Last week, seeing that the 1170s were relatively easy to write quiz questions for, I wondered if we had reached the magical tipping point where world history starts to get dense enough to make decadal quizzes easy. Turns out I hadn't.
1. In 1180, Phillip II Augustus took the throne of France. In a 43-year reign, he would build it into the most powerful and stable country in Europe. To raise capital for his early endeavors, he decreed that all debts owed to a certain class of people would be reduced by 80%, and be made payable directly to himself. This was obviously a very popular move with people who owed money. But, what was the class of people that got shafted?
2. In 1182, the First Sejm established laws that limited the power of the monarch. Sejms have been happening off and on ever since, growing more consistent in recent history. The full name of the institution is the Sejm Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. What would we call it in English?
3. For decades, the Italian merchant expats had generally been considered pains in the ass: they fought among themselves, they were arrogant, they made way too much money, and they destabilized the local class system. To make things worse, from 1180 to 1182, a regency showed blatant favoritism to these guys. When the regency was overthrown in April 1182, things got ugly. In the ensuing "Massacre of the Latins," some 60,000 of them were murdered, sold into slavery, or forced to flee. This was an unfortunate chapter in the history of what city?
4. Meanwhile, what was going on in New Zealand in the 1180s?
5. In the 1180s, a Christian group from the mountains of Lebanon that had probably experimented with such doctrines as monophystitism and monothelitism agreed to accept papal supremacy and the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. This sect of Catholics still represents about a quarter of the population of modern Lebanon. What are they called?
6. This country's first incarnation lasted from 681 until 1018, when it fell to the Byzantines. The Second Empire emerged in 1185 under the brothers Peter and John Asen, who became its first two czars. From 1396 to 1878, the nation would be under the control of the Ottomans until emerging in 1878, more or less as the country we know today.
|The Second Empire (orange) in about 1207.|
7. In 1186 A.D., Jayavarman VII embarked on a massive program of construction and public works. Rajavihara, today known as Ta Prohm, was one of the first temples founded pursuant to that program. The temple's stele records that the site was home to more than 12,500 people (including 18 high priests and 615 dancers), with an additional 800,000 souls in the surrounding villages working to provide services and supplies. Even if we assume that these figures are a bit, um, generous, this was another impressive achievement of what major twelfth century empire?
8. Has the light produced during the 1180s by the star closest to our own solar system reached us yet?
9. On October 2, 1187, the dashing Saladin captured an important city. Famously, the killing, raping, and selling into slavery that usually accompanied the fall of a city in medieval times was kept to a relative minimum. What city did Saladin treat so gently, relatively speaking?
10. "I would have sold London if I could find a buyer!" After taking the English throne in 1189, Richard I "The Lion Hearted" began ransoming prisoners, selling political offices and crown lands, and forcing his ministers to pay fees to retain their posts. For what project was he so eager to raise cash?
Through History with The Monday Quiz: the 1170s
1. After Henry II's angry utterance, it was -- as Susan says -- Murder in the Cathedral. Four courtiers rode off to whack Thomas Beckett. It was all very unfortunate, especially for Thomas Beckett.
2. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, Fibonacci.
3. Ending Shia rule in Egypt means restoring Sunni rule in Egypt.
4. The Duke of Aquitane became Richard I "the Lionheart" or "the Lion-Hearted." And he was eager to raise cash.
5. The city was Pisa, and the problem with the bell tower was that it began to lean.
6. The island is Luzon, in the modern Philippines.
7. The Battle of Legnano, with all of its implications for European history, involved about 3000 guys in each army.
8. The Pope's letter to Prester "two Es" John went undelivered because Prester John didn't exist. He was thought to be the king of a wealthy Christian country in India or Africa or somewhere.
9. Monks wouldn't likely be troubled by eclipses; educated folks have understood how those work for all of human history. No, we think that these monks were seeing a comet striking the moon.
10. 1179 may be the year that Chichen Itza was sacked.
Pfly wins the 1170s, ending DrSchnell's run of Monday Quiz wins.