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Quiz about Sumptuary Laws
Quiz about Sumptuary Laws

Sumptuary Laws Trivia Quiz


Sumptuary laws have been made since societies first sprang up. These are laws designed to control the consumption of certain commodities, but also to emphasise and reinforce class, religious and moral differences. Here are ten of these laws.

A multiple-choice quiz by Creedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
Creedy
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
374,102
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
490
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. One of the most multi-layered laws of all was found in Ancient Greece. It combined female behaviour codes, alcohol, and class reinforcement all in one. What was it? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Ancient Rome had quite a number of interesting sumptuary laws. One of these was created by Emperor Honorius of the Western Roman Empire in 423. He prohibited men from wearing which article of clothing? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. During the era of the Shoguns in Japan, there was a long ongoing struggle between the wealthy merchant class and the aristocratic Samurai regarding the maintenance of the class structure. Ultimately it was decided that the physical difference that marked the two should consist of what? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. In the year 1005 in Egypt, Jews were ordered to wear which musical ornaments dangling from their belts? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Islamic sumptuary laws included the ruling that men's robes were not to drag on the ground.


Question 6 of 10
6. In medieval Europe, sumptuary laws and restrictions abounded regarding dress of all kinds, most of which were aimed at women and the middle classes. In Italy, for example, what fashion was prohibited for women? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. France had many of the same sumptuary laws as Italy during the middle ages of history, with the French, rather comically, cheerfully disregarding most. The consumption of which product, for example, was forbidden for all but princes to eat? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. England by the 17th century had sumptuary laws that helped protect local industries and ensured people stayed within their class structures. This was a genuine concern aimed at curbing the spending of which group in particular? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Over in the later colonies of northern America, similar rules were also attempted. One such law stated a person must be in possession of *what* to wear laces and other ungodly adornments? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. In the 1700s in Scotland, a ruling issued by King George II of Great Britain, made what article of clothing illegal for the Scots to wear? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. One of the most multi-layered laws of all was found in Ancient Greece. It combined female behaviour codes, alcohol, and class reinforcement all in one. What was it?

Answer: Women could not go out with more than one maid unless drunk

This law reinforced the societal standards of the time that free women were expected to act with decorum, discreetness and modesty at all times. To a degree though, this law also reinforced the differences in class, because it applied to free middle class women only, those who comprised the majority of the "middle class" between the rich and the poor. Those very rich, those in bondage, and the very poor didn't appear to rate a mention. Free women were also not allowed out in the city at night and were banned from wearing gold jewellery or richly embroidered clothing. That, the law stated, marked them as prostitutes.
2. Ancient Rome had quite a number of interesting sumptuary laws. One of these was created by Emperor Honorius of the Western Roman Empire in 423. He prohibited men from wearing which article of clothing?

Answer: Trousers

Now don't go swooning in horror, ladies. They still had to cover up with a toga or two. Trousers, in toga and tunic-wearing Rome, were looked upon as something that only barbarians wore, hence the ruling regard same. A few other interesting sumptuary laws from this era included banning clothing dyed purple (that was the prerogative of the emperor), the ban on the wearing of the "toga virilis" until one had reached the age of maturity, and the ban on wearing silk or garments threaded with gold. Details worn on clothing had to include stripes on tunics to display social rank, and courtesans and the little ladies of the night had to wear scarlet togas to indicate their profession.

The laws regarding purple, silk and gold threaded clothing however were financially based.

The coffers of ancient Rome were becoming depleted with money flowing out and away from Rome because of the exorbitant cost of purchasing these luxury goods imported from countries outside the Empire.
3. During the era of the Shoguns in Japan, there was a long ongoing struggle between the wealthy merchant class and the aristocratic Samurai regarding the maintenance of the class structure. Ultimately it was decided that the physical difference that marked the two should consist of what?

Answer: Regulations regarding swords

Of all the countries that instigated sumptuary laws over the years, Japan probably had the most in number and the most complicated. The Tokugawa shogunate rule in this country lasted from 1603-1868 and their very strict, incredibly detailed laws included the type of clothing that could be worn by the various levels of society. Towards the end of the shogunate period, however, when Japan's merchant class had grown far wealthier than the samurai, the shogunate relaxed these laws a great deal, apart from the wearing of swords. Merchants were eventually allowed to wear a single sword in public, but the prestige of the samurari was always on display, and maintained, by the ruling that stated they had to wear two matching swords whenever they were in public and on duty.
4. In the year 1005 in Egypt, Jews were ordered to wear which musical ornaments dangling from their belts?

Answer: Bells

This law was brought into being during the Fatimid caliphate in Egypt. This was an Islamic Shiite rule that covered a large area in North Africa, with its main centre at Cairo. It lasted from 909 until 1171 when the country was invaded by the mighty Saladin. During the rule of the Fatimid caliphate, Jews and other non-Muslims had to wear medallions around their necks, special shoes, armbands, patches and other identifying marks, including the addition of conical hats and bells on belts for the Jews, to identify them as being non-Muslim.
5. Islamic sumptuary laws included the ruling that men's robes were not to drag on the ground.

