie Chaplin, who portrayed "The Tramp" and Adolf Hitler, the Tramp of Vienna. Chaplin and Hitler were both born in 1889 and had amazing physical resemblance, to an extent. One tramp (Chaplin) enlightened the masses with comedy, while the other (Hitler) poisoned the masses with hatred. One tramp (Chaplin) embraced leftist ideas, while the other (Hitler) embraced fascist ideology. Chaplin portrayed a dictator based on Hitler in his groundbreaking 1940 film "The Great Dictator," which, if rumors are true, Hitler is known to have seen.
8. According to legend, I invented a famous machine of death, and became a victim of the machine myself. Contrary to legend, I acutally did not invent the mechanism, did not die from it, and opposed, in theory, the terrible act the machine carried out. Nevertheless, my name has been forever linked to the device. Who am I, and what is the terrible mechanism of death?
Answer: Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, whose name became forever linked with the guillotine. Ironically, Guillotin opposed the death penalty and only suggested a mechanical execution device to ease the pain of a death sentence.
9. This city was built by peoples who originally migrated from the north and became the capital of a powerful trade kingdom. Due to its prominent role in the area's gold trade, later travelers associated it with the legendary mineral deposit of a famous king. Today, the city's stone ruins still remain.
Answer: Great Zimbabwe, built by the Bantu people who are believed to have migrated from central Africa. The city and its kingdom has been associated with "Solomon's Mines."
10. There are two German authors with same first name and nearly the same surname. Both lived at the same period. One was a philosopher and economist and the eponym of a doctrine that changed the world. His ideas were often misunderstood by those who wanted to translate his ideas into the reality. The second was a writer, whose books were fascinating to many generations of young German readers. His stories were about heroes of the American west and the Middle East. The meaning of his works of fiction is subject to debate but nonetheless his is still one of the most popular writers in Germany today. Who are they?
Answer: Karl Marx (1818 - 1883) and Karl May (1842 - 1912)
11. Sex and Sensuality. She was born poor and died poor, but lived much of her life as the center of attraction in a world of well-bred men. She was the epitome of fashion in a time of war and change. She was the Marilyn Monroe, Kate Moss, and Brigitte Bardot of her day. Despite marrying a much older man, she had a well known affair with a war hero, an affair that her husband did not object. She had two children via the affair, although one died prematurely. Who was she?
Answer: Lady Emma Hamilton. Emma Hamilton was born poor, but became the mistress of many men in high places. She married William Hamilton, more than 30 years her senior, but was most famous for her affair with Lord Nelson, hero of the Napoleonic Wars. Emma fell into debt after Nelson's death and died a poor woman.
12. Death and Rebirth. Following times of great turmoil, a group of radicals were caught by the ruling regime. The leader of the regime decided to teach these radicals a life lesson, so he pretended to have them brutally executed. The prisoners stood, frightened and shaken, awaiting at death's door; by the time news of a lesser sentence arrived, many had gone mad. One prisoner, however, did not go mad; instead, he learned his lesson and grew stronger, cherishing his rebirth from death's eternal hold. His experiences led him to become a new person, rejecting the radical ideas of his earlier days. He dedicated himself to writing, and his philosophical transformation is much reflected in his works, which are known to many readers today. Who was this reborn prisoner?
Answer: Fyodor Dostoevsky, 19th Century Russian author of famous literary works such as Crime and Punishment, The Possessed, and The Brothers Karamazov. Following the revolutions of 1848, Dostoevsky attended socialist meetings and was captured by agents of Czar Nicholas I. Nicholas wanted to teach the radicals a lesson, so he staged a mock execution, only to send the men to Siberian exile at the last minute. The near death moment proved crucial to Dostoevsky, who realized that he experienced a rebirth. He devoted much of his later life to writing, and rejected his earlier socialist tendencies in favor of more traditional, orthodox religious values. Much of his transformation is reflected in his literary works.
