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Quiz about Illuminating the Dark Ages
Quiz about Illuminating the Dark Ages

Illuminating the Dark Ages Trivia Quiz


The quiz looks at Europe in the Dark Ages, a period of history that took place before the Middle Ages.

A multiple-choice quiz by Creedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
Creedy
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
349,774
Updated
Sep 28 23
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
3574
Awards
Editor's Choice
Last 3 plays: Guest 151 (8/10), DeepHistory (10/10), Guest 82 (10/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. The collapse of which empire signalled the onset of the Dark Ages? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. In the early stages of the Dark Ages, what was one of the main reasons the invading Germanic tribes were so readily accepted by the people of the lands they invaded? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. As the invading tribes from the north spread across Europe, new boundaries took shape, in some cases foreshadowing recognizable modern borders. Which groups settled in the area that we know today as France? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Many historians debate whether the invasions from the Germanic tribes into Europe in the early days of the Dark Ages were invasions at all. They see their entry into Europe more as a case of which of the following? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. The church, which played such an enormous part in the lives of people during this period of history, began moving away from a simple form of worship to colourful spectacles and dramatics. What unique structures began to appear in the European countryside in the 6th and 7th centuries? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. What new religion began to edge its way into the southern parts of Europe during this period? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. The Dark Ages was a period in history when most of the great cities of Europe were built.


Question 8 of 10
8. Gaul, after its Roman rulers were driven out, was loosely united by the Merovingian dynasty for almost three hundred years, but torn apart by the bitter wars of its descendant family for almost as long a period. What was the name of the dynasty which would spring from this and go on to found a mighty Frankish empire? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Which descendant of the Carolingian dynasty was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day, 800? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. The revival of learning in the 9th century was beset by further barbarian raids by which peoples? Hint



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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The collapse of which empire signalled the onset of the Dark Ages?

Answer: Roman

The Dark Ages lasted from approximately 450-800 AD (or for some, till about 1000 AD), and the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West is generally taken as the approximate start of the Dark Ages.

In 395 AD the Empire had been definitively split into two distinct halves - the Western and the Eastern. The Eastern Roman Empire continued to prosper long after the disintegration of the Western Empire. It began to crumble for several reasons. One of these was the continual internal rebellions and uprisings by the peoples of the lands the Romans had taken. The invasions into this conquered territory by Germanic tribes from beyond the boundary of the Rhine and Danube rivers was another. Discontent in the Empire's various territorial rulers, put in as area governors, also played a part. Then there was the deterioration of the great Roman army itself. It no longer trained or operated at peak efficiency. Finally, there was a general economic slowdown in the entire area which further contributed to its collapse. There is no exact date for this collapse because the decline took place over a lengthy period of time. The coup de grace took place between 450-476 AD. By 500 AD, Germanic tribes basically controlled all of Western Europe. The Dark Ages had begun.

The Eastern half of the Roman Empire, known now as the Byzantine Empire, continued to exist for a further 1,000 years until eventually falling to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
2. In the early stages of the Dark Ages, what was one of the main reasons the invading Germanic tribes were so readily accepted by the people of the lands they invaded?

Answer: They converted to Christianity

Quite a few of these tribes were already Christianised, but followed a version of Christianity known as Arianism. They believed that God the Father was the 'senior partner' in the Trinity. This was like a red rag to a bull for the Catholic Church. Arianism was thoroughly denounced and its followers declared to be heretics.

To make the process of invasion and rule as trouble-free as possible, the new rulers of the European world converted quite readily to Catholicism. This astute move quickly gained them the loyalty of the already converted Roman populace they had subjugated - and the hearty approval of the Pope. These new invaders also continued to recognise the local laws at the time, and only changed them over a period of time to those of Roman law. In much of the area that they invaded and settled, the languages that emerged were derived mainly from Latin (as spoken in the various regions concerned).
3. As the invading tribes from the north spread across Europe, new boundaries took shape, in some cases foreshadowing recognizable modern borders. Which groups settled in the area that we know today as France?

Answer: Franks and Burgundians

The Franks swept in from the north and settled a broad area of land there and to the east. The Bretons moved across and settled in an area still known as Brittany today. The Burgundians moved in from the south and the east at the same time, replacing the Huns who had moved there earlier.

