Ancient Trivia

Yesterday, I was cleaning up an old Windows 95 computer, and found this history trivia that I wrote many years ago.  Some of the answers came from a PBS travel special that featured local legends and storytelling.   If you like history and legend, enjoy:


1.  How long did Noah have to build the ark?

2.  How old was Moses when he led the Children of Israel out of Egypt?

3.  How was Joab, commander of Israel’s armies, related to King David?

4.  Which ancient empire destroyed the Philistines?

5.  The ancient city of Babylon had walls that were 30 feet thick.  How did the Medes and Persians conquer the city in one night?

6.  How far did the young man run from Marathon in ancient Greece?

7.  True or False?  Xerxes burned Athens.

8.  In which modern day country did the Macedonians and Alexander the Great suffer their first military defeat?

9.  What was Alexander doing in central Asia?

10.  What interesting city did the Macedonians find in modern day Uzbekistan?

11.  Did the Macedonians/Greeks invade India?

12.  The Greeks believed a river encircled the earth. What was the name of that river?

13.  According to Roman tradition, who was the first King of Rome?

14.  Which three pairs of Jesus’ disciples shared the same first names?

15.  In Jesus time, “Doubting Thomas” was also known by what other name?

16.  From which ancient people did the British derive the word “Palestine.”


1.  120 years. (Genesis 6:3).  After that, Noah and his family were in the ark for over a year. (Genesis 7:11, 8:13-16).

2.  Moses was 80 years old.

3.  Joab was David’s nephew, the son of his sister, Zeruiah.  David charged Solomon to make sure that Joab died a violent death. (1 Kings 2:5-6).

4.  The Asyrian Empire destroyed the Philistines along with the northern kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of the Arameans.  Only divine intervention spared the southern kingdom of Judah. (2 Kings 18-19).

5.  They diverted the river Euphrates, and went under the walls through the riverbed.  Also, the people in the city were drunk from too much wine; proving once again that pride goes before a fall.

6.  Legend says he ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to herald the Greek victory at Marathon, and to warn the polis of possible attack by the retreating Persians. (490 B.C).  The victory at Marathon preserved the fledgling Greek civilization.

7.  True.  The city had been evacuated before the advancing Persian army. (480 B.C).  This was ten years after the battle of Marathon.

8.  Tadjikistan.  Alexander’s wife, the princess Roxanne, was from here.  The Tadjiks were accomplished horsemen who staged many hit and run attacks.

9.  He was chasing the Persian King Bessus.

10.  They discovered a prosperous colony of Greeks that had been established 150 years prior.  In talking with these people, Alexander discovered that their ancestors had originally had come from Anatolia (modern day Turkey), and that their ancestors had collaborated with the Persians.

That night, the Macedonians surrounded the city, attacked, and killed all the men, women, children, animals, tore down the buildings, and cut down the trees.  To this day, the exact location of the city is unknown.

11.  Yes.  They crossed the Indus River, fought two battles against Indian armies with war elephants, and subjugated two north Indian kingdoms.  They thought they were almost at the end of the world (according to Greek maps).

When locals informed them that the world was much larger than they thought, and that three weeks march to the south there existed another larger kingdom with ten thousand war elephants, the men became discouraged.  They had entered India during the rainy season, and after a bad omen from the gods, Alexander agreed to turn back.

They had traveled 17,000 miles over 8 years.

12.  The Greeks believed that the river “Ocean” encircled the world.

13.  Romulus.  Roman myth says that Mars fathered the brothers Romulus and Remus as well as the gods Phobos (“fear”) and Deimos (“panic”), the current names for the two satellite moons around the planet Mars.

14.  James (the brother of John) & James (son of Alphaeus); Simon (Peter) & Simon (the Zealot); Judas (son of James) & Judas Iscariot

15.  Didymus, which is Greek for “the twin.”   “Thomas” is Aramaic for “twin.”

16.  The Philistines.  However, modern day Palestinians are not related to the ancient Philistines.