Test Your Knowledge of the Dark Ages

By: Elizabeth Lavis
Estimated Completion Time
4 min
Test Your Knowledge of the Dark Ages
Image: DianaHirsch/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

The Dark Ages are known as one of the most difficult times in history — a time rife with famine, disease and political uncertainty. It is an understatement to say that life was cheap during the Dark Ages.

Most people lived as peasants and were pawns in the battle between the upper classes. Superstition reigned supreme, and the lower classes were in danger of contracting diseases. The most famous of these was the Black Plague, a terrible event that wiped out an estimated fifty million people. Prevalent diseases were not just limited to the Black Plague, though. Typhoid, cholera, and measles wiped out huge segments of the population.

The lower classes lived on eggs, beans, oats and cabbage. They drank ale as it was safer than water. Life in the Dark Ages was generally much more difficult than life today, with many people surviving in miserable conditions and generational poverty.

The good news is that at the end of the Dark Ages came the Renaissance, a period of prolonged enlightenment that lifted many of the people out of the darkness that had come to compose their lives. Still, the Dark Ages is one of the most important periods in history.

King Arthur's knights were legendary. What were they collectively called?
The Knights Of The Dark Ages
The Knights Of The Round Table
King Arthur's legendary Knights of the Round Table were the most famous in the world. They lived with him in Camelot, his castle. The way that these knights were seated was designed to give them all an equal place at the table.
The Knights Of King Arthur
The Knights Of England

Advertisement

The Black Plague was one of the worst epidemics of the Dark Ages. What animal was largely responsible for spreading it?
Rats
Rats have often been thought of as being dirty animals, and unfortunately, their reputation might be deserved! They were responsible for spreading the Black Plague in Europe and Asia during the Dark Ages.
Cats
Monkeys
Birds

Advertisement

What was the name of the societal construct that people lived under during the Dark Ages?
The Feudal System
The Feudal System was a way of life in the Dark Ages where the lord of a certain area protected the peasants. In return, they pledged loyalty to him.
The Serf System
The Lion System
The Dante System

Advertisement

Peasant farmers made up a huge part of the population during this time. What were they called?
Kings
Serfs
Serfs were peasants who lived under the protection of local lords in exchange for taxes and crops through much of the Dark Ages. They existed in what was known as the Feudal System.
Monks
Knights

Advertisement

The Dark Ages began when which empire fell?
The British Empire
The Roman Empire
The Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D., ushering in the era of the Dark Ages which lasted for approximately 1,000 years. The Roman Empire is still known as one of the most powerful that ever existed in the world.
The Mao Empire
The Romanov Empire

Advertisement

What was the Black Plague also known as?
The Bubonic Plague
The Black Plague was also known as the Bubonic Plague, named after the swollen areas of the lymph nodes, called buboes. Death was slow and painful. It was one of the worst epidemics during the Dark Ages.
The Horrible Plague
The Dark Plague
The Peasant's Plague

Advertisement

Some of the best inventions happened during the Dark Ages. Which European is famous for having invented the printing press?
Joan Of Arc
Johannes Gutenberg
The printing press existed before Johannes Gutenberg, but he improved the typesetting and printing processes, revolutionizing the way that information, specifically the printed word, was distributed. If you love reading books, you can thank Johann Gutenberg.
Geoffrey Chaucer
Kublai Khan

Advertisement

The Dark Ages were a time of tremendous conflict, including which epic wars?
The Boer Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Crusades
The Crusades were a series of eight wars that were the result of clashes between Muslims and Christians. The Knights Templar (popularized in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade") were a huge part of the Crusades.
The Russian Revolution

Advertisement

What famous poet authored "The Divine Comedy" during the Dark Ages?
Dante
Dante Alighieri was one of the important poets of the late Middle Ages. His masterpiece, "The Divine Comedy," explored religion and culture in the Dark Ages. It's still considered to be one of the best books ever written.
Galileo
El Cid
DaVinci

Advertisement

Widespread hunger was rampant during the Dark Ages. What was it called?
Pestilence
Gout
Famine
Famine is the correct word for an epidemic of widespread hunger. Although there are still famines in the world today, this particular problem was very widespread during the Dark Ages.
Dysentery

