Slideshow: Trivial-Quadrivial Pursuits
A beloved campus tradition, Trivial and Quadrivial Pursuits is the campus-wide quiz show — played on the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas — famous for its extravagant costumes and over-the-top displays of creative gamesmanship.
Every year there are three teams, each comprised of one-third of the student body, and each named for a subject of the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric). The teams each select their own theme. This year, the Rhetoriciains chose Duck Dynasty; the Logicians, Fiddler on the Roof; and the Grammarians, 1980s exercise videos.
The questions for Trivial and Quadrivial Pursuits are drawn for the College’s classical curriculum. This year’s questions included:
- What are the 12 tribes of Israel?
- What are the 10 categories of Aristotle’s Physics?
- How many relations are in the Trinity, and what are they?
Some queries were more subjective or open-ended. For example, in reference to Flannery O’Connor, one judge asked, “Why is a good man hard to find?”(“Because they’re in camouflage,”retorted the captain of the Duck Dynasty Rhetoricians.)
Per tradition, a panel of tutors devised the questions and judged the veracity of the responses. To curry favor with the panelists, team members presented them with hors d’oeuvres and other enticements — although the efforts seldom worked.
The tournament ultimately came down to a dramatic contest between the Rhetoricians’ hunters and the Logicians’ peasants. The Logicians claimed the victory and bragging rights, which they exercised liberally at the following party in the campus coffee shop.