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Author Topic: History for Fantasy Writers, 2  (Read 6871 times)

Offline Skip

History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« on: October 23, 2017, 12:55:42 AM »
The second in my series, "History for Fantasy Writers" just went up over at Mythic Scribes. It's entitled "How Old Was Old." I invite any and all to have a look and leave a comment.

https://mythicscribes.com/history/how-old-was-old/ 

I realize this is sort of self-promotion, but I genuinely think historical fantasy fans will enjoy reading it.

Offline Peat

Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 05:13:26 PM »
Good article. Shame you didn't touch more on the myths about medieval childhood as well but hey, there's another article, right?
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Offline RobertS

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Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2017, 09:09:14 PM »
Another great article. I also enjoyed the one about crossing rivers. My own favorite historic method for crossing rivers is to look for pseudochorus.
I would rather look stupid today than be stupid tomorrow.

Offline Skip

Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 02:19:07 AM »
Good article. Shame you didn't touch more on the myths about medieval childhood as well but hey, there's another article, right?

I have a separate article on childhood and another on adolescence. And one on adulthood. And others on transport. And guilds. And all sorts of stuff. That PhD proves to be worth something, at long last!  :)

Srsly, thanks for the compliment.
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2017, 05:09:42 AM »
Great article. And you might enjoy my observation as a 33-year old in the military, where practically no one is over 40: 30 is OLD! I mean, those guys are married have kids and stuff. Ancient! They have money in the bank and a credit score!
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Offline JMack

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Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2017, 01:18:14 PM »
Excellent articles, and also excellently written. Just enough fact, brain work, and breeziness.

Another interesting topic would be sexuality throughout history. My family historian father likes to point out the high rates of children out of wedlock and common law marriages in the past as an antidote to modern perceptions of the chaste and chastened past.
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Offline Skip

Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 09:23:10 PM »
@Jmack, the history of sexuality is so large a topic I've never ventured into that territory. I'm aware of some of the literature, though my reading depth is 20+ years old now. Anyway, good topic, but I probably won't go there. As an aside, though, there are so many fantasy books involving half-elves, half-orcs and the like, but I can't think of an exploration of the sexual union that produced that. Not just the physical aspect, but what makes a human fall in love with an orc? For that matter, why is one half always human? Why not half goblin, half dwarf? How about three quarters? There's plenty of material in there for modern fantasy writers to explore.

@The Gem Cutter, you bring up an aspect I didn't address, partly because there's too little material and partly because I didn't think of it. :)  Namely, perceptions of age by people at the time. Were there, in 15th Germany let's say, arrogant teenagers? Did 20-year-old Landesknechten think their 40-year-old commanders were old fogies? I'm inclined to say yes and can provide some very indirect evidence to bolster that, but it sort of doesn't matter for writers. It's good material. It's realistic, provides a source of conflict, and would resonate with the modern reader. The big difference I can see is tech. No youngster sneering because the old guy doesn't know how to use his iSword. ;-)

Offline Skip

Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2018, 04:43:13 PM »
I have another in the series published over at Mythic Scribes. This one's on merchants and merchant guilds.

https://mythicscribes.com/history/merchant-guilds/
 
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Offline IWFerguson

Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 05:45:43 AM »
Just wanted to say that I'm enjoying these history articles, and I appreciate the head's up posts here when they become available. I've been waiting for the merchant guild post and saw it here first.
These articles have saved me a bunch of research time. Thanks Skip.
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2018, 06:34:21 AM »
I love these articles too. They're so enlightening

Offline Skip

Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2018, 05:58:33 PM »
Thanks for the kind words. If each article sparks just one idea, or even fleshes out an existing one, for one single writer, then it's mission accomplished.

I'm taking a month plus a few weeks off as I work on my WIP, Into the Second World, but I have plenty more articles in draft form. Probably nothing will go online until September or October, but here's a random sample of topics to come:
canals
banking
citizenship
portolani and seebuecher
metallurgy
mining
joiners
telling time
rivers
feudalism

It's really all the topics I wish I could have covered while I was still teaching. :)

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2018, 08:18:36 PM »
Ohhhh that reminds me. We had a discussion in a thread at some point that touched on politico-economic change over time and ended up at feudalism, and I had wanted to spend a couple of hours putting together some opinions on the matter but totally got busy as never posted a reply...

Offline Skip

Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2018, 05:31:06 AM »
Feudalism is the invention of 13thc lawyers. If you want to discuss that further, let's start a separate thread.
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2018, 08:59:54 AM »
When I'm caught up with everything enough to spare the hours it would take to outline my opinion with evidence, I'll resurrect the old thread where we were talking about it. But in short

Spoiler for Hiden:
I think the post-modern argument that feudalism never existed misses an important historical break between anarchic, quasi-egalitarian rural subsistence arrangements and the the rise of feudal power.  If we don't see significant enough breaks between modern capitalism and feudalism it's because today's state-capitalism is built on feudalism and if anything transnational empires facilitated by states fueled by indentured servitude, violence human trafficking and environmental devastation are only an evolving intensification of the war on subsistence that started with feudalism....
Spoiler for Hiden:
so basically capitalism is a central element of feudalism, not something to contrast with it and definitely not some law of nature that preceded it, and consequently feudalism should be defined in contrast to egalitarian subsistence, not capitalism .
« Last Edit: July 06, 2018, 09:01:30 AM by Bradley Darewood »

Offline Skip

Re: History for Fantasy Writers, 2
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2018, 05:30:32 PM »
Kewl. I'm getting out the sparring gloves now. :)
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