Rewriting the Past

I have a soft spot for ancient civilizations. I find their history fascinating. If money and time were not an issue, I would learn as much as I could about these ancient civilizations and write texts about them. Is this strictly non-fiction? No.

One of the reasons I love ancient history so much is because there is so much of it that is unknown. So much that can never be known. Every writer on the subject writes with their own agenda, utilizing the limited primary sources to envision what they think society was like. I suppose in a sense writing about ancient history is like writing a novel. You build from a few small details and use those details to create a larger picture. If you do it right, you end up with a believable backdrop.

While I was in college I took several courses on Ancient Rome and Ancient Egypt. What I enjoyed the most about the courses was how much thinking it required. It required identifying the agendas of the writers, whether they were primary, contemporary, or secondary, and learning how to utilize that knowledge to determine as accurate a picture as possible of the political, social, and economic state of the civilization. The lack of sources meant there were no clear cut answers to be reached, which allowed for academic debate on differences of opinions.

I think that writing on ancient civilizations would make me a better fiction author as well. By doing so, I would learn the fundamentals of world-building. I would better understand how pre-modern civilizations functioned both in daily life and among the upperĀ echelonsĀ of society. It would be a fascinating way to learn the natural progression of technology. By studying everything in depth enough to write a historical analysis on it, I would be able to better assimilate the knowledge than if I had simply casually flipped through a history book and read only the parts that interested me.

Of course, in order to do this properly, I would need to learn ancient Greek and Latin, and that sounds like way too much effort.

So for now I’ll just stick to writing fiction. (But if any of my protagonists find themselves rolled up in a carpet, you’ll know that I’m making a not-so-subtle nod of homage to my fascination with ancient history).

At the age of six, Eliza was certain of two things. The first was that she had stories to tell. The second was that she had no talent for illustrating them herself. Talent or no, she still wrote and illustrated her first book, one that should be located and locked away if only to prevent her parents from embarrassing her terribly by showing it off alongside baby pictures. Now she spends her days writing stories that she isn't embarrassed to show off after a little bit of polishing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.