Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Ancient History Quiz (hard)

Molossian Hound, British Museum
Recently I was asked to write a quiz for a kids book site based on my first two Time Travel Diaries books. I sent them a quiz which they thought was TOO DIFFICULT. So I am posting it here. 

How well will YOU do? 

This quiz is based on some of the strangest facts I have come across while writing my first two Time Travel Diaries, the first set in Roman London and the second in Ancient Athens. If you dont know, have an educated guess! Answers at the bottom. 

1. The enamel in a skeleton’s tooth can sometimes tell you
a) where the person grew up
b) what colour their eyes were
c) what part of the world their mother came from
d) all of the above 

2. Athens was famous for producing some of the world’s most famous playwrights. Which of the following died after being attacked by dogs?  
a) Aristophanes (author of The Birds, etc)
b) Euripides (author of Medea, etc)
c) Aeschylus (author of the Oresteia etc)
d) Sophocles (author of Oedipus Rex, etc)

3. What did the philosopher Socrates use to slice a hardboiled egg?
a) A spear
b) A hair 
c) A fork
d) A stylus

4. The word gymnasium comes from the Greek word for
a) naked
b) athletic
c) muscular
d) exercise

5. Londinium (modern London) was founded by 
a) The Celts
b) The Greeks
c) The Romans
d) The Saxons

6. Certain animals frightened away evil spirits and were therefore used to decorate jewellery, clothing, walls and other objects used by Romans. Which animals were NOT used this way by the Romans? 
a) snakes
b) sharks
c) leopards
d) dogs

7. Which of the following fascinating objects was NOT found in Roman London?
a) An ancient version of a Swiss army knife
b) two pairs of leather bikini bottoms
c) an ivory knife 
d) an amber amulet in the shape of a gladiator’s helmet

8) The Roman god Mithras was popular from the first to third centuries AD. Which of the following groups people were his most faithful followers? 
a) high-ranking soldiers
b) retired soldiers
c) men
d) all of the above

9. The god Mithras wore strange clothes. Which of the following was NOT in his wardrobe? 
a) a Greek helmet 
b) a flapping cloak
c) leggings
d) a floppy hat like a Smurf

10. Today you can still visit the foundations of London’s Mithraeum, where the god Mithras was worshipped. Which American company restored it to its original position deep below their London branch and offers free access every day but Monday? 
a) Microsoft Corporation
b) Bloomberg LP
c) Google LLC
d) Walt Disney Corporation

Want to know more? Read or listen to Caroline Lawrences first two Time Travel Diaries. And check out her other 30+ historical novels for kids on her website:


Answers: 1 = d (using DNA and isotopes); 2 = b (When he was an old man, Euripides was savaged to death by Molossian hounds); 3 = b (Plato has Socrates tell of using a hair to slice an egg); 4 = a (because Greek men exercised without clothing); 5 = c (London started life as a Roman trading post around AD 50); 6 = b (No shark has ever been found on Roman jewellery); 7 = a (something like a Swiss army knife WAS found, but not in London); 8 = d (In fact we think only men were allowed into his temples); 9 = a (Mithras is never shown with a Greek helmet); 10 = b (You can find London’s Mithraeum in the European headquarters of Bloomberg LP by Bank tube station)

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