The 1914 Christmas Truce

Such was the carnage of The Great War that it was thought it would put an end to war for good. The war affected the lives of millions of men, including Tolkien and Milne. It gave birth to some rather unusual WWI alphabet primers. WWI also triggered medical advances...

A Christmas Feud

Christmas is a time when friends and relatives gather around the table to celebrate love, joy, and all things good. I know that this is the time of the year for inspirational stories, and I promise you’ll have one of those for Christmas. Unfortunately, it is...

Flying Aircraft Carriers. For Real

As Popular Mechanics reports, the US Department of Defense wants the ability to launch and recover small drones from C-130 Hercules transports. The drones, nicknamed Gremlins after the mythological tricksters of the air, would be equipped with customized payloads and...

Who Will Rid Me of This Troublesome Patriarch?

A couple of centuries before King Henry II uttered the infamous words, “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” a Byzantine Emperor was facing a similar problem: a Patriarch who was less than enthusiastic about the idea of resigning. Even worse, his...

An Executioner’s Tale

While browsing Quora, I came across the fascinating tale of a family of executioners in the Late Medieval era. I just know this will inspire your writing, so here it is. Thanks to Jean-Marie Valheur for the great answer. A Reluctant Executioner Imagine you’re a...

Happy Thanksgiving

Even though Greece doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I went to an American school so the family and I sort of do — mostly because we love the idea of a day dedicated to gratitude. In that spirit, I am very grateful to all of you for your love and support all these...

What Were Stone Age Clothes Made of?

Many fantasy books mention clothes. These are usually made of wool or linen. If there’s an “Asian” civilization nearby, perhaps even silk. But what did early civilizations really use for their clothes? I’m not talking about Medieval clothes or...

The Cossack Sorcerers

Almost everyone knows about Japanese Ninjas and Chinese Shaolin monks. How about the secretive and magical Warrior Society of Ukraine, though? I am, of course, talking about the Cossack Sorcerers. Never heard of them? Well, neither had I until I came across a...

The Real Tower of Babel

“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for...

How Tolkien’s War Experience Shaped His Work

In my last post, I described how Winnie the Pooh may be seen as Milne’s attempt to describe his PTSD to his son. However, the Battle of the Somme affected more than one famous author. J.R.R. Tolkien was also there, and his experience shaped his work, as another...