Monday, August 10, 2015

Through History with The Monday Quiz: the 1080s

Once more into the High Middle Ages! 

1. In 1084, Kyansittha became king of the Pagan Empire at the death of his father, Anawrahta – remember him? During Kyansittha’s long, prosperous reign, much of the modern language and culture of his society continued to coalesce, for instance with Theravada Buddhism predominating but not overwhelming elements of Ari, Mahayana, and Hindu practice. Considered a peer by other major players like the Chola, Song, and Khmer Empires, the Pagan Empire was the forerunner of what modern state?

2. As the Seljuk Turks continued their conquest of Asia Minor at the expense of the Byzantines, they captured a famous city in 1084. One of the great cities of the early Roman Empire – probably the third largest city in the world, for a time – it was also an important city in early Christianity. It would eventually dwindle to almost nothing after centuries of sieges, sackings, and earthquakes, although there is a sizeable Turkish town there today. What’s the city?

3. After a life of astonishing military and diplomatic adventures, Robert Guiscard died in 1085 as the Duke of Apulia and Calabria and the Count of Sicily. He was not, however, a local boy. Where was Robert Guiscard from, and what group did he lead to the conquest of southern Italy?

4. In 1086, the famous “Domesday Book” commissioned by England’s King William the Conqueror was completed. What is the Domesday Book, anyway?

5. Also in 1086, the Almoravids, who had been called into Spain by Abbad III of Sevilla, defeated Alfonso VI of León and Castile at the Battle of Sagrajas. This victory halted the “Reconquista,” the Christian conquest of Muslim Spain, for several decades. Those Almoravids… we’ve seen them before. Where did they come from, again?

6. The original Tripitaka Koreana was carved onto woodblocks in 1087 during the Third Goryeo-Khitan War. It is the world's most oldest intact version of Buddhist canon in Hanja script, and there are apparently no known errors in its more than 50 million characters.

Of what country is the Tripitaka Koreana a national treasure?

And, given this example, what would you figure "Hanja script" is?

7. In 1087, William the Conqueror died. Since his second son, Richard, had died in a 1075 hunting accident, it was his third son inherited the throne of England, becoming William II. But wait a minute! His oldest son, Robert, was still alive! What could he have got that was arguably better than the throne of England?

8. In 1088, the brainy Chinese scholar Shen Kuo published his Dream Pool Essays.  It includes this passage.
In recent years there was a landslide on the bank of a large river in Yong-ning Guan near Yanzhou. The bank collapsed… and under the ground a forest of bamboo shoots was thus revealed…. with their roots and trunks all complete, and all turned to stone…. Now, bamboos do not grow in Yanzhou…. On the Jin-hua Shan in Wuzhou there are stone pine-cones, and stones formed from peach kernels, stone bulrush roots, stone fishes, crabs, and so on, but as these are all native products of that place, people are not very surprised at them. But these petrified bamboos appeared under the ground so deep, though they are not produced in that place….. This is a very strange thing.
What modern-sounding explanation did Shen Kuo propose for this very strange thing?

9. In 1088, the oldest European-style university still operating today was founded in the north of Italy. Over the years, its faculty is said to have included Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Nicolaus Copernicus, Albrecht Dürer, Paracelsus, Luigi Galvani, Guglielmo Marconi, and Umberto Eco, so that’s pretty good. But how’s the football team doing this year?

What university are we talking about?

10. David IV, called “David the Builder,” came to the throne in 1089. Over the course of his reign, David would gradually force the Suljuk Turks to the south until his kingdom included almost the entire Caucasus. This Golden Age of success and prosperity would last through the 1184-1213 reign of David’s granddaughter Tamar; in subsequent centuries the kingdom would fragment and be subsumed by neighboring empires before emerging again as an independent state in the twentieth century. Of what country was David IV the King?

King David IV "The Builder"

Last Week's New Monday Quiz: the 1070s

1. Chola was a South Indian empire; earlier in the century we saw them get control of Sri Lanka, across the strait.
2. That's the Bayeaux Tapestry, and it documents the Norman Conquest.  Of England, that is.
3. The Suljuk Turks won at Manzikert, and the Byzantines didn't.
4. Mozarabic dialects, Visigothic language; this is stuff happening in Spain.
5. The German Rome would be Cologne.
6. King Iziaslav Yaroslavich was the first, and the second-to-last, king of the Kievan Rus, although the title would be revived as an honorific and kicked around the crowned heads of Europe in subsequent centuries.
7. The Almoravids are said to have toppled the Empire of Ghana, although its all very up for debate.  They didn't help.  Mali and Songhai are still way in the future.
8. Skalds like Arnórr Þórðarson jarlaskáld were Norse epic poets.  Bards, if you will.
9. The "Walk to Canosa" was made by the Holy Roman Emperor (Henry IV), elaborately humbling himself before the Pope (Gregory VII) in a classic act of political theater.  They were forever at odds about who got to appoint bishops, you might remember.
10. The Rubáiyát, and the awesome mathematics, were of Omar Khayyám.
11. The Pala Empire was centered around what is now Bangladesh.

