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Question of The Week - European History

Go to This Week's Question

Each week I will ask a question relating to either American history or politics. You should e-mail me the answer to get extra credit. Please put EURO QOW in your email subject line. Try your luck at guessing or researching the answers to this week's question. Answers will be posted after I have posted the answer at school on the following Monday. No answers will be accepted after 6:00 AM on that Monday morning. Please put EURO QOW in the heading of your email and be sure to tell me what period you are in.

Go to This Week's Question - By Monday morning, this link will take you to the new question for next week, so be sure you answer the question for the correct week. If your answer comes in after I've already posted the answer, you will not get credit. I will always let you know if you've gotten the answer right so if you don't hear back from me within 24 hours, I probably didn't receive your email. If you're wrong, you can try again and again until you're successful.

Week of August 12 - 26

Answer these questions about the Medici family.

A. Name this most prominent art museum in Florence which started out as offices designed for by the famed artist, architect, and art historian Giorgio Vasari for Cosimo I de’Medici.  Its name comes from the Italian for “offices.”  It is at this art gallery where you can see some of the most famous works by Sandro Botticelli as well as works by da Vinci, This famed museum has suffered some notable catastrophes.  A flood in 1966 damaged some of the works in its collection as did another flood in 2007.  And in 1993, a car bomb set off by the Sicilian Mafia outside the museum killed 5 people as well as destroying and damaging some of the artwork there. The Uffizi Gallery

B. There were a total of four Medici popes.  Name the first two. They were the most important. 

1. Name this first Medici pope who was a son of Lorenzo the Magnificent and whose granting of indulgences to finance the building of St. Peter’s Basilica led to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and beginning of the Reformation.  This pope followed in his family’s footsteps by funding the arts as well as furthering the fortunes of the Medici family.  He is reputed to have said upon being named pope, “Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.” Leo X

2. Name this second Medici pope who had a rather unfortunate reign having to deal with a widening Protestant Reformation as well as the sack of Rome by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s soldiers.  He was also the pope who, while being held prisoner by Charles V, had to refuse Henry VIII’s request for a divorce. Clement VII

C. Two Medici women became queens of France.  Name these women.

1. Name this great-granddaughter of Lorenzo the Magnificent who married King Henry II and was mother to three kings of France who, sadly for her, all died at young ages during France’s Wars of Religion.  Catherine de' Medici

2. Name this other Medici Queen of France who married Henry IV of France and was the mother of Louis XIII.  As usual for a Medici, she was a great patron of the arts particularly Peter Paul Rubens who painted 21 paintings glorifying her life and reign. Marie de' Medici

Week of August 26 - September 2

The Index of Prohibited Books, created in 1558 and promulgated at the Council of Trent, included some works and writers whose presence there might not really surprise us such as Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli.  Galileo’s compete works were put on the Index, but in 1718, the ban was lifted except for his Dialogue Concerning the Two chief World Systems concerning Copernican astronomy.  Surprisingly, the works of Charles Darwin and Karl Marx were never placed on the Index.  In 1966, the Church abolished the Index and placed the decision on the individual whether to read works that could threaten their faith and morality.

Identify these writers whose works were place on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

A. One work by this famed writer was placed on the list, his early 14th century book, De Monarchia, which argued that both the Pope and Holy Roman Emperor were human and derived their authority from God and neither had the power to rule over the other’s domain.  You can see why the Church wouldn’t approve of that. Dante Aligheri

B.  This Italian adventurers whose Mémoires were placed on the list became so famous for his amorous adventures that his name has entered the language to mean a promiscuous philanderer or, as the Urban Dictionary put it, “A smooth-talking charmer who has mastered the art of finding, meeting, attracting and seducing beautiful women into the bedroom. One he accomplishes his goal, he leaves the woman in fear of having a relationship and proceeds to find his next conquest.” Giacomo Casanova

C. Both this father and his illegitimate son who shared the same name were placed on the list.  The father was placed on the list in 1863 for all his love stories, but interestingly didn’t include one of his most famous books about a man who seeks to revenge himself on his enemies who had had him falsely imprisoned 25 years earlier. The son was also placed on the list a century later for his love stories, the most famous one, The Lady of the Camellias, was the story of beautiful courtesan dying of tuberculosis and which became the basis for Verdi’s opera, La Traviata. Alexandre Dumas, père and fils

Week of September 2 - 9

Answer these questions about the mistresses of French kings.

