September 4, 2011 · 12:00 am
So, if you’re here then you probably like steampunk, but you’re also probably just a little tired of seeing the same old English professor or American cowboy riding his clockwork horse to save western civilization. Me too. And after following the Racefail discussions back in 2009, I set out to create a steampunk series that would be different in every way I could imagine.
I started with research. Lots of it. I learned everything I could about the history and cultures of North Africa and the rest of the Mediterranean to create a time and place for my series that was original and fantastical, and yet thoroughly grounded in reality. Instead of drawing new maps, I looked at ancient maps. Instead of inventing emperors and wars and nations, I discovered the real ones from history (although none of them had appeared in my high school classes, disappointingly). And I carefully knitted them all together as the backdrop for my stories.
Here’s what I came up with.
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April 24, 2011 · 12:00 am
The current war fought in Libya in these days is drawing attention on that country and its history. This article is about the history of Libya from ancient times until World War II.
Only in recent times has the term “Libya” been in use, indicating the territories between Tunisia and Egypt; before its colonization, the area was called Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, two territories that had a separate historic development for centuries.
Libya before Italian Occupation: A Brief History
Tripolitania was initially under the control of Phoenicians while Cyrenaica was under the control of Greeks, who between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE founded Cyrene, Arsinoe, Apollonia, Tolemaide and Berenice: this territory was called Pentapolis, for the five cities present. Tripolitania passed from Phoenician influence to Carthaginian and after the Punic war, during the 1st century BCE, under Roman control. Cyrenaica, on the other hand, was under Persian influence (6th century BCE), then became a part of Alexander the Great’s Empire and afterwards, was put under the Hellenistic Reign of Egypt.
In 75 BCE, Romans took possession of the Cyrenaica, creating the province of Creta and Cyrene. In 46 BCE, Tripolitania was organized in the Africa province.
Arch of Roman emperor Lucius Septimius Severus (AD 146–211) in Leptis Magna.
Roman domination was limited only to coastal regions where cities had a relevant development. It is to be noted that Libya, for the Romans, was an integral part of the Republic/Empire and not a colony in foreign land: from that part of the Empire came emperors, philosophers, and Popes.
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April 13, 2011 · 12:00 am
Alfons Mucha's Salammbo (1896). Click for source.
Salammbô was created by Gustave Flaubert and appeared in Salammbô (1862). Flaubert (1821-1880) is one of the major writers of the 19th century. Although he is best known for Madame Bovary he has a respectable body of work, from short stories to dramas. His work is generally placed in the realist genre, but his skill as a stylist and technician is far above most of the other realists. Salammbô is one of the two or three greatest historical romances of the 19th century.
Salammbô is the story of Carthage in 237 B.C.E, during the mercenary rebellion described by the Greek historian Polybius in his History. The novel is not really about Salammbô, who is the priestess of Tanit, the moon, and is the daughter of the mighty general Hamilcar Barca. Salammbô is about the mercenary rebellion itself. Salammbô only appears as a subplot, albeit a compelling one and one which Flaubert himself saw as important to the novel.
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