13. Father and Son. Father and son were born around the same area, were educated at the same prestigious institution, and shared the same name. Both father and son made their marks in history: the father wrote a poem that helped preserve a famous battleship, while the son held a prestigious position for almost 30 years. Coincidentially, the name shared by father and son also helped inspire the name of a popular literary character. What was the name shared by the father and the son?
Answer: Oliver Wendell Holmes. Both father and son were born around Boston and educated at Harvard. A physcian turned poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. was known for his poem "Old Ironsides," which aroused public sympathy and helped save the U.S.S. Constitution from being turned into scrap. An American Civil War veteran turned lawyer and judge, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. served for almost 30 years as justice in the U.S. Supreme Court, and was known for his pithy opinions and concise explanations of judicial processes. Today, many believe that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle invented the name Sherlock Holmes upon a reference to the name Oliver Wendell Holmes.
14. When I attacked a heretical rebel, he developed a defensive system that kept him undefeated for five years until he died. I later was taken prisoner by this man, and when my king ungraciously refused to ransom me, I joined the heretics and even became their leader after this man died. Who am I?
Answer: I am Bohuslav of Svamberk, who attacked Jan Zizka at Nekmer, which is the battle at which Zizka first used his war-wagon tactic. I joined the Hussites after Zizka took me prisoner in 1422, and briefly became the general commander of the Taborites after Zizka died.
15. The tides of misfortune had befallen on my family and the great country that it once ruled. From the west, a great foreign rival power had risen from scratch, and devoured my country completely, with stunning efficiency and effectiveness. My father was nothing but a helpless young ruler, killed while fleeing from rapidly advancing invaders. According to some sources, my sister was captured by the invaders and made to marry, later giving birth to an important historical figure. I, however, escaped to the capital of another great empire, and sought help to restore my family's former glory. My son and I would spend the rest of our lives serving as generals along the borders of the empire that adopted us. Who am I?
Answer: I am Pirooz, son of Yazdgerd III, the last Sassanid King of Kings. Upon the Arab invasion, the Sassanid Empire, already weakened by civil war, quickly crumbled, and Yazdgerd III was killed during flight from the Arabs. According to some sources, Yazdgerd III's daughter Shahrbanu was married to Husayn ibn Ali, considered the Third Shiia Imam, and gave birth to Ali ibn Husayn, the fourth Shia Imam. According to certain sources, Pirooz escaped to Tang China, where he became a general and was sent strategically to the Tang Empire border in Central Asia. With approval from the Tang Empire, Pirooz and his son Narsieh would spend most of their lives stationed in Central Asia, trying to restore Sassanid Empire from the Arabs.
16. I held once one of the highest positions at the capital of my state. However, my teachings were declared as heresy by other powerful men and I was deposed of my title and exiled by the ruler who originally supported me. While my teaching became eradicated in the area where I held my office, my supporters carried my ideas far away to distant lands where it flourished in small communities for many centuries. Who am I?
Answer: Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople who gave rise to Nestroian Christianity, characterized by the belief that Jesus had both a human and divine persona. While it was declared heresy in the 430s AD, Nestroianism flourished east of the of the Roman domains, penetrating all the way to Mongolia and China.
17. This man worked in and journeyed through many parts of Europe, though his origin can be deduced from the motto of a small but famous group of fabled soldiers. After years of travel, occasionally employed in different armies, he settled down and achieved a great reputation, although only temporarily. His name fit him very well and he quickly made enemies and had to move on to save his life. Again on the road, broke, he spent years writing and reading, and eventually regained his wealth and fame. What is his name?
Answer: Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim. Also, or rather mostly, known as Paracelsus, Swiss alchemist, physician etc. The motto in question is "One for all, all for one", made famous from the novels about the Three Musketeers, but also the unofficial motto of the Swiss confederacy.