1. Name this mistress of Henry II to whom he gave the beautiful to which she added the famed bridge across the Loire.  The castle was recognized as one of the most beautiful in France so the king’s widow, Catherine de’ Medici forced the mistress to give it to her after the king’s death. Diane de Poitiers

2. Another king later purchased the château for his favorite mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées.  The king
was well known for his many affairs, but he so loved this mistress that he wanted to marry her after his marriage to Marguerite de Valois was annulled.  This would have caused a great scandal and many feared what would have happened if he’d tried to name his sons by her as heirs.  Sadly for him, but perhaps fortunately for peace in France, she died from an eclampsia in her pregnancy.  Name this king whose romantic hopes were so sadly dashed. Henry IV

3. Louis XIV had many mistresses.  Name this mistress by whom he had seven children.  Her reign as Maîtresse-en-titre, or chief mistress of the king, came to an end when she was implicated in the infamous “Affair of the Poisons” and it became known that she had bought aphrodisiacs to keep the king’s affections. Marquise de Montespan

4. Perhaps the most famous of French royal mistresses is this mistress of Louis XV.  She became very influential in the court.  She helped negotiate the so-called “Diplomatic Revolution” which involved France forming an alliance with its former enemy, Austria.  That led to the marriage of the heir to the throne with Marie Antoinette of Austria as well as France’s involvement in the Seven Years War on Austria’s side.  Name this famed and powerful mistress who sponsored the arts, Enlightenment philosophes and economists. Madame de Pompadour

Week of September 9 - 16

Answer these questions about plots against Tudor rulers

1. When Henry VII took the throne in 1485, his rather uncertain claim to the throne was challenged a couple of times by pretenders to the throne who claimed to be one of the “Princes in the Tower,” the sons of Edward IV who had disappeared mysteriously during the reign of Richard III.  The largest rebellion was in 1497 centering on this young man who claimed to be Richard, Duke of York.  He obtained the support of Margaret of Burgundy, the young princes’ aunt, and the support of James IV of Scotland.  Name this young man who was eventually captured and hanged. Perkin Warbeck

2. After Edward VI died, there was a plot to put this young cousin of the king on the throne in place of his sisters Mary and Elizabeth.  Name this young woman who served as queen for nine days before she was overthrown by Mary and sentenced to death. Lady Jane Grey

3.  There were several plots to assassinate Elizabeth and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots.  Name this 1586 plot, named after the young English Catholic nobleman who was the chief conspirator, and that was the final after several of these other plots.  The evidence of Mary’s perfidy was obtained using a double agent and a famous cipher code that was used as evidence to try Mary and sentence her to death. The Babington Plot

Week of September 16 - 23

Answer these questions about famous intellectuals of the 17th century.

A. Which prominent thinker was born prematurely supposedly when his mother heard of the coming invasion of the Spanish Armada and later wrote that his “mother gave birth to twins: myself and fear”? Thomas Hobbes

B. One of the most famous poets in English literature wrote his most famous work as an expression of his disappointment in the failure of the English Revolution in the wake of the Restoration of Charles II.  He also wrote a pamphlet advocating for divorce on the basis of incompatibility between spouses.  Apparently, he was motivated to his position on divorce by his wife’s desertion of him soon after their marriage.     One of his most important works was an essay arguing for freedom of speech and press that has been cited as a foundation for our own First Amendment freedoms. John Milton

C. Name this famed English metaphysical poet and friend of the poet in question #2 who reportedly convinced Charles II not to execute that poet in #2.  This poet served as a tutor to the daughter of Lord General Thomas Fairfax who had led the New Model Army.  He wrote poems to Fairfax and an ode about Cromwell’s return from Ireland although his lyric poetry is more famous.  As a Member of Parliament during the Restoration reign of Charles II, he wrote several satirical poems about Charles II’s reign and pamphlet, An Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England, charging that there was a plot to introduce absolutist tyranny, French slavery, and Popish idolatry into England. Andrew Marvell

D. Name this prominent writer thought to have written the first novel in English and who also wrote pamphlets and poems defending William III in his wars against the French.  He was a Presbyterian dissenter who was sentenced to the pillory for his writings in defense of dissenters.  He wrote articles and pamphlets supporting the 1707 Treaty of Union between England and Scotland and served as a spy in Scotland to undermine those who opposed the Union.  Daniel Defoe

Week of September 23 - 30

From now on, you will not get a second chance if you make a mistake the first time. So make sure that your answer is correct before you send it to me.