Advertisement

Power was unevenly distributed during the Dark Ages, with much of it concentrated with which institution?
The Chamber Of Commerce
The Catholic Church
This Catholic Church was one of the dominant institutions during the Dark Ages. It was considered to be as powerful as the state, and often the two were inseparable and ruled together.
The Royal Navy
The Tribal Council

Advertisement

Vlad Dracula definitely earned his macabre nickname. What was it?
Vlad The Terrible
Vlad The Monster
Vlad The Blood-Drinker
Vlad The Impaler
Vlad Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler, was a Romanian prince who was famous for skewering his enemies on large sticks. He was the inspiration for Dracula stories and lore.

Advertisement

What famous saint was burned at the stake after fighting for French independence?
Joan Of Arc
Joan of Arc famously heard voices that led her to lead the French army to victory. This famous female helped the French dominate over the British in the Battle of Orleans. She was burned at the stake at the tender age of 19.
Charlemagne
Merlin
Marie Antionette

Advertisement

A new religion spread to China during the Dark Ages and is still one of the most popular eastern religions today. What was it?
Christianity
Islam
Zen Buddhism
Buddhism spread to China about two thousand years ago, but around the year 500 A.D., the Bodhidharma came to China and founded the Ch'am school of Buddhism, which today is better known by its Japanese name, Zen.
Judaism

Advertisement

Despite common misconceptions, innovation thrived during the Dark Ages. What modern weapon was first used during this time period?
Drones
Gunpowder
Gunpowder was first used in 919 at the epic battle of Langshan Jiang. It was a total game-changer and has shaped the trajectory of modern warfare.
Chariots
Tanks

Advertisement

He was the infamous Mongol whose empire spread across much of the known world. Who was he?
Genghis Khan
The notorious Genghis Khan was not only a notable emperor who conquered half the world, many people today are related to him! He was one of the most pivotal figures of the Dark Ages.
William Tell
Jan Hus
Dante

Advertisement

France and England spent a large chunk of the Dark Ages feuding. What was the name of their long war?
The Battle Of The Bulge
The Hundred Years War
The Hundred Years War was an epic conflict between France and England. Joan of Arc, one of the most popular and famous figures of the Dark Ages, fought for France in this war.
The Napoleonic Wars
The Bosnian War

Advertisement

Who sailed to the "New World" at the end of the Dark Ages?
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus sailed across the ocean to try to find a new route to India. He stumbled upon what we now know as North America and remains an important but controversial figure to this day.
Galileo Galilei
Thomas Aquinas
Kublai Khan

Advertisement

Lauded in modern movies, what was the name of the legendary Dark Ages figure who stole from the rich and gave to the poor?
King Arthur
Charlegmane
Robin Hood
The legendary Robin Hood famously stole from the rich and gave to the poor and is loosely based on Hereward the Wake, an Anglo-Saxon nobleman who lived in eleventh-century England.
Julius Caesar

Advertisement

Which famous prophet of Islam was born during the Dark Ages?
Jesus
Muhammad
Muhammad was born in 570 and is considered to be the most important prophet in Islam. Today, Islam is one of the dominant religions in the world and practiced in many different countries all over the globe.
Buddha
Shiva

Advertisement

Popularized by Mel Gibson, William Wallace was also known by which nickname?
Braveheart
William Wallace, or Braveheart, was a Scottish leader who rose up against the British and fought for Scottish Independence. His nickname was a testament to his ability to fight against the British. He was popularized in the Mel Gibson film "Braveheart".
Lionheart
Scottishheart
Blueheart

Advertisement

During the Dark Ages, the danger often came from across the water. What seafaring people terrorized Europe during this time period?
Huns
Visagoths
Gauls
Vikings
Staring in 835, the Vikings wreaked havoc on Europe. Their domination lasted almost 200 years and they were famously brutal. Contrary to Hollywood portrayals, these seafaring folk did not actually wear horns on their helmets.

