The last part of our four-part look at ancient polytheism, looking at the smallest of gods, and the biggest of humans.
Last week, we looked at some of the basic functions of polytheistic practice, centered on the concept of do ut des, striking a bargain with the god. This week, we're going to turn to another key set of rituals: divination. We're mostly going to look into indirect forms of divining the will of the gods, … Continue reading Collections: Practical Polytheism, Part III: Polling the Gods
Part II of a series at the underpinnings of ancient polytheistic (Greek, Roman, Mesopotamian, Norse, etc) religious practice.
Today we're going to start looking at one facet of how polytheistic religions function, their practicality. This is going to be a series (I'm currently planning at least four parts) looking at some of the general facets of how ancient polytheistic religions work. And work is the operative word, more so than many religions and … Continue reading Collections: Practical Polytheism, Part I: Knowledge
This is Part I of a seven part series (II, III, IV, V, VI, VII) comparing the popular legacy of Sparta (embodied in films like 300) with the historical ancient state. Today, we're going to start by looking at the sources of our information on Sparta, and then begin at the beginning: the Spartan rearing … Continue reading Collections: This. Isn’t. Sparta. Part I: Spartan School
Today, in Part III of our series of war elephants, we are going to look at the place war elephants held in society through two lenses: what war elephants meant to the societies that used them and what they often mean in popular culture - as we'll see, these are connected topics. Previously in this … Continue reading Collections: War Elephants, Part III: Elephant Memories
By popular request, today we're going to talk about oaths. Oaths appear a lot in fantasy fiction - and even in historical fiction - and they are frequently done wrong. I remarked on this in part II of my "How it Wasn't: Game of Thrones and the Middle Ages" that, "characters are forever being asked … Continue reading Collections: Oaths! How do they Work?