Snoop Dogg isn’t wrong

So this week Snoop Dogg was in the news for two reasons. One reason is that his new album came out today; Bush is excellent, give it a listen. It’s been produced by Pharrel and has his snoop-dogg-game-of-thrones classic phunky touch to it. The more amusing reason is that Snoop believes that Game of Thrones is based on real historical events (there’s some articles at the bottom of this post just to confirm this). On first glance, this is pretty funny. Hilarious in fact. However on further examination, his idea is not completely as ridiculous as it first sounds. Obviously this is a fantasy world and everything has been exaggerated, but clearly this world is based on something.

Firstly, the scenery and props are all based on historical designs, mostly from the various points in the medieval period. I know for many people all swords are the same regardless. However lannister guard armourthe types of weaponry, equipment and buildings, especially when you examine the different factions and environments, have clearly been based on historical peoples and places. The North is strongly based on the Northern European cultures, mixing Viking and Celtic with Norman and similar warrior styles. The Southern factions are more closely aligned with the Medieval cultures, with the clothing styles closer to those of the later Medieval period. The style of building of fortresses such as the Red Keep has its similarities with later European medieval castles, such as Windsor or the Castel Sant Angelo. Winterfell is similar, though has aspects from the earlier medieval styles. The Dornish culture appears based on the soldiers pikes game of thrones helmets tv series daenerys targaryen barristan selmy jorah mormont shields shiled the unsullied khaleesi_wallpaperwind.com_39 Saracen cultures of the crusader period, shown by the use of the scimitars and lances used. Even the Unsullied (at  least in the books) are supposed to fight in the style of Ancient Greek phalanxes with their round shields, spears and short swords.

The religious situations of Westeros and Essos also have their similarities with historical situations. The religions of Westeros are similar to the pagan religions of pre-Christian Europe. There are aspects of Celtic, Norse and Greco-Roman religions found in the Northern weirwoodWeirwoods and the Southern Seven. The Seven in particular, with the gods being assigned roles and responsibility echoes the gods of the Norse and Greco-Roman religions where the gods and goddesses are given their own aspects such as gods of war or wisdom. Controversial as it may sound, the Red God’s followers have a lot in common with Christianity in the Antique, Medieval and Early Modern Periods. The passion with which they try to eradicate those who do not believe in their religion rese468px-Game_of_thrones_season_4_sacrifics_red_god_2mbles the purges done by the various different strands of Christianity; the eradication of the military orders such as the Templars, the elimination of the Cathars, the use of the Spanish Inquisition, and the Protestant and Catholic burnings in Tudor England to name a few scenarios. Also the fact that Stannis’ troops attribute their successes to their God is directly reprising the victories of Christian figures such as Constantine.

Then there is of course the political situation. Westeros is in a state of Civil War. There are various civil wars throughout history in Britain alone. And while this is a strenuous link, some of the events of the civil war have historical roots.The roving bands of mercenaries making profit of chaos, and the constant changing allegiances of lords happened across the course of history, particularly in civil wars. Events similar to the Red Wedding have occurred several times between feuding tribes and clans in Scottish and Norse history.

So hopefully this had made sense. All I wanted to really say is that Snoop Dogg’s idea is not as hilariously wrong as it first sounds. Game of Thrones has its historical influences, but please, I beg you, don’t take it literally.


Roots and Beginnings

Before I go into my current studies, I thought I’d explain where this obsession has come from.

I am a nerd. Always have been, always will be. Not so much of a computer games, comic books, card games nerd (although I occasionally partake in the odd spot of gaming), but a history nerd. As long as I can remember, I have loved everything to do with it. The older the better, with Roman History having long been my favourite period, followed shortly by Early Medieval History (minus the Christianity).

Personally, I blame my father. My dad is possibly the smartest man I know, and he is certainly my hero. Coming from nothing (a military brat) he managed to gain entry into the local grammar school with his parents having to give him his uniform and school essentials as early Christmas and Birthday presents. Having enjoyed a great school career, enjoying both the intellectual and the sporting side of it, he went off to university to study law. And dropped out. But then he returned and gained his degree. His love of history (and of rugby, football and cricket) have been passed onto me. By the age of 10 he had taught me to recite the Kings and Queens of England from Edward the Confessor. He would sit and aid my revision for all my exams, and while his French and basic science is good, clearly an excellent history teacher was lost to the world when he chose to be a chartered accountant. He has always enjoyed taking us kids round any historical sights, both on holiday and in the UK. As you can see, this is clearly his fault.IMG_8404

What has been passed onto me clearly did not reach my brothers. While both are decent students, neither sees anything of interest in history, although will occasionally enjoy a historical movie or game (must be to do with the violence). My Middle brother wishes to be a farmer and is easily bored due to his energetic nature. He spent the family trip to Vindolanda fort on Hadrian’s Wall running round bringing me “Roman Sticks”, “Roman Leaves” or even “A Roman slug on a Roman stick”. He was 19 at the time. The youngest sees no point in anything that does not earn money. At least my mother humours my ramblings, and seems to listen intently to the discussions my father and I have.The newest member of my immediate family is my 17 year old niece who has come to live with us to go to college. She knows next to nothing on a lot of things, but is eager to learn, particularly history. More on her to come.

Safe to say that having found so many like-minded people, with whom I can waffled away about various aspects of history, or anything really, no matter how ridiculous (believe me, come 1AM in the library, all sense disappears). Swansea has been good to me, and I sincerely hope I can continue my studies here following my masters.

Let’s get started

Ok here it is. A blog. A mature (ish), academic (vaguely) blog. What a frightening notion.

Right so first a bit about the general idea of these ramblings. I know Ancient History isn’t for everyone (despite my efforts) but that was the focus of my undergraduate degree, and now, having started on a Masters in Ancient History and Classical Civilisation in September, I find myself often overflowing with thoughts that are roughly to do with my course. As a now 22 year old MA student I have decided it is probably a good idea to occasionally have an area to let my academic and intellectual thoughts spill out, hopefully for some of you to enjoy.

Hold onto your hats.IMG_5797IMG_5755