Well, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas Day. As you consume the last of the festive fare and resolve that next year you’re going to lay in a better quality sherry here are half a dozen little teasers to ponder over.
All of life is here. We’ve had joyful births and a surfeit of kings, the curiosities of carols and calming Christmas conundrums, so now we get to the inevitable – death on Boxing Day.
1) Who was murdered on Boxing Day AD 1476 by three men one of whom said at his execution for his part in the murder "Mors acerba, fama perpetua, stabit vetus memoria facti" which translates roughly as “Death is bitter, but glory is eternal, the memory of my deed will endure”.
2) Io, Europa, Ganimedes puer, atque Calisto lascivo nimium perplacuere Iovi (Io, Europa, the boy Ganymede, and Callisto greatly pleased lustful Jupiter) or so it is said, but these moons were named by an astronomer who died on a Boxing Day.
(a) Who was he?
(b) What did a jury in the Netherlands do for him in AD 1903?
3) What connection in death do ‘Dennis’ and ‘Zurich’ have with Boxing Day?
4) Daniel Pierce Thompson based one of his characters - Charles Warrington - on a real life Green Mountain Boy who died on Boxing Day in AD 1784. So who was this real Revolutionary War officer from the New Hampshire Grants?
5) Sophia Engastromenos, a relative of an Archbishop of Athens, wore the 'Jewels of Helen'. Her husband died on a Boxing Day. Who was he?
6) This so-called emperor, who died on a Boxing Day, claimed that he had swum across every major river that he had ever encountered including, apparently, twice across the Ganges. By what name do we usually know him?
There will be a small prize for the first person, drawn at random, who correctly answers all, or the most, questions in the whole quiz 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, so 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.
The winner will receive a copy of 'The Terror of Existence: From Ecclesiastes to Theatre of the Absurd' by Theodore Dalrymple and Kenneth Francis. It’s a terrific and thought provoking read and I thoroughly recommend it.
More to come.
Have a Merry Christmastide.