Answer these questions based on crime and Dutch art.

In 1945, in one of the most amazing art scams of the century, a Dutch painter was arrested for having sold a painting by one of the great painters of the Dutch Golden Age to Hermann Goering, the Nazi commander of the Luftwaffe or air force.  In order to defend himself from the charges of treason and collaborating with the enemy, the painter confessed that he had been forging many of the great artists of the Golden Age.  Being convicted of forgery and fraud was better than being convicted of treason and collaboration with the Nazis.  He had to paint in front of reporters and court witnesses to demonstrate how he forged his paintings. 

1. What was the name of this famous forger? Some experts had been so fooled by his forgeries that one prominent critic considered one of his paintings to be a masterpiece by the artist whose style he was emulating.  Han Van Meegeren

2. What great artist had he imitated so well that he was able to sell a painting purportedly by this artist to Hermann Goering for what would be to $7 million in today’s money? Johannes Vermeer

3. In the largest theft of private property in history, 13 works of art were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston including two famous works by Dutch Golden Age artists.  Sadly, these works have never been recovered.  One was the only seascape by Rembrandt.  Name that work.

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee 

4. Another missing painting was by the artist in #2.  Name that painting thought to be worth more than $200 million.The Concert 

Week of September 30 - October 7

From now on, you will not get a second chance if you make a mistake the first time. So make sure that your answer is correct before you send it to me.

Answer these questions about three famous French Enlightenment writers.

1. Which French writer and philosopher had to flee France because he had been imprisoned in the Bastille under a letter de cachet, when he offended the powerful Rohan family after the nobleman had made fun of the writer’s name?  You just don’t want to get on the wrong side of those Rohans.  This same writer had become rich when he and a group of friends made a killing in a lottery that the City of Paris held to repay municipal bonds.  They realized that the prize was greater than the total cost of the tickets and they bought up all the tickets.  The group of friends won 7.5 million francs – which today would be worth more than $41 million. Voltaire

2. Which French writer and philosopher died in Sweden, but the French arranged for his body to be disinterred and transferred to Paris.  Before the body was moved, under great secrecy and guard, the French ambassador took the writer’s right index finger as a relic.  The finger has been missing ever since. Descartes

3. Which Enlightenment writer, despite his own writings on child-rearing, forced his mistress to give up their five children to a foundling home where, most likely, they all died?    Voltaire

Week of October 7 - 14

From now on, you will not get a second chance if you make a mistake the first time. So make sure that your answer is correct before you send it to me.

Answer these questions about abolitionist efforts in Great Britain.

1) Name this landmark 1772 judgment of the Court of the King’s Bench which ruled that English common law did not support chattel slavery so that a slave could not be removed from England or Wales without his or her consent.  This case is regarded as helping to start the abolition movement in Great Britain. Somerset v. Stewart or Somersett’s case

2) Name this former slave who, after being kidnapped from the Igbo region of present-day Nigeria and sold to a captain in the Royal Navy and then a Quaker trader, purchased his freedom and came to London to become a leader of abolitionists in Britain.  His autobiography, titled The Interesting Narrative of his life, became an international best-seller.  As a member of a black abolitionist group in Britain, the Sons of Africa, he led efforts to try to persuade members of Parliament to outlaw the slave trade in British colonies.  This was achieved in 1807. Olaudah Equiano

3) Name this former English slave-ship captain, who had once been a slave of an African princess of the Sherbo people.  Once he was rescued he underwent a religious conversion.  He returned to captaining slave ships, but eventually gave up slave-trading and became an Anglican clergyman and leader in the abolitionist movement.  He also wrote hymns, the most famous of which were the words to the hymn “Amazing Grace,” which is perhaps the most famous hymn sung today. John Newton

4) Name this leading abolitionist who, as a member of Parliament, worked with the men in questions #2 and 3 to lead the decades-long fight to abolish the British slave trade, finally winning victory in the passage of the Slave Act of 1807.  He worked with other evangelicals known as the “the Saints” or the “Clapham Sect” to help found Sierra Leone as a colony for freed slaves. He lived long enough to see the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 and died three days later. William Wilberforce

Week of October 14 - 21

From now on, you will not get a second chance if you make a mistake the first time. So make sure that your answer is correct before you send it to me.

