I recently finished Daily Life in the Byzantine Empire, by Marcus Rautman. While reading about military life, I came across this passage:
Leo the Mathematician, a leading court scholar and inventor of the ninth century, established a chain of hilltop signal towards stretching from the palace in Constantinople to the Taurus mountains in southeast Asia Minor. Nine beacons spaced at intervals of 30 to 65 miles relayed a messages over a total distance of some 450 miles in only an hour’s time.
I read that and thought, “Hey, that’s like the beacons that Pippin lights in Return of the King when Gondor calls for aid!”
I love that scene. We see Pippin stepping up. The music and cinematography are lovely, and we end with Theoden stepping up too.
Want another Tolkien-history connection? Read about the 1529 Siege of Vienna, and then watch the Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers.
History is so cool.
History hidden in a fantasy novel/movie is so fun.
Sometimes I’m asked to give writing advice, so here it is: It doesn’t matter what genre you write. Reading about history will make you a better storyteller.