18. He was arguably the greatest ruler of his empire. During his rise to power, he drove out the foreign invaders who had burned the great city which was the capital of its empire, near a large lake. He then proceeded to rebuild and fortify the city, which before being burned was believed to enjoy divine protection. His religion was different from that of most of his predecessors as well as most of the population of the time. Who is he?
Answer: Jayavarman VII of the Khmer Empire.
19. I was a brilliant commander and a kingdom founder. I first made my mark in history as a general fighting for my empire, of which I was a member of the ruling family. My empire was at that time under attack by two foes. I led my army against one of the foes and won great victories, but the other enemy was overwhelming the armies of my empire and would eventually destroy my empire completely. Frustrated by the military failure of my emperor's army, I abandoned him, gathered a number of my followers and declared myself king. However, since the enemy was too strong, I fled west and established a new kingdom by defeating all who opposed me in the new land. In battle I defeated the ruler of a large empire toward the west, driving it into internal chaos. By end of my reign, I had crafted the most powerful empire in the region. However, my successors could not keep my state alive as it soon crumbled against a new and rising power about a century after I founded it. Who am I?
Answer: Yelu Dashi (Gur Khan in non-Chinese sources), founder of the Kara-Khitai Empire. He was a member of the Liao Dynasty of Northern China, which was being conquered by the Jurchen, allied with the Song Dynasty, who eventually replaced the Liao with the Jin Dynasty. Yelu Dashi defeated a huge Song Army but poor military conduct of the Liao Emperor caused Dashi to abandon the Liao and establish a new kingdom in Central Asia (1124). He defeated the Sultan Sanjar of the Great Seljuk Empire, which soon collapsed afterward. The Mongols destroyed the Kara-Khitai a century after its founding. The Liao Dynasty was replaced by the Jurchen Jin Dynasty, also conquered by the Mongols. A good source about the Khitan Empires: History of Chinese Society Liao (907-1125), by Karl A. Wittfogel; Feng Chia-Sheng Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 1949
20. I belonged to one of the most prestigious clans in my era. Respected by the public due to my spotless image, revered by my peers for my calm demeanor, and feared by my rivals because of my political ingenuity, I came out of retirement to save the empire that my clan served, an empire that halved from its original size a few years before my birth. First, I prevented a powerful figure from usurping the throne; then, with my guidance from behind the scenes, my brother and nephew's troops triumphed in a battle near a river, defeating a much larger invading army from a young, upstart empire. The young, upstart empire began to disintegrate soon after its defeat, while the empire I served survived for a few more decades. Who am I?
Answer: I am Xie An (A.D. 320-385), prime minister of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (A.D. 317-420). Xie An came out from his hermit life to serve the Jin Empire (divided by historians into the Western Jin Dynasty from A.D. 365 to A.D. 316 and the Eastern Jin Dynasty from A.D. 317 to A.D. 420), which had halved from its original size by the time of Xie Anís birth. With the help of another minister, Xie An prevented Huan Wen, an ambitious and powerful general of the Jin Empire, from usurping the throne. At the Battle of River Fei in the year A.D. 383, troops commanded by his brother Xie Shi and his nephew Xie Xuan defeated a much larger invasion force of the upstart Former Qin Dynasty under its emperor Fu Jian. The Former Qin Dynasty began disintergrating soon afterwards, while the Jin Empire survived for a couple more decades. The clan of Xie ranked alongside the clan of Wang as one of the most prestigious clans in the Jin and Southern Dynasties period.
Question Authors: (user who contributed the question) 1. poirot; 2. Imperator Invictus; 3. poirot; 4. Imperator Invictus; 5. poirot; 6. Imperator Invictus; 7. poirot; 8. poirot; 9. Imperator Invictus; 10. ulrich von hutten ; 11. poirot; 12. poirot; 13. poirot; 14. Timotheus; 15. poirot; 16. Imperator Invictus; 17. Styrbiorn; 18. Decebal; 19. Imperator Invictus; 20. poirot;

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