How Much Do You Know About Ancient Empires?

By: Gavin Thagard
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
How Much Do You Know About Ancient Empires?
Image: youtube

About This Quiz

Prosperous cultures, conquered lands, and powerful rulers; these are the qualities of a great empire!

History, particularly early recorded history, was shaped by conquest and warfare, as various regions with different cultures and groups of people have tried to establish themselves as the dominant force throughout the world. Though none have achieved global conquest, many empires have managed to dominate large regions, ruling over people with widely different backgrounds and beliefs. Some have been more successful, enacting policies that subjects wanted to follow and encouraging the spread of goods and information, while others had surprisingly quick success before the empire fizzled out because of poor administration and dictatorial leadership.

Many of the empires in this quiz followed one another or were a direct result of a previous empire they sought to overthrow, but it's these clashes that make ancient empires special, that separate them from smaller kingdoms and city-states. Empires needed to spread. They had an appetite that only land could fill, and the ability to acquire that land was largely what separated the great empires from lesser empires.

If you are a history buff and know everything about ancient empires, take this quiz and show off how much knowledge you have!

What was the capital of the Roman Empire?
London
Athens
Paris
Rome
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Legend has it that Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus. These two brothers were apparently raised by a wolf.

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Who was the first Christian ruler of Rome?
Constantine
Nero
Claudius
Trajan
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

During Constantine's reign, he faced a civil war against Maxentius. Claiming God came to him in a dream, Constantine adopted the Christian symbol before his battle against Maxentius and won a victory in Christ's name.

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What city did Cyrus the Great conquer?
Athens
Babylon
Rome
London
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There are conflicting stories about the origins of Babylon. However, when Cyrus arrived to conquer the city, it was ruled by Nabonidus.

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Which religion did most subjects of the Umayyad Caliphate follow?
Christianity
Islam
Judaism
Buddhism​
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Islam was founded by the prophet Muhammad. Eventually, the religion fragmented into two main branches; the Sunni and the Shiite.

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Which European country did the Umayyad Caliphate mostly conquer?
France
Britain
Spain
Norway
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Christians were provided with many rights under Muslim rule in Spain. However, high taxes often caused many of these Christians to convert.

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Who were the rulers of the Russian Empire?
Tsars
Kings
Presidents
Chiefs
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The last Tsar of Russia was Nicholas II. His reign was marked by multiple failures and a weak governing system.

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Where was the Akkadian Empire located?
Norway
Mesopotamia
China
South Africa
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Much of the earliest written history comes from Mesopotamia, an ancient region in West Asia. The region was located between the Tigris River and the Euphrates River.

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Where was Hadrian's Wall?
France
Spain
Britain
Greece
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Hadrian's Wall was built on the order of Emperor Hadrian. It marked the limits of the Roman Empire in Britain.

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What flourished during the Umayyad period?
Livestock
Art
Vegetation
Judaism
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Many documents and artwork from the Romans and Greeks were lost overtime in medieval European society. However, these things survived and flourished in the Muslim world, possibly preserving them for future generations.

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Where did most of the Mongol's wealth come from?
Castles
Crop taxes
Gold from Africa
Control of the silk road
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Mongol control of the Silk Road was actually beneficial for most countries throughout Europe and Asia. Good and services were spread quickly and safely with Mongols in charge.

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How did the Mongols prefer to fight?
Hand to hand
Guns
Horseback
Tanks
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Mongols were experts at warfare. Though they chose to fight on horseback, they had many tactics that allowed them to surprise their enemies.

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Who was the first emperor of the Roman Empire?
Nero
Augustus
Trajan
Claudius
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Augustus consolidated power for Rome after a civil war tore it apart. He would be the first emperor after the fall of the Roman Republic.

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What replaced the Russian Empire?
The Republic of Russia
The Russian Republic
United States of Russia
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Russia was forced to pull out of World War I because of a civil war in its own country. The rebellion was led by Vladimir Lenin, a communist politician.

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What group did the Akkadian Empire conquer?
Greeks
Romans
Egyptians
Sumerians
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The early history of Mesopotamia was dominated by two groups; the Sumerians and the Akkadians. That was until Sargon began his conquest of the Sumerians.

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What was built under the Mughal Dynasty?
Taj Mahal
Konark Sun Temple
Brihadisvara Temple in Thanjavur
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Planning for the contraction of the Taj Mahal began in 1631. However, the building wasn't completed until around 1648.

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What did the remains of the Ottoman Empire become when it dissolved in 1923?
The United Ottoman States
The Ottoman Republic
The Republic of Turkey
The Republic of Ottoman
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Ottoman Empire reigned with Constantinople as the capital for more than 400 years. When the Empire finally fell, the capital was moved as well.

