Tag: History

Worldbuilding Wednesday 2/21/24: Classical Greek Names (Male)

Authentic-sounding (NOT actually authentic, I want to make clear if you’re writing fact-based historical fiction) Greek names for men are just as easy to generate as those for women. And to accompany them, here’s a painting of the most manly man in Greek myth of all — Heracles! He’s pictured in his struggle against a …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/31/24: Shades of Purple

Though the color purple been democratized these days –- almost every mass-produced clothing item and stuffed toy is available in some shade of it –- it was once very rare and restricted to royalty. This was because its dye depended on a rare, arcane ingredient: the slimy secretions of the murex sea snail. For centuries, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 1/10/24: Greek Islands

There are over 6,000 islands in the nation of present day Greece, and to the ancient Greeks they must have seemed many times this number. Their entire world was made of islands, and the sea. From myth we know know the prominent ones, like Lesbos, Naxos, Aenea (home of Circe), Ogygia (home of Calypso), Delos, …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/6/23: Magic Spells of Ancient Greece

Curse tablets were a cottage industry in ancient Greece. Spells embodying the caster’s desires were written on plaques of stone, clay, papyrus, wax, even thin sheets of gold. Then, to reach the gods, they were thrown into wells or buried with the dead (often without permission from the dead one’s next of kin.) It’s likely …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/29/23: Magic Items of Ancient Greece

Greek myths were chock-full of magic items, most of them made by the gods; and with a few exceptions, most of the humans who meddled with them came to a bad end. Take the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece. It’s a very long and involved one, but the gist goes like this. Disinherited …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 11/22/23: Myths of Ancient Greece

Jupiter and Thetis

Pretty much all fantasy writers are familiar with Greek myths, or they should be: they’re one of the unfailing constants of Western Culture. The Iliad, which told of the fall of Troy (and the Trojan horse.) The Odyssey, about the hero Odysseus’s epic journey to find his way home. Theseus and the Minotaur, Icarus who …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 10/4/23: Welsh II

The first time I ever saw a lady dressed in traditional Welsh clothing was in a book about quilting. At the time I couldn’t make heads or tales about it, because it was so different from the Slavic ethnic costumes I was familiar with. But it was a real thing, women really did dress that …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 9/27/23: Welsh I

Want to make your fantasy world really fantasyish? Add in some -wyns,  -yrs, -wys, with a sprinkling of  gws and lls, just like the characters and places in The Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh folktales written down in the 14th century. Based on oral traditions that were older, they served as the basis for modern …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 8/16/23: Centaurs (Narnia XLVII)

Centaurs are one of the mythic creatures most associated with Narnia, along with fauns and nymphs. They appear in four of the seven books (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, The Silver Chair, and The Last Battle) where they are renowned for being wise teachers, prophets, healers, and stargazers, as well as …

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The White Album
[Reading Challenge 2023]

The White Album by Joan Didion Open Road Media, 2017 (Originally published by Simon & Schuster, 1979) [ #1 — 3rd Year, 23rd Letter: A book whose title begins with the letter W) ] When I first made up my reading list at the start of the year I hadn’t decided on a candidate for …

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