Do you think that if you go back to the past you will be the “knowledge god” – a person who knows so much more than everyone else? The answer is NO if you go back to the 19th century. Ok, you may know a few tricks from the future, but you will really struggle to beat the educated denizens in a trivia contest.

Oh, forget about your chances of being admitted in some of the best and most respected universities of the time like Harvard as well. Why? Because you would need to know how to translate the following sentence in Latin:

“In the first of the spring the consul came to Ephesus, and having received the troops from Scipio he held a speech in-presence-of the soldiers, in which, after extolling their bravery, he exhorted them to undertake a new war with the Gauls, who had [as he said] helped Antiochus with auxiliaries.”

If that seems hard, try dividing 33,368,949.63 by 0.007253, or find the cube root of 0.0093 to five decimal places, without a calculator of course.

Harvard’s entrance exam from 1869 also included questions about Greek grammar, where is the source of the rivers Danube, Volga, Ganges and the Amazon, describing the route of the Ten Thousand and similarly hard tasks. You can check out the full exam below.



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