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Quiz about The Powers Behind the Thrones
Quiz about The Powers Behind the Thrones

The Powers Behind the Thrones Trivia Quiz


Women who ran the world - or at least, their nation - from behind the seat of power. I give you the man who 'led', the nation, and the time in history: you pick the woman who called the shots.

A multiple-choice quiz by Rimrunner. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
Rimrunner
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
330,194
Updated
Jul 23 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
546
Question 1 of 10
1. It is around 700 BC, in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Ahab is king, but who turned Israel to worshipping Baal? She was Phoenician by birth, and Elijah's arch-enemy. Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Early in the 6th century, Justinian was Emperor of Byzantium. His second wife was an actress and, probably, had been a courtesan (despite her name indicating a religious nature). She had significant influence over him, to the point of being recognised as a co-ruler; she, rather than he, is credited with bringing about the decisive ending to the Nika revolt, and continued to rule Byzantium with him in equal partnership, although he was Emperor. Who was this incredible woman? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. From 1933 to 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United States, leader of probably the most influential single nation in the outcome of World War II. But who advised, guided, and on occasion even represented him, with no official authority to do so? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. It is 11th century Scotland, and King Malcolm III marries a woman who, according to tradition, was cast ashore in Scotland by a storm. At least three of her sons (Edgar, Alexander I and David I) became kings of Scotland in their turn, and this strong and deeply religious woman influenced them all - most of all King David I, who became one of Scotland's great kings. Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Edward II of England married unfortunately. His wife, who shared her name with Christopher Columbus' patron, became estranged from Edward, and plotted with her lover, Roger Mortimer, to have him murdered, which came to pass in 1327. She and Mortimer saw to it that her young son, Edward III, was crowned in succession, but with herself and Mortimer as his regents. Who was this woman who deposed a king, and enthroned one? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. The thrones, literal or figurative, were not always occupied by men. In 1702 Queen Anne ascended to the throne in England. She had a good friend who had been close to her for many years; on Anne's ascension to the throne, her friend was, for a few more years, extremely influential with Anne. Known for her forthright manner and blunt speech (not dissimilar to that of a distant descendant), it was her friend's overbearing personality which eventually broke their friendship. Who was this lady? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. In 1809, James Madison became the fourth President of the United States. His wife was a skilled hostess and politically astute; he relied on her advice, and she is credited with being the main reason he was elected to a second term. She began her socio-political career by acting as hostess for Thomas Jefferson, then a widower, when Madison was Secretary of State. Can you pick her out - by her maiden name? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. In the middle of 19th century China, Emperor Xianfeng ruled from the Forbidden City. He had a favourite concubine, who bore him a son, Tongzhi; when the Emperor died in 1861, this concubine became regent for her son. She later also served as regent for her nephew Guangxu. After Guanxu attempted unpopular reforms in 1898, this same lady regained the regency, and ruled until her death in 1908. Who was this amazing woman, who effectively controlled the throne of China for half a century? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. In Canaan, before there were kings, there were judges (sometime before 1000 BC). Barak, the renowned general of the Israelites, was called up to defeat the forces of King Jabin the Canaanite and his general Sisera. But Barak refused - unless this woman showed her support by going with him. Who was she? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Umaru Yar'adua ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of Katsina Province in Nigeria in 1991, but won in 1999. He continued as governor until he was elected president of Nigeria in 2007 (in a disputed election; but this is Africa, after all). Never in very good health, he died of natural causes in May 2010. But who really drove his political career, and effectively ran his office when he was physically unable to? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. It is around 700 BC, in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Ahab is king, but who turned Israel to worshipping Baal? She was Phoenician by birth, and Elijah's arch-enemy.

