European History Quiz for Proud Defenders of Western Civilization

No trick questions or your money back guaranteed.*

Welcome, o brave warrior of Western Civilization! We’ve seen you online, posting nobly about the glories of the West, captioning pictures of Rivendell with “we need to return to this.” But how much do you really know about your beloved “Western Civilization?” You heroically defend it, but do you understand it, like even a little bit? Not sure? Take the following quiz.

A. Which culture first invented the following?
  1. Paper and printing
  2. The compass
  3. The Seismograph
  4. Gunpowder
  5. Fireworks
  6. The codpiece
  7. The merkin
Illustrations by Mort Todd
B. Which of the following Roman Emperors were born in Rome?
  1. Septimius Severus
  2. Macrinus
  3. Elagabalus
  4. Severus Alexander
  5. Phillip I
  6. Aemilian
C. A Muslim visited Texas before a Protestant crossed the Atlantic.
  • True
  • False
D. A Muslim visited Texas before Protestantism existed.
  • True
  • False
E. During the French Revolution, most people in France spoke French.
  • True
  • False
F. By World War II, the majority of people in Italy spoke Italian.
  • True
  • False
G. Greece is part of:
  1. The manly, austere, logic-chopping West.
  2. The mysterious, decadent, homoerotic East.
H. Identify “the West.” Show your work.
I. Match the city with its population in 1500:
J. Can you tell the difference between:
  • Anglo-Saxon runes (home-grown from honest Germanic soil) and
  • Hungarian runes (the bastard children of the Turkic alphabet)???
What kind of Westerner even are you if you can’t do that??
K. Which of the following foods best demonstrates the culinary superiority of Western Civilization?
  1. Noodles
  2. Tomato sauce
  3. Potatoes
  4. Sugar
  5. Chocolate
  6. Coffee
  7. Tea
L. Most non-Native Americans in the Americas from 1500 to 1850 came or descended from:
  1. Asia
  2. Europe
  3. Africa
M. What are your favorite numerals?
  1. Roman
  2. Arabic
N. Upon which precedent was the U.S. national government most closely based?
  1. Athenian democracy
  2. Roman republic
  3. Iroquois confederacy
O. Justify the Crusades. Show your work.

Answer Key

A. What Europeans may have lacked in useful, original inventions, they made up for in decorations for your junk.
  1. Paper and printing (China)
  2. The compass (likely China, but the Olmecs may have invented it even earlier)
  3. The seismograph (China)
  4. Gunpowder (China)
  5. Fireworks (China)
  6. The codpiece (Europe)
  7. The merkin (Europe)
B. Some emperors were indeed born in Rome. Many were not.
  1. Septimius Severus (Leptis Magna, Libya)
  2. Macrinus (Caesarea, Mauretania)
  3. Elagabalus (Emesa, Syria)
  4. Severus Alexander (Arca Caesarea, Syria)
  5. Phillip I (Shahba, Syria)
  6. Aemilian (Girba, Tunisia)
C. True!

His name was Mustafa Azemmouri, aka Estevanico, aka Esteban the Moor.

D. This is a close question and depends on what “Protestantism” is.

Azemmouri reached Texas around 1528, ~11 years after the posting of the 95 Theses.

E. False.

At the time of the Revolution, most people in France still spoke regional dialects, such as Breton and Occitan. The gentleman in the picture is speaking a Breton phrase which means “I’ll come over to the threshold and I’ll shit in your mouth!”

G. You’re right, gender IS a false binary.
H. “The West” is an incoherent construct!
  • Beijing (672,000)
  • Cairo (400,000)
  • Tabriz (250,000)
  • Seoul (150,000)
  • Fes (130,000)
  • Mexico City (80,000)
  • Rome (50,000)
  • London (40,000)
  • Paris (100,000)
  • Cusco (45,000)
Check out London, barely the size of a mediocre Midwestern university.
J. Be honest.
K. Fun fact: none of these foods originates from the European continent.
  1. Noodles (East Asia)
  2. Tomato sauce (Andes)
  3. Potatoes (Andes)
  4. Sugar (Southeast Asia)
  5. Chocolate (Mexico)
  6. Coffee (Ethiopia)
  7. Tea (basically everywhere except Europe)
L. It was Africa and you know why.
M. We’re just embarrassed by you at this point.
N. You could argue B, Roman republic, but except for the pillared architecture, endorsement of slavery, and lack of real representation, you would be wrong. The correct answer is C, Iroquois confederacy.

A U.S. Senate resolution from 1988 acknowledged that “the confederation of the original 13 colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy, as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.” From the Iroquois confederacy, the Founding Fathers borrowed ideas such as bicameral legislature and impeachment. (Oh, and if you thought the answer was A, Athenian democracy, then the joke’s on you: the Founders thought participatory democracy was little better than anarchy.)

O. If you do manage to justify the Crusades, send your work over to The Federalist.

Those racists will print anything.

Illustrations by Mort Todd
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