Answer these questions about British military history in the 18th century.

1. There is only one British admiral who was court-martialed and executed for failure to “do his utmost.” This happened as result of a battle during the Seven Years War.  Voltaire used this officer’s execution for a scene in Candide when he wrote that “in this country, it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others.”  It may well have worked as Voltaire described, since naval historians credit this admiral’s execution with instilling British officers with a more aggressive spirit.  Name this unfortunate admiral and the Mediterranean island he abandoned to the French. Admiral John Byng and the Battle of Minorca

2) Name this last full-scale battle to take place on British soil.  Unfortunately, it was a battle that resulted in casualties of up to 2000 rebels including many Scots.  The harsh treatment of the survivors earned the British commander the nickname, “Butcher.”  Laws following this victory outlawed the wearing of tartan and limited the power of clan chiefs.


3) Who was leading the invasion and rebellion that was put down in the battle in question #2? Charles Edward Stuart or Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender

4) Who was the last British monarch to lead troops in battle? 

George II

Week of October 21 - 28

From now on, you will not get a second chance if you make a mistake the first time. So make sure that your answer is correct before you send it to me.

Answer these questions related to European folk and fairy tales.

1. Name this 17th century French author who wrote some of the best known fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Puss in Boots as well as the Tales of Mother Goose.  During the time of Louis XIV, there was a cultural debate called the “Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns,” over whether culture should be modeled after the classical authors or whether modern authors of their period were more enlightened than the ancients. Charles Perrault

2. Name this man who is best known today as the co-author of a collection of folk tales.  He was known at the time for so much more.  He served as part of the Hessian legation at the Congress of Vienna where he had the opportunity to talk to other figures involved in gathering their various nations’ folktales.  During his lifetime, he was well respected as a professor of historical linguistics and he proposed an important law of historical linguistics concerning how consonants sounds shifted from Proto-Indo-European to German and other languages that developed from Indo-European.  For example, his law explains why Latin has “pater” while English has “father” and German has “Vater.” Jacob Grimm

3. Russian fairy tales are not as well-known in the west although there is a rich tradition of such folk tales.  Name this character who is one of the most famous characters in Russian folklore.  This old woman can be either helpful or villainous as she flies around in her pestle.  Heroes of Russian folktales often have to search out her forest hut that stands on chicken legs and guarded by human skulls to seek her help. Baba Yaga

Week of October 28 - November 4

From now on, you will not get a second chance if you make a mistake the first time. So make sure that your answer is correct before you send it to me.

In honor of Halloween, answer these questions about royal ghosts that supposedly haunt some of the royal residences of the British royal family.

1. Name this former ruler whose ghost both Queen Elizabeth II and her sister Margaret have claimed to have heard.  Their father, George VI, claimed to have seen this ruler eight nights in a row upon the onset of World War II.  This ruler’s footsteps are heard on the bare floorboards and the Royal Library is, apparently, a favorite location of this monarch. Elizabeth I

2. Balmoral Castle in Scotland was one of the favorite estates of Queen Victoria.  It is said to be haunted by a Scottish servant and friend of the Queen.  Their relationship was so closed that there was gossip about there being an improper relationship between this servant and the Queen.  Name this man who is said to haunt Balmoral Castle and its grounds striding about in his kilt.  The present queen said that she has seen him. John Brown

3. This wife of Henry VIII is said to haunt Hampton Court where she died after giving birth.  Her ghost is said to appear on the Silverstick Stairs which lead to the room where she died. Jane Seymour

4. Name this famous courtier and adventurer who spent 13 years in luxurious captivity in the so-called “Bloody Tower” of London.  He reportedly wanders freely around the Tower of London and there is a section of the ramparts named for him where he exercised during his imprisonment.  Sometimes his ghost looks just as his portrait and other times he’s headless since he was ultimately beheaded. Walter Raleigh

November 4 - 11

From now on, you will not get a second chance if you make a mistake the first time. So make sure that your answer is correct before you send it to me.

Answer these questions about literature leading to the French Revolution.

1) About which famous play, did Louis XVI say, “For this play not to be a danger, the Bastille would have to be torn down first.”  The play, much more so than the more famous opera based on the work, had speeches that were clearly seen as an assault on aristocratic privilege. The Marriage of Figaro

2) Name the playwright of that piece who had earlier directed covert aid from France and Spain to the Americans during our Revolution.. Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

3) Name this novel written in 1782 in which two decadent and corrupt aristocrats seduce innocents for their own amusement.  It was regarded as an indicator of how corrupt the ancient régime had become.  It has been the basis for several moviesPierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais

November 11 - 18

Answer these questions about the complicated relationships among some prominent writers of the Romantic era.

Which writer of the Romantic period eloped with a 16-year old schoolgirl, then abandoned his wife and their child to go off with another 16-year old who was the daughter of two prominent radicals of the era?  He had a friend who had made advances to his wife and been rebuffed and then joined the writer and his new girl-friend with whom the writer encouraged him to have an affair since he believed in free love.  She declined because she was pregnant.  She was also a writer and they married after his first wife drowned in suspicious circumstances.  Joining this convoluted romantic group was another writer who had an affair with the second woman’s stepsister and she bore him a daughter. These writers spent one vacation together in what was known as the Year Without a Summer, during which they all wrote ghost stories.  One other writer there, John William Polidori wrote a story which became the first story in what is now quite a popular genre.


1) the first writer Percy Bysshe Shelley

2)  the woman who became his second wife Mary Godwin Shelley

3) the writer who had an affair with the second wife’s stepsister Mary Godwin Shelley

4) the genre of stories that Polidori initiated with his tale. Vampire stories

You got all that?  These complicated relationships were the subject of a 1988 film.

November 18 - 25

Since I talked in class about the poll for the Greatest Britons, here are some questions about other figures voted on polls for their country’s greatest figures.

1) Name this woman who was a leader fighting for women’s suffrage in the UK who made the list in the top 30 for Greatest Britons. Emmeline Pankhurst

2) Name this top figure on the German poll to select Unsere Besten (or Our Best) who was this post-war chancellor who led West Germany to recover after WWII and attain economic prosperity in a new democratic state. Konrad Adenauer

3) Name this composer of great operas who came in second place behind Leonardo da Vinci in the poll for “Il più grande italiano di tutti i tempi” or “Greatest Italian of All Time.”  His early opera Nabucco or Nebuchadnezzar and the chorus “”Va pensiero” sung by Hebrew slaves were once regarded as an expression of Italians’ yearning for their own homeland. Giuseppe Verdi

November 25 - December 2

This will be the last set of QOW’s for the semester.  Check back over break for next semester’s first question.

Answer these questions about important female writers in Victorian England with whom you may not be familiar.

1. Name this guide, one of the most well-read books of this 19th century, first published in 1861, on how to run a Victorian household that every self-respecting middle-class wife would be sure to own.  The guide contained recipes and advice on how to manage servants as well as health advice.

Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management

2. Name this British novelist, encouraged by Charles Dickens, who wrote industrial novels criticizing conditions in Manchester where she’d settled with her husband who was a minister there.  Her stories shocked readers and helped awaken the public to working conditions and life in She also wrote a biography of her friend, Charlotte Brontë. Elizabeth Gaskell 

3. Name this famed novelist who wrote some of the best observations of politics of the era.  In her most famous novel, she described the namesake town in the years leading up to the Great Reform Act of 1832.  Another one of her novels featured the title character whom she named “the Radical” also in the period of the Great Reform Act of 1832 and the local election for Parliament in a small English town.  Another one of her novels is remarkable for its sympathetic depiction of Jewish characters which was rather remarkable for that time.

