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Quiz about Old English Literature
Quiz about Old English Literature

Old English Literature Trivia Quiz


This quiz explores the literature of the Old English period and some of the events that influenced it.

A multiple-choice quiz by skylarb. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
skylarb
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
116,313
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
20
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
11 / 20
Plays
2879
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 152 (9/20), Guest 31 (8/20), Guest 80 (11/20).
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Question 1 of 20
1. During the Old English Period, who invaded Britannia (Great Britain)? Hint


Question 2 of 20
2. Who was the legendary literary figure said to have resisted the Germanic invaders/mercenaries?

Hint


Question 3 of 20
3. For many years, there was no native literature in England. What changed that? Hint


Question 4 of 20
4. Whose "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" recounts the story of the Church in England? Hint


Question 5 of 20
5. What Old English poem tells the story of resistance against a Scandinavian raid? Hint


Question 6 of 20
6. What king of the West Saxons supported literature, even translating Boethius's "Consolation of Philosophy"? Hint


Question 7 of 20
7. Bede tells the story of an unlearned cowherd who instituted a school of Christian poetry. Who was he? Hint


Question 8 of 20
8. The author who wrote down "Beowulf" was probably a: Hint


Question 9 of 20
9. Who is "the young hero" of the poem "The Dream of the Rood"? Hint


Question 10 of 20
10. Which of the following is an example of a kenning? Hint


Question 11 of 20
11. Where does this quote come from? "Then middle-earth, mankind's Guardian, eternal Lord, afterwards made." Hint


Question 12 of 20
12. From what work does this quote come? "Wonderful was the triumph-tree, and I stained with sins, wounded with wrongdoings." Hint


Question 13 of 20
13. What work begins, "Yes, we have heard of the glory of the Spear-Danes' kings in the old days--how the princes of that people did brave deeds." Hint


Question 14 of 20
14. What work contains the characters Birhtnoth and Ethelred? Hint


Question 15 of 20
15. In "Beowulf," what is wergild? Hint


Question 16 of 20
16. In "Beowulf," what is a thane? Hint


Question 17 of 20
17. Which of the following is _not_ an Old English work? Hint


Question 18 of 20
18. In this poem, an exile is searching for a new lord and hall. Hint


Question 19 of 20
19. What is the primary literary device used in Old English poetry? Hint


Question 20 of 20
20. What work begins, "He who is alone often lives to find favor." Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Jul 10 2024 : Guest 152: 9/20
Jul 10 2024 : Guest 31: 8/20
Jul 09 2024 : Guest 80: 11/20
Jul 08 2024 : Guest 106: 19/20
Jul 07 2024 : Guest 39: 5/20
Jul 05 2024 : Guest 106: 6/20
Jul 05 2024 : Guest 49: 15/20
Jul 04 2024 : Guest 155: 11/20
Jul 02 2024 : Guest 152: 9/20

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. During the Old English Period, who invaded Britannia (Great Britain)?

Answer: All of These

The Roman legions withdrew in the 5th century in order to protect Rome, which opened up the island to invasion by the Germanic tribes (the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes). In the 9th century, the Danes invaded.
2. Who was the legendary literary figure said to have resisted the Germanic invaders/mercenaries?

Answer: King Arthur

Arthur has his roots both in history and in Celtic mythology. A rich literature grew up around the hero, in both English and French. Some scholars speculate that the Germanic tribes were originally hired as mercenaries by the Romans.
3. For many years, there was no native literature in England. What changed that?

Answer: The island became largely Christian

Christianity was practiced early on in the remote corners of Britannia, but only after St. Augustine was sent to convert King Ethelbert of Kent did the religion become widespread. In the words of the Norton Anthology, Volume One, "[b]efore Christianity, there had been no books." The monks, as copyists, served to promote and preserve literature.
4. Whose "Ecclesiastical History of the English People" recounts the story of the Church in England?