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Which empire ended the Byzantine Empire?
British Empire
German Empire
Viking Empire
Ottoman Empire
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Ottoman Empire sacked Constantinople in 1453. This signaled the official end of the Roman Empire.

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When was Rome sacked by the Visigoths?
330
256
789
410
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

By the time the Visigoths sacked Rome, the Roman Empire was already divided into the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. The Eastern Roman Empire survived for another 1,000 years.

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Where did the British Empire NOT control land at its height?
Americas
India
Japan
Africa
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Fearing the influence of Western culture, Japan closed its ports to Western ships in the 17th century. This would not change until the middle of the 19th century.

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Who signed over power to the Republic of China in 1912?
Guangxu Emperor
Tongzhi Emperor
Empress Dowager Longyu
Xianfeng Emperor
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When the Empress signed over power, her son, Puyi, was still a child. As the Xuantong Emperor, Puyi only reigned for three and a half years.

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Which group ruled under the Qing Dynasty?
Manchus
Mongols
Khitan People
Tangut People
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Qing Dynasty came to power in 1644. They were actually invited into China by the Ming Dynasty who faced a peasant rebellion.

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What was the largest empire ever?
The British Empire
The Ottoman Empire
The Roman Empire
The Japanese Empire
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Though Britain's empire didn't connect, it was the largest empire ever in terms of land mass. In fact, the empire made up almost a quarter of the world's land.

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What was the period of peace under the Mongols called?
The Great Peace
Pax Mongolica
Pax Romana
Pax Britannica
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Mongols mainly wanted people to submit to their rule. After the Mongols were in control, they typically allowed people to maintain their customs and religion.

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Who founded the Achaemenid Empire?
Gilgamesh
Xerxes I
Xerxes II
Cyrus the Great
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Cyrus was respected because he operated under a lenient governing system. He often allowed regions to maintain their customs but under his rulership.

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Which shrine was built under the Umayyad Caliphate?
Great Mosque of Mecca
Dome of the Rock
Mosque of the Prophet
Nabi Habeel Mosque
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Dome of the Rock is located in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was built where the Second Jewish Temple was once located.

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Which soldiers were chosen directly by the Persian king?
Berserkers
Gurkhas
Amrtaka
Ghost Army
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The soldiers in the Amrtaka were kept at 10,000, with dead soldiers being replaced immediately. This gave the unit a feeling of immortality, as the numbers never dropped below 10,000.

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Which Ming Emperor was captured in the Tumu Crisis?
Chenghua Emperor
Hongzhi Emperor
Jaijing Emperor
Zhengtong Emperor
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

When the Zhengtong Emperor was captured, he was replaced by his brother. However, once he was released, he led a coup against his brother and reigned again, making him both the sixth and the eighth emperor of the Ming Dynasty.

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What was the postal system under the Mongol Empire called?
Express
Yam
Silk Road
Depot
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A yam consisted of a network of relay stations where messengers passed along information. This was critical for the success of the Mongols because of how quickly the Mongol army traveled.

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Who founded the Mughal Dynasty?
Ibrahim Lodi
Rana Sanga
Babur
Humayun
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

With the Ottoman's rise in the west, Babur was forced to search elsewhere if he wanted to conquer land. He looked to India, and by 1526, the Mughal Dynasty was on the rise there.

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When were serfs freed under the Russian Empire?
1778
1861
1910
1918
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Towards the end of the 19th century, the rise of the old serfdom was a fear for many aristocrats in Russia. That fear would become a reality in the 20th century.

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Who was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire?
Sargon
Gilgamesh
Naram-Sin
Nabopolassar
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Sargon ruled from his capital at Akkad. Supposedly, he founded the city himself.

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Who imprisoned his father and killed his brothers to be the ruler of the Mughal Dynasty?
Shah Jahan
Aurangzeb
Shahryar
Jahangir
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Through a series of conquests, Aurangzeb spread the Mughal Empire across most of India during his reign. However, after his death, the Empire began to crumble.

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Which rebellion led to the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty in China?
Yellow River Rebellion
South Chinese Rebellion
Red Turban Rebellion
Manchurian Rebellion
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Red Turban Rebellion was orchestrated by the White Lotus Society. After the rebellion, the Ming Dynasty ruled China.

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Who lost the Battle of Pelusium?
Egypt
Perisa
Athens
Rome
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The battle was fought between the forces of Amasis II of Egypt and Cambyses of Persia. In the battle, it has been reported that the Persians used cats as shields since Egyptians couldn't kill cats.

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Who oversaw the construction of the Forbidden City?
Yongle Emperor
Kang Emperor
Hongxi Emporer
Jingtai Emperor
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Yongle Emperor ruled China from 1402 until 1424 as the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. The Yongle Emperor took power from his nephew, the Jianwen Emperor.

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