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Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Ancient Rome?

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According to legend, the original settlement of Rome was founded by two twin brothers named...

The story of Remus and Romulus was an essential piece of Roman mythology. The story of the twin brothers who were raised by wolves and came to found the city of Rome helped everyday Roman citizens to conceptualize the birth of their civilization... even if it wasn't literally true.
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This Roman city was destroyed by a volcano in 79 AD:

The ruins of Pompeii are fascinating for more than one reason. They provide us with some of our most solid clues as to daily life in the Roman Empire, as the rapid onset of disaster left the city "frozen in time".
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What was the most common spoken language of Rome?

As the Roman Empire spread, they brought Latin with them. Eventually, the empire came to dominate the Mediterranean... which is part of why so many commonly spoken languages (such as French, Italian, and Spanish) are influenced primarily by Latin.
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Which of these people was NOT a Roman ruler?

Commodus, Julius Caesar, and Nero were all emperors of Rome. Hannibal, though, was actually an enemy of the empire. He was a general of the city-state of Carthage, who fought the Romans in a series of three conflicts we know today as the Punic Wars.
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What is this building called?

The Colosseum is one of the most iconic pieces of Roman architecture in the world. Also called the Flavian Amphitheatre, it was the site of huge gladiatorial spectacles, as well as epic naval battles which were staged by flooding the arena ground.
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The culture of Ancient Rome was most heavily influenced by the culture of which other ancient people?

Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman culture will forever be linked. Even their gods and mythology share an immense amount in common. Romans were unabashed in taking clues on art, architecture, and lifestyle from the Greeks.
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After the Western Roman Empire collapsed around 400 AD, the Eastern Roman Empire continued on for about a thousand years. This empire was called...

Byzantine is what historians call the Eastern Roman Empire which continued to dominate Europe through the Early Middle Ages, long after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in about 400 AD. The captial was Constantinople... today known as Istanbul.
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Which of these people was NOT a Roman mythological figure?

Roman daily life was influenced by a massive pantheon of mythological figures. The full list of characters would rival the number of Marvel heroes. The only figure we listed who was NOT featured in Roman myth? Prometheus, who was a figure in Greek mythology, known primarily for the story of his stealing fire from the gods to the benefit of humanity.
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Which of these people played a role in the assassination of Julius Caesar?

"Et tu, Brute?" That famous quote, from William Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar, has entered popular culture as a way to express betrayal. It refers to Brutus the Younger, a Roman politician who helped to plan Julius Caesar's assassination.
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True or False: After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a Roman province.

True! Cleopatra was the last Egyptian pharaoh.
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What structure did the Romans famously build across their empire, in order to allow water to flow into their cities?

Roman aquaducts are some of the most ubitious examples of Roman architecture that still stand today. They were often cleverly designed to serve doubly as bridges.
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Romans often referred to non-Roman peoples as...

The term barbarian comes across as almost ridiculously offensive today. It implies that some people are utterly uncivilized. The term has an interesting history: Romans adopted it from the Greeks, who used it to describe the people's who lived around modern-day Turkey, whose language sounded (to Greek ears) like someone saying "Bar... Bar... Bar...". Hence, Barbarians.
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The man traditionally referred to as the Last Roman Emperor was...

Romulus Augustulus for just one year. Very little information is known about his life... except that he presided over the tail end of Roman power in the Western world.
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A river runs through the city of Rome. What is it called?

Rome was founded on the edges of the Tiber, and has since spread around the river itself.
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Of all the Roman gods, one was considered to be the ruler of all the rest. What was his name?

Many of the Roman deities have Greek counterparts. The figure that Greeks called Zeus is roughly the same as Jupiter, who the Romans considered to be "king" of all the other gods.
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There is a massive wall in Northern England, which was built by a Roman Emperor in roughly 122 AD. Which emperor was it?

Hadrian's Wall, sometimes called the Roman Wall, was built as a defensive fortification by Emperor Hadrian. It's one of the most popular tourist attractions in England, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
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This emperor has a bad reputation. He's said to have "fiddled while Rome burned"... although we know today that likely isn't true. Who was it?

The Great Fire of Rome, in 64 AD, nearly leveled the city. In the immediate aftermath, a whole host of theories were presented which implicated Emperor Nero as the architect of the fire, which he was said to have started intentionally. Meanwhile, modern historians have uncovered more than a few sources that contradict those theories... including some which argue that Nero wasn't even in Rome when the fire happened. Too little, too late for Nero's reputation, though...
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Which poisonous substance was used all over Rome, in both construction and, occasionally, to sweeten wine?

Roman's wouldn't have known about peanut butter and jelly, but they could have told you that wine and lead go together just as well. For years, lead was a commonly used sweetener. Today, of course, we know that exposure to lead is toxic at even the smallest amounts.
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True or False: Romans were known to use urine as a mouthwash and/or a toothpaste.

Hard to believe, but true! In fairness to the Romans, urine does have anti-septic qualities... In fairness to our stomachs and tongues, though... That's incredibly gross.
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Julius Caesar was assassinated on the 15th of March, 44 BC. It's a date that's also remembered as...

Before Caesar was murdered, the Ides of March (March 15) was already a day of religious observance, as well a traditional deadline for settling debts. After 44 BC, though, when Caesar was assassinated, it took on another meaning entirely...
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Which of these things was NOT popularized by the Romans?

Steel was invented in many times and places across the world... but there's no evidence to say that the Roman's had a particular influence in spreading it.
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This Roman emperor is infamous for his apparent insanity. It's said he once he even named his horse a senator. What was his name?

Caligula is a fascinating character. How much of his apparent insanity (which was documented by plenty of contemporary historians) was propeganda spread intentionally by his enemies to negatively impact the emperor's reputation?
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Chariot racing was a massively popular sport in Ancient Rome. The largest and most prestigious venue for races was called...

The Circus Maximus was both the first and the largest chariot racing stadium built in Ancient Rome. It remains one of the largest sporting venues ever built... hosting approximately 150,000 spectators when at full capacity.
About This Quiz
The influence that Ancient Rome had on Western culture just can't be overstated. From art to science, warfare to architecture, some of the most fundamental aspects of modern life flow directly from the empire. From the founding of a small village in a nondescript bit of Italian countryside, through to the early Middle Ages, Roman civilization was one of the more dominant influences on the world stage. The reverberations of that power are still being felt today. But how much do you know about Roman history? Are you the expert you might think you are? Only one way to find out...


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