Answer: Jezebel

'Jezebel' has entered the English language as a byword for an evil, shameless or promiscuous woman. As recorded in Kings, she fostered, promoted, supported and led the worship of Baal in Israel; and as Elijah prophesied, when she died her body was eaten by dogs - only her head and hands remained.
Delilah - another enduring name, meaning a femme fatale (alluring, treacherous) - betrayed Samson to the Philistines.
Jael was the woman who killed Sisera, and
Bathsheba was King David's famous mistress and later wife.
2. Early in the 6th century, Justinian was Emperor of Byzantium. His second wife was an actress and, probably, had been a courtesan (despite her name indicating a religious nature). She had significant influence over him, to the point of being recognised as a co-ruler; she, rather than he, is credited with bringing about the decisive ending to the Nika revolt, and continued to rule Byzantium with him in equal partnership, although he was Emperor. Who was this incredible woman?

Answer: Empress Theodora

At this remove in history, the truth is hard to come by. However, it seems likely that she and Justinian divided their orthodox Christian and Monophysite Christian opposition by each appearing to support one faction against the other.
Certainly, Theodora was a strong and influential woman, and she remains one of the outstanding women in history.
The other names were chosen at random, and are intended to be fictitious - any similarity with actual historical persons is purely coincidental!
3. From 1933 to 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United States, leader of probably the most influential single nation in the outcome of World War II. But who advised, guided, and on occasion even represented him, with no official authority to do so?

Answer: Eleanor Roosevelt, his wife

I trust you got this one, it is quite well known. There have been books written about the relationship between 'FDR' and his influential wife. After his death she continued with a political career of her own, including chairing President John F. Kennedy's Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. Neither his mother nor Hattie Caraway had particular influence with Roosevelt, but he did have an affair with Lucy Mercer (ended in 1918) which permanently damaged his marriage with Eleanor; nevertheless she remained married to him, and faithfully performed all her public duties as his wife, as well as caring for him in his physical frailty.

A woman to be admired.
4. It is 11th century Scotland, and King Malcolm III marries a woman who, according to tradition, was cast ashore in Scotland by a storm. At least three of her sons (Edgar, Alexander I and David I) became kings of Scotland in their turn, and this strong and deeply religious woman influenced them all - most of all King David I, who became one of Scotland's great kings.

Answer: Saint Margaret of Scotland

Saint Margaret of Scotland was probably the single most influential woman in the history of Scotland. Her personal religious convictions and influence can be seen most clearly in her son, King David I, who was an amazingly civilised man for his time; he did a great deal to develop Scotland as a nation, and - I believe - built more abbeys and churches than any other single monarch of Alba.
Saint Hilda of Whitby was English; Saint Brigid was Irish (surely you could tell!); and Elizabeth of Scone is fictitious.
5. Edward II of England married unfortunately. His wife, who shared her name with Christopher Columbus' patron, became estranged from Edward, and plotted with her lover, Roger Mortimer, to have him murdered, which came to pass in 1327. She and Mortimer saw to it that her young son, Edward III, was crowned in succession, but with herself and Mortimer as his regents. Who was this woman who deposed a king, and enthroned one?

Answer: Isabella of France

Isabella of France was a woman who, I believe, never allowed herself to be bound by the limitations of a male-dominated society. She may have been motivated by the marital unfaithfulness of Edward II, who was apparently homosexual, although this only emerged long after they were married.
Catherine of Aragon, you may remember, was one of the wives of Henry VIII;
Queen Elizabeth I was also known as 'the Virgin Queen', and Empress Maud of England reigned in the 12th century.
6. The thrones, literal or figurative, were not always occupied by men. In 1702 Queen Anne ascended to the throne in England. She had a good friend who had been close to her for many years; on Anne's ascension to the throne, her friend was, for a few more years, extremely influential with Anne. Known for her forthright manner and blunt speech (not dissimilar to that of a distant descendant), it was her friend's overbearing personality which eventually broke their friendship. Who was this lady?