Advertisement

There was some spectacular architecture during the Dark Ages, including the construction of these massive churches. What were they called?
Castles
Monasteries
Cathedrals
Cathedrals were celebrations of Gothic architecture and symbols of the power of the Catholic Church during the Dark Ages. Many famous large churches were constructed during this time period and many still stand today.
Mega Churches

Advertisement

There was no shortage of warriors in the Dark Ages. What was the name of their most elite soldiers?
Green Berets
SWAT
Knights
Knights were the elite of the elite. The first knights fought for King Charlemagne and they were prevalent all throughout the rest of the Dark Ages. They have been popularized in pop culture, fairy tales and movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Archers

Advertisement

Monks were prevalent during the Dark Ages. Where did they call home?
Monasteries
Monasteries provided a safe haven for monks who wanted to devote their lives to God. They were generally well educated and helped the local community. Some monks still live in these dwellings today.
Castles
Cathedrals
Serfdoms

Advertisement

Castles in the Dark Ages were heavily fortified against enemies. What was the deep body of water that surrounded them called?
The Keep
The Turret
The Moat
Moats were a simple and effective way to protect the castle from foes. They were deep trenches full of water located right outside the castle walls and to cross this body of water you needed to use a drawbridge.
The Dungeon

Advertisement

What was the name of the great wizard from King Arthur's legends?
Merlin
Merlin was the mythical wizard who aided King Arthur and his magnificent Knights of the Round Table during the Dark Ages. He is popularized in film, television and many different fairy tales.
Matilda
Joan of Arc
Khan

Advertisement

May Day was an important holiday in the Dark Ages. What did it signify?
The Queen's Birthday
The Beginning Of Summer
May Day celebrations were an important way to signify the ushering in of the summer months. Since winters were often more difficult during the Dark Ages, the beginning of summer was very important.
The End Of The Hundred Years War
A Viking Conquest

Advertisement

What sport required an arrow, bow, and good aim?
Archery
Archery is still practiced today and requires a steady hand, good eye coordination, and the ability to guess where the arrow will land. The best practitioners of this sport were often made to sit on castle walls and shoot down at their enemies.
Jousting
Caroling
Wrestling

Advertisement

Knights in the Dark Ages never knew when they could find themselves in a duel. What protected their chests?
Gauntlets
Mesh
Helmets
Breastplates
Breastplates were used by knights to protect their chests from attacks by their enemies.

Advertisement

What were contests between two friendly knights called (usually performed for prize money)?
Jousts
Jousts were fun parts of tournaments where knights would try to knock each other off horses for prize money. Nobody was trying to seriously hurt anyone else. You can still see them today at Renaissance Fairs.
Citadels
Wars
Keeps

Advertisement

The "Cup of Christ," or the cup that Jesus drank out of, was one of the most prized artifacts during the Dark Ages. What was another name for it?
The Golden Chalice
The Holy Grail
The Holy Grail, or the cup of Christ, is one of the most important religious relics in Christianity. It's possible that many of the Crusades were fought to obtain this cup. This holy relic was sought after by the knights of Camelot.
Jesus' Cup
The Best Grail

Advertisement

The Dark Ages wasn't exactly known for its culinary delights. What food would you NOT find on the table during this time period?
Ale
Oats
Cake
Cake was not a staple during the Dark Ages, at least for the lower classes. The upper classes sometimes had it, but the cakes of those times were likely a combination of sweet and savory.
Cabbage

Advertisement

What identifying feature, also known as a "crest," told you where individual knights came from?
A Coat Of Arms
A Coat of Arms was one of the distinguishing features that told other knights who each knight was fighting for. It was proudly displayed on the knight's armor, and many families still have them today.
A Feudal Mark
A House Allocation
A Button

Advertisement

You might remember him from the musical "Pippin." Who was the King of the Franks and the most famous ruler of the Dark Ages?
Dante
Charlemagne
Also known as Charles I, Charlemagne is the most famous ruler of the Dark Ages and is known for founding the German and French monarchies. He is arguably one of the most important historical figures of all time.
Lancelot
Merlin

Advertisement

You Got:
/35
Featured