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Take the quiz about

and Life in the Roman Empire


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1. What food did the Romans have no equivalent of?

Worcestershire Sauce
Salad Dressing
Spagetti Bolognese

2. Where did the Romans put their indoor toilets?

No Roman houses have been found with indoor toilets.
In the kitchen.
In the bedrooms.
In the sideroom off the dining room called the vomitorium where the dinner guests also went to "unload" after a heavy meal.


3. What was the Roman Senate's chief function?

To pass laws.
To approve laws of the popular assembly.
To approve laws written by the consuls.
To advise the Plebeians what they should do.

4. What was the difference between the Plebeians and the Patricians?

It was based on your family name.
It was based on your family's wealth.
It was determined by which of your relatives had served in the Senate.
The Romans had no Plebeian or Patrician designation. This was an invention of modern historians.

5. What would a Roman Emperor have done if he found his host had watered the premium Falnerian wine?

He would have laughed as watering the first glass of wine was considered a joke.
He would have ordered his host's execution as watering the wine was a grave insult.
He would have diplomatically ignored it as that would mean his host was running low on wine.
He would drink it with pleasure.

6. In the earliest first-hand account of a trial of Christians, what did the governor do when he found that Christians were a peaceful people and harmed no one?

He ordered them to abandon their 'wild extravagant superstitions' or they would lose any Roman citizenship.
He released them saying they had broken no Roman laws and so could not be punished.
He killed all the Christians: men, women, and children.
He imprisoned all the men, but let the women and children go.

7. What would happen to a Roman citizen if he publicly stated he did not believe in the gods and that the tales of the gods were fiction?

He would be exiled or executed for impiety.
He would be prohibited from participating in the public sacrifices for two years.
He would be summoned to the chief priest (pontifex maximus) and ordered to recant.
Nothing as long as he participated in the public rituals.

8. Of which two Roman Emperors do we have first hand eye-witness accounts?

Caligula and Commodus
Julius Caesar and Octavian
Claudius and Nero
Septimius Severus and Caracalla

9. How many gladiatorial bouts ended in death?

Virtually all fights were to the death.
Between 75 % and 90 %.
Between 10 % and 20 %.
Only 1 % to 2 % although many more "deaths" were actually faked.

10. What is not true about the famous Fall of the Roman Empire?

The reasons advanced are heavily influenced by the events in the historians' own time.
The barbarians brought the final downfall with the sack of Rome in AD 410.
The Roman Empire finally fell only in AD 1453.
There was no one single cause of the fall of the Empire.

11. When a Roman solider and member of the Praetorian Guard, Subrius Flavus, plotted against Nero, what was one thing he did not accuse the Emperor of doing?

Killing the Empress.
Being an actor and a charioteer.
Being an arsonist and a parricide of his mother.
Wandering around Rome at night beating up honest citizens.

12. If the Roman Constitution mandated the tribunes served only a single term, how did Tiberius Gracchus manage to get a stand for a second term?

The change of the Constitution was approved by the Roman Senate.
Tiberius got the Plebeian Assembly to approve a second term.
The Roman Constitution was not a written document but a set of customs so sequential terms were not expressly forbidden.
Tiberius was made dictator who had absolute power to alter the laws.

13. When the Emperor Hadrian said he had no time to hear an elderly woman's petition, what happened?

She shouted "Stop being Emperor then!"
She made the request to Hadrian's wife - a request that was then granted.
Her son was so angered he initiated a conspiracy to overthrow the Emperor - which failed.
She did nothing. Hadrian was the Emperor.

14. What was one criterion for a proper Roman religious sacrifice?

Attendance of all citizens was mandatory regardless of their own personal religion.
No one was allowed to belch or break wind during the ceremony.
The Romans believed the animal had to be a willing participant.
The Romans believed the meat had to be thrown away as it was a gift for the gods.

15. Which of the following was not a requirement to be a Roman senator?

You had to be a millionaire.
You had to be 30 years old.
You had to have served as a magistrate.
You had to be a native born Roman or in later years born in the Italian peninsula.

16. Who was the first Roman to argue that slavery was wrong?

No one in Ancient Rome ever said slavery was wrong.
Seneca the Teacher of Nero.
Marcus Aureilus, the Philosopher Emperor.
Pliny the Younger the Quintessential Roman Gentleman.

17. Which Roman Emperor was opposed to capital punishment?

Marcus Aurelius

18. In one trial of Christians, some of them confessed they broke Roman laws. What were they?

They met at night and put aside money to help the poor.
They had wild orgies and ate babies rolled in flour.
They cursed the name of the Emperor and defiled his image with "night soil".
They freed their slaves after Augustus forbade the practice and shared meals with lower class Roman citizens.

19. An early religion of Rome was imported from Greece and was first limited to the women. What did the religion allow the ladies to do?

They would take extended trips to the Delphi Oracle in Greece without any men accompanying them.
They had banquets where the only men permitted were gladiators who acted as the waiters and cooks.
Once a year they were allowed to switch places with their husbands and act the part of the pater familas - that is, as the head of the household.
Once a year they could run around the countryside and do anything they wanted.

20. In the Roman towns, if the men and women were out and about and needed to find facilities what did they do?

They had to find a convenient alleyway.
They just had to wait until they got home.
They made use of the unisex public latrines.
They had to find a store, hourse, or public bath which had the necessaries.

(Answers appear in a separate window)