Before pub quiz nights and school fundraisers, before Parker Brothers boardgames, even before Shakespeare demoted it to ‘trifling’ and ‘insignificant’, trivia had a more noble life. The trivia were the three lower liberal arts taught in medieval universities – grammar, rhetoric and logic. These formed the three roads to eloquence.
Even further back, Trivia was one of the immortals, the Roman goddess of crossroads, the meeting place of humans by day and darker creatures by night. But immortality proved fleeting and by 1965 she had been reduced so far that two Columbia University students could misappropriate her name for a popular culture-themed quiz contest.
Quadrivia, the higher liberal arts of music, astronomy, geometry and arithmetic, or the four roads to knowledge, has been left largely untouched. So I’m taking it for the title of this blog.
Quadrivia is a collection of strange, esoteric and unexplained stories, discoveries, facts and observations. Some might qualify as trivia but, I hope, none are trivial.