Quiz about On the Sacred Shores of the Mediterranean Sea
Quiz about On the Sacred Shores of the Mediterranean Sea

On the Sacred Shores of the Mediterranean Sea Quiz


The Mediterranean basin is often associated with the Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This quiz, however, is dedicated to some of the unique religions that flourished in the area in the centuries before the advent of those three.

A photo quiz by Team Phoenix Rising. Estimated time: 3 mins.
  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Quizzes
  4. »
  5. History Trivia
  6. »
  7. Ancient History

Author
LadyNym
Time
3 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
410,624
Updated
Oct 24 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
209
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 216 (4/10), jonathanw55 (3/10), Guest 174 (10/10).
photo quiz
1. A complex belief system that lasted for over 3,500 years, Ancient Egyptian religion was based on the concept of maintaining "Ma'at" and repelling "Isfet". How do these two words translate into English?
Hint

light and darkness
male and female
strong and weak
order and chaos

photo quiz
2. The ancient Canaanite religion was practiced in the Levant during the Late Bronze Age. What name, also found in the Hebrew Bible to refer to God, was used to designate the deities in the Canaanite pantheon? Hint

Seraphim
Baalim
Elohim
Cherubim

photo quiz
3. "Tophet" is a Hebrew word used to describe fields of buried urns found in Phoenician and Carthaginian archaeological sites. What kind of ritual, associated with the worship of the god Moloch, does this word refer to?

child sacrifice
burial of sacred objects

photo quiz
4. Yahwism is a fairly modern term given to an initially polytheistic religion in which (perhaps surprising) region? Hint

Ancient Egypt
Ancient Israel
Mesopotamia
Persia

photo quiz
5. During the Bronze Age, Anatolia (now the Asian portion of Turkey) was inhabited by Indo-European peoples such as the Hittites and the Luwians. These peoples' religion was based on the worship of Tarhunz, a god who, like the Greek Zeus, was associated with which aspect? Hint

war
hunting
poetry
weather

photo quiz
6. The Minoan civilization has been an endless source of fascination since the early 20th century, when the remains of the Knossos Palace were discovered. Based on the artifacts unearthed during excavations, which animals held a major role in Minoan religion? Hint

fish and octopi
snakes and bulls
lions and wolves
birds and insects

photo quiz
7. The structure of an ancient Greek temple involved various parts designed and constructed according to strict rules and proportions. What was the purpose of the inner chamber known as "naos"? Hint

housing the statue of the deity
storing cult equipment
meeting place for the faithful
offering sacrifices

photo quiz
8. Mystery religions were an important component of the religion of ancient Greece, appealing to those who were not satisfied with the public cult of the gods. What sanctuary hosted the most famous of these secret rites, based on the myth of Demeter and Persephone? Hint

Delos
Eleusis
Delphi
Olympia

photo quiz
9. Though strongly influenced by ancient Greek religion, Etruscan religion had a number of unique features. What aspect, shared with the religion of ancient Egypt, was particularly emphasized by the Etruscans? Hint

learning
sex and fertility
the afterlife
nature worship

photo quiz
10. Which of the following was NOT one of the distinguishing features of religion in ancient Rome? Hint

prayers and oaths
divination
faith and dogma
domestic cult


Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. A complex belief system that lasted for over 3,500 years, Ancient Egyptian religion was based on the concept of maintaining "Ma'at" and repelling "Isfet". How do these two words translate into English?

Answer: order and chaos

Ma'at is the fundamental principle of order, truth and justice. Personified as a goddess who's depicted as a winged woman armed with the Feather of Truth (as shown in the photo), which was able to weigh the hearts of the dead to validate their status in the afterlife. The pharaoh was considered to be the High Priest of Ma'at, and as such was expected to uphold these principles. There was an expectation that all Egyptians should strive to live with order and harmony. They also believed that the universe was a duality: if Ma'at existed, so did Is'fet. Is'fet is chaos, lies and injustice. If the pharaoh did not follow the tenet of Ma'at and instead embraced Is'fet, then chaos would bring famine and war. Balance was required to maintain order.

Scribes and priests were the arbiters of Ma'at, the scribes setting out judicial and political information and ensuring communication spread to a largely illiterate population. Priests served as judges, bringing punishment on those who failed to repel Is'fet - punishments that were frighteningly severe and that fit the crime. None were more scary than the thought of being denied a place in paradise with Osiris in the afterlife. In this way Egyptian life was regulated to encourage a good moral standard.

Red Crew's smpdit walked the information into the quiz.
2. The ancient Canaanite religion was practiced in the Levant during the Late Bronze Age. What name, also found in the Hebrew Bible to refer to God, was used to designate the deities in the Canaanite pantheon?

