Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Wednesday Quiz 1:4 -- European Monarchs

The Wednesday Quiz -- Season I -- Quiz 4

European Monarchs

The Wednesday Quiz is a test of knowledge and intuition. Looking up answers or asking your buddy is bad, bad, bad. Questions about the rules are answered here.

This week's Quiz is a true or false sort of deal. The question is:

Is this an accurate description of a real European monarch?

Are the descriptions of these European kings and queens accurate? Or did I just make them up, salting them liberally with misinformation? In point of fact, there are six true ones and four false ones -- use your knowledge, intuition, and sense of the plausible to figure out which is which.

1. Æthelred the Unready of England, 978-1016 – Attacked repeatedly by Danish Vikings, he found out that paying large tributes tends to buy peace only on a temporary basis. After his downfall, England was ruled by Danish kings for three decades.

2. Beatrix of the Netherlands – Queen since 1980, Beatrix retains more power than most modern European monarchs, enjoying a considerable voice in her country's foreign policy. (She is also a member of the Bilderburg Group, which like the Trilateral Commission is thought by some to secretly run the world.) Earlier this year, eight people died when a would-be assassin plowed into a parade in an attempt to kill her.

3. Catherine the Great of Russia – Under Catherine's reign, Russia was dragged kicking and screaming into the Eighteenth Century. Although unable to do much for the serfs, she managed to improve public administration and stimulate some political and economic modernization. She also crushed rebellion without remorse. Her personal life was quite something – she enjoyed her boyfriends, and had plenty of them – but the one thing that everybody thinks they know about her is, rather obviously really, ridiculous. She died of a stroke.

4. Charlemagne – Considered Charles I of Germany, Charles I of France, and Charles I of the Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne conquered Italy and much of Central and Western Europe in the Eighth Century. Under his reign, Europe experienced a revival of art, literature, and learning, partially recovering some of the knowledge that had been lost after the collapse of the Roman Empire.

5. Charles II of Spain – Everybody knows that Ferdinand and Isabella financed the voyages of Columbus, but it was their son Charles II who comprehended that new wealth from the New World discoveries could be used to create a Spanish world empire. With a keen intelligence and not a little ruthlessness, he created a united kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula and gained effective control of Denmark, southern Italy, and Egypt.

6. Charles the Bold – At the height of medieval Germany’s military might, Charles IV ruled a territory stretching from southern Sweden to northern Italy, from Kiev to Paris. His nickname stems from his decisive leadership at the 1288 Battle of Avignon, when his disciplined, well-trained troops routed a numerically superior Papal army.

7. Ivan the Terrible – Not "terrible" as in inept but "terrible" as in fearsome, Ivan led an expansion of the Russians from their homeland around Moscow. By the end of his long reign, he ruled over a multiethnic empire that stretched eastward into Siberia; by some estimates, Russia expanded at a rate of around 130 square kilometers a day under his watch.

8. Kaiser Franz Joseph of Germany – Although a largely ceremonial figure who had very little to do with affairs of state, German Kaiser Franz Joseph became a popular scapegoat for the outbreak of World War I. Stripped of his throne by the victorious allies and widely reviled by his own disillusioned countrymen, he committed suicide in 1921, bringing to an end a German royal line that had lasted uninterrupted for more than a thousand years.

9. Louis XIV of France – As railroads and industrialization made radical changes in the fabric of French society, Louis XIV attempted a reactionary program of returning power to the country’s aristocracy. Highly averse to centralized government, his chronic underfunding and downsizing of the French army left the country open to defeat and humiliation in the Franco-Prussian War.

10. Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia – He grew up the subject of political infighting, maybe, between his Christian grandma and his pagan mom. Landing on the Christian side, he led Bohemia to some victories and defeats. After being murdered by his brother, Wenceslaus was canonized as a martyr; he has persisted ever since as an important symbolic figure for the Czech people. There's an old song that lots of people sing about him this time of year.

Submit your answers in the comments.

The L&TM5K Advent Calendar
December 23

Masaccio, Madonna and Child. c. 1426. Tempera on panel, 24.5 x 18 cm. Uffizi, Florence.


