Book Baubles: Graecian Edition

Khaírete (greetings!), Mikaius bringing you today’s Book Baubles.

Considering the theme of this week’s Literature Monday, I wasn’t entirely sure how to do Book Baubles today. I could make a bunch of stuffy suggestions and condemnations about philosophy, or I could tell you to go watch Brad Pitt in sexy leather armour. I’m going with the latter. Here’s a bunch of items that are tangentially related to Hellenism!

(1) Troy

Troy2004Poster Troy, set in the Bronze Age of Mycenaean Greece, the backdrop of the famous epic poem “The Odyssey.” Troy is a loose retelling of the poem, but it is a far better retelling than the awful Alexander was of known history. This movie is a timeless tale and a fantastic aesthetic, carried out by a great cast. It’s real cheap these days, and it’s real good. Available at Amazon.

(2) Total War series, developed by Creative Assembly Romebox This series has had its bumps and bruises, and for me personally, it’s in a coma at the moment*. However, it’s been made into an amazing product through its community. Rome: Total War and Medieval II: Total War are absolutely fantastic games, with complete overhaul mods ranging from Europa Barbarorum (an intensely realistic overhaul) to The Third Age (an amazing overhaul set in Middle-Earth). The core games are set in a turned-based campaign across (typically) a map of Europe, leading into the Near-East and the Maghreb. The key to the game, which separates it from other turn-based campaign titles, is its real time battles, with potentially thousands upon thousands of soldiers pitted against each other in forts, keeps, castles, plains and any number of scenarios. There is no other historical series like Total War, and it’s also incredibly easy to catch ’em all now thanks to Steam (this whole package, or at least its parts individually will almost always go for 75% off during any given Steam sale).

The series recently celebrated it’s 15th birthday. Happy birthday, Total War, I hope there’s more on the horizon for you.

*I feel the need to qualify this statement because it’s such a storied series. Since the introduction of the Warscape engine, there have been a number of issues that unfortunately cannot be sorted out by modders. Likewise, it has become tiresome to turn to community members to fix the developers’ problems, and more is expected now.  Empire and Rome II are blunders beyond reckoning and the abandonment of both to their name-based successors (Napoleon and Attila, respectively) is a huge sore spot. However, it must be said that Napoleon and Shogun 2 were fantastic games in their own rights.

(3) Ptolemy’s Map Harley 7182 ff.58v-59 I have a certain fascination with ancient maps. Medieval maps are nice and all, but  cartography had kicked in by then and more or less accurately displayed the world. The mystery seemed a little lost. It’s amazing to see how without personal voyages, various ancient cartographers had managed such accurate representations for their times, and were also able to see the follies or end of their knowledge. I could not find any actual reproductions of Ptolemy’s original map, there seem to be posters (Amazon) and sellers (Etsy) out there with recreations of a 15th century reproduction of the original.

(Header image taken from TWCenter.)

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