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History - Did They Have It?

Try to guess whether these things existed at each historical time and place.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: January 12, 2022
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First submittedJanuary 12, 2022
Times taken35,112
Average score73.3%
Rating4.77
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1. Did the ancient Romans have gunpowder?
Yes
No
2. Did the ancient Greeks have wine?
Yes
No
3. Did the Incas have wheeled carts?
Yes
No
They didn't use wheels at all except in toys
4. Did they have photography during the U.S. Civil War?
Yes
No
There are pictures of Abraham Lincoln, for example
5. Did they have bicycles during the French Revolution?
Yes
No
6. Did women wear anything called a "brassiere" in the 1700s?
Yes
No
Women at the time often wore corsets or bodices. The first modern bra wasn't patented until 1914.
7. Did they have domesticated dogs at any time during the Stone Age?
Yes
No
The Stone Age ended about 5,000 years ago. Dogs have been domesticated for at least 14,000 years.
8. Did they have airplanes in World War One?
Yes
No
9. Did they have penicillin during the Victorian era?
Yes
No
Penicillin was discovered in 1928. Queen Victoria died in 1901.
10. Did the ancient Romans eat spaghetti with marinara sauce?
Yes
No
They had neither spaghetti nor tomatoes
11. Did they have plastic in ancient China?
Yes
No
12. Did they have television during the first moon landing?
Yes
No
13. Did they have radio during the Great Depression?
Yes
No
14. Did they have eyeglasses in ancient Persia?
Yes
No
15. Did aboriginal Australians have written language before European colonization?
Yes
No
56 Comments
+7
Level 82
Jan 16, 2022
I really liked this one! I hope there are more coming in the future!
+2
Level 78
Jan 16, 2022
Great idea, however I find it hard to believe the Incas only used wheels on toys.
+28
Level 84
Jan 16, 2022
I think wheeled carts aren't much use with Andean roads and llamas.
+2
Level 83
Jan 17, 2022
I think it goes for all pre-Columbian civilizations
+14
Level ∞
Jan 17, 2022
My guess is that a lot of things we think of as "obvious" are far from it. Wheeled carts have a lot of moving parts and require a certain level of wood and metal craftmanship to be light and durable. My guess is that the Inca simply didn't have the required level of technology to make them, even though it would have made things a lot easier for them. Nevertheless, the way they adapted to the local environment with the tools they did have available is remarkable.
+7
Level 34
Jan 28, 2022
The Inca had knowledge of the wheel, but it was greatly impractical for the transportation of goods. Between the rocky terrain and steepness of the Andes, as well as bridges that would not always allow a wheeled cart to pass easily, it was simply more effective to use llamas. The wheel is impractical in both the jungles of Quito, and the mountains of Cusco. Should they have developed more flat land, I suspect they would have expanded on the wheel eventually, but that is only speculation.
+4
Level ∞
Aug 24, 2023
This is incorrect, IMO. Imagine the benefit of even a simple wheelbarrow, no matter the terrain. They didn't make it because they couldn't make it with the available tech.
+2
Level 53
Sep 1, 2023
They didn't make it because they had no draught animals. Llamas can't be used like oxen or carthorses apparently.
+1
Level 43
Jan 7, 2024
Archaeology student here... I'm pretty sure the Incas used both wood and metal. And clearly they knew how wheels worked and how to make them if they made them on toys. Your view that they somehow couldn't have had the technology or knowledge is kind of prejudiced and outdated. They weren't necessarily "backward" or "less advanced" just because they were an indigenous society. That idea is outdated and frankly harmful, and most archaeologists/anthropologists who have studied in the last 40 or 50 years have been trying to change that. And it's not like the Incas were around so long ago that the wheel was utterly inconceivable. The reason the other person said is correct: they knew how to make wheels and had the material, but they knew it was pointless. Let me remind you that the Incas lived in the Andean region - mountainous and rocky. Wheels would not have been that helpful, especially if other methods did the job. Knowing there's no need to change is also a sign of cognitive complexity
+2
Level ∞
Jan 7, 2024
The Inca did not have wheels. And, yes, there are places where wheels would have been helpful.

