If you missed it, you can find Part One of the Prize Christmas Quiz here.
Jesus Christ is our spiritual king, the emperor of our souls, and of course there is the story of the three Kings—the three wise men—that is traditionally a part of Christmas (see the Gospel of Matthew Ch. 2 for the Adoration of the Magi). The kings and emperors in my next set of questions all hoped that they were doing their Christian duty. The main event in each question happened on the twenty-third of December in their various years, which is, of course, today’s date and the last Sunday in this year’s Advent-tide.
1) On the twenty-third of December in AD 1688 the last Roman Catholic monarch of Scotland landed at a small port in north-west France.
(a) What did Napoleon I plan to do from there?
(b) What did Pluto have to do with this town?
2) The following is an extract from a famous poem extolling the virtues of Bohea and published in AD 1700:
“BY Avon's Stream (the Muses calm Retreat)
Palaemon liv'd in his un-envy'd Seat,
None better knew, or practis'd, in his Cell
The chast Delights that with Retirement dwell.
And thus confin'd to Safety's humble Sphear,
Desiring Little, had not Much to fear;
Was neither Fortune's Envy, nor her Sport;
Free from the servile Arts of Town or Court,
The nauseous Task, that gen'rous Souls contemn,
Of Knaves Caresses, and Caressing them.
Yet (whether Novelty his Fancy fir'd,
Or some Diviner Pow'r the Thought inspir'd,)
Through Foreign Climates he resolv'd to roam,
And view those Wonders which he read at home.
Most strict Survey in every Realm he made
Of Men and Manners, Policy and Trade;
But none he found, his gentle Soul to please,
Like the Refin'd and Civiliz'd Chinese.
Rich in Improvements of his well-spent Time,
The Bard returns to his own Native Clime:
The Neighb'ring Shepherds, who his Absence mourn'd,
Visit with Joy their wandring Friend return'd.
Short Salutation past, he feasts their Eyes
With pleasing View of Eastern Rarities.
Nature and Art's choice Gift, the Goa-stone,
With Plants and Herbs to Western Swains unknown.
Yet, more surpriz'd, they found their Senses chear'd,
Soon as the Verdant fragrant TEA appear'd;
It's Nature, Use, confus'dly they demand,
What Name it bore? The Product of what Land?
'Twill Time require to have at full exprest
(The Bard reply'd) what you in hast request.
Come to my Bow'r, and I'll inform you there,
What curious Souls must needs be pleas'd to hear.”
. . . and so on for two cantos.
- What did two monarchs do to the author of this poem on the twenty-third of December in AD 1692?
- How is Psalm 42 connected to the Christmas carol describing the Annunciation to the Shepherds and also to the poem in this question?
3) The Castle of Bliss saw something dreadful happen to Le Balafré on the twenty-third of December in AD 1588.
- How was the “Forty-five”, which belonged to a king, involved and who was the king?
- What connection through two authors does Le Balafré have to the Right Honourable Lawrence, Earl of Rochester?
4) A well-loved and very brave king, who succeeded to his throne on the twenty-third of December, AD 1909, once said in pointing out the risks in abandoning Christian ideals in his country: “Every time society has distanced itself from the Gospel, which preaches humility, fraternity, and peace, the people have been unhappy. . ." This same king also refused to comply with a great empire’s demand that its troops be allowed safe passage through his country and so the United Kingdom of Great Britain was forced to go to war over that issue, amongst others.
- What does the city of Lumbashi have to do with this king’s wife?
- What did the Tiwa, or Tigua, peoples of New Mexico give to this king?
- Why was this king’s wife awarded the title Righteous Among the Nations by the Israeli government?
5) On the twenty-third of December in AD 962 this Mohammedan occupied city was stormed by a victorious Christian general who became known and feared as ‘The Pale Death of the Saracens’ and who went on to become an emperor. By his side was his nephew, another future emperor. They razed the city to the ground and killed or enslaved all the Mohammedan inhabitants, carrying off several tons of silver dirhams (a coin of the primitive currency of the Mohammedans) that had been amassed by extorting Christians and Jews, together with thousands of camels and mules and much more treasure besides. Most importantly they retrieved and carried off the ancient and tattered tunic of the Forerunner.
- What is the name of the city that was razed?
- How is the ‘Pale Death of the Saracens’ linked to Herod Antipas (Herod the King)?
- Why is his nephew important to Mount Athos?
There will be answers to every part of the quiz after the New Year.
There will be a small prize for the first person, drawn at random, who correctly answers all, or the most, questions and emails me their answers to
You may email your answers to each section as you finish it or save them all up and email me the lot when the quiz is complete, but don’t lose your answers in the meantime if you choose to do the latter.
Even if you don’t manage to answer every question, or think that you might have got some wrong answers, do still join in and send me your entry – you might still win.
In the spirit of Christmas I’ll tell you what the small prize is on Christmas Day – after all, one shouldn’t open one’s presents early.
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