Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Roman Egypt Quiz!

Caroline and fans at the Petrie 18 Feb 2015
I have just returned from the fabulous Petrie Museum in London, where I was doing a family event about Roman Egypt. The museum put on a Treasure Trail (and everybody got a signed book) but I made a more challenging quiz which I handed out at the end. One of the things I wanted to emphasise was that the Romans thought of Egypt as upside down (from our modern perspective). So here is my ROMAN EGYPT QUIZ, along with the answers (right at the bottom). Bona fortuna! Good luck! 

In Roman times, people though of Egypt as being upside down. In other words you went UP the Nile to go to Nubia, which is in the south! Also, the wind usually blew from north to south and the current flowed from south to north. Those tricky facts (and my map) will help you answer some – but not all – of the following multiple choice questions. But be careful... thinking about upside down Egypt too much might do your head in!

1. In Roman Egypt, during the first century AD, most people spoke: 
a Roman
b Latin
c Greek
d Egyptian

2. The mouth of the Nile resembled 
a the Latin capital letter V
b the Greek capital letter delta (a triangle)
c the hieroglyphic for an eye
d the Latin capital letter O

3. As you travelled upriver in Roman times, the country on the left was known as
a Scotland
b Arabia
c Libya
d Nubia

4. When you see a picture or model of an Egyptian ship with the sail up, it is probably travelling
a upriver
b downriver
c to Rome
d to Alexandria

5. When you see a picture or model of an Egyptian ship with the sail down, it is probably travelling
a upriver
b downriver
c to Rome
d to Nubia

6. In the early Roman Empire (first century AD) the greatest city in Egypt was
a Cairo
b Crocodilopolis
c Aswan (Syene)
d Alexandria 

7. A cataract is a place where the river changes level. How many cataracts would a Roman have found travelling from Alexandria to Nubia? 
a 7
b 70
c 700
d only one, but it marked the border of Egypt and Nubia.

8. In ancient times, the great Pyramids of Giza were covered with 
a dazzling gold leaf
b thin sheets of white limestone
c sticky pitch to discourage climbing
d colourful paintings of the pharaohs

9. In Egyptian wall paintings, which three things show that a figure is meant to be a child?
a wearing nappy, dummy in mouth, no hair
b wearing kilt, open mouth, short hair
c wearing nothing, finger at mouth, one lock of hair over ear
d wearing amulet, sticking out tongue, no hair

10. Which hieroglyph was considered very bad luck:
a the crocodile king
b the anubis dog
c the ankh
d the seth animal

11. Cleopatra VII (the one who liked Caesar and Mark Antony) was not actually Egyptian by background. Her ethnic background was mainly
a Arabian
b Roman
c Greek
d American

12. Speaking of Mark Antony, his actual Roman name was:
a Marcus Antonius
b Marcus Antonius Postumus
c Marcus Antonius Superbus
d Marcus Antonius Ptolomeus

If this post has whetted your appetite for more, check out The Scribes from Alexandria, my Roman Mystery set in 1st century AD Egypt. It's available in paperback, Kindle and abridged audiobook. You might also enjoy my blog posts called Ugly Cleopatra and one called Upside Down Egypt

Answers to Roman Egypt Quiz: 1c; 2b; 3b; 4a; 5b; 6d; 7d; 8b; 9c; 10d; 11c; 12a


  1. I only got two wrong so I am happy.

    1. Bene fecisti, Jon! (Well done!) That's better than my husband did... and he drew the map! ;-)