Answer: True

These laws were based on instructions found within the Quran. They stated, among other things, that men were also not to wear silk clothing or gold jewellery. The law for males regarding robes not being allowed to drag along the ground was to discourage vanity and pride.
6. In medieval Europe, sumptuary laws and restrictions abounded regarding dress of all kinds, most of which were aimed at women and the middle classes. In Italy, for example, what fashion was prohibited for women?

Answer: Low necklines

Low necklines, you see, required lace trimming and fancy jewels to set off the uncovered flesh to the best advantage. Most of these laws aimed expressly at women were expressed in religious or moral terms, but one is inclined to think that religion and morals had little to do with it, and that the laws were financially based instead. Precious metals, jewels, furs and expensive materials all had strict guidelines that the ladies, usually the consumers of such products were expected to follow. Excessive purchase of these products (many of which were made in other countries and distant lands) by a class of people very large in number, saw too much of a nation's capital reserves flowing out of the country.
7. France had many of the same sumptuary laws as Italy during the middle ages of history, with the French, rather comically, cheerfully disregarding most. The consumption of which product, for example, was forbidden for all but princes to eat?

Answer: Turbot

Turbot is a species of fish found in the Baltic, Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. It, gold embroidery, shirts, collars, caps and cuffs made of gold thread, velvet, laces, puffs and ribbons were all, according to the Superfluity of Dress regulations instigated by Louis XIII of France, forbidden for all but the princes of the land to wear (and eat). Said to be put in place to protect local industry, the French for the most part thumbed their noses at such foolishness and continued to wear what they pleased.

It led the great French philosopher, Montaigne (1533-1592) to comment "The way by which our laws attempt to regulate idle and vain expenses in meat and clothes, seems to be quite contrary to the end designed ... what is it but to bring them into a greater esteem, and to set every one more agog to eat and wear them?"
8. England by the 17th century had sumptuary laws that helped protect local industries and ensured people stayed within their class structures. This was a genuine concern aimed at curbing the spending of which group in particular?

Answer: Young men

This concern is summed up beautifully in a 1574 Statute issued from Queen Elizabeth I. In this she states that "The excess of apparel and the superfluity of unnecessary foreign wares thereto belonging now of late years is grown by sufferance to such an extremity that the manifest decay of the whole realm generally is like to follow (by bringing into the realm such superfluities of silks, cloths of gold, silver, and other most vain devices of so great cost for the quantity thereof as of necessity the moneys and treasure of the realm is and must be yearly conveyed out of the same to answer the said excess) but also particularly the wasting and undoing of a great number of young gentlemen, otherwise serviceable, and others seeking by show of apparel to be esteemed as gentlemen, who, allured by the vain show of those things, do not only consume themselves, their goods, and lands which their parents left unto them, but also run into such debts and shifts as they cannot live out of danger of laws without attempting unlawful acts, whereby they are not any ways serviceable to their country as otherwise they might be".

It combined class reinforcement, financial common sense and national interests all within a few lines. Unfortunately, as with many other young people throughout Europe at that time, these laws were blithely disregarded whenever and wherever possible.
9. Over in the later colonies of northern America, similar rules were also attempted. One such law stated a person must be in possession of *what* to wear laces and other ungodly adornments?

Answer: A personal fortune of two hundred pounds

This ruling was notable in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, an area settled by the English in the new lands in 1628. It stated that only those with a personal fortune of two hundred pounds or more "could wear lace, silver or gold thread or buttons, cutwork, embroidery, hatbands, belts, ruffles, capes, and other articles".

The colonists were young, fit and healthy and had endured much to begin their new lives in this new land, so basically, within only a few short years, these and other such laws were being openly flouted and defied by them.
10. In the 1700s in Scotland, a ruling issued by King George II of Great Britain, made what article of clothing illegal for the Scots to wear?

Answer: Kilts

This law was in response to the Jacobite rebellions between 1688 and 1746 uprisings which were a long attempt to have the deposed James II and his descendants restored to the English throne. James II was also James VII of Scotland. When the rebellions were finally crushed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the British parliament enacted the Act of Proscription in that year in an attempt to crush the clan system in Scotland and to integrate the unruly Scots into the English way of doing things. King George II of Great Britain (1683-1720) followed this up during his reign (1727-1760) by enforcing the Dress Act which was part of the Act of Proscription.

This banned the wearing of the kilt to all but Scotsmen serving in the British military. By the reign of George IV, however (1820-1830), there was a complete turn around in this attitude and the extremely overweight monarch himself was fond of donning the tartan.
Source: Author Creedy

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