Now that one was a real shock and awe quiz!  And incidentally, if you think they are hard to take, try writing one sometime.  Unwise Owl is back in form with 8 marks (7 and two halfs), bringing the Through History With the New Monday Quiz cup back to the Southern Hemisphere.  Maybe someone can wrest it away for the North this week?   We'll find out!.


Michael5000 said...

That's as may be, Steve, but you're going to have to be a bit more on-topic if you want to get any points in the quiz.

Michael5000 said...

And incidentally, Steve? Your point only works if you construe the Greek etymological root of "to baptize" in its literal meaning of soaking. If you construe it, not unreasonably in a scriptural context, to mean basically "to baptize" in the modern sense -- that is to say, to perform a religious ritual with water -- then your argument goes up in smoke. You will think that this is a tautology, I suspect, but if you really spend some time thinking about it you may recognize the circularity of your own reasoning.

Not that I have a dog in that fight. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Am I in the wrong place? Has no one else entered the Quiz this week? Discouraged by Steve?
1 -
2 - Aleppo
3 - Normandy - The Normans
4 - Census of English land holdings
5 -
6 - Early Japanese characters
7 - Again Normandy & maybe Paris too. Those Normans got around.
8 - Plate Techtonics!
9 - Univ. of Padua
10 - Yugoslavia

pfly said...

Well. Glad I got the Seljuks last time. And Cologne and bards. But hey, I knew Mali was probably wrong and thought briefly about saying Ghana, before deciding Ghana was too far south. And wow I got Chola wrong. I didn't know any South India/Sri Lanka state had control of the Malay Peninsula.

Anyway, okay, let's see...

1. Of course I remember Anawratha! We ued to play volleyball at Leeds. Theravada, eh? Would this be Burma again?
2. Looks like the location of Antioch on the map. But isn't Antioch more than just a sizable town today? Can't think of anything else.
3. I believe the Normans conquered Sicily and southern Italy. Where was Robert Guiscard from? I'd guess Normandy.
4. The Domesday Book is a meticulous survey of all the domes in England. I mean land. It was an account of the land/resources of Bill's new kingdom. For tax purposes mainly, I think.
5. I think the Almoravids were from Morocco, no? The dudes who beat on Ghana, I bet. Apparently they could be summoned by Abba.
6. Given the mention of Goryeo, not to mention Koreana, I'll say Korea. The script looks like Chinese characters to me. Can I also point out the oddness of the phrase "world's most oldest"?
7. Aw, no more questions about Bill after this decade? I'm guessing Robert got the throne of France.
8. Modern sounding? Um...UFOs? Hmmm, I don't know. Climate change?
9. That'd be the, um, university of, uh, Florence? That's not really northern Italy though, is it? Nor is Pisa, right? So...Verona? Parma? ...picture doesn't look like those places, I think. Not Milan. Leghorn? No, too silly. Certainly not Venice or Genoa. What's left? Baloney? I mean Bologna?
10. Christian kingdom in the Caucasus region? Georgia or Armenia? Let's say Armenia.

UnwiseOwl said...

Wow, I missed a week:
1) Pretty sure that this is Burma again. The pagan kingdom, what dudes.
2) You have me stumped here, I think I'll guess Tarsus, 'cause I guess that might have been important to early Christians? Seem to recall it was...well, somewhere it Turkey
3) He was a Norm.
4) A list of who owned what in England and how the king owned it really. If 1066aat is to be believed.
5) I get my ids mixed up...are these the fellows from that short-lived outpost in Silicy?
6) Definitely Korea, and given the similarity of the word to 'kanji' lets go for Chinese-style characters
7) bah. No idea. Climate change? That'd be funny. Yep...the world heated up and the stone bamboo defrosted...tastes good...
8) Maybe King of France? Gotta gets your wars of succession from somewhere.
9) No idea, soccer teams? Let's go...Venice.
10) pffh...maybe Georgia?

Now to wait a few hours and do the next one!