Answer: Elohim

Elohim is plural for "Eloah" and "El". Eloah is "God" in the Hebrew Tanakh, and appears in the very first sentence of the Tanakh. There are arguments that Elohim meant "gods", and although there are instances with plurals, most often "Elohim" was used with singular verbs in the Hebrew Bible, and in modern translations. In Hebrew translations, it is meant to be a single and supreme deity, the God of Israel, God as the Creator, and Supreme Judge.

The term "Levant" referred to a large area in the eastern Mediterranean region that included present-day regions of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and Turkey. Canaanite religion recognized many gods, but often only served one god at a time. The terms used to describe that type of worship is polytheistic and monolatristic.

In this ancient religion, the group of recognized deities, or pantheon of deities, was headed by El and Asherah. The term "El" is mentioned as the god of creation, but the Canaanites did not hold El as the only supreme God as the Hebrews recognized. Asherah was recognized as the queen consort to El. The photo shows a gilded bronze statuette of El dating from 1400-1200 BC.

Jaknginger added this question to the team quiz.
3. "Tophet" is a Hebrew word used to describe fields of buried urns found in Phoenician and Carthaginian archaeological sites. What kind of ritual, associated with the worship of the god Moloch, does this word refer to?

Answer: child sacrifice

The word "tophet" was borrowed from an actual place near Jerusalem in Gehenna, thought to be the site of ritual sacrifice of children. The term was extended to describe cemeteries full of buried urns containing the ashes of children and newborn animals, especially lambs. The Tophet at Carthage in current-day Tunis, Tunisia (shown in the photo), was discovered in 1921, and has been extensively studied; it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1979. It was active from the 7th to the 4th century BC.

The Phoenicians and Carthaginians are thought to have sacrificed children when under great duress, especially during war. There are also arguments that the tales of child sacrifice were exaggerated by their enemies. However, multiple Biblical and Greco-Roman sources suggest that child sacrifice was practiced. Abraham's offering of his son Isaac, and repeated Biblical injunctions against child sacrifice suggest that ancient Hebrews may have practiced the rite as well. Moloch is most commonly identified as the deity the children were offered to, but this is not confirmed by ancient sources.

Player pusdoc contributed this question for Phoenix Rising's Red Crew
4. Yahwism is a fairly modern term given to an initially polytheistic religion in which (perhaps surprising) region?

Answer: Ancient Israel

Through the monarchic period, ancient Israel worshipped a god named Yahweh. However, the original was El (whose name is the basis for "Israel"). It should be noted that none of the Old Testament patriarchs, the tribes of Israel, or monarchs, have a name originating from the Yahwist canon. It is not clear how Yahwism appeared in the Levant or indeed when, though it was certainly established by the 9th century BC. The religion was polytheistic, involving a plethora of gods and goddesses. Yahweh was the chief god alongside his consort Asherah (depicted by the terracotta statuette in the photo). Below Yahweh and Asherah were second-level gods and goddesses: Baal, Shamash, Yarikh, Mot, and Astarte. There are also references to a "Queen of Heaven", but it is unclear how this deity fits into the accepted canon. Religious practices included festivals, sacrifices, vow-making, some private rituals, and legal dispute resolution. Major events in life, such as the birthing of lambs, fruit harvest and cereal harvest, were celebrated.

In time the polytheistic aspects moved towards the worship of Yahweh alone, and by the end of the fourth century BC, Yahwism formed the basis of Second Temple Judaism, and also gave rise to Samaritanism.

This question was written by Phoenix Rising Team member 1nn1.
5. During the Bronze Age, Anatolia (now the Asian portion of Turkey) was inhabited by Indo-European peoples such as the Hittites and the Luwians. These peoples' religion was based on the worship of Tarhunz, a god who, like the Greek Zeus, was associated with which aspect?

Answer: weather

The Anatolian peninsula (also known as Asia Minor) was one of the major cradles of civilization in the Mediterranean region. While the earliest attested peoples who occupied that vast territory in the Bronze Age - the Hattians and the Hurrians - spoke languages of yet unknown affiliation, both the Hittites and the Luwians were Indo-European. The Hittite Empire developed in central Anatolia between the 18th and the 12th century BC. The Luwians, on the other hand, settled also on the western and southern parts of the peninsula, near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, where they established a number of kingdoms. These states (among them, Lydia, Caria, and Lycia) were strongly influenced by Greece in the Classical era.

