Read the following passage and then, answer the questions that follow:
In Rome, defeated enemies were generally put to death as criminals for having offended the emperor. In the middle Ages, however, the practice of ransoming, or returning prisoners in exchange for money, became common. Though some saw this custom as a step towards a more humane society, the primary reason behind it was economic rather than humanitarian. In those times, rulers had only a limited ability to raise taxes. They could neither force their subjects to fight nor pay them to do so. The promise of material compensation in the form of goods and ransom was therefore the only way of inducing combatants to participate in a war. In the middle Ages, the predominant incentive for the individual soldier to participate in a war was the expectation of spoils. Although collecting ransom clearly brought financial gain, keeping a prisoner and arranging for his exchange had its costs. Consequently, several procedures were devised to reduce transaction costs.
One such device was a rule asserting that the prisoner had to assess his own value. This compelled the prisoner to establish a value without much distortion; indicating too low a value would increase the captive’s chances of being killed, while indicating too high a value would either ruin him financially or create a prohibitively expensive ransom that would also result in death.
A second means of reducing costs was the practice of releasing a prisoner on his word of honour. This procedure was advantageous to both parties since the captor was relieved of the expense of keeping the prisoner while the captive had freedom of movement. The captor also benefited financially by having his captive raises the ransom himself. This ‘parole’ was a viable practice since the released prisoner risked recapture or retaliation against his family. Moreover, in medieval society, breaking one’s word had serious consequences. When, for example, King Francois I broke his word to the Emperor Charles V in 1525, his reputation suffered immensely. A third method of reducing costs was the use of specialized institutions to establish contact between the two parties.
Two types of institutions emerged: professional dealers who acted as brokers, and members of religious orders who acted as neutral intermediaries. Dealers advanced money for the ransom and charged interest on the loan. Two of the religious orders that became intermediaries were the Mercedario’s and the Trinitarians who between them arranged the ransom of nearly one million prisoners.
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to
(a) discuss the economic basis of the medieval practice of exchanging prisoners for ransom.
(b) examine the history of the treatment of prisoners of war.
(c) emphasize the importance of a warrior’s ‘word of honour’ during the Middle Ages.
(d) explore three ways of reducing the costs of ransom.
2. It can be inferred from the passage that a medieval soldier
(a) was less likely to kill captured members of opposing armies than was a soldier of the Roman
(b) was similar to a 20th-century terrorist in that he operated on a basically independent level and was motivated solely by economic incentives.
(c) had few economic options and choose to fight because it was the only way to earn an adequate
(d) was motivated to spare prisoners’ lives by humanitarian rather than economic ideals.
3. Which of the following best describes the change in policy from executing prisoners in Roman times to ransoming prisoners in the Middle Ages?
(a) The emperor of Rome demanded more respect than did medieval rulers, and thus Roman subjects went to greater lengths to defend their incentives.
(b) It was a reflection of the lesser degree of direct control medieval rulers had over their subjects.
(c) It became a show of strength and honour for warriors of the Medieval Ages to be able to capture
and return their enemies.
(d) Medieval soldiers were not as humanitarian as their ransoming practices might have indicated.
4. The author uses the phrase ‘without much distortion’ in order
(a) to indicate that prisoners would fairly assess their worth.
(b) to emphasize the important role medieval prisoners played in determining whether they should be ransomed.
(c) to explain how prisoners often paid more than an appropriate ransom to increase their chances
(d) suggest that captors and captives often had understanding relationships.
5. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as actions that were taken to ensure that ransoming prisoners was a profitable operation EXCEPT
(a) each prisoner was made to designate the amount of ransom to be paid for his return.
(b) prisoners were released on the condition that they guaranteed that their ransoms would be paid.
(c) professional intermediaries were employed to facilitate the smooth exchange of prisoner and
ransom, at a price to the prisoner.
(d) medieval rulers promised to aid soldiers in their efforts to collect ransom.
Direction for questions 6 to 9: Select the odd word from the given set of four alternatives.
6. (a) juvenile (b) immature (c) old (d) childish
Ans: (c) (All the others mean the same)
7. (a) slack (b) draconian (c) rigorous (d) severe
Ans: (a) (All the others have the same meaning)
8. (a) Achilles (b) Thetis (c) Paris (d) Pandora
Ans: (c) (All the others are Greek Mythological persons)
9. (a) divulge (b) inform (c) secret (d) reveal
Ans: (c) ( All the others means the same )
Direction for questions 10 to 14: Identify the part of the sentence that has an error.
10. The reason (a) he has been (b) such a success is because (c) he never gives up (d)
Ans: (a) The reason that
11. Consider all the possibilities; (a) I really believe (b) that I would prefer not to (c) make any changes (d).
Ans: (a) Considering all the possibilities
12. The fact that he was (a) disinterested in politics (b) was clear from the way (c) he shunned political news (d)
Ans: (a) The fact that he is
13. After every student (a) had turned in (b) their paper, the teacher (c) dismissed the class (d).
Ans: (a) After the students
14. Any help (a) that you can (b) give me (c) will be appreciate (d)
Ans: (d) will be appreciated
Direction for questions 15 to 19: Fill in the blanks in the passage below with the appropriate choice.
For a novelist, a … 15… call from Oprah Winfrey is like a house…16… from the prize patrol: the big … 17 … has arrived. The … 18 … appears on Oprah’s show, and sales go through the … 19…
15. (a) phone (b) clarion (c) timid (d) cat
16. (a) check (b) call (c) cheque (d) hold
17. (a) dog (b) fire (c) cheque (d) girl
18. (a) police (b) don (c) manager (d) author
19. (a) door (b) window (c) wall (d) roof
ENGLISH -- 19 QUESTIONS
Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan