Literary Settings Quiz, Part 2: The Greeks and Romans

Preclassical (800–500 BC):

1. The ancient city of Ilium, the setting of Homer’s Iliad and which currently lies in the present-day Turkish city of Hisarlik, is better known as what?

  • a. Constantinople, b. Ararat, c. Pergamum, d. Troy, or e. Zeugma?


2. In Homer’s Odyssey, the hero Odysseus is trying to get home to which Greek island?

  • a. Mykonos, b. Ithaca, c. Lesbos, d. Crete, or e. Santorini?


Classical (500–323 BC):

3. In his play The Persians, which famous battle site did Aeschylus, the “Father of Tragedy”, describe based on his own experiences?

  • a. Salamis, b. Thermopylae, c. Artemisium, d. Plataea, or e. Marathon?  


4. Oedipus Rex, probably Sophocles’ best-known play, recounts the story of the ill-fated king Oedipus, who ruled which Greek city-state?

  • a. Delphi, b. Olympia, c. Trachis, d. Thebes, or e. Athens


5. In Euripides’ play Iphigenia in Tauris, Taurus refers to which Peninsula?

  • a. Iberian, b. Balkan, c. Crimean, d. Istrian, or e. Peloponnesian


6. Aristophanes, the “Master of Old Comedy”, sets his famous play The Birds in this fictional “city in the sky”:

  • a. Laputa, b. Nausicaä (“Valley of the Wind”), c. Cloud 9, d. Ringworld, or e. Cloud-cuckoo-land


7. Herodotus’ Histories stands as one of the earliest accounts of the rise of which ancient Empire?

  • a. Akkadian, b. Babylonian, c. Carthaginian, d. Ottoman, or e. Persian


8. Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War recounts war between the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League, which were led by which two city-states, respectively?

  • a. Athens & Sparta, b. Delos & Sparta, c. Athens & Delos, d. Delphi & Olympia, or e. Ios & Naxos


Hellenistic (323–31 BC):

9. The Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes recounts the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece from Colchis, which is located in which present-day country?

  • a. Armenia, b. Georgia, c. Turkey, d. Croatia, or e. Egypt


10. Of his 108 known comedies, Menander, the “Master of New Comedy”, in his only nearly-complete extant play Dyskolos (sometimes translated as “The Grouch” or “The Curmudgeon“), inspired Molière in his writing of The Misanthrope (1666), although he only knew the theme of the play. It wasn’t until 1952 that a nearly-complete papyrus manuscript of the play was found in which country?

  • a. China, b. India, c. Egypt, d. Libya, or e. Italy


Roman Age (31 BC – 284 AD):

11. Virgil’s Aeneid recounts the founding of which ancient city?

  • a. Athens, b. Constantinople, c. Carthage, d. Rome, or e. Jerusalem


12. Polybius’ best-known work, The Histories, is widely known for detailing the Punic Wars, which took place between 264-146 BC between the Roman Republic and the Carthaginian Empire. Which of the following was never a Carthaginian dependency?

  • a. Sicily, b. Gibraltar, c. Alexandria, d. Malta, or e. Corsica

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The answers are shown (upside-down) below:

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