History for Fantasy Writers: Time Was

This is a two-part article on how time was perceived and measured in ancient and medieval Europe, in the age before mechanical clocks. In Part One I’ll talk about the larger units of time: days, months, years, and the like. In Part Two, it will be hours, minutes, and seconds. It is common for fantasy … Read more

Blood for Money: The Origins of the Mercenary

This article is by B.K. Bass, and is presented by Worldbuilding Magazine. “Diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments.” —Frederick the Great, Prussian King (1712-1786) Everybody has likely heard the phrase “the world’s oldest profession” associated with prostitution. However, that phrase originates from the 1889 short story “On the City Wall” by Rudyard Kipling. … Read more

Fantasy Fortifications — Part 1: Strategy

This article is part 1 of a series on Fantasy Fortifications by Toni Šušnjar. Fortifications are one of major parts of fantasy fiction, especially high fantasy. But they are also oh-so-often wrong, even though many basic details are typically right due to prevalence of models to build on. A common mistake is ignoring how weapons … Read more

History for Fantasy Writers: Journeymen

We often hear of apprentices in fantasy tales — Ray Feist’s “Magician Apprentice” comes to mind first — but apprenticeship is only one step. This article is about the next step: the journeyman (they were always men; I know of no examples of female journeymen, although there were cases of women who became masters). Once … Read more

Feudal Economics

This article is by B.K. Bass, and is presented by Worldbuilding Magazine. Often when we think of medieval history and medieval fantasy, the noble knight in shining armor is one of the central concepts that come to mind. Along with this imagery comes castles, people saying “m’lord,” and those same knights kneeling at the feet … Read more

History for Fantasy Writers: Shoemakers

Most everyone knows the story of the shoemaker and the elves. The Grimm brothers gave us the version most of us know, and it begins this way: There was once a shoemaker, who worked very hard and was very honest: but still he could not earn enough to live upon; and at last all he … Read more

History for Fantasy Writers: Cowboys of Europe

In the south of France, around the mouths of the Rhône River, lies a region known as the Camargue. It is a land of marshes and reeds and waterfowl. Vast quantities of salt are produced in its wide salt pans, salt with a distinctive pink hue. And there are cowboys. Les Gardiens The cattle are … Read more

It Was a Woman’s World, Too: Nzinga Mbande

We welcome you again to the world of speculative fiction, where there are no limits for what an individual can accomplish­—except in the mind of the writer. Often, while we can create entire worlds out of our imaginations, stories of adventure and daring do have been limited to male characters, based on the belief that … Read more

History for Fantasy Writers: Millers

This time we talk about millers and mills.  Millers were a part of everyday life everywhere, for they provide the grain the bakers use for our daily bread. Even where someone might have their own baking oven (most people did not), they still needed to have their grain turned into flour. Almost no one did … Read more

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