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Underrated Cultures

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Telcontar, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Ah...I missed most of the ad hominems before creating the new thread. Compelling, indeed!
     
  2. Alex97

    Alex97 Troubadour

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    What about the Assyrians, Persians, Parthians, Babylonions... Don't seem to see many of these cultures apear very often. It seems most fantasy is based on medieval Europe. I would also like to some nomads such as the Sythians or Samartians.

    Ancient Greece seems really popular when it comes down to historty and mythology although I haven't seen much original fantasy that is based off ancient Greece which is what I'm basing my novel on along with other cultures such as the Norse, the Persians, Romans and nomadic tribes. I think if I write it well a book with all those cultures would be quite good. :)

    I can also see what was said about the Samurai and Ninjas. Sure there is fantasy about them but nothing really orignal as far as I know. Just carbon copies most of them time.
     
  3. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

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    A few of my favourite eras and empires: Heian Japan, 'Islamic Renaissance', Ottoman Empire, Moorish Spain, and I'm desperately craving a fantasy book with a fantasy!counterpart Timbuktu.
     
  4. Konstanz

    Konstanz Minstrel

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    I smiled when I read this. I'm Belgian and people tend to forget about us a lot even though we are a major player in Europe and we have the best beer and chocolate in the world. (Even though the Germans and the Swiss pretend otherwise, we win ALL the major competitions hah!)
     
  5. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Wow–a kindred spirit. Didn't think there was anybody else out there. I've tried pushing these a couple of times in different threads… not just the Finns, but the entire set spread out over northern Russia. (Plus the Estonians–essentially little different from the Finns–and the Hungarians, who are different from everybody, courtesy of borrowing from everybody.)

    My other favorite candidates for "underappreciated" are, unfortunately, not recognized mostly because of the dearth of solid data on them. Which either makes them unsuited, or amazingly suited, for fantasy writers to draw inspiration from.

    One is the Indus Valley Culture–which was truly massive, but which has left us little beyond some very impressive ruins and a mysterious may-or-may-not-be-writing system. (I could argue that one either direction.) You really need to take a look at the extent of their cities, both in number and in size, and then to take a look at the time period involved, to truly begin to grasp what we're missing here.

    The other is whoever built Çatalhöyük–its modern name: we haven't a clue what they called it, nor probably ever will. It's a slightly different set of numbers that will make you drop your teeth there.…
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  6. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    Always great to encounter another Finn lover. I'd just like to say that my interest (and my area of study in college, although expanded to include northern Europe in general, especially British history) is the Baltic region, ranging from Finns ans Swedes to Danes and Russians and all peoples of that area. For being so closely related via trade, politics, etc., it's amazing the variety of culture they developed. I just love that I can start with someone like Thor and find kindred spirits all the way to Perun, but also find unique elements such as Ilmater, Kosice the Deathless, etc.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    My short story Selkie is tentatively set in Finland, though I'm not sure whether the selkie myths extend that far east. Do either of you know?
     
  8. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    There's a Swedish version of the story, so it seems likely that there'd be a Finnish counterpart (if only adapted from the Swedes during the prolonged occupation of that country).
     
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Thanks, Shockley. I thought about setting it in the Faroe islands, just to get it out further west where I know the tales were told, but it sounds like I won't have to do that!
     
  10. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    No problem. While the Selkie myth is particularly northern European, the idea of someone who can change into an animal is a fairly universal trope, as is the act of capturing them by taking their skins. I'll link to wikipedia articles of one (my favorite) example.

    Hagoromo (play) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The basic story behind the kelpie (which is really just a gussied up Swan Maiden motif) is recognized as one of the core fairy tales.
     
  11. studentofrhythm

    studentofrhythm Minstrel

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    Turkestan! Ah, the romance of the Silk road: caravans of heavy-laden Bactrian camels wending their way across harsh deserts, over high mountain passes, to cities teeming with fine crafts and culture: Ashgabat, Bukhara, Samarkand. Apricot orchards in bloom, mulberries and silk weavers, stylish striped robes and fun musical instruments like dutars and doyras. Rice pilaf and mutton, flat bread, yogurt . . .

    Monasteries with libraries burgeoning with texts in twenty languages. Obscure heretical sects flourishing in safety from their persecutors. Bizarre syncretism.

    More of this kind of stuff, please!
     
    King Raven Stark likes this.
  12. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    I concur.

    I take elements of japanese culture in my story, but never even thought of samurais or ninjas...ew...
     
  13. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    Indian culture [not Native American] is insanely underrated in fantasy. I feel Sumerian deserves more love too.
     
  14. studentofrhythm

    studentofrhythm Minstrel

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    Dude! India has more fabulous stories than you can shake a stick at!

    When I was a teenager I had a dream that I was a peasant in a Sumerian-esque civilization and suddenly became the ruler of my city through some lottery (this was before I'd even heard of J.L. Borges). I haven't done anything with it, so here, someone, have a free idea . . .
     
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    The Sumerians were created by the Annunaki. The came to earth to earth from Nibiru to exploit our mineral resources, and then genetically engineered modern humans from earlier hominids.

    Don't take my word for it, just read Zecharia Sitchin :D
     
  16. Caliburn

    Caliburn New Member

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    Yeah Sumerian and early Mesopotamian stuff is interesting. Been reading up on it lately.

    Also pre-Islamic Persian empires like the Sassanids.

    And I've always thought Songhai-style paladins make for a cool alternative to the traditional European knight.
     
  17. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    I've never even heard of the Sassanids... *suddenly feels inadequate*
     
  18. Caliburn

    Caliburn New Member

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    Only found out about 'em meself last week! Don't be disheartened :)
     
  19. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    Okay, thanks. >.<
     
  20. Telcontar

    Telcontar Staff Moderator

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    I would love it if you could elaborate on "Songhai-style paladins." I know a fair deal about the Songhai empire, but never heard of any kind of paladin. Have any reading material you could direct me to?
     
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