How Much Do You Know About Ancient Empires?


By: Gavin Thagard

5 Min Quiz

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?

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


Who was the first Christian ruler of Rome?

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.


What city did Cyrus the Great conquer?

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


Which religion did most subjects of the Umayyad Caliphate follow?

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


Which European country did the Umayyad Caliphate mostly conquer?

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


Who were the rulers of the Russian Empire?

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


Where was the Akkadian Empire located?

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.


Where was Hadrian's Wall?

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


What flourished during the Umayyad period?

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.


Where did most of the Mongol's wealth come from?

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.


How did the Mongols prefer to fight?

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


Who was the first emperor of the Roman Empire?

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.


What replaced the Russian Empire?

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.


What group did the Akkadian Empire conquer?

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.


What was built under the Mughal Dynasty?

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


What did the remains of the Ottoman Empire become when it dissolved in 1923?

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.


Which empire ended the Byzantine Empire?

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


When was Rome sacked by the Visigoths?

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.


Where did the British Empire NOT control land at its height?

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.


Who signed over power to the Republic of China in 1912?

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.


Which group ruled under the Qing Dynasty?

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


What was the largest empire ever?

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.


What was the period of peace under the Mongols called?

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.


Who founded the Achaemenid Empire?

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


Which shrine was built under the Umayyad Caliphate?

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


Which soldiers were chosen directly by the Persian king?

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.


Which Ming Emperor was captured in the Tumu Crisis?

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.


What was the postal system under the Mongol Empire called?

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.


Who founded the Mughal Dynasty?

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.


When were serfs freed under the Russian Empire?

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.


Who was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire?

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


Who imprisoned his father and killed his brothers to be the ruler of the Mughal Dynasty?

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.


Which rebellion led to the overthrow of the Yuan Dynasty in China?

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


Who lost the Battle of Pelusium?

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.


Who oversaw the construction of the Forbidden City?

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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