George Eliot

January 6 - 13

Name these common words that were named after famous or infamous 19th century Europeans who became eponyms whose linguistic contributions have lasted longer than their own actions.

1) What was the piece of clothing that was named for the English earl and army officer who led the charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War.  Apparently, he wore a waist-length, knitted wool jacket and had copies made for his officers to keep warm.  Unfortunately, his leadership during the battle was soon called into question with accusations that he incompetently led his men and then abandoned them when he retreated from the battle.  He also spent the battle of Inkerman aboard his luxury yacht.  But now we remember him for his sartorial contributions. Cardigan

2) What is the word for the clothing named after a famed French acrobat who had invented the aerial trapeze and inspired the popular 1867 song, “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze”?  The tight-fitting clothes that he wore in his act was called a “maillot,” but after his death it became known by his last name. Leotard

3) What word came from the name of an English land agent for an Irish lord whom was hated in the 1880s for evicting Irish tenants who couldn’t afford their rents?  They responded with social ostracism with shops reserving to serve him and the postman refusing to deliver his mail.  Workers refused to harvest his crops.  His name soon became the term to refer to the protest tactics used against him. Boycott

January 13 - 20

With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in the news recently, we can note the several firsts for someone in direct line to the throne.  She was the first American, divorced actress of mixed race to marry into the royal family.  Answer these questions that Markle’s background made me think of.

1. A spokesman for has traced Meghan Markle’s family tree and discovered that, if you go back far enough, she is related to both William Shakespeare and an English prime minister.  Name that prime minister. Winston Churchill

2. The last time a member of the royal family married an American divorcée, he had to abdicate his throne to be with the woman he loved.  Name that king and the woman for whom he gave up the crown. Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

3. There was one queen of England whom one historian asserts had African ancestors based on a portrait and caricatures of her.  One historian thinks that this queen was descended from a Portuguese king, Alfonso III, and a black Moor who was his concubine.  While there is no proof, people still enjoy speculating about this queen’s ethnic heritage.  Name this queen for whom important cities in North Carolina and Virginia are named. Queen Charlotte, wife of George III

4. Many members of the royal family have had affairs with actresses.  We talked earlier about Charles II and Nell Gwynn.  Another actress who had a 20-year relationship with a future king when he was a prince was the actress Dorothea Jordan.  They were together for a long time and had 10 illegitimate children.  She had many notable descendants including the former prime minister of England, David Cameron.  Name that king who had that long affair with Mrs. Jordan. William IV

January 20 - 27

Answer these questions about the deaths of five famous 19th century European authors.

1. Which Russian author, in the last days of his life, left his wife and family and seemingly vanished?  His disappearance became a national phenomenon.  When he turned up in a remote railway station dying of pneumonia, all of Russia followed the story of his death and dozens of his followers, journalists, and police spies traveled to this remote rail station to witness his death.  Leo Tolstoy

2. Which other famous Russian author fell under the influence of a starets, or spiritual elder, who made him fear going to Hell for his writing.  So in the days before his death, he burned the sequel to his only novel, a satirical classic as well as some of his other manuscripts.  He’d spent a decade writing that sequel. He told friends that his writing was a practical joke played on him by the Devil.  He then took to his bed and refused all food, starving himself to death.  In an effort to force him to eat, his friends poured vodka over his face, and tied hot loaves to him and attached leeches to his nose.  Amazingly, none of it worked and he died. Nikolai Gogol

3. Which famous English author desired to be interred in a grave with his first wife in his local home, but the public and his executor insisted that he be buried in the famed Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey?  A compromise was reached in which his heart was buried at his parish church in Dorset with his wife and his ashes were buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. Thomas Hardy

4. Which French writer died due to carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty chimney?  Some alleged that he was actually murdered by his political enemies and, indeed, a roofer decades later claimed to have closed the chimney for political reasons. Guy de Maupassant
January 27 - February 3

Answer these questions about scandalous 19th century royals.