Answer: Venerable Bede's

This work was written in the Old English period, but was penned in Latin. It was finished in about 731 AD.
5. What Old English poem tells the story of resistance against a Scandinavian raid?

Answer: The Battle of Maldon

The heroic poem recounts a defensive battle against the raiders, which occurred in 991. The English were defeated, but the poem does not tell the readers that.
6. What king of the West Saxons supported literature, even translating Boethius's "Consolation of Philosophy"?

Answer: King Alfred

Alfred also had the claim to fame of temporarily uniting several of the kingdoms in England and stopping the Danish invasion.
7. Bede tells the story of an unlearned cowherd who instituted a school of Christian poetry. Who was he?

Answer: Caedmon

"Caedmon's Hymn" is one of the earliest examples of Old English writing.
8. The author who wrote down "Beowulf" was probably a:

Answer: Christian

The heroic poem no doubt had pagan origins, and was probably passed down orally. But in its final form, it has likely been written by a Christian monk/copyist, because it makes references to the "Lord of Life," "The Ruler of Heaven," "The Almighty," and "Cain and Abel."
9. Who is "the young hero" of the poem "The Dream of the Rood"?

Answer: Jesus Christ

The poem recounts a dream the narrator has about Christ's cross. "Rood" is an old English word for cross.
10. Which of the following is an example of a kenning?

Answer: Triumph-tree

In "The Dream of the Rood," the word "triumph-tree" is used to refer to Christ's cross. A kenning replaces a single word with a compound word, often linked by a hyphen. A kenning used for God's thoughts in "Caedmon's Hymn" is "mind-plans," and a kenning used for the sea in "Beowulf" is "whale-road."
11. Where does this quote come from? "Then middle-earth, mankind's Guardian, eternal Lord, afterwards made."

Answer: Caedmon's Hymn

This is translated from the Old English poem which praises God. The Old English language has a Germanic sound and, unlike Middle English, cannot be deciphered by a modern English reader without translation.
12. From what work does this quote come? "Wonderful was the triumph-tree, and I stained with sins, wounded with wrongdoings."

Answer: The Dream of the Rood

This quote is a wonderful example of the primary poetic device used in Old English poetry: alliteration. It also contains a wonderful kenning ("triumph-tree").
13. What work begins, "Yes, we have heard of the glory of the Spear-Danes' kings in the old days--how the princes of that people did brave deeds."

Answer: Beowulf

This is the oldest long poem written in English, and was written sometime between the 8th and 10th century A.D.
14. What work contains the characters Birhtnoth and Ethelred?

Answer: The Battle of Maldon

Birthnoth was the leader of the English defense forces who unsuccessfully resisted the Scandinavian invaders.
15. In "Beowulf," what is wergild?

Answer: Blood-price

In the culture of the Danes and Geats, if someone killed a kinsman, he had to be killed in turn, or he could pay a "wergild" as compensation to the family.
16. In "Beowulf," what is a thane?

Answer: A warrior

The lord and his thane had a special relationship that incorporated respect, unity, and reward.
17. Which of the following is _not_ an Old English work?

Answer: The Canterbury Tales

"The Canterbury Tales," by Chaucer, was written in Middle English in the 14th century.
18. In this poem, an exile is searching for a new lord and hall.

Answer: The Wanderer

"The Wanderer" is written in the elegiac mood. The date of authorship is uncertain.
19. What is the primary literary device used in Old English poetry?

Answer: Alliteration

Old English poetry rarely rhymes. Kennings are employed, but this is not the primary literary device. According to the Norton Anthology, Volume One, "The organizing device of the line is alliteration . . . The Old English alliterative line contains, on the average, four principle stresses and is divided into two half-lines."
20. What work begins, "He who is alone often lives to find favor."

Answer: The Wanderer

The poem is a lament. The main character has lost his lord and his brothers in arms. His mead hall has been destroyed.
Source: Author skylarb

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