Tag: History

The Lady of the Green Kirtle:
Vert-de-Gris

Previous parts of this series:  Part I, Part II,  Part III, Part IV,  Part V   When it came to the color green, Medieval artists and crafters had a rough time. Unlike the warm colors – reds, oranges, yellows – long-lasting green pigments were not so easily available from nature. Mostly, these artists resorted to …

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Passing Obsessions 7-24

Scandal strikes the SFF world again. Writer Neil Gaiman accused of, but denies, sexually assaulting two women, one of whom was the nanny of his child. The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim, an animated film by Warner Brothers based on Tolkien’s work, releases some preview artwork. (It’s anime style.) In related …

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All Aboard! Images from the Golden Age of Rail Travel [Review]

All Aboard! Images from the Golden Age of Rail Travel by Lynn Johnson & Michael O’Leary Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1999 If you were a graphic artist in the 1980s and 1990s Chronicle Books of San Francisco was your crack, publishing tons of art, art history, design and architecture books every. All were beautifully designed …

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The Bees and the Beekeeper

… the spells began straight away, and at first there was nothing very important in them. They were cures for warts (by washing your hands in moonlight in a silver basin) and toothache and cramp, and a spell for taking a swarm of bees. The picture of the man with toothache was so lifelike that …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 3/27/24: Shades of Red

 I used to be disgusted Now I try to be amused But since their wings have got rusted You know the angels wanna wear my red shoes — Elvis Costello, (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes Red is the most dominant and eye-catching color in the spectrum. To even say its name is to …

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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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