Mastermind Club

Quiz 2024

Number 1
Subject: Classical Heritage (or, what the Greeks and Romans do for us)

Set by Maya Davis


1/ Which European car make shares its name with a Roman province?

Dacia (The Roman namefor what is now Romania)

2/What begins with invocations to the deities Apollo, Asclepius, Hygeia and Panacea? 

The original Hippocratic oath

3/Which point in the UK, if translated into Latin, shares its name with a place in France? 

Land’s End = ‘finis terrae’ > Finisterre

4/‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ and ‘Up Pompeii’ were based on the works of which Roman writer? 


5/Which piano pieces by a French composer take their name, ultimately, from the Cretan site excavated by Sir Arthur Evans from 1899 onwards? 

Satie’s ‘Gnossiennes’ named after the palace of Knossos.

6/What ancient dye was produced from various species of predatory sea snail? 

Tyrian purple, used to produce purple garments for rich upper-class Romans

7/Which two Roman emperors are characters in the film ‘Gladiator’? 

Marcus Aurelius and Commodus

8/Which plant is featured in Corinthian column capitals?


9/For what is Thomas Bruce (1766 – 1841) best known?

 As 7th Earl of Elgin/Lord Elgin, taking sculptures from the Parthenon

10/Which play by Shakespeare includes jokes about a Latin lesson? 

Henry IV part 2

11/Which ancient warrior is said to have named about 70 cities (some still around) after himself and one after his horse?  

Alexander the Great

12/Which Harry Potter character has a first name which can be translated as either ‘reddish’ or ‘bramble bush’ depending on its Latin pronunciation? 

Rubeus Hagrid

13/In modern Greece, the title ‘Ephor/Ephoros’ denotes the head of an archaeological board or body. In which ancient Greek state were the Ephors senior political officials? 


14/What punctuation mark gets its French name from the Latin for a curl or lock of hair? 

Fr. Virgule = Comma

15/‘Caput apri defero, reddens laudes Domino’ is the chorus of which traditional English carol, associated with Cambridge? 

The Boar’s Head carol, associated with King’s College

16/Who was the last ruler of Egypt to be descended from the ancient Macedonian royal family which also produces Alexander the Great? 

Cleopatra – died 31BCE.

17/Which plant used in perfumery takes its name from the Latin verb ‘to wash’?


18/Philoctetes (aka Phil) the satyr is a comic character in the Disney cartoon version of the Heracles legend – but who was the original Philoctetes and what happened to him? 


(Marooned on an island by the Greeks after a foot injury wouldn’t heal; later, the Greeks needed him at Troy to ensure victory because he was the guardian of the arrows of Heracles – see Sophocles’ play ‘Philoctetes’ for the best-known version)

19/Which aromatic plant is believed to have become extinct because of the high demand for it in the Greek and Roman world? It was used in medicine, perfumery and food seasoning. 


20/The surviving defensive walls of Mycenae, Tiryns and similar sites have what technical name, based on Greek beliefs about their original builders? 

Cyclopean masonry – named after the Cyclopes

21/The French artist Jacques-Louis David’s painting ‘The Oath of the Horatii’ is based on an incident in the early history of Rome narrated by which Roman historian?


22/And which 19th century work by British politician and poet retold this and other stories from the same source? 


– ‘Lays of Ancient Rome’

23/The Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, is now lost. Whom did it represent? 

Helios, the god of the Sun

24/Which scientific theory was first promoted by the Greek philosophers Leucippus and Democritus and later explained in a Latin poem by Lucretius? 

Atoms as the basis of all matter

25/What do the ancient names of Winchester, Caistor (in Norfolk) and Ampurias (in Catalonia) have in common? 

All indicate an original role as a trading hub   – Venta [Belgarum/Icenorum] = ‘selling place’ and Emporion [later Empuries, then Ampurias] = ‘market’