Favorite Historical Period/Area to Study And Why?

GoodEnoughForMe

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Do you have a favorite historical era or region that you like to learn about? What are they, and if so, why do you like them so much?

I’ve always been a fan of ancient Chinese history as well as modern SE Asian history. Those are more just general interest for one reason or another, China probably in part because it’s big and old and you don’t learn much about it in school in the west. SE Asia because I’ve travelled there a lot and love it. Given the influence of the westminster system, I enjoy reading about the foundation/establishment/development of the modern UK parliamentary system as well.

I mostly ask this though because I’ve been on a big “late bronze age collapse” kick lately, a fascinatingly unique event having that many civilizations see that much dramatic change in such a relatively short time period.

I don’t even think that is everything; ancient pandemics are fascinating, Islamic spread to SE Asia is interesting, ancient Egypt is interesting, modern Australian history is fun, etc etc.

Anyways I really just want to hear what you like and why, and maybe include some cool facts and stuff so I can learn about it too. Feel free to drop any book recs too.
 
I have learned over time that my favorite eras of history to learn, and my favorite historical aesthetics for, say, media and games are not the same.

Hard to pick any favorites at the moment, however. But I have a soft spot that marries my D&D love with my student-of-capitalism life, in post-Rome western Europe's economic history, the collapse and re-birth of money. It's an insane system:

The legitimacy of princes were their claims to being Roman successors by virtue of their coin hoards, which they grew by kidnapping their rivals for ransom.

The economic system of that era was so romantically disgusting, that by the end of the early "dark ages" (dopest name for an era so let's not get rid of it), there was virtually no gold at all in western europe. They were selling people in an transcontinental slave trade to the middle east for gold and silver, but then selling off/losing that gold and silver pretty fast as well. Brief moments of relative prosperity occurred when there were princes who minted and revived the money economy.

It a true peak of austerity politics, clad in chainmail.
 
I think the middle ages are boring; I always hate them in video games.

don't see the appeal of going "raaaaaaah!" and running at people with swords in castles versus just "make ready, present, fire!"
so I guess late renaissance/colonial era cir 1500s-1800
 
  1. Napoleonic Wars
  2. Origins of things
  3. 2nd Punic War
  4. Chinese history
  5. Ancient Mediterranean Fertile Crescent history
  6. Age of Exploration
 
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Modern Era in the broadest terms (1500s to present). Grew up with a lot of WWII related media, so probably my concentration.
 
  1. Napoleonic Wars
  2. Origins of things
  3. 2nd Punic War
  4. Chinese history
  5. Ancient Mediterranean Fