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Research

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The Czar
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Research

Post by The Czar » Thu September 15th, 2011, 4:31 pm

I am beginning research for a novel on Pyrrhus of Epirus. I am doing fine finding good research material for his life and career, the battles, etc., so no problem on that score.

But in my opinion, what makes good historical fiction is breathing life into the times, the settings, the people. What makes them tick? What did their house look like? What did they eat? Did they have slaves/servants, and what sort of interactions did they have? What were their religious practices?

I'm having problems finding materials like this specifically for the period in question. I would like detailed information on both the life and culture of Greece/Macedonia circa 300-200 B.C., and Egypt and Rome as well, as Pyrrhus was an exile in Egypt during his childhood for a time, and married an Egyptian princess. Egypt isn't that hard, as it seems to be timeless, and pretty well documented. Rome is easy, as their culture is well documented.

But I want to be very careful with Greece. There are ample materials that deal with the culture and religion of "ancient Greece" but most deal with earlier periods, such as the age of Pericles, which was a century and a half earlier. Perhaps nothing much changed, but I want to be as accurate as possible. I also need/want detailed information as to the tactics/composition of Macedonian armies in the Age of Alexander (Pyrrhus was born 22 years after Alexander's death so close enough.)

I thought I'd see if anyone had any recommendations for background material, as I find, sadly, much of what I can find is out of print and hard to find.

Thanks!
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

SGM
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Post by SGM » Thu September 15th, 2011, 6:16 pm

Have you tried the Cambridge Ancient History as a starting point? I used for aspects of a much later Roman-Gaul period but it was quite detailed for an initial step for a book of that type but can be very dry and A level stardard. I am not entirely sure that it isn't free online now. It tends to be in every local reference library over here and at least you can use the bibliography.

Apart from that, I am afraid that my period of Greek history finished more or less with Socrates so not much help there.
Last edited by SGM on Thu September 15th, 2011, 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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The Czar
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Post by The Czar » Fri September 16th, 2011, 2:22 am

Thanks, That looks useful. The online version is pay, but I'm sure my local University library has it on hand.

I wish I could afford to buy a set of my own, those look like some pretty books!
Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results.
_______________________________________________
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

SGM
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Post by SGM » Fri September 16th, 2011, 7:10 am

[quote=""The Czar""]The online version is pay

I wish I could afford to buy a set of my own, those look like some pretty books![/quote]

It's free at Archive.org. Here is a list of the seach I did.

http://www.archive.org/search.php?query ... %20history

I don't have time to go through all the volumes it throws up to find the one that you want and, unfortunately, you can't always find all the volumes. Often the volume that you want is missing but more are being added all the time. But if you do find the appropriate volume so long as you can deal with reading the PDF downloaded to your computer, or just read them online, this site helps keep the expense (and space) requirment down. Everything on this site is out-of-copyright and absolutely free. Actually there are a couple that I have come across which aren't OOC but not many.

You would not believe the number of 17th century texts and diaries I have found on this site which I would otherwise have had to consult at the British Library (and not in the comfort of my own home).

If you find the one that you wanted was uploaded by Google and clicking in it just takes you to the Google site, go back to the original page andclick on the http: All files option instead and you should find the PDF there which you can download. That was a useful tip I picked up from a very nice man at the National Records Office.

I hope that helps. However, I would mention that these are some of the books I had to use when I was doing my A Levels and do not constitute fun reading -- I think the word I would use is "turgid" but the volumes vary obviously according to the writer and the bibliographies are a very useful starting point for more research.
Last edited by SGM on Fri September 16th, 2011, 9:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

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