Marvel Comics has a wonderful concept called “What If…?” Writers extrapolate alternate timelines from the official one based upon different choices or outcomes in old storylines. The concept also covers all storylines set in the future.
I came across this pair of blogposts on Tankards and Broadswords:
The first contains a clear imagining of what a Bronze Age setting could be like—would feel like. The second illustrates the cyclopean architecture found in the period.
Xenograg’s homeland is supposed to be Early Iron Age. Bronze armor, weapons, and architecture are still seen in some places, and the magical arms in tombs will likely be of bronze. I even have a house rule that says bronze is better than iron for enchantment.
My compliments, Badelaire.
The coaching technique profiled in the New York Times article “Teaching Golf Pros What They Already Know” is just what I strive to impart as Xenograg to his dueling students. He does not impose his style upon a student, but seeks to enlighten her regarding her1 own natural style—and to trust in it (and thus herself).
Here is the key quote:
“I don’t teach; I help these guys learn,” Lynch said. “You can’t tell someone to do XYZ because they won’t do it out there.”
The power of the steppe was based on the individual pastoral unit, the man on horseback. By all accounts, he was a unique creation, singular in his abilities and outlandish and terrifying in the eyes of victims, so much so he frequently defied description. Aesthetically, he left much to be desired. Clad shabbily in boots and trousers—both inventions of the steppe—kept supple through liberal portions of leftover butter and grease, he was likely a pungent warrior, especially since he himself never bathed. Upper garments were composed of crudely stitched pelts, valued only for warmth and protection. Strapped to his back was a quiver full of carefully crafted arrows and his formidable bow, both encased against the elements due to their extreme vulnerability to moisture. A well-cast bronze dagger would have completed his personal arsenal, since the steppe’s rich copper and tin deposits were exploited almost from the beginning of penetration.It was horsemanship that set the pastoral trooper apart. Under ordinary circumstances control was exerted by reins attached to a bit—sometimes copper or bronze, but also bone or hemp. Saddles were blankets and hides. There were no stirrups, not before 500 [C.E.] at the earliest, so balance was based on experience and skill. Over time a horseman’s thighs and knees grew so sensitive to his mount’s movements that it became possible to maintain a firm seat at full speed using legs alone. The net effect was a union that left some wondering where the man left off and the horse began—the Greeks, for instance, imagined a race of centaurs, wild and unpredictable, humans and equines joined at the hip. Others were less fanciful, but nearly all who crossed his path were amazed by the steppe horseman’s ability to let go the reins and launch a rapid-fire barrage of arrows at full gallop through an arc of 270 degrees or more. He was as dangerous in retreat as moving forward—his fabled rearward Parthian shot brought an end to a legion of pursuers. No one was more lethal in the ancient world.
I never understood why centaurs were envisioned as forest creatures. Horses and ponies live on plains, steppes, and savannas.
I occasionally regret creating the Rellugai as turkic humans instead of centaurs. They would have been more difficult to write, but my writing can sometimes be too human-centric.
In [the] provincial government [of the Ottoman Empire] no distinction was drawn between civil and military authority. The administration of large cities like Damascus or great provinces like Egypt was entrusted to pashas, this being a title, not an office, indicating that its holder had been admitted to the highest ruling circle of the empire and membership of the Divan, or State Council. These officials were regularly transferred from one post to another, to prevent them from developing local loyalties or building personal systems of patronage and power. Practice was somewhat different in the conquered territories of Balkan Europe…where senior officials normally retained office for long periods of time. European Turkey was considered to be an administrative unity called the Eyalet of Rumeli, whose supreme governor was the Beglierbeg; during the 1540’s [C.E.] two new Hungarian beglierbegliks were created, with their capitals at Buda and Temesvar. The area was subdivided during the fifteenth century into sanjaks, most of which were reorganized during the sixteenth century into twenty-four pashaliks, governed, as their name implies, by officers of the rank of pasha, who were, however, as in other frontier regions of the empire, entitled begs.
Xenograg’s title of bey is a cultural variant of beg.