Total Quiz XV

Archived questions and answers to AE's history contest
Total Quiz XV was held between the 19th and 24th of April, 2007, using 19 rather than the standard 20 questions. Once again, the questions were very challenging and some crypitc, with the question's author being hidden from the players. Total Quiz XV saw the first in a long time with the absence of Imperator Invictus. Rather, the reigning champion Decebal, took over moderating duties, along with Northman and Poirot.

-- Summary --
Quiz Moderators: Decebal, Northman, Poirot
Winners: Knights, Praetor

Total Quiz XV

Question 1
He is a famous political philosopher, who was very influential in shaping the thoughts of an era. Among the most famous concepts he introduced is the idea that the mind is a blank slate and people get their ideas from education. Who is he? (Question by Decebal)
Answer: John Locke

Question 2
Separated from a conquistador expedition, this explorer was the first to sail along the length of the Amazon River. Who is he? (Question by Decebal)
Answer: Francisco de Orellana

Question 3
His attempted religious reforms were supported by the state but were so hated by a part of the religious community, that they caused a schism within the Russian Orthodox Church. Who is the reformer and what are the dissidents commonly known as? (Question by Decebal)
Answer: Patriarch Nikon, Old Believers (or raskolniki)

Question 4
The Farmer and the Nobleman. Legend has it that a simple farmer once saved a boy from drowning. The boy’s father, a famous nobleman, came to thank the farmer, but the farmer who refused a reward for the deed. Nevertheless, the nobleman wanted to express his gratitude, so he decided to give the farmer’s son a good education. That education saved humanity, a proof that what goes around comes around. Although the legend may not be true, it is touching and, ironically, the farmer’s son saved the nobleman’s son once more in the future. Name the farmer’s son and the nobleman’s son. (Question by poirot)
Answer: Although the legend is probably false, it is so touching and well known. The farmer’s son is Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of Penicillin, and the nobleman’s son is Sir Winston Churchill, son of Lord Randolph Churchill. When Winston Churchill was stricken with pneumonia during World War II, he was saved by the miracle of Penicillin. (Difficulty = Easy Category = Modern History and Great Men)

Question 5
Master and Commander. I was one of the most accomplished naval officers in my country's history. As a pioneer, I modernized the navy with new technology. As an officer, I took a major role in a war against a neighboring country, participating in the successful occupation of an important seaport, an event that opened up a path to the enemy's capital. As a "diplomat", I made a dazzling display of ships, subsequently opening up a far away land to trade. Who was I? (Question by poirot)
Answer: Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, of the United States Navy. Perry helped integrate steamboat technology into the U.S. Navy. During the Mexican American War, Perry's ships helped capture Veracruz, opening up the path to Mexico City for Winfeld Scott's army. Perry's steamboats also sailed to Japan, where they made such an lasting impression that representatives of the Shogun agreed to open up more ports to trade with the West. (Difficulty = Easy; Category = United States History and Military History)

Question 6
A Tale of Bitter Rivals. One eccentric man came to work for another eccentric man, and was promised a big bonus if he succeeded on a project. The project was a success, but the bonus never came. Feeling cheated, the first eccentric man quit, and thus began a lifetime rivalry. Despite both men¡¯s pioneering efforts, neither received the ultimate prize of recognition, because neither wanted to share it with the other. Without the much needed recognition, the first eccentric man died poor and alone. Name the two men. (Question by poirot)
Answer: Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Tesla was promised a $50,000 bonus if he succeeded in developing Edison¡¯s dynamos. Tesla succeeded, but Edison simply told him the promise was a joke. Tesla and Edison¡¯s rivalry ran deep, as Tesla proposed AC current while Edison adhered to DC current. It was believed that Edison refused being named for the 1915 Nobel Prize in physics upon hearing that the prize was to be shared with Tesla. As a result, neither was awarded. After a lifetime of being cheated and underappreciated, Tesla died alone and destitute in his hotel room. (Difficulty = Fairly Easy; Category = Great Men and Scientific History)
Question 7
He was one of the greatest minds of his age: a scholar, a theologian, a scientist, a historian as well as a poet. His reputation was so great that after his death, he was honored with 2 impressive titles: one for his learning and one for his character. He is now remembered with a certain nickname, which is due to a mistranslation of his tombstone. (Question by Decebal)
Answer: The Venerable Bede (category Medieval Europe- cultural, difficulty medium)

Question 8
Rise and Fall. He lived a long, fruitful life, in which he managed to unite many groups of his race under his banner. And thus, his domain stretched for kilometers without an end, coming into contact with some of the most advanced civilizations of his time. In fact, we know of his existence mainly because men of letters in more advanced civilizations wrote about him. Yet all was not well, for he came into conflict with a rising kingdom and its ambitious king. In a fateful clash of arms, he lost his life, and after his death, his realm was torn into pieces. As a twist of fate, the ambitious king was murdered a few years later. Who was he, and who was the ambitious king? (Question by Poirot)
Answer: He was Ateas/Atheas, unifier of Scythian tribes. Ateas, who is remembered from accounts by Greek and Roman historians, came into conflict with King Phillip II of Macedon. Ateas lost his life in battle against Macedonians, and his realm quickly disintegrated.

