Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Through History with the Monday Quiz in Exile: the 1440s

Longtime Leaflocker readers may well recall that our own Wednesday Quiz, the first and most consistent regular feature of this little corner of the internet, began as a response to demise of the original Wednesday Quiz over at the home of our spiritual blogmother Michael5000. It this day it remains undoubtedly the finest hour of this blog to have contributed to the revival of that much-loved feature.

Having recently attained a lifetime of 10 years of almost-daily posting, the Infinite Art Tournament has finally discontinued all non-double-elimination-bracket content in favour of a well-deserved retirement and dotage, and thus Michael's current quiz feature, a decade-by-decade exploration of history that is just too good to die, needs to find a new home.

Thus, I am shamelessly stealing the idea, and am proud to present part one, Through History with the Monday Quiz in Exile: the 1440's, a closed-book quiz of general knowledge with a historical theme, undoubtedly a little bit inferior and a little bit less arty and a little bit more europhile than Michael's incarnation. It's in Exile not just from Michael's blog, but also from Mondays, because Wednesday is the new Monday, dontcherknow?

1. This painting of St. Jerome was completed by the workshop of one of the most prominent painters of the 1430's and leading light of the Northern Renaissance after the artist's death in 1441. Which artist? 

2. In the early 1440's, Lorenza Valla, an expert in Latin stylistics, analyzed the text of the Donation of Constantine, proving that it was a forgery probably written hundreds of years after Constantine's death. What did(n't) Constantine I donate, and to whom?

3. After a successful but reluctant miltary career, in 1444 Sultan Murad II abdicated his throne in favour of his twelve-year old son Mehmed II, and retired to a quiet life in the country. It didn't stick, and by 1446 his son had been deposed, and Murad was again sultan over which swiftly-growing Empire?

4. The history of the Kingdom of Naples is all over the place in this period. Having been part of the Kingdom of Sicily for a time, it was then transferred to the French, but in 1442 it was conquered by Alfonso V, the King of...where, exactly?

5. 1446 saw the promulgation of Hangul, a new script using significantly simplified characters of which it's originator claimed "A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days.". Though Hangul gained some popularity with previously illiterate parts of society, it was opposed by the ruling and scholarly classes, and would be suppressed in 1504. Despite this, today Hangul is used by 75 million people. Where?

6. The Blarney Stone, a block of limestone set into the walls of Blarney Castle in 1446, is supposed by legend to convey 'the gift of the gab' to those who kiss it. Tens of thousands of tourists travel to Blarney every year to be lowered from the parapet of the castle in order to give the kiss. Where's Blarney?

7. The 1440's also saw the beginning of what would come to be known as the Age of Discovery, the period in which Europeans began seaborne exploration and colonisation of the wider world, with decidedly mixed results, starting with the west coast of Africa. The first permanent European trading post outside Europe, used mainly for the soon to explode African slave trade, was on the island of Arguin, off the coast of which modern nation?

8. 1448 saw the first reign of Vlad III the Impaler, most commonly known in modern times as Dracula, thanks to Bram Stoker's novel of the same name. Mostly due to the folk tales about his cruelty which would go on to be published all over Europe, Vlad would become the most famous ruler of Wallachia. In which country is Wallachia today?

9. Discovered buried in a farmers field outside modern day Gubbio, Italy in 1444, the Iguvine tablets are a set of 7 bronze tablets inscribed with detailed description of the rites of a group of priests of the early Roman religion from the 3rd to 1st centuries BC. Containing 4000-5000 words, they are by far the largest and most useful extant document written in which ancient language?

10. The 1440's saw the establishment of two still-extant colleges at Cambridge University, King's and Queens' Colleges. Can you name the British king or queen they were named for?

Please submit your answers in the comments. I'll mark them in two weeks time.


John said...

Oh ho, well let's see what we can do here.

1. I'm flying completely blind here - the only dutch painter I know much about at all is Rembrandt, but I'm pretty sure he came along a fair bit later. Jan van Eyck?

2. Given how thoroughly Constantine's been tied in to the narrative of the establishment of the Catholic church, I'm going to guess that the disputed donation was of Rome, or some portion thereof, to the church.

3. This is an easy one - the Ottoman empire! Very much on the way up at this point in history. Doesn't Constantinople look lovely and conquerable?

4. Pretty sure this Alfonso was spanish, though I'm not entirely sure about which part of Spain he ruled. Castile? Aragon? I'm going to guess Castile.

5. Hangul's used in Korea. It's a pretty neat alphabet!

6. With a name like that it's got to be somewhere in the UK or Ireland. I'm going to opt for Ireland.

7. If the map's even halfway correct then the only options are Sengal or Mauritania - let's say Senegal.

8. Wallachia's in modern Romania, though I think there have been some back and forth arguments about whether Vlad ought to be considered more Romanian or Hungarian.

9. Latin's too easy a guess here, so I'll say Etruscan.

10. England didn't have a queen regnant until Mary (given Matilda was never crowned); since we're a fair piece ahead of Tudor times, I suppose I'll guess at Henry VI, who did have a queen who practically ran the country (though shamefully I can't remember her name).

Thomas Diment said...

1) This one is by the workshop of Van Eyck
2) Constantine (never) donated Temporal power over Rome and the Western Empire and spiritual authority over the Eastern patriarchs.
3) These are Ottoman sultans.
4) Alfonso V was the King of Aragon.
5) Hangul is the commonly used Korean script.
6) Blarney Castle and its famous Stone are in Ireland.
7) Arguin is in Mauritania
8) Wallachia is in Romania.
9) The Iguvine Tablets are written in Umbrian.
10) King's College is named for Henry VI. Queens' for his Queen, Margaret of Anjou, anbd for Elizabeth Woodville, the Queen of Edward IV.

You have to be in it to win it, but it's impressive when you win it as comprehensively as John did this week, with 7 points of a possible 10.

Michael5000 said...


Michael5000 said...


1. OK, I think ya got Van Eyck here.
2. Constantine didn't donate the Papal States to the Papacy
3. Swiftly growing, eh? Let's say the Ottomans
4. Let's say Spain
5. Korea
6. Ireland. South central, I think.
7. That looks like Senegal
8. Romaaaaaania!
9. I'm gonna say Etruscan here
10. Henry V? And... Mrs. Henry V?