What, you don't know anything about the 1030s? That's OK! Neither did I, last week!
1. Yarn is made by twisting fibers together tight enough so that they form a continuous thread. There is evidence that in the 1030s, in China, a simple machine was being used that would, with refinement, speed up this process enormously. What was this yarn-making machine?
2. Godwin, Earl of Wessex, was at the height of his power in the 1030s. His support was essential to the reign of Harold Harefoot, and later in securing the succession of Harthacnut to the throne. In what kingdom was Godwin a leading mover and shaker?
3. Gang Gam-chan, leader of the peninsular Goryeo kingdom, died in 1031. Under the Liao Dynasty, the Khitans had attempted several invasions of Goryeo. In the third and last of these invasions, Gang Gam-chan ordered a river dammed, and then had the dam destroyed while the invaders were crossing the river below. The resulting victory meant the survival of the Goryeo Kingdom, which in turn allowed the continued development of its distinct culture.
What do we call Goryeo these days?
4. A number of contemporary writers noted that an unusual number of Christian tourists made the trip to Jerusalem in 1033. What did they figure was so special about 1033?
5. Michael IV the Paphlagonian (no relation) started as a servant in the women’s quarters of the palace, but something about him caught the fancy of the Empress Zoe, who made him her lover. Soon afterwards, on April 11, 1034, Emporer Romanos III Argyros was found mysteriously dead in his bath; Zoe and Michael were married that afternoon, and Michael was crowned emperor on the next day. This is the kind of palace intrigue that gave what empire a bad reputation?
6. A new business model!
“After having spent some decades in the business of ferrying Latin pilgrims to the Holy Land, in 1034 the Pisans hit upon the idea of combining such a voyage with a return-trip raid on ‘Annaba in Islamic Ifriqiya, a raid in which the pilgrims would be invited to participate. Thus, the Pisans, who lacked ground forces, could pillage a Muslim town with the help of the pilgrims, while the loot the pilgrims carried off would help them recoup the cost of their voyage. Because ‘Annaba was a Muslim town the attack could be presented as a virtuous act of piety, and all the participants would come away not only richer, but having redeemed their sins.”What does Professor Catlos mean by “Pisans,” and why were they in a position to try out this enterprise?
Brian A. Catlos, Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors
7. Some people say that Saint Sophia Cathedral was completed in 1037; others that construction began in that year. Here’s what it looks like these days, after a number of remodelings of course. What city, then as now a capital, must it be in?
8. Here’s a little story that was probably first told in the 1030s, although it is set much earlier:
The Buddha gathered his disciples. They sat in a small circle around him, and waited for the teaching. But the Buddha said nothing; he only held up a flower.The story of the “Flower Sermon” is a foundational story of what specific belief system?
The disciples were very confused at the Buddha’s silence. But Mahākāśyapa understood that the flower was itself the sermon, and smiled.
“What can be said I have said to you,” said the Buddha, “and what cannot be said, I have given to Mahākāśyapa.”
9. In 1037, Tughril Beg united the Turkic peoples of eastern Islam and founded an empire that would rule a vast area of the Middle East for the next century and a half. This map shows the empire and its neighbors at its late eleventh century peak. What do we call this Turkish empire?
10. In 1038, a Tangut leader declared himself emperor and demanded that his former ruler, the emperor of Song, recognize him as an equal. After a rocky start, the Tangut Empire would last for almost two centuries, coexisting with the Song and Liao dynasties, until their society was destroyed by the Mongols in 1227 in one of history’s first and most effective examples of attempted genocide. It's another chapter of the complicated history of what country?
Through History with The Monday Quiz: the 1020s
1. "...died at home in Greenland" -- Leif Erickson.
2. The Vaspurakan Kingdom -- was Armenian.
3. What important job was thereby kept in the Tusculum family? -- The Papacy.
4. The not-quite-forgotten empire -- Ghana.
5. "Short Discourse on the Discipline and Art of Music" -- Don't make it harder than it is!
6. Abū ʿAlī ibn Sīnā, one of the most important figures in the history of medicine and science -- we traditionally call him Avicenna.
7. Robert of Normandy's little bastard -- William the Conquerer.
8. King of England, Denmark, Norway, and sort of Sweden -- Cnut, or Canute the Great.
9. Kaifang was where the Yellow River met the Grand Canal, the less hyped but more important of China's linear ancient engineering marvels.
10. The Rainbow Serpent holds an Australian passport these days.
Therefore, good readers, we have a tie -- a TIE -- with both pfly ("these are too hard for poor me") and Unwise Owl ("Who knows what you want here?") crushing it with 8/10. Will they triumph again next week, or will they, like Srivijaya, go into decline after the 1020s? History will tell!