Traitors and Villains of the Ancient World
Some of the less honourable members of the ancient world are included in this quiz. Use the clues provided to identify them. Good Luck!
Living between 85BCE and 42BCE he is responsible for one of the most infamous assassinations in the ancient world. Although he was just one of many conspirators, it is his name that resounds through the ages. Who was it?
* Oedipus of Mycenae
* Marcus Junius Brutus Caepio
* Marcus Licinius Crassus
* Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo
The heroics of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans have survived thousands of years. Bravely holding the pass of Thermopylae the Persians were unable to break through until which traitor led the vanguard of the Persian army over the mountain?
In Greek culture the stealing of a man's wife was unforgivable. When the man in question was a king, it was also stupid as well as unforgivable. While he was away at Troy Agamemnon's wife betrayed him and she and her new lover murdered him on his return. They were both killed by Agame-mnon's surviving son, Orestes. Who was Klytem-nestra's lover?
This villain sold out his spiritual leader for thirty pieces of silver, betraying his location to the Roman governor. Unable to live with his action, he ended his own life.
Answer: (Two Words)
The Trojan War was not good to the Achaean heroes. After surviving the ten years of war, Odysseus was forced to travel for ten more years before ending up on the shores of Ithaca. Arriving home he found his house full of suitors, all trying to marry his wife and claim his throne. What was the the leader of these suitors called?
The lover of Cleopatra, this man chose to ally himself with Egypt against the forces of Octavian. The loss of the Battle of Actium forced him to retreat and ultimately commit suicide. Octavian became Augustus and used his new position to blacken his former rival.
* Marc Antony
This young man was responsible for the destruction of his entire people. He stole the wife of a Spartan king and carried her away to his city of Troy. Brought to life again by Orlando Bloom in 2004, who is this legendary lover?
Answer: (One Word)
|1. Marcus Junius Brutus, known as Brutus, was born into a relatively unimportant Roman family. He was adopted by his uncle at 15 and added the latter's cognomen, Caepio, to his own. Brutus aligned himself against the First Triumvirate of Pompey, Crassus and Caesar. After the defeat of Brutus's allies at the Battle of Pharsalus, he wrote to Caesar and asked for his forgiveness. His letter was answered very kindly by Caesar, who promoted him and made him governor of Gaul. He and his fellow conspirators assassinated Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44BCE. The famous phrase 'Et tu, Brute' is used by Shakespeare at the end of his play 'Julius Caesar', but Suetonius records the phrase to be 'Even you, my child'. This had led to speculation that Brutus could have been the illegitimate son of Julius Caesar, as his mother was Caesar's mistress. This would have put Caesar's age at 15 at the time of Brutus' birth, and this had led most historians to claim that he cannot be the father.
Brutus has been much vilified in literature, Dante places him in the same category Judas Iscariot, being tortured by the Devil but never killed in 'Divine Comedy'.
2. The legendary story of the 300 Spartans holding back the Persian hordes is based on reality. The elite Spartiates and their King Leonidas, along with their Thespian allies, held back a Persian army numbering hundreds of thousands. Xerxes' forces were unable to break through until a local traitor, Ephialtes, showed the Immortals (the elite Persian footsoldiers) over a mountain pass. The Persians, able to surround the Greek forces, slaughtered them to a man. Not surprisingly, Ephialtes was not welcomed back in his hometown of Mais.
3. Aegisthus did not have an auspicious start to life. Born to his own sister, he killed his uncle to aid his father in rising to the throne of Mycenae. When the Achaean forces left for Troy he refused to go and instead used the time to seduce Klytemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon. It is not known why Klytemnestra allowed herself to be seduced by Aegisthus, but Agamemnon's ritual slaughter of their daughter can hardly have pleased her. When Agamemnon returned from Troy he and his men were killed by the two lovers, either in the bath or during a feast. This heinous act was avenged by Orestes, the son of Agamemnon.
4. Judas Iscariot
He betrayal and execution of Jesus of Nazareth did not create a major uproar at the time. His followers dispersed quietly and tried to spread his message to the people. The name of Judas Iscariot might never have been known, except that Jesus' beliefs began to find followers and grew into a minor religion by around 60CE. Eventually taking over as the official religion of the Roman Empire, Christianity in its various denominations has stayed the major religion in Europe since then. After betraying Jesus to the Romans, Judas was racked with guilt and took his silver pieces to the temple priests. He then ended his own life by hanging himself.
5. Odysseus, the designer of the Trojan Horse, had a tough time getting back from Troy. His journey, immortalised in "The Odyssey", took him ten years and he travelled all around the Aegean and even to the underworld. When he arrived home he found his home full of suitors, the two notable ones being Antinous, the leader, and Eurymachus. Disguising himself as a beggar he tricked the suitors into letting him string his own bow. He then used this to massacre them with the aid of his son, Telemachus.
6. Marc Antony (Latin: Marcus Antonius) was born into a noble Roman family and was noted for his courage during his youth. When civil war erupted, he chose to ally himself with Julius Caesar and commanded one of the wings at the battle of Pharsalus. The assassination of Caesar left him without a protector, but he was able to rouse the mob to his cause and forced the conspirators to flee Rome. Initially Octavian and Antony were allies but they became enemies as their power grew. A ragged peace, sealed by the marriage of Anthony to Octavian's sister, survived for a few years but Anthony's hedonistic lifestyle angered Rome. They deprived him of his powers, and he responded by taking up arms. He joined forces with his lover, Cleopatra, and they prepared to meet Octavian in a naval engagement. The Battle of Actium, if it can be called a battle, consisted of Cleopatra fleeing and Antony's fleet surrendering as it began. Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt where they both committed suicide (separately) in the face of defeat. In modern times he is often called Marc Anthony, simply a more modern spelling of his name.
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