Question 9
Descent and Disintegration. His name was partially derived from his birthplace, but he was more or less remembered for writing accounts of his country’s great tragedy. A once great empire crumbled to pieces; a once flourishing civilization succumbed to petty thieves; a once glorious city lay in ruins. Exiled, he spent much of his time chronicling those tragic events and the hundred years preceding them, giving us students of history a good glimpse of his times. Who was he? (Question by poirot)
Hint: He is prominently featured in a recent work of fiction by an author who also wrote about a certain monastery
Answer: He was Nicetas Choniates, Byzantine historian. Born in Chonae, Nicetas Choniates fled to Nicea after the fall of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, and spent much of his time writing a history of his era, especially chronicling the fall of the great city from the Byzantine perspective. Incidentally, he was prominently featured in Umberto Eco’s Baudolino. (Difficulty = Medium Category = Medieval and Byzantine History)

Question 10
Slings and Arrows. A wealthy and cultured city felt threatened by a neighboring rising power, which was known for its growing military might. The city sent for help, in the form of a famous military man with a nickname, who claimed blood ties to an even greater military man. Forces of the famous military man and the rising power clashed, and although the military man won the day through brilliant maneuvering, all was not well. His men were greatly decimated, while the enemy seemed unshaken even in defeat. The results of the battle gave birth to a famous expression still used today. Name the military man, the battle, and the famous expression. (Question by poirot)
Answer: The military man was King Pyrrhus of Epirus, nicknamed "The Eagle", who claimed to be a cousin of none other than Alexander the Great. When the city of Tarentum was threatened by Rome’s growing power, Pyrrhus came to the rescue. Upon arrival, Pyrrhus realized that he was up against a strong opponent, but his brilliant tactical maneuvering provided the upper hand in battle. Nevertheless, Pyrrhus’ forces were limited, while waves and waves of fresh Roman troops were sent to war. When congratulated upon his apparent victory at the Battle of Asculum, Pyrrhus shook his head and said “If we defeat the Romans in one more such battle, we shall be totally ruined.” The results at Asculum gave birth to the expression “Pyrrhic victory", used to describe a victory at too great a cost. (Difficulty = Medium Category = Ancient Mediterranean and Military History)

Question 11
It is a story of three remarkable men. The first implemented a series of reforms which were revolutionary for the time; and it is in his proclamations that we first hear of a certain idea which we value highly nowadays. The second, a great conqueror, overthrew him and was the first man to unite a civilization. But he was also overthrown by an even greater foreign conqueror whose name would be legendary for a long time. Name the three men.
Hint: The third man's name would acquire a mythical status and would only be reused almost 2 millenia later. (Question by Decebal)
Answer: 1. Lugal-Zage-Si of Umma, 2. Urukagina of Lagash 3. Sargon (or Sharrukin) of Akkad

Question 12
He was a politician and a man of learning so respected, that to this day he is remembered by an honorary title referring to his administrative abilities. Elevated to a high rank, he was the real power in a great empire. Due to his initiatives, his impact on culture and learning is hard to match. There are many stories surrounding his death, but the most popular one has him being the victim of a famous group. (Question by Decebal)
Answer: Abu Ali al-Hasan al-Tusi Nizam al-Mulk or Nizam al-Mulk for short: Grand Vizier of the Seljuk Empire, assasinated by the Assasins (category great men/cultural, Classical Middle East)

Question 13
Back and Forth. I served a country caught in a political dilemma as war waged between two rival powers, one rising to its height, the other falling to the ground. The ruling royalty of my country had blood ties to the falling power, but I wisely led a faction supporting the rising power. When the rising power took a neighboring region from the falling power, I was ordered, against my will, to lead an expedition against the rising power and invade that region. Instead of following orders, I stopped at the border and marched back to my capital, staging a coup that brought me ultimate power. I renamed my country to begin a new era and was the first in a long line of rulers. Who was I, and what was my country’s new name? (Question by poirot)
Answer: I was Yi Seonggye, Taejo of Joseon or Choson. In the last days of Goryeo, the Korean peninsula was split between the rising Ming Dynasty in China and the falling Yuan Dynasty Mongols. The Goryeo royalty had blood ties to the Mongols after years of forced intermarriage, while many officials such as Yi Seonggye felt that Korea had better chances siding with Ming China. When Ming forces took what is now Manchuria from the Mongols in the 1380s, Yi Seonggye was ordered to attack Ming China. Instead of following orders, Yi stopped at the Yalu River and marched back to the Goryeo capital to stage a coup. After setting up a few puppet rulers under his control, Yi finally proclaimed himself king. Thus began the Joseon/Choson Dynasty in Korea, which lasted more than five centuries. (Difficulty = Hard Category = East Asia and Politics)

