Monday, March 6, 2017
Through History With the New Monday Quiz: the 1390s
In the early quizzes of the 14th century, I was slipping in quite a bit of art. And art will start popping up again once we roll on into the 15th century. But for now, in the late 1300s, there's not much art to quiz you about. I think that speaks pretty well to the overall two-steps-forward, two-steps back nature of the century.
Of course, there were all sorts of big developments going on just the same. Let's reminisce about a few!
1. The Byzantine Empire and Western Europe didn’t typically mix much, but starting in 1391 Emperor Manuel II went on a high-profile tour of the courts of the west. Why?
2. The reddish and pinkish grand duchies on this map were chronic frenemies of the late Middle Ages. A civil war in the early 1390s ended with Vytautas the Great on the throne of the pinkish, eastern one. He would rule for almost 40 years, “certainly the most imposing personality of his day in Eastern Europe.” What country did Vytautas the Great rule over?
3. The Book of Ballymote, a late-medieval grab-bag mostly only noteworthy in that it has survived, was finished in the 1391s. Here’s a page! What country must it be from?
4. “The Kingdom of Kaffa (c. 1390–1897) was an early modern state… with its first capital at Bonga. The Gojeb River formed its northern border, beyond which lay the Gibe kingdoms. The native language, also known as Kaffa, is one of the Omotic group of languages.” It seems like coffee should be named for Kaffa, but it probably wasn’t.
When it was annexed in the late 1800s, Kaffa became part of the southern highlands of what modern country?
5. The king was unstable – he had killed a number of people in a delusional fit, forgotten his name and the identities of his wife and children, come to believe he was St. George, and then developed a conviction that he was made of glass. To try to cheer him up, the court held a big party at which some of the most important young men of the kingdom danced in costumes held together with wax and pitch. A poorly placed torch set the costumes alight, and four of the men died horribly. As word got out, public confidence in the country’s leadership declined precipitously.
What country had such a troubled court in the 1390s?
6. In 1396, Huitzilíhuitl became the 2nd Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan. Where?
7. The Papacy was going through an unusual phase in the 1390s. For instance, what was the curious thing about Boniface IX and Benedict XIII?
8. "While Central Asia blossomed under his reign, other places such as Baghdad, Damascus, Delhi and other Arab, Georgian, Persian, and Indian cities were sacked and destroyed and their populations massacred.... Thus, while [he] still retains a positive image in Muslim Central Asia, he is vilified by many in Arabia, Iraq, Persia, and India, where some of his greatest atrocities were carried out. However, Ibn Khaldun praises [him] for having unified much of the Muslim world when other conquerors of the time could not." And in the 1390s, he was at the top of his game. Name that conquerer!
9. The commercial power of the Hanseatic League in the late fourteenth century was starting to make the neighbors nervous, as was the possibility that the German-speaking peoples might be thinking of expanding to the north. In reaction, the 1397 Treaty of Kalmar declared that three kingdoms would unify under a single ruler. It actually worked for quite a while, especially under the very formidable Queen Margaret, but not forever. In fact, since those three kingdoms have since lost some of their former possessions, there are perhaps six countries that were once part of the Kalmar Union.
What were the three kingdoms unified at Kalmar?
10. The Kingdom of Mysore was founded in 1399. It remained independent until 1799, and persisted as a British dependency until 1947. What happened in 1947?
Through History with The New Monday Quiz: the 1380s
1. Genoa lost out to Venice.
2. the last places to fall to humans: South Pacific islands
3. Wat Tyler was killed by the king's guard, and the reforms were all retracted
4. Sofia was and now again is the capital of Bulgaria
5. The beer from Munich: Lowenbrau
6. Wycliffe was more or less a Protestant before there was a word for it. An dissident religious leader, let's say, who translated the Bible into English.
7. Portugal preserved its independence at Aljubarrota.
8. I've always known "Timur" as "Tamerlane," but maybe I'm just out of date with that.
9. Ye Canterbury Tales!
10. Goryeo is the old name for Korea.
...and most fearsome, dreaded taker of 1380s quizzes was, and is, and ever will be: Susan of Manhattan!!