Did this make them "backwards" as you imply. I don't think so. Many things that seem obvious are anything but. The wheel has not been around forever. The earliest wheeled vehicle was around 4000 BC.

And while the Incas did have bronze, it never replaced stone tools.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallurgy_in_pre-Columbian_America#Inca_Empire

I believe it is your own prejudices that should be examined here. Why does the lack of a wheel make a culture "primitive" or "backwards"? What you are in effect saying is that only a "backwards" culture would fail to invent the wheel, so therefore they must have invented it. That's not how history works.

+3
Level 84
Jan 17, 2022
The wheel is by no means obvious. It's only on the Flintstones that prehistoric people used wheels.
+1
Level 77
Jan 21, 2022
Based on what still rolls around in my mind about them, only in Ancient Sumer did the wheel arise. Being *probably* the first civilization with full-scale cities, it allowed things like the first complete writing system and wheels to be developed by people who weren't always worried about finding their next meals.
+2
Level 58
Jan 26, 2022
You find it hard to believe... that's pretty much the reason why I remembered it...
+8
Level 77
Jan 16, 2022
As a person who has a job because I’m educated in history and civilization, this quiz is totally fair. I was expecting some random trick question, like, “The Chinese technically had an ancient version of plastic in 450 AD”.
+16
Level ∞
Jan 17, 2022
Yeah, we try not to do that.
+2
Level 59
Aug 31, 2023
And we appreciate it
+3
Level 75
Jan 26, 2022
I'm all for getting educated in history and civilisation, but if you want a job kids, study maths!
+12
Level 77
Jan 26, 2022
Weird that you're saying this to someone who literally just said they have a job because they're educated in history and civilization.
+2
Level 75
Jan 31, 2022
I was saying it to the kids!
+3
Level 77
Feb 2, 2022
I tell the kids I teach to go into sciences and math if they want a good job. XD
+2
Level 68
Aug 31, 2023
This is soooo wrong. There are plenty of fantastic jobs in so many areas other than maths and sciences!
+3
Level 77
Nov 26, 2023
And speaking as someone who has been a professional science educator for over twenty years, it's this kind of "The humanities are worthless! Only science and math are important!" messaging that has, in part, led to a real decline in media literacy in our culture. Among the many, many other reasons why this sort of messaging is wrongheaded.
+1
Level 83
Mar 10, 2024
Our school really pushed the 'only STEM subjects are worth getting into' message while I was there, and I think it was the same all over. I wasn't surprised when I saw a graph showing, for example, how the numbers of people taking a modern languages GCSE had absolutely plummeted during that time. Kind of depressing...
+2
Level 68
Jan 17, 2022
Fairly easy, but a good idea and a great starting point for a series of quizzes
+2
Level 82
Jan 17, 2022
agreed
+1
Level 17
Jan 26, 2022
Yes
+7
Level 78
Jan 17, 2022
I think the answer to the "bras" question is incorrect. The fact that a particular model was the first bra to be patented for commercial purposes doesn't mean that they didn't exist before. Actual bras from the medieval period have been found, and there's some evidence suggesting that bras existed as early as in ancient Egypt.
+1
Level ∞
Jan 17, 2022
I'm basing it on the Wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bra

+7
Level 68
Jan 27, 2022
The same Wikipedia page mentions early brassieres and modern bras. Fragments dating back to the 15th century resemble bras as we know them, and it can be argued that some form of bras were worn in antiquity.

Would suggest changing the question to "modern bras" or accepting the yes answer.

+2
Level 57
Jan 27, 2022
I agree. I immediately thought of pictures of medieval bras not when the patent was filed.
+10
Level 73
Jan 26, 2022
just so you know your hyperlink doesn't seem to work. it's blue and underlined but clicking on it doesn't do anything (at least for me)
+2
Level ∞
Aug 24, 2023
I changed the clue to include the name "brassiere" which will eliminate all doubt. The modern bra wasn't invented until 1914 and the term "brassiere" wasn't used until 1893 (at the time referring to an undershirt-like garment).

That said, this change wasn't really necessary. Women in the 1700s didn't wear anything like what we would today call a bra.

+6
Level 84
Jan 17, 2022
All those Peanuts books from my childhood paid off for #8. "Here's the World War I flying ace zooming through the air in his Sopwith Camel."

