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Quiz about Whos Who  Hanging Out Around Sorrento
Quiz about Whos Who  Hanging Out Around Sorrento

Who's Who: Hanging Out Around Sorrento Quiz

Throughout its long history, Sorrento has been visited - or perhaps conquered - by many different groups of people who have somehow left their mark on the city. See if you can identify the periods in Sorrento's history from the clues given.

A matching quiz by ponycargirl. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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4 mins
Match Quiz
Quiz #
Dec 03 21
# Qns
Avg Score
6 / 10
Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the gray box it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
1. c. 600 BC, Formed a federation of twelve cities  
2. c. 800 BC, Built Athenaion temple to honor Athena  
3. 1861, Ruled the unified the Italian Peninsula  
Ottoman Empire
4. 9th century AD, Became independent republic  
5. c. 500 BC, Belonged to confederation that included Herculaneum and Pompeii  
Duchy of Sorrento
6. c. 300s BC, Named the city Surrentum  
Kingdom of Italy
7. 555 AD-9th century AD, Protected from raids of Saracens  
Byzantine Empire
8. 1035, Taken by Guaimar IV of Salerno  
9. 1137, Annexed into the Kingdom of Sicily  
10. 1558, Sacked city after a nearby naval battle with Spain  

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. c. 600 BC, Formed a federation of twelve cities

Answer: Etruscan

Historians are still debating the origins of the ancient Etruscans today, but one thing is for certain - by 750 BC they were well established in Etruria in the area that is known as Tuscany today. They eventually expanded into other areas of Italy, coming into contact with Greeks who had already colonized there, and establishing a federation of twelve cities known as a dodecapolis, or Etruscan League.

It is believed that Sorrento was part of a third dodecapolis that was founded c. 600 BC, which included the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculanum; members of the League apparently cooperated in trade, religious, and military matters, and were governed by two magistrates who ruled together - much like the later consuls of the Roman Republic. Let's not forget that the Etruscans left behind many great contributions to the ancient people of Italy, such as religion, architecture, and even the tradition of gladiatorial combat is traced to them - and especially - they are credited with building the city of Rome.
2. c. 800 BC, Built Athenaion temple to honor Athena

Answer: Greek

While some sources say that the name Sorrento comes from "surreo", which means "to flow together" (as in rivers), other say that it was derived from "Sirentum", or "Land of the Sirens". In fact, it was written that Odysseus himself constructed a temple there, the Athenaion, to honor the goddess Athena after he successfully made it past the singing creatures on his famous adventure.

The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus credits the grandson of Odysseus and Circe, Liparus, with the founding of the city of Sorrento.

The layout of the city is unmistakably Greek, and later people who ruled the city preserved the original plan, making it easy for modern tourists to find their way - and in the shade too - thanks to the narrow streets and tall buildings! Following the Via Marinao Grande will take visitors through an original 4th century BC Greek gate, that consists of a large stone archway.

Some of the ruins of walls constructed by the Greeks can also be seen. At the end of the street is a wonderful surprise - a small fishing village and a beach that was one of the town's main harbors in ancient times!
3. 1861, Ruled the unified the Italian Peninsula

Answer: Kingdom of Italy

As you can see, before the consolidation of Italy as part of the west Roman Empire (c. 300 BC) and after the fall of the empire (476 AD), the stream of visitors (conquerors) just didn't make their way to Sorrento - they invaded and settled in Italy for centuries. Napoleon either directly or indirectly ruled the northern two-thirds of the peninsula, while the southern part - including Sorrento - was ruled by the Kingdom of Naples.

After the Congress of Vienna returned the governments of countries to their status quo before Napoleon's expansion, Italy once again became divided into territories, which eventually included the Papal States, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (which included Sorrento), and Kingdom of Sardinia. Nationalists, however, dreamed of a Risorgimento, or Resurgence - a unification; Sorrento officially became part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, and by 1871 the Kingdom of Italy was united with Rome as its "new" capital.

It was during the 1800s that Sorrento became prominent once again as a popular tourist destination, as Napoleon's wars and invasions had effectively stopped travel through most of Europe. Already popular in the 1600s and 1700s, Sorrento's popularity as a destination on the Grand Tour once again brought people to the city.
4. 9th century AD, Became independent republic

Answer: Duchy of Sorrento

In the 9th century AD Sorrento experienced a brief period of independence and republican rule. When the power of the Byzantine Empire in the area began to fade, Sorrento first became part of the Duchy of Naples, which had been given the right to rule the area in 661 by Constans II, and then broke away. Very little is known about the rulers of the Duchy of Sorrento, but there is a brief note that a man named Sergius ruled in the late 800s.