Question 14
She was a heroic figure, a symbol of resistance against an occupying power. Famed for her beauty, she ruled her land after her husband's death. Caught in the middle of tumultous events, she took up arms against the opressor. After losing her lands, she fled to join another army, only to die heroically in battle. Who is she? (Question by Decebal)
Answer: Rani Lakshmibai, of Jhansi (category India- great women, difficulty medium/hard)

Question 15
He was a prince of a great city, named after a hungry animal. When he was a teenager, a foreign army invaded his country, but the young prince managed to forge an alliance to recover his lands. This alliance was to last for another century. Afterwards, now a king, he became a famous patron of learning and culture, leading his city into a veritable golden age. Not content to be merely a patron fo the arts, the king was an artist and accomplished writer himself. Who is he? (Question by Decebal)
Hint: The alliance he forged was with two other cities.
Answer: Nezahualcoyotl, prince of Texcoco

Question 16
In a land of great cities, he was a scholar and a holy man. As the mentor of a young king, he wanted the latter to implement some religious reforms. But the king was worried and attempted to assasinate him. The holy man escaped and rallied a huge army around him. He then started a holy war which ended up creating a massive empire, which united the great cities, among other lands. Who is he? (Question by Decebal)
Hint: his example motivated a whole series of holy wars which lasted for almost another century after his death
Answer: Usman Dan Fodio (category Africa -religion/great men, difficulty hard)

Question 17
In a land divided among the members of a family, she was a princess from another kingdom who married within the family. Her husband treated her very cruelly, and her sister, who had also married in the family, was assassinated by another woman who was to become the princess' nemesis. The nemesis took the princess' sister's place and married within the family thus becoming a princess as well. The princess and her nemesis waged a war for decades, plotting against each other and trying to get their sons and grandsons to ruling positions in the realm. Eventually the nemesis died, but years later the nemesis' son finally defeated the princess and let some animals kill her. The story of the princess and her nemesis became legend, and served as the basis for a great epic, which has inspired much art and song. What were the names of the princess, her nemesis and the great epic? (Question by Decebal)
Answer: princess: Brunhilde, nemesis: Fredegund, epic: Nibelungs (category Medieval Europe- great women, difficulty very hard)

Question 18
City and Kingdom. Founded originally as an outpost by frontier soldiers and populated by immigrants escaping their war ravaged homeland, this city gave rise to a kingdom of the same name that lasted for more than one and half centuries, serving as a key resting stop for traveling merchants and religious men. Kings and royal houses changed, but the kingdom nevertheless thrived, until it was caught in a struggle between two rival powers. Both the kingdom and one of the rival powers were quickly absorbed by the other power, a power that was no longer powerful after experiencing a major crisis a century later. Give the name shared by the city and the kingdom. (Question by poirot)
Hint: A famous Buddhist monk passed through the city and kingdom on his journey.
Answer: The city and kingdom has many names: Gaochang in Chinese, Qara-hoja in Uighur, Chotscho in German, and Khocho in English. Originally an outpost of the Han Empire near Turpan, Gaochang/Qara-hoja/Khocho served as a critical link in the Silk Road, a key stop for traveling traders and Buddhist monks. The kingdom of Gaochang/Qara-hoja/Khocho thrived for more than one and half centuries, from around 460 AD to 640 AD, with several dynasties. When conflict broke out between the Western Gok-Turk Empire and the Tang Empire, the kingdom was caught in the middle. It was absorbed, along with the Gok-Turk Empire, by the Tang Empire, which would experience the Anlushan Rebellion a century later.

Question 19
His father had been a great empire builder, who used an alliance to fill a power vacuum caused by the dissapearance of a great empire. He was a great ruler himself, establishing his empire's capital and greatly expanding his realm. He interfered in the affairs of a neighboring great empire by marrying the other emperor's daughter and fighting off the other empire's enemies. He died from too much drinking. It was under him that his people started calling themselves by the name we know them today. His son's reign marked the golden age of his empire. Who is he? (Question by Decebal)
Answer: Bayanchur Khan of the Uighur Empire

Original Quiz Thread: The original thread for the Total Quiz XV can be found here: