Monday, March 20, 2017
Through History With the New Monday Quiz: the 1400s
Many important historical things happened in the 1400s. Let's start the tour!
1. The Kingdom of Kongo was founded sometime in or around the 1400s, and would survive until the late 1800s. Where?
2. This map of the world, called the Kangnido map, was made in about 1402. Like most map-makers, the Kangnido cartographers had a bit of a hometown bias. Where did they live?
3. Andrei Rublev is considered one of the great masters of his country’s artistic tradition. Here’s a work he completed in around 1405. Where do you suppose Mr. Rublev hailed from?
4. Timur, AKA Tamerlane, was “the last of the great nomadic conquerors of the Eurasian Steppe.” Having crushed the Dehli Sultanate in the late 1390s, he sacked Armenia, Georgia, and Syria in 1400, then Baghdad in 1401 and again in 1402. He began a planned conquest of China in 1405, but fell ill and died before the attack could begin in earnest. This was a lucky break for the Chinese, as being defeated by Tamerlane was seldom good news -- massacre of city populations was a commonplace, and it’s estimated that 17 million people, around 5% of the world’s population, were put to his sword.
And yet, many people in Europe thought that Tamerlane was just great! Why were some Europeans glad that this brutal conqueror had shown up?
5. In 1405, Zheng He (AKA Chang Ho) began the first of his amazing adventures. What would these amazing adventures consist of?
6. Construction on this building got underway in 1406. These days it is a museum of art and history, probably the most-visited museum in the world. We have an odd name for it in English: Name that Building!
7. Game of Thrones 1407: John the Fearless, angered that he has lost influence at court, has 15 henchman waylay the King’s brother in the street and stab him to death. This begins almost three decades of civil war between the staunchly feudal Royalist Armagnac faction and the English-allied Burgundians, who favored a less centralized social and political system. In what country did this all go down?
8. The Moa were several species of flightless bird that stood up to three and a half meters tall. Before humans arrived, their only enemy was the Haast’s eagle, a more aerial creature of similar mass, up to 230 kg or 510 pounds. But then humans arrived, and sometime around 1400 both the Moa and the Haast’s eagle went extinct. What group of humans failed to manage their bird hunting on sustainable principles?
9. Since 1378, there had been two rival claimants to the Papacy. In 1409, the Council of Pisa was convened to resolve this problem and reunify the Church. What was the outcome?
10. In 1409, a young sculptor named Donatello finished this sculpture. It is considered an early version of a more famous one he would make in bronze thirty years later. Who is the subject?
Through History with The New Monday Quiz: the 1390s
1. The Byzantine Emperor went to Western Europe to try to round up support against the Ottomans. He was fairly successful, but the support that got sent was a big fiasco.
2. Vytautas the Great ruled imperial Lithuania.
3. The Book of Ballymote is from Ireland.
4. Kaffa is the southern highlands of Ethiopia.
5. The mad king and his ruined party were in France.
6. Tenochititlan was in Central Mexico.
7. The curious thing about Boniface IX and Benedict XIII is that they were Popes at the same time, or at least had competing claims.
8. The conquerer is Timur, or Tamerlane.
9. The three countries of the Kalmar Union were Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
10. Mysore became part of independent India in 1947.
I was hoping there would be a tie this time, so I could riff on the "competing claims" theme, but quiz victory, like medieval Lithuania under Vytautas, was basically a one man show. UnWise Owl returns to Quiz victory after, oh, who knows how long an absence. But... can he stand up to the fifteenth century?