It is known that the coastal areas of the Gulf of Naples were constantly besieged by the Saracens at this time, as well as other attackers, and Sorrento was largely dependent on Naples for its defense.
5. c. 500 BC, Belonged to confederation that included Herculaneum and Pompeii

Answer: Nuceria

During the 500s BC, Sorrento was ruled by a nearby city called Nuceria, or Nuvkrinum, meaning "new stronghold". Like Sorrento, over time the city had contacts with the Etruscans and Greeks, and consequently devised an alphabet based on the two languages. Nuceria also coined its own currency before eventually being taken over by the Romans in the 1st century BC during the Social War.
6. c. 300s BC, Named the city Surrentum

Answer: Roman

The people who occupied the area of modern-day Sorrento had been allied to the Romans and was part of the Roman Confederation since at least the 300s BC, and the Confederation offered certain privileges to members, depending on their status within the group.

In all probability, Surrentum was promised Roman protection in case of attack in return for aid with defense. The problem was, however, that the Romans rather used their allies without rewarding them, which caused hard feelings. In 90 BC many of the allies revolted and the Social War began. By 88 BC the war was ended and those allies were granted the privileges of Roman citizenship and were officially part of the Roman Republic.

The ancient Romans loved the region of Campania, which is where Sorrentum is located. With fertile land, gorgeous views, and welcoming weather, it became a popular destination for Roman nobles; even the Emperor Augustus had a vacation home there! A short hike from the city will take visitors to the ruins of Villa Pollio, which is believed to have built built as a vacation home by Pollio Felice, who was described in writings by Horace and Stazio.

After the destructive eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD, which also affected Sorrento, it was written that Emperor Titus had the clock of the town repaired. The Romans kept the same Greek layout of the city, but did add more walls for protection.
7. 555 AD-9th century AD, Protected from raids of Saracens

Answer: Byzantine Empire

Even before the fall of the western Roman empire in 476 AD, Italy was overrun with invaders. By 555, however, Byzantine Emperor Justinian I was able to include Italy in his vast domain as he attempted to rebuild the Roman Empire. Even though the Byzantine Empire was able to hold on to and protect many coastal areas, the truth of the matter is that the Longobards controlled much of the central part of Italy.

In fact, Sorrento, as well as other parts of Southern Italy, was harassed by the Saracens, Muslims who were trying to spread their influence in the Mediterranean.

The city was under the protection of the Duchy of Naples, a province of the Byzantine Empire, who helped provide the protection needed to keep the Muslims from entering the southern part of Europe.
8. 1035, Taken by Guaimar IV of Salerno

Answer: Lombard

The Kingdom of the Lombards, a group of Germanic invaders also called Longobards, was established in Italy as early as the late 6th century AD. Beginning in 568, led by King Alboin, they began to share the Italian peninsula with another power, which caused centuries of skirmishes and battles over the land.

It was not until 1035 that Sorrento was taken by Guaimar IV of Salerno, who is considered to be the last great Lombard prince of the southern area of Lombard domination. Two years later the town was passed on to Guaimar's brother, Guy. who became the Duke of Sorrento until his death in 1073.

The Lombards, who had besieged Sorrento many times throughout their stay in Italy, also successfully raided the city from time to time.
9. 1137, Annexed into the Kingdom of Sicily

Answer: Norman

The Normans, of course, had been familiar with locations on the Mediterranean Sea for years before they tried to conquer the Mezzogiorno, or the southern part of Italy. Their permanent arrival to the area, however, did not take place until 999 AD, and in the next 150 years they raided and also ruled many towns along the coast of southern Italy, an area that was called the Kingdom of Sicily by 1130.

It was in that year that Roger II became King of Sicily, and eventually united all of the areas of Norman influence into one kingdom, conquering Sorrento in 1137. Even so, it appears that Sorrento continued to be largely self-governing during this time. Norman influence, especially in architecture, can be seen all over southern Italy, as an extensive tower and castle building/renovation program was initiated.
10. 1558, Sacked city after a nearby naval battle with Spain

Answer: Ottoman Empire

Of course, the navy of the Ottoman Empire had staged raids in the Mediterranean area, which included parts of southern Italy, for quite some time before 1558. The raids that year, however, were precipitated by a request from Ottoman ally, Henry II of France, who asked Suleyman the Magnificent for help with his enemy, the Habsburg Empire, who had control of parts of southern Italy at the time. Led by Dragut, known as the Drawn Sword of Islam, the Ottoman navy sacked Spanish-held cities, including Sorrento. Sources are a bit hazy regarding the consequences of the battle as far as the people of Sorrento were concerned; they do state, however, that 2,000-3,000 residents were taken captive. Those who remained built new walls to fortify the city.
Source: Author ponycargirl

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