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Category Archives: History
First an administrative note: the manuscript for Prince’s Fire (book 3 in the Hearts & Thrones series) is due to my editor in less than a month. And I’m coming right down to the wire on this one. I still … Continue reading
Remember the Calydonian Boar, the oversized boar of Greek mythology? The ancient Greeks possessed a pair of tusks which they claimed had belonged to the Calydonian Boar, and they kept them at the Temple of Athena in Tegea. These were … Continue reading
A while back, I recommended a book by Adrienne Mayor called Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, and Scorpion Bombs, about unconventional tactics of war in the ancient world. I’ve recently discovered another of her books, The First Fossil Hunters, about how … Continue reading
There are some interesting ideas about monsters in history in Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite: The Science of Monsters, by Matt Kaplan. Monsters from the ancient and medieval eras were primarily large pedators. Think the Nemean Lion or the Calydonian … Continue reading
Say you lived in ancient times and you walked to the top of a mountain. There, you were astonished to find fossils of seashells and various marine creatures. What explanation would you come up so that your find made sense? … Continue reading
If you’re writing a historical or fantasy novel and come to a scene where the characters are eating a meal, you may need to think about what they eat with. One utensil you can, with confidence, provide to your characters … Continue reading
Sometimes I run into this question when writing scenes in my fantasy novels: where do the people cook? And how is it done? The kitchen–a room built for the purpose of cooking–is a relatively recent invention. So where have people … Continue reading
The oven is an invention that’s been with us for a long time. Simple ovens were used in the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. These were clay ovens called tandoors, and they’re still in use today. … Continue reading
One of my favorite true life stories about cryptography is the breaking of the Enigma cipher in World War II. And I can’t possibly do it justice in a couple of short blog posts. I highly recommend reading the whole … Continue reading
In my last post, I talked about simple substitution ciphers used in the ancient world, such as the Caesar shift. While such ciphers are trivial to break today, back then nobody knew how to break them! Thus they were secure. … Continue reading