Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Romance in Ancient Rome - a Quiz

Cupid on a crab

I) St Valentine was most probably
a) a Jewish priest
b) a Roman soldier
c) a Greek freedman
d) a Byzantine emperor

II) The Lupercalia was a mid-February Roman fertility festival. Which of these was NOT a feature?
a) setting doves free
b) half-naked youths
c) goat sacrifice
d) striking people with leather thongs

III) In first century Rome, the most popular month for marriage was
a) April
b) May
c) June
d) July

14 yr old Miriam the bride
IV) Who was Cupid's mother?
a) Minerva (Athena)
b) Venus (Aphrodite)
c) Juno (Hera)
d) Helen of Troy

V) When Pliny the 'Younger' was older he married
a) a besotted 14-year-old girl
b) his niece
c) the Emperor Domitian's niece
d) Cleopatra's niece

VI) The Romans believed the best finger for a wedding ring was
a) the middle finger of the left hand
b) the middle finger of the right hand (the left was unlucky)
c) the fourth finger of the left hand (like today)
d) the fourth finger of the right hand (the left was unlucky)

VII) The legal age for a girl to marry in first century Rome was
a) 10
b) 12
c) 14
d) 16

The Sirens of Surrentum
VIII) The legal age for a girl to become betrothed (engaged) in first century Rome was
a) any age
b) not younger than 6
c) not younger than 8
d) not younger than 10 (decreed Augustus)

IX) The most common cause of death among young women in ancient Rome was
a) malaria
b) measles
c) Latin
d) childbirth

X) The word 'genuine' comes from the Latin
a) genu 'knee' - because the father took his newborn on his knee to acknowledge it was his.
b) genus 'noble birth' - because if you were of noble birth you were a genuine aristocrat.
c) gens 'family' - because only the genuine members of the family could inherit.
d) genius 'guardian spirit' - because this spirit only protected the genuine family members.

Flaccus gives Flavia a love-poem
Bonus fact: Did you know the words 'Roman' and 'Romance' are linked? Also, Roma backwards is amor!

[If you want to learn more about Roman romance, read The Roman Mysteries, especially The Sirens of Surrentum, which has kissing from the very first line. You might also want to check out a blog I wrote about Romantic Roman Artefacts. Some of the pictures in this blog are from the Roman Mysteries TV series, available on iTunesUKCarrying on from the Roman Mysteries, the Roman Quests series set in Roman Britain launched in May 2016 with Escape from Rome.]

P.S. The answers: 1 (b); 2 (a); 3 (c); 4 (b); 5 (a); 6 (c); 7 (b); 8 (d); 9 (d); 10 (a)


  1. Caroline,
    Can you help me out here? I've looked over several web pages and can not find the sequence of your Roman Mysteries books. In other words, which book comes first in the story, etc. I would like to give these to my grandson, but I'm just not sure where to begin the story. Thank you. Dennis

    1. Here are ALL my books: https://carolinelawrence.com/books-overview/

      And here are the Roman Mysteries: https://carolinelawrence.com/the-roman-mysteries/