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Tag Archives: history
History for the fantasy buff: Roman fossil collecting
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
Posted in Fantasy, History Tagged ancient greece, ancient rome, centaur, fossils, history, hoaxes 3 Comments
History for the fantasy buff: werewolves and vampires
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
Posted in Fantasy, History, Writing Tagged fantasy, history, vampires, werewolves, zombies 12 Comments
History for the fantasy buff: fossils and storytelling
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
History for the fantasy buff: Eating utensils
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
Posted in Fantasy, History, Writing Tagged eating utensils, fork, history 2 Comments
History for the fantasy buff: kitchens
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
History for the fantasy buff: ovens vs. open fire cooking
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
History for the fantasy buff: Cracking enigma
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
Posted in Fantasy, History Tagged cryptanalysis, cryptography, enigma, fantasy, history 4 Comments
History for the fantasy buff: the birth of cryptanalysis
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
Posted in Fantasy, History, Writing Tagged cryptanalysis, fantasy, frequency analysis, history 2 Comments
History for the fantasy buff: Cryptography in the ancient world
The problem of how to send a message to your friends without its being intercepted and read by your enemies dates back to the ancient world (if not earlier). Many ancient peoples, such as the Greeks and the Chinese, practiced … Continue reading
Posted in Fantasy, History, Writing Tagged caesar shift, cryptography, fantasy, history 2 Comments
History for the fantasy buff: can a volcanic lava flow be stopped?
One of the questions I needed to answer with my volcano research was: is it possible for human intervention to stop a volcanic lava flow? I needed to know because this was part of the premise of my novel (book … Continue reading