History of the Circus Quiz
- The circus originally began as games in a simple hippodrome, but as they became more popular, an entire amphitheater was erected, including seating and race posts.
Who was the Roman emperor who finally rebuilt the circus enclosure with stone instead of wood, after several fires broke out and endangered the viewers?
- Trajan made the Ludi, or games, safer for all involved with stone seating and safer tracks.
Who was the first person to form a modern circus in England during the mid-1700s?
- As a former soldier who found an interest in trick riding, Astley helped to make the circus ring a staple in such performances as it helped keep riders safe and audiences entertained.
What was the name of the first modern clown hired in the UK in 1770 to perform alongside Astley's trick riding?
- Developments to the circus stage and array of acts happened quickly after the first modern circuses took hold in the UK.
In 1782, who was the horseman and trick rider who broke out from Astley and performed for Catherine the Great in Russia, reintroducing the term "circus"?
- Originally an employee of Philip Astley, Hughes struck out on his own and eventually built his Royal Circus a short way away from Astley's own amphitheater.
What was the name of the second elephant to be brought to America, performing with Hackaliah Bailey of New York in the early 1800s?
- As one of the first menagerie members in America, Old Bet started a fascination with circuses essentially being partly a traveling zoo.
P.T. Barnum is a famed figure in circus history. What was his first sideshow attraction in 1834 that began his career as an entertainer?
- Joice Heth was not actually Washington's nurse and was only in her 80s, but this first foray into charlatanry launched Barnum's career.
Which competing circus was the primary opponent to Barnum & Bailey's traveling company?
- The Ringlings were clever, taking over small circuses that went broke and building up an impressive presence in the entertainment world from their first group in 1884.
What was the name of the clown persona created by Tom Belling in the late 1800s, known for its exaggerated and silly antics, extravagant makeup, and over-the-top costume?
- Clowns have changed through the years as audience preferences have altered, including certain characters like Auguste, whose name in German means "foolish".
Wild West shows came on the scene during the late 1880s, where sharpshooters and talented riders would put on a Western-themed show. What was the nickname of Annie Oakley, a famous shooter in Wild West shows?
- Other iconic Wild West performers included "Buffalo Bill" Cody, "Doc" Carver, and Will Rogers.