The Anglo-Saxons moved into England; and the Ostrogoths and later the Lombards moved into what we recognise as northern Italy. The Vandals moved into Rome and parts of North Africa; and the Slavs settled in central Europe and the Balkan Peninsula. On the emergence of the Franks, the Visigoths who had originally moved into the north of France, moved right down from there to the Iberian Peninsula and the south-west of France.

There were more groups than that, but these are the major ones from this period of history.
4. Many historians debate whether the invasions from the Germanic tribes into Europe in the early days of the Dark Ages were invasions at all. They see their entry into Europe more as a case of which of the following?

Answer: Migration

The settling of Western Europe by these Germanic tribes was, in many cases, relatively peaceful.

A description of the average Germanic invader of the time, from the author Sidonius Apollinaris, reveals their appearance to be as follows: "Their eyes are faint and pale, with a glimmer of greyish blue. Their faces are shaven all round, and instead of beards they have thin moustaches which they run through with a comb. Close fitting garments confine the tall limbs of the men, they are drawn up high so as to expose the knees, and a broad belt supports their narrow middle." Sad to say, he omits to describe the women of the time. Nothing new there, but, what is known for certain is that these earlier pagan women did at one stage play more important roles in society than those that evolved under the ever tightening grip of the Christian faith.
5. The church, which played such an enormous part in the lives of people during this period of history, began moving away from a simple form of worship to colourful spectacles and dramatics. What unique structures began to appear in the European countryside in the 6th and 7th centuries?

Answer: Monasteries

With probable roots in hermit life, the monasteries were set up with strict rules and patterns of daily living and worship. The men and women who chose to turn their backs on a secular lifestyle to living a monastic life became to join together into small groups that soon gave rise to the need for appropriate accommodation and centres of worship - while still maintaining their life of individual worship and study. Over the years these would later develop into specialised centres of preaching, teaching or nursing, but initially the idea during the Dark Ages was that of separation from the world and devotion to a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. The following description sums up this life perfectly:

Monastic life "... consisted of prayer, reading, and manual labour. Prayer was a monk's first priority ... Apart from prayer, monks performed a variety of tasks, such as preparing medicine, lettering, reading ... work(ing) in the gardens and on the land ... They might also spend time in the Cloister, a covered colonnade around a courtyard, where they would pray or read ...". Many of history's exquisite old books, before the age of printing, came to us from the hands of those old men of worship who "used very neat handwriting and would draw illustrations in the books ..." with the first letter of each paragraph decorated with exquisitely worked large letters. So much valuable information from centuries long past was captured by the monks in this work. Their copies of early medical treatments in particular are fascinating, and, even more interesting is the fact that more than a few of those old information filled monasteries would later become the world's first universities.

At the same time, religion for the ordinary people began to move away from instruction based directly on reading, to religion interpreted and presented through music and art, which was much more appealing to the masses visually. Festivals were added, and colourful and mystical appeal was given to all celebrations. Religion began to move away from a simple faith that embraced all, into a faith that was administered by church leaders.
6. What new religion began to edge its way into the southern parts of Europe during this period?

Answer: Islam

Islam made its presence felt in Arabia and from there, upon the death of Muhammad, it began to spread further afield. By the early 700s, it had conquered Persia, Syria, Egypt, North Africa and was advancing into Spain, Portugal, Sicily and soon into France as well. Along with its faith, it brought trade. European fur, wood, weapons and slaves were traded for Islamic silks, foods and other precious commodities so scarce in Europe.

This took place mainly around the lands bordering the Mediterranean. Further afield in Europe, local products were gaining a sturdy hold on its economy there. By now the two distinct faiths of the Western Catholicism and Orthodox Christian churches had also split from the other. The differences split along issues such as the languages of Greek or Latin used in worship, clerical marriage, supremacy of the Pope, and religious imagery and symbolism. Eventually, by the 10th century, their differences of interpretation and practice well and truly outweighed their once united front.

