A is for Ancient

Ancient world navigation can be difficult, at best. Historical records naturally become buried in the sands of time, or pass into legend until the contemporary traveler can only speculate about what really happened all those years ago. In many cases, the best accounts we have of the ancient world were written centuries after the events and the people who participated in them had long passed into memory. Arrian recounted The Campaigns of Alexander four hundred years after the great conqueror’s death, and yet it is still the best telling we have of what happened during those years.

When traversing the choppy seas of history the temporal navigator must be sure to have several good Antique Maps to guide them safely on their journey, the older the better. How do you know if your map is old enough? Look for the depictions of dragons and sea serpents spread out along the uncharted waters. It’s well known that the ancient world was A Treasure Trove of Myths and Legends, bursting at the seams with capricious gods, bizzare conglomerations of animals and nightmarish monsters hungry for man flesh.

But if you do manage to make it back to contemporary times unsmote and in one piece, we all look forward to picking The Mythical Creatures Bible that will be your brain. After all, as to the lives of ancient humans we can guess reasonably well, but as to whether or not unicorns existed, that knowledge is something worthy of going back in time for.


39 thoughts on “A is for Ancient

  1. I recentrly read on the blog of an historical novel writer that ‘practical people’ of ancient times knew the world a lot better than the intellectuals who wrote histories and drew maps 🙂

    • I’m not surprised. A lot of the marvels of engineering we see in antiquity can’t be explained by modern science. With limited resources and budding knowledge, the ancients did things in their world so cleverly, that we have a hard time understanding their reasoning with all of our advanced methodology today.

  2. …and don’t forget, when reading ancient maps, to look for the Legend ‘erat du badassimuss troublismmo’*
    I actually enjoy geography and maps and such (and I will, given the opportunity, get google down to ‘street level’ and walk along a strange town, you know, just to see what the place is like).

    This is my blog’s first ‘Any-to-Where?’ Bog challenge… but you probably guessed that… lol

    enjoyed your Post

    *roughly translated, ‘holy shit! you might want to give ‘here‘ a miss!

    • If I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve always hated geography and cartography. I don’t have the best ability to keep images in my head, so situating myself on a map has always been difficult. Still, these maps are gorgeous, and I love staring at them.

      As for the Google street view, I do that too, just to walk down an unfamiliar street and explore.

    • I like the mythology, but I’ve always been a more of a sociology girl. I love learning how the ancients ran their societies, hierarchies, family make up, politics and religion, distribution of power and the like.

  3. great first post! i love learning more about ancient history – and i love your cue to telling if a map is old enough by the dragons in the uncharted territories! cool!

    • I have that same thought. That’s why I plan to be buried with the most random assortment of junk imaginable, in the hopes that I’ll give some future grad student a headache tying to puzzle it out.

  4. History is written by the victor, or at least the person who can still hold a pen. Sometimes, things that are passed off as history are nothing more than well-informed fiction (Looking at you, The Diary of Lady Murasaki 😤) Great first post. You’ve made it all sound super cool… but I know it is anyway. The Antique Maps book is freaking amazing!

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    Out of Print, Fiction authors and their shorts

    A-Z Blogging in April Participant (in case you didn’t know, haha)

  5. I too am fascinated with the ancient world and read quite a bit of greek mythology. I once had the opportunity to visit a museum exhibit featuring artifacts excavated from Pompeii including the ash cast of the bodies found. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me.

  6. I love ancient history. Even as a kid I was mesmerized by the stories, ledgends and mythologies. I still like to watch documentaries and visit museums. But I think I have to head to the liberary and look for some books about ancient history, Thank you for the great tips!

  7. Great post! I’m glad you stopped by my blog so I could find you 🙂 I love ancient history, myths and legends. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to your other A-to-Z contributions!

    • Not a problem. I’ve got so many of these sorts of books it was hard to categorize them for each day’s theme. I probably won’t get to all of them, but some might pop up somewhere down the line. Hope you enjoy.

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