Elaine said...

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. Hmm NO
6. No
7. Yes
8. NO, wasn't he Austrian?
9. NO
10. Yes

Have the feeling I am being toyed with....thought Wenceslaus was Polish (fave carol is Good KING Wenceslaus)...Too Tricky 5000 is my new name for you!

Cartophiliac said...

1. True
2. True
3. True
4. True
5. False
6. False
7. True
8. False
9. False
10. True

A couple I wasn't sure about... but the four False ones were so false, it made the rest easier.

La Gringissima said...

1. True
2. True
3. True
4. True
5. False
6. False
7. True
8. False
9. False
10. True

Eversaved said...


The Calico Cat said...

I say yes to all but 5, 8, & 9.

Elizabeth said...

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. Yes
5. No.
6. No.
7. Yes
8. Yes
9. No.
10. No.

mrs.5000 said...

1 no
2 yes
3 yes
4 yes
5 yes
6 no
7 yes
8 no
9 no
10 yes

DrSchnell said...

1. true
2. true
3. true (though I was hoping for an opportunity here to say "neigh")
4. true
5. no way
6. no
7. yes
8. yes
9. no
10. no

Aviatrix said...

1. false - I have scanned the list of monarchs and hope I would remember Danish ones
2. true - her son went to my school
3. true - I'm not sure about the reforms, but I don't believe the bit about the horse
4. true - he must have done something to be so famous
5. false - Spain occupying southern Italy and Egypt? No.
6. true - Not familiar, but I needed another true one
7. true - They had to expand under someone
8. false - I think you've relocated an archduke
9. false - I don't know anything about him but the furniture
10. true - You wouldn't put a false one about him for Christmas, would you?

Aviatrix said...

P.S. It occurred to me while doing this quiz that the teacher who taught the medieval era in school had us drawing pictures of castles and writing first person essays on the lives of serfs. If we ever learned the names of the movers and shakers or the expanses of territories they conquered, it was not a priority.

Ben said...

1. Is
2. Since I don't remember hearing anything about this assasination attempt, I'll guess "Isn't."
3. I don't fool myself by thinking I know ANYTHING about her, but I'll guess "Is."
4. Isn't
5. Is
6. Is
7. Isn't
8. Is
9. Isn't
10. Is

d said...

1. i don't know if it's true or not, but i want it to be, so i will say yes. because anyone who got the nickname 'the unready' deserved to be a hemophiliac.
2. that sounds vaguely right to my vague ears.
3. YES! this one i know.
4. si.
5. no.
6. sure. i like it.
7. there was an ivan the terrible, and this sounds like it's the right description of that dude. so. sure.
8. um. no.
9. well, now, there was a louis xiv and i know one of the louises tried to do this. it's what caused the french revolution. that and marie antoinette, but i think the franco-prussian war timeline is not right. so, no.
10. i don't care if you're making this up. it's awesome. yes.

Aviatrix said...

No quiz scoring? We have to go look it all up for ourselves? Or are you leaving them up for a week now?

Michael5000 said...

Lessee if I remember these...

1. Æthelred -- YES. Aviatrix, meet the House of Denmark: Kings Sweyn Forkbeard, Canute, Harold Harefoot, and Harthacanute, 1013-1042. Probably your list only went back to William the Conquering Bastard.

2. Beatrix -- Yes.

3. Kate the Great -- Yes.

4. Charlemagne -- Yes.

5. Charles the Bold -- Nah. Made it up. All nonsense.

6. Charles II of Spain -- NO WAY. Charles was a rather extreme product of inbreeding with massive physical, emotional, and mental handicaps.

7. Ivan -- Sure.

8. Kaiser Franz Joseph -- NO, he was Austria-Hungary. The German Kaiser was Wilhelm, and none of what I said is true about him, either.

9. Louis XIV -- NO, that's the Louis XIV from upside-down land.

10. Wenceslaus -- YOUBETCHA. Mind my footsteps, good my page!

Michael5000 said...

Carto, Elaine, La Gringa, and Eversaved all nailed it!