1) Name this crown prince of Austria who was found dead at his hunting lodge, Mayerling, next to the dead body of his 17-year-old mistress?  Although no one knows exactly what happened, the ramifications of his death did have ramifications beyond just one tragic love affair. Rudolf of Austria

2) What king was deposed in a coup that alleged that his spending on elaborate palaces and his patronage of the composer Richard Wagner meant that he was insane?  Days after this coup, he went walking with the doctor who had declared him insane and both men were mysteriously found dead in shallow water.  Ludwig II of Bavaria

3) Name this future king of England who was involved in many scandals as a young man.  When he was sent off to military camp age 19, he had an affair with a camp prostitute.  His father later came to visit him and later died and his mother always blamed him for his father’s death.  He was known for his amorous relations with women and even invited some of his mistresses to his coronation. One of his last mistresses was the great-grandmother of Duchess Camilla of Cornwall, the wife of Prince Charles.  Edward VII
February 3 - 10

1) The search for the source of Nile was led by two British explorers who eventually quarreled over which lake was the source.  One claimed that Lake Victoria was the source and the other claimed that Lake Tanganyika was the source.  They had both been ill and the one who explored Lake Victoria had been temporarily blind at the time.  They were set to debate the issue when the first explorer accidentally killed himself in a hunting accident.  Name these two explorers. John Hanning Speke and Sir Richard Francis Burton

2) The explorer who claimed that Lake Tanganyika was the source of the Nile was also a famous linguist, supposedly having mastered close to 40 languages and dialects.  He was involved in translating into English several works thought to be obscene.  One work was a collection of Middle Eastern stories and folk tales and another famous work was an ancient Sanskrit text.  Name these two famous works. One Thousand and One Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra

February 10 - 17

We’ve already covered some significant assassinations in European history.  Sadly, this unit, we’ll be covering some of the most impactful assassinations in world history.  There were so many radical and anarchist groups in this time period who thought they could achieve their goals if they could just kill prominent individuals.  So I thought I would ask for some lesser known assassinations of important figures in European history. 

1) Name this Prime Minister of Russia who tried valiantly to institute reforms while combating all the revolutionary groups who were seeking to overthrow the Tsar’s government.  Who knows if he might have been successful, but unfortunately, he was shot while attending the Rimsky-Korsakov opera, The Tale of Tsar Saltan¸ in Kiev with the Tsar and his family.  Historians debate whether his reforms could have succeeded, but he is also regarded as the last hope of peaceful reform of the agrarian system in Russia.  In a controversial online poll for the greatest Russian in history, this minister placed second. Pyotr Stolypin

2) The efforts of Gladstone to and Charles Stewart Parnell to achieve Home Rule for Ireland was damaged by murders of the newly appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish and the Permanent Undersecretary, Thomas Henry Burke in Dublin in 1882.  The assassination was carried out by a group of assassins fighting against the British called the “Invincibles.”  This murder has become known by the park in which the two men were stabbed.  Give the name of these murders which put an end to Gladstone’s efforts for Irish Home Rule since one of his ministers was the older brother of Lord Frederick and that brother broke away from Gladstone’s Liberal Party to lead the Unionists into the Conservative Party. The Phoenix Park Massacres

3) This last assassination relates to a question asked a couple of weeks ago about the murder/suicide of the heir to the Austrian Empire.  The entire family was very tragic.  Sadly, the mother of the man was herself assassinated nine years later.  She was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist.  Name this Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary (as well as quite a few other titles) who lived through an unhappy marriage and then was stabbed with a long needle while vacationing in Switzerland.   Her corset was so tight that it slowed her blood loss so no one realized what had happened and also served to keep her alive for several hours before she died. Empress Elisabeth "Sissy" of Austria

February 17- 24

Answer these questions about World War One and Eastern Europe

1) Name this famed Polish pianist and composer was a passionate advocate for Polish independence and lobbied President Wilson and other allied officials for the creation of a Polish state to be part of the post-War settlement.  He was a friend of British composer Edward Elgar who used his music when composing a symphony in honor of Poland and dedicated to this man.  He also became the second Prime Minister of the new nation of Poland and represented it at the Paris Peace Conference.

