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6/25/2014 4:56 pm  #1

Herodotus Histories and other historical books

I picked up a copy of this after seeing commended in both an article by Micheal Curtis and Kents blog. 

Three or four pages in the Cimmerians have taken over a city in modern day Northern/Central Turkey. Also lots of daughters have been stolen by both Greeks and Barbarians and someone got embaressed being naked leading to a regicide. 

Its worth a read. I also picked up the Prose Edda. 

What historical books do you read that inspire your gaming?


6/29/2014 7:08 pm  #2

Re: Herodotus Histories and other historical books

Xenophon's Cyropaedia has some interesting parts, especially on the advent of "technology" in warfare (i.e., blades on the spokes of chariots in battle cutting down men on the battlefield like a scythe through grass) as does Lucan's Bellum Civile (some cool scenes where he describes a witch's curse, as well as the carnage of naval battles, with guys falling into the jumble of competing oars and being bashed apart). Lucan was my favorite of the lesser known, late Roman poets. I cannot remember the sections specifically, as it's been a while since I read those in college some 15 years ago, but I'll take a look.

Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face

6/30/2014 9:11 am  #3

Re: Herodotus Histories and other historical books

I have a particular fondness for Icelandic Sagas, Beowulf, Nibelungenleid/ Volsungasaga, and similar readings. Irish hero tales are also great, the Tain, the tales of the Fianna.

For more historical primary sources, try Ecclesiastical History of the English People (the Venerable Bede), History of the Franks (Gregory of Tours), History of the Danes (Saxo), the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Germania & Agricola (Tacitus), the Commentaries of Caesar... most of these can be found as inexpensive Penguin paperbacks.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, a quick internet search would likely turn up nice sources for any area or culture that you might want to incorporate into a game. ~ cartography, writing, game design
Author, Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess

6/30/2014 2:18 pm  #4

Re: Herodotus Histories and other historical books

Well i suppose joseph beat me to it, but i also find much inspiration from old norse litterature. Especially perhaps the Poetic Edda, Heimskringla and other sagas. Some of the themes from ths litterature are also taken into various Norwegian folk and fairy-tales.

I would also like to mention various Arthurian tales, from medieval versions to the romances of Le Morte D'Arthur.

There is no doubt in my mind that the mythological and historical litterature are the gound that modern founded upon.

Níu man ek heima, níu íviðjur,
mjötvið mæran fyr mold neðan.
(Nine worlds I knew,the nine in the tree with mighty roots beneath the mold)

7/02/2014 1:30 pm  #5

Re: Herodotus Histories and other historical books

The Nihon Shoki starts out as a retelling of Japanese mythology, but towards the middle becomes more and more a mostly accurate chronicle of medieval Japan. I havn't read most of it, though, and can't say how good a read it is. Comparable to Tacitus I belive.

From India, there's the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. They are pure myth and as outsider you can even regard them as fantasy novels. But they are huge! Wheel of Time and Song of Ice and Fire are quite compact in compairison. The action is awesome, though. A cast of demigod heroes like the greek or superhero comics, and cataclysmic battles with millions of soldier fighting for weeks. I think they are quite similar to the Iliad and Odyssey, except that the culture from which they came endured to this day. One section, though probably a later addition and clearly meant for spiritual education, is still pretty much religious scripture in India today.

"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den

7/04/2014 12:06 pm  #6

Re: Herodotus Histories and other historical books

I think the Iliad is totally worth (re)reading for all S&S needs. There are fire elementals and rivers choked with bodies! Not to mention flavor for combat even more gruesome than Conan!


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