I wasn't there, but I know that watching the Moon landing on television was a defining moment for my parents and grandparents.

I'm surprised that 50% thought the ancient Persians had eyeglasses. Besides needing the technology to create high quality lenses, they would also have needed advanced knowledge of optics. Ptolemy (c. 100-170 AD) described lenses, and then not much happened until the 10th Century.

+1
Level 72
Jan 26, 2022
Honestly, I forgot what "ancient" meant and was thinking that the Safavids had eyeglasses. I don't know if that's true, but it's at least plausible.
+1
Level 27
Jan 27, 2022
I thought of Snoopy too 😊That’s the only way I got that one right.
+1
Level 74
Jan 17, 2022
Great quiz. Not too hard, but I had to second-guess myself with a few of these. I would not mind seeing a series of similar-themed quizzes.
+2
Level 89
Jan 19, 2022
The Red Baron will not be pleased if you miss #8! ;)
+3
Level 84
Jan 24, 2022
Curse you, Red Baron!
+3
Level 72
Jan 26, 2022
Not just ancient Romans, also modern Romans don't eat spaghetti with marinara sauce.

As a representative of the group, I am not aware of what even is marinara sauce. The only "marinara" I know is "pizza alla marinara", which means "sailor's style pizza" b.t.w.

The sauce on it isn't named especially for it.

+4
Level 68
Jan 27, 2022
Marinara sauce is just a tomato-based sauce made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, and herbs. The ancient Romans didn't have it because tomatoes came from South America.
+1
Level 68
Aug 31, 2023
They also didn't have pasta...
+2
Level 68
Aug 31, 2023
To giommaso's point: "marinara sauce" is really more Italo-American than Italian. While the word is used in Italian, it refers to a wide array of preparations, many of which don't even include tomato.
+1
Level 78
Jan 26, 2022
Surprised to have got all correct!
+1
Level 67
Jan 26, 2022
I really read "Persia" as "Paris," very smart of me. Great quiz though!
+1
Level 66
Jan 27, 2022
Man, I coulda sworn penicillin was the 1880s. Huh.
+1
Level 35
Jan 30, 2022
Being australian, and hence having looked at historic stuff around the country, aboriginals had written language before the first fleet.

They used drawings and paintings etc. on walls and floors to communicate. I cannot remember what they communicated about, but I have seen historic paintings on cave walls (I think, it may not have been in Australia).

If you mean straight up written words and characters like english letters or japanese symbols, then they definitely did not.

+8
Level 76
Feb 3, 2022
Drawings and paintings don't qualify as written language. If they did, then prehistoric people would've had one too. Which would make them non-prehistoric.
+2
Level 67
Jan 20, 2023
These quizzes make me doubt my knowledge. Did the Persians have glasses? Seems a stretch, but the Chinese invented lots of things well before the Europeans, so maybe they did. They didn't. It wasn't a trick question.
+1
Level 56
Aug 31, 2023
Aboriginal people have wrote down stuff for others to read for years, it's just not words. It's like saying that Mandarin isn't a written language.
+4
Level 76
Aug 31, 2023
It's not like that at all because written Chinese does include words. What did they write for others to read if not with words?
+1
Level 75
Aug 31, 2023
Took this quiz fourteen months ago and got one wrong. Took it again today and got the same one wrong. So much for learning.
+1
Level 67
Aug 31, 2023
Your question on penicillin needs rewording or the accepted answer changed to yes. Penicillin existed in Victorian times, so they technically had it. As it wasn't discovered it just wasn't used.
+2
Level 83
Dec 14, 2023
This is some next-level nitpicking, man. I think if the quiz asked you whether ancient peoples had electricity you'd know the answer is obviously "no", even though electricity has been around for 14 billion years or so.
+1
Level 84
Aug 31, 2023
So, when was the first bicycle that existed in France?
+1
Level 83
Mar 10, 2024
The first vélocipèdes emerged in the 1810s (in Germany, but popular in France), and the first pedal cycles in the 1860s (in France)
+1
Level 66
Aug 31, 2023
Romans women wore strophium wich had the same purpose as bras.