Like other Indo-European peoples, the Hittites and the Luwians worshiped a weather god as the chief deity of their pantheon. The names "Tarhunna" (Hittite) and "Tarhunz" (Luwian) come from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning "cross over" or "overcome", related to the English word "through". As the photo shows, the Hittite god was generally depicted as a bearded man often holding a mace or battle axe (like the Norse god Thor) and a three-pronged thunderbolt (similar not only to Zeus's weapon, but also to Poseidon's and Shiva's trident). The Luwian Tarhunz, on the other hand, also had traits of a fertility god, and was often depicted with bunches of grapes and ears of grain. In the latter aspect, he was known as "Tarhunz of the vineyard". These deities were also associated with bulls or horses, and often shown battling a dragon-like monster.

Unfortunately, not much is known about the religious practices of either the Hittites or the Luwians. Tarhunna/Tarhunz was invoked by rulers as their protective deity, and the city of Halpa (now Aleppo in Syria) was a major centre for the cult of the weather god. Much of what we know about the religion of the ancient peoples of Anatolia comes from the inscriptions and rock reliefs they left behind.

LadyNym of Phoenix Rising's Red Crew wrote this question, intrigued by these ancient civilizations of which so little has remained.
6. The Minoan civilization has been an endless source of fascination since the early 20th century, when the remains of the Knossos Palace were discovered. Based on the artifacts unearthed during excavations, which animals held a major role in Minoan religion?

Answer: snakes and bulls

Minoan culture dates back to the Bronze Age and was prevalent in the Aegean Islands, especially Crete. Many of their religious figures are considered to have influenced the civilizations that came after them, such as the Greeks and Phoenicians, as their religious figures show similarities. Artwork dating back to the Minoan period (such as the ceramic statuette in the photo) depicts a goddess figure holding snakes in both hands, whilst more snakes encircle her body. It is believed she represents an overarching "mother" figure, a symbol of fertility and sexuality. She has also been linked to bringing blessings into the home. She is often depicted as having a young male attendant. It has been postulated that, because of the strength of the depictions of the Snake Goddess, the Minoan civilization was matriarchal. Though this is speculation and has not been confirmed, the central deity does seem to have been female.

The bull was also a strong figure in Minoan culture and probably religion. Cretan frescoes show athletes leaping over a bull, approaching from the front, flipping over the bull's head, turning a handspring on the bull's back, and then landing on the ground. This was to show man's supremacy over nature, the bull being a symbol of power, wildness, and strength. A sacrifice of a bull is depicted on a sarcophagus from Hagia Triada, a ritual killing with parades of female singers and dancers. There is also the Greek legend of the Minotaur, a man with a bull's head imprisoned in a labyrinth until Theseus - an Athenian prince - traversed the maze to kill the beast. The myth probably arose to highlight the rise of the Athenians after the downfall of the Minoans - such was the association of the bull with the fallen civilization.

Red Crew's smpdit negotiated the labyrinth to place this information.
7. The structure of an ancient Greek temple involved various parts designed and constructed according to strict rules and proportions. What was the purpose of the inner chamber known as "naos"?

Answer: housing the statue of the deity

The naos of a Greek temple (called "cella" in Latin) was the inner sanctuary built specifically for housing a deity. It was usually a rectangular, windowless room with a single door. Inside was a life-sized statue representing the deity and possibly a table holding votive offerings. Occasionally, a further inner chamber called an "adyton" ("not to be entered") was built into which the statue would be moved.

It was thought that only priests were allowed to enter the naos, and meetings or rituals were performed outside the temple, inside the enclosing walls. Scholars and academics now believe the naos was open to others according to local laws, although any visitors were expected to offer a sacrifice or gift.

The naos was usually built with a small portico at the front of the naos, and sometimes a second portico at the rear. The structure was then surrounded on four sides by a colonnade of columns forming an open arcade around the naos (as shown in the photo). A wall was sometimes built to enclose the temple. As the central naos had no windows, in Greece they were usually built with an easterly aspect, so the rising sun could light the inside. Oil lamps were the only other illumination used.

The question was offered up by Phoenix Rising's leith90.
8. Mystery religions were an important component of the religion of ancient Greece, appealing to those who were not satisfied with the public cult of the gods. What sanctuary hosted the most famous of these secret rites, based on the myth of Demeter and Persephone?

Answer: Eleusis

Just as in many of today's societies, in ancient Greece mainstream religious practices did not fulfill the spiritual needs of a sizable part of the citizenship, who turned to secret cults known as mysteries (from the Greek "mysterion", a word of unclear etymology). These cults were often very ancient in origin, and associated with particular places.

Probably based on cults dating from the Mycenean period (c. 1750 - c. 1050 BC), the Eleusinian Mysteries were the best-known of the mystery religions of Greco-Roman antiquity. This cult, named after the city of Eleusis (now Elefsina) near Athens, the birthplace of tragedian Aeschylus, probably began as early as the 7th century BC, and lasted until the mid-4th century AD. The Eleusinian Mysteries were centred on the myth of Demeter's quest for her lost daughter, Kore ("the Maiden", also known as Persephone), who had been abducted by Hades. The most significant element of this cult - and the one who likely appealed most to its followers - was the belief in an afterlife that transcended the grey, shadowy underworld of mainstream Greek religion.

