Fantastical History covers the intersection of history and myth, and how this informs popular fiction and role-playing games (including my own).
For history to be reliable and understandable hundreds much less thousands of years hence, two things have to happen: 1) human beings must record events with some diligence and rigor and 2) those records must survive. The first condition happens with surprising regularity. Every civilization raises a batch of self-important nerds who can take good notes. The second condition, however, requires great fortune, as calamity, warfare and the antics of tyrants all conspire to obliterate the past.
Honest historians, then must peer and grasp into this thick mist and admit how little they actually know. Story-tellers, in contrast, fill in these gaps by making stuff up. Some of that stuff is really fantastic, and this blog and its associated sites cover that: ridiculous lies about the past.
For folklore and even mythology has some basis in truth – somewhere. We’ll look for those seeds of truth but also we’ll talk about the legends themselves, and what they tell us about ourselves; why we concocted these particular lies.
But we won’t really spend a lot of time on that, because this is not an academic blog. We are not searching for truth so much as we are celebrating the ridiculous lies, particularly as they appear in popular fiction and in role-playing games. These are the new campfires around which we tell stories – and this blog is here to help keep all these fantastic lies straight in your head.
Human beings, in our recognizable form, have been around for over 100,000 years, and yet Recorded History only covers the last 5000 years or so. This leaves 95% of the human experience undiscovered. Certainly, you can make the case that we were merely hunting and/or gathering during that span, but you make that case not with evidence, but with the lack thereof.
We went from subsistence agriculture to the Moon in 5000 years. Were we the only ones to make substantive progress? Expanding and retreating ices ages can obliterate a lot of archaeology.
Barring some miracle discovery we will never know with scientific certainty. And that is to our loss. But maybe…
Maybe there is a window into our deep past after all. Suppose our myths legends are dim memories of things that actually happened. That is what we do here.