Answer: Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough

Sarah Churchill was a personality to be reckoned with, and someone who was never in doubt of her own opinion. Blunt, direct, assertive, even domineering; when the Queen tired of being pushed around so openly Sarah was supplanted by the quieter Abigail Hill.
Matilda was far earlier in history, and married King David I of Scotland.
Elizabeth Seymour was the wife of the Duke of Somerset, who was quite out of favour with Queen Anne; certainly not influential.
Ruth Blackett is fictional. Did you never read Arthur Ransome? (And yes, I know it's supposed to be Coniston Water, but doesn't 'Lady Windermere' have a better ring to it than 'Lady Coniston Water'?
"Hmmm, Churchill?" I hear you ask, "Any relation?" Why, yes: Winston Churchill can indeed be numbered among this lady's descendants, although there is a good 300 years between them!
7. In 1809, James Madison became the fourth President of the United States. His wife was a skilled hostess and politically astute; he relied on her advice, and she is credited with being the main reason he was elected to a second term. She began her socio-political career by acting as hostess for Thomas Jefferson, then a widower, when Madison was Secretary of State. Can you pick her out - by her maiden name?

Answer: Dolley Payne

Dolley Madison can be said to have laid the foundations of the First Lady's role, particularly the social aspects. However, James Madison also appreciated her intelligence and political wits, and allowed himself to be guided by her advice from time to time.
Martha Dandridge later married George Washington; and Abigail Smith was the second First Lady, if you follow me; she married John Adams. Martha Wayles became Thomas Jefferson's wife, but died long before he became President.
8. In the middle of 19th century China, Emperor Xianfeng ruled from the Forbidden City. He had a favourite concubine, who bore him a son, Tongzhi; when the Emperor died in 1861, this concubine became regent for her son. She later also served as regent for her nephew Guangxu. After Guanxu attempted unpopular reforms in 1898, this same lady regained the regency, and ruled until her death in 1908. Who was this amazing woman, who effectively controlled the throne of China for half a century?

Answer: Tzu Hsi (or 'Cixi')

Tzu Hsi (I prefer the older spelling, but 'Cixi' is accepted modern usage) means 'Empress of the West', by implication, 'of the Western Palace'; this was a name she earned by bearing the Emperor his first son. The personal name by which she was known earlier is uncertain, but may have been 'Xingzhen', and her family name was Yehenara.
The other names I gave as alternatives are all Chinese female names, but chosen at random.
9. In Canaan, before there were kings, there were judges (sometime before 1000 BC). Barak, the renowned general of the Israelites, was called up to defeat the forces of King Jabin the Canaanite and his general Sisera. But Barak refused - unless this woman showed her support by going with him. Who was she?

Answer: Deborah

You can find this story in Judges 4 onwards. Deborah was a prophetess and a judge of Israel at the time (not exactly a power *behind* the throne, I know, but she certainly had to get behind Barak and push!) Certainly she was both a strong woman and a wise one.
Ruth's story is completely separate; Esther married Xerxes I of Persia, and Hannah was Samuel's mother - both of these last two lived far later than this.
10. Umaru Yar'adua ran unsuccessfully for the governorship of Katsina Province in Nigeria in 1991, but won in 1999. He continued as governor until he was elected president of Nigeria in 2007 (in a disputed election; but this is Africa, after all). Never in very good health, he died of natural causes in May 2010. But who really drove his political career, and effectively ran his office when he was physically unable to?

Answer: Turai, his first wife (1975-2010)

'[Before the 1991 governorship elections, a group of Umaru Yar'adua supporters lobbied his older brother - who was in a position to do it - to help ensure that Umaru became governor in Katsina Province. - abbreviated]
"Is it Umaru that wants to be governor, or Turai? [his wife]" the General reportedly asked. None of the lobbyists answered.' (This is derived from the web page http://234next.com/csp/cms/sites/Next/Home/5531663-146/the_power_behind_the_throne_.csp

Even today, there are women who take power in this way!

There is no evidence that Umaru's older brother or his second wife had any particular personal influence with him; certainly not in comparison with that of Turai. Buchi Nwapa is an invention.
Source: Author Rimrunner

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Bruyere before going online.
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