Mystery religions required their initiates to swear a vow of secrecy. In the Eleusinian Mysteries, there were four levels of participation - the highest being those who had learned the deepest secrets of Demeter's mysteries. Among the various rituals involved, there was the consumption of a drink (called "kykeon") which may have contained psychoactive substances - probably ergot fungus. First-timers were initiated during the Lesser Mysteries, which took place in mid-winter, while the Greater Mysteries took place in later summer or early autumn, and lasted ten days. The terracotta plaque in the photo, dating from the 1st century BC, shows an initiation ceremony.

Another important centre for mystery cults was the island of Samothrace, in the northern Aegean Sea. Other mysteries were based on the myths of Dionysus and Orpheus (Orphism), both characterized by the emphasis on death and rebirth. The three cities mentioned as wrong answers were also sites of major sanctuaries: Delphi and Delos were dedicated to Apollo, and Olympia to Zeus.

This question was written (not too mysteriously) by LadyNym.
9. Though strongly influenced by ancient Greek religion, Etruscan religion had a number of unique features. What aspect, shared with the religion of ancient Egypt, was particularly emphasized by the Etruscans?

Answer: the afterlife

The Etruscan religion can be traced back to at least the 5th century BC and was heavily influenced by Greek traders who brought their religion and their gods with them to the central Mediterranean. The Etruscan system of belief was polytheist; all tangible phenomena were due to be manifestations of divine power. That power was embodied in deities who acted continuously on the world, but intervention by mere mortals was considered acceptable. Priests made divine inquiries on behalf of the Etruscans, who believed in intimate contact with divinity and would not undertake any task without proper consultation with the gods and subsequent signs from them. These were the practices that were taken over in total by the Romans. The Etrusca Disciplina were a series of texts that were neither scriptures nor stories of prophecies, but were an attempt to determine what the gods' wills were through a complex system of divination.

Like the Egyptians, the Etruscans believed that survival and well-being in the afterlife were a function of how the deceased's remains were treated. Etruscan tombs copied domestic structures. They contained paintings and furniture, and were as spacious as a domicile. A sarcophagus was common, but not considered essential: deceased individuals were laid out on stone benches or cremated. The ashes would then be placed into an urn in the shape of a house, or, more likely, in a representation of the deceased (as the one shown in the photo).

This question was written by Phoenix Rising Team member 1nn1.
10. Which of the following was NOT one of the distinguishing features of religion in ancient Rome?

Answer: faith and dogma

Ancient Romans were polytheistic and "worked" to keep good relationships with the various gods. They practiced the performance of rites, sacrifices, and prayer. They did not have faith in one supreme being, or a dogmatic set of principles and beliefs that all was well because their faith was strong. They had to perform duties, as in rituals and practices for the gods to "do" for them. Romans believed unfavorable circumstances were a direct reflection of the mood of the gods at that time. Also, bad things could be attributed to the person not doing enough to please the gods, or at least keep the deities' tempers at bay. The gods didn't necessarily show concern for your morality, or lack thereof, but for your actions and payment to the gods for favor.

The most common gods and goddesses in ancient Rome were Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva. Other gods were Venus (love), Pluto (underworld), and Diana (hunting). Jupiter was the god believed to oversee daily life and provide protection for Rome. There was a huge temple built for Jupiter in Rome on the Capitoline Hill. Military leaders and soldiers would often go to the temple after winning a war to give thanks for winning a battle. Juno, Jupiter's sister and wife, was in charge of the daily lives of women. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, and provided watch for children and workers in the trades, like stone masons and carpenters.

The photo shows a "lararium" (domestic shrine) in the courtyard of a house at Pompeii.

This question was added to the Red Crew quiz by jaknginger of Phoenix Rising.
Source: Author LadyNym

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor trident before going online.
Any errors found in FunTrivia content are routinely corrected through our feedback system.
Most Recent Scores
Nov 27 2022 : Guest 216: 4/10
Nov 27 2022 : jonathanw55: 3/10
Nov 27 2022 : Guest 174: 10/10
Nov 26 2022 : Guest 82: 7/10
Nov 26 2022 : Guest 87: 1/10
Nov 25 2022 : Guest 120: 6/10
Nov 24 2022 : Guest 75: 5/10
Nov 24 2022 : Guest 107: 3/10
Nov 24 2022 : Guest 208: 5/10

11/28/2022, Copyright 2022 FunTrivia, Inc. - Report an Error / Contact Us