Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for December 9.

The situation of the Roman Empire became dire in 235, when the emperor Alexander Severus was murdered by his own troops. Roman legions had been defeated during a campaign against Germanic peoples raiding across the borders, while the emperor was focused primarily on the dangers from the Persian Empire. Alexander Severus resorted to diplomacy and paying tribute in an attempt to pacify the Germanic chieftains quickly. This may have cost him the respect of his troops, who may have felt that they should be punishing the tribes who were intruding on Rome's territory. In the following years, generals of the Roman army fought each other for control of the empire and neglected their duties in preventing invasions from foreigners. Additionally, in 251 a plague, probably smallpox, broke out, causing large-scale mortality, which may have seriously affected the ability of the Empire to defend itself.

By 258, the Empire broke up into three competing states. The Roman provinces of Gaul (present-day France and adjoining regions), Britain, and Hispania (modern-day Spain and Portugal) broke off to form the Gallic Empire, and two years later the eastern provinces of Syria, Palestine, and Aegyptus (Egypt) became independent, leaving the remaining Italian-centered Roman Empire proper in the middle.

An invasion by a vast host of Goths was beaten back at the Battle of Naissus (in modern-day Serbia) in 268. This victory was significant as the turning point of the crisis, when a series of tough, energetic soldier-emperors took power. Victories by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus over the next two years drove back the Alamanni (a German tribe) and recovered Hispania from the Gallic Empire. When Claudius II died in 270 of the plague, Aurelian, who had commanded the cavalry at Naissus, succeeded him as emperor and continued the restoration of the empire.

1. Mortality means
A. sickness.
B. death/deaths.
C. weakness.
D. unrest.
2. Alexander Severus' fatal error was
A. leading his troops.
B. resisting the Persians.
C. pacifying the Germanic chieftains.
D. fighting the generals.
3. Goths were
A. Italians.
B. Gallic people.
C. Germanic people.
D. British people.
4. The fortunes of the Roman Empire began to improve after
A. the Battle of Naissus.
B. the death of Alexander Severus.
C. the separation of the Gallic Empire.
D. victories over the Persians.

The information comes from Wikipedia.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-B..........2-C..........3-C..........4-A
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at