Into this mix, Islam joined heartily in the south, while a rejuvenated Christian faith, spearheaded by Irish missionaries and Gregorian missions, took its faith deeper in the north. Monasteries, mighty churches and mosques sprang up everywhere. The Crusades, which later sprang from all this to reclaim the Holy Lands from the Muslims, were just around the corner.
7. The Dark Ages was a period in history when most of the great cities of Europe were built.

Answer: False

Far from it. Early in the Dark Ages the remaining Roman towns in Western Europe declined and urban life largely disappeared. Soon any place with 2,000 or more inhabitants came be regarded as a major urban centre. Town life did not revive until after 1000 AD.
8. Gaul, after its Roman rulers were driven out, was loosely united by the Merovingian dynasty for almost three hundred years, but torn apart by the bitter wars of its descendant family for almost as long a period. What was the name of the dynasty which would spring from this and go on to found a mighty Frankish empire?

Answer: Carolingian

The Austrasian and Neustrian kingdoms were the two main combatants in these long internal wars. The kingdom of Burgundy acted, more than anything else, as a would-be peacemaker between the two. The Austrasian kingdom comprised northern and eastern parts of France, parts of northern Italy and the countries we know as Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands. The Neustrian kingdom included much of the west parts of France, including the huge area of Aquitaine, right to the English Channel and all the north-west up to and including Paris and its surrounding areas. Burgundy comprised centre and south of France, and the Lombards a huge area to the south of that, heading into Italy. Brittany, Provence and the other smaller kingdoms basically circled the outer rim of France.

At the head of all these feuding groups was the Merovingian dynasty, and this had been the case for almost 300 years. This once powerful group of people had defeated the Romans and subsequently became based in the region known as Francia, with their capital in the north east of the country. Its dynasty eventually collapsed as a result of ferocious inter-feuding wars of its descendant families over the entire duration of its rule, particularly that between the Austrasians and the Neustrians. Pope Zachary deposed the last Merovingian last ruler in 752. The succeeding Pope Stephen II installed Pepin the Short of the Carolingian dynasty as King of the Franks. Pepin was one of the Mayors of the Palace, a hereditary position that was the real power behind the Merovingian throne. The Carolingian were a Frankish noble family.
9. Which descendant of the Carolingian dynasty was crowned Emperor on Christmas Day, 800?

Answer: Charlemagne

Charlemagne was simply crowned 'August Caesar', not Emperor of anywhere. He was Pepin the Short's son and king of the Franks. He lived from 742 to 814. Also known as Charles I, he expanded the Frankish kingdom to include much of Western Europe. With his reign came a reawakening in the arts and education and the birth of the concept of a great stable European nation. This is known as the Carolingian Renaissance.

Charlemagne ordered the construction of schools to attract the leading thinkers and scholars of the day. Grammar, logic, rhetoric, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy became the order of the day, pushing the more practical skills of medicine and architecture into a separate category. These seven subjects became known as the seven liberal arts and they formed the basics of education for centuries. They were considered the ideal to study to lure thinkers into the later heavier courses in philosophy and theology. Only for the well off of course. Your humble little farmer didn't play a role in this. That would come much later. It was more aimed at forming an elite leading class of thinkers, leaders and rulers rather than practical skills such as animal husbandry or agriculture. Striking differences in social class began to become evident in this period.
10. The revival of learning in the 9th century was beset by further barbarian raids by which peoples?

Answer: Vikings and Magyars

Under Charlemagne's leadership, part of Italy was also incorporated into his new Empire and on the Iberian peninsula the long battle to reclaim European land from the Moors began; new laws helped to create the efficient running of all the lands it encompassed, parts of Central Europe were also drawn into the fold, and military, governmental and religious reforms were all put in place. Yet, Charlemagne could not live forever. This mighty ruler, who learned to read but not to write, died in 814. He had initially decided to split his kingdom between three of his sons. However two of these died before he himself did, and so, with the exception of Italy, which he left to a grandson, the stable and functioning empire he had created landed in the lap of his son, Louis I. On his death in 840, Louis left the Empire to three of his sons and a nephew - and the rivalries began again. The Frankish Empire was broken up between them all. By the end of the Early Middle Ages however, the areas of England, Scotland, Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Russia were all beginning to take the shape we know today.

And the Dark Ages moved into Middle Ages - but that's another quiz.
Source: Author Creedy

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