Ignacy Paderewski

2) Name this classic, satirical book of Czech literature about the experiences of the title “good soldier” and his experiences in the Austro-Hungarian Army who through his own pretended incompetence or simple stupidity manages to confound his military superiors.  This comic novel is now considered to be one of the first anti-war novels as it came out before All Quiet on the Western Front and inspired Joseph Heller’s Catch-22  as well as quite a few other writers.       The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek

3) After the Paris Peace Conference, the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes were gathered together into one country, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.  Name this man who became the first King of Yugoslavia.  He became heir when his older brother had to step down after a scandal when he kicked a servant in the stomach killing him.  He was assassinated in 1934.  Due to several of his family members having died on a Tuesday, he had refused to appear in public on Tuesdays, but unfortunately for him, he did appear in public in France to celebrate the alliance between the two countries and was shot by a Bulgarian nationalists.

Alexander I

February 24 - March 2

Answer these questions about works of literature that illuminated the inter-war period.

1) Name this first novel by an author about his days as a British officer serving in Burma.  The protagonist, a teak merchant, is torn between his support for the Burmese and his desire to marry an Englishwoman.  Burmese Days by George Orwell

2) Name this autobiography by an English poet and novelist who had served in World War One.  The author covered his life in the trenches and exposed the callousness and arrogant stupidity of the British officers.  The author served as a lieutenant, then captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, with the poet, Siegfried Sassoon. Many critics regard this work expressing the lost illusions of the post-war generation as the best and most honest memoir of World War One.  Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves

3) Name this English novel first published in 1928 but that could not be sold in its unexpurgated version in England until 1960.  Its plot about an upper-class woman having an affair with her gamekeeper with explicit sex scenes and use of coarse language shocked authorities and led to the book being banned.  However, in a famed 1960 obscenity trial, authors and literary critics testified to the novel’s artistic value and it was finally allowed to be published in Great Britain.  Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

March 2 - 9

A Czech-born British playwright who has written many popular plays as well as some notable movie scripts wrote a play that won a Best Play Tony in 1976 about Zurich in 1917 as a sort of re-writing of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.  This playcenters around three famous people who were living there at the same time.  One of those was a Romanian/French poet and performance artist who was one of the founders of the Dada movement.  Another was one of the most important and influential modern authors of the 20th century.  The third man was a revolutionary leader who changed the history of the 20th century.  The play imagines the conversations these men would have had about art, love and revolution.

1) Name that playwright and that play. Tom Stoppard - Travesties

2) Name those three famous men featured in the play. James Joyce, Tristan Tzara, and Vladimir Lenin

March 9 - 16

Answer these questions about Soviet writers:

1) Name this Jewish poet whose poem the “Kremlin Mountaineer” or the “Stalin Epigram” criticizing Stalin for the Great Famine in the Ukraine earned him a sentence to a prison camp in Siberia where he died. Osip Mandelshtam

2) Name this famed poet, author, and translator of Shakespeare into Russian who was a deep friend of the poet in question #2, but who denied his closeness to that poet when Stalin called him personally after the poet’s arrest.  During the Great Purge, this writer was scheduled to be executed, but Stalin himself crossed his name of the execution list, saying “Do not touch this cloud dweller.” Boris Pasternak

3) Which poet wrote a poem that was published during the cultural “Thaw” under Khrushchev that criticized Soviet anti-Semitism while writing about the Nazi massacre of over 33,000 at Babi Yar near Kiev.  Dmitri Shostakovich used the poem in the first movement of his Thirteenth Symphony. Yevgenij Yevtushenko

March 16 - 30

I'm going to do two weeks at a time for the QOW for now.

With all the news about the Corona virus and fears of people getting sick and the news of quarantines across Europe, I thought we could look at some questions about 18th century medicine.

A. Dr. John Hunter set back research on which two diseases when he mistakenly experimented on himself with a needle infected with both diseases so he concluded that they were the same underlying disease?  He also maintained that Negros were born white and then turned dark because of the sun.

B. Who was the woman who introduced inoculation for smallpox into England after having witnessed its use when she lived with her husband in the Ottoman Empire where he was the British ambassador?

C. Name this famous English essayist, lexicographer, and literary critic who, due to his tics and involuntary movements, is thought by medical historians to have suffered from Tourette’s Syndrome.




















You should e-mail me the answer to get extra credit. Try your luck at guessing or researching the answers to this week's question. Answers will be posted after I have posted the answer at school on the following Monday. No answers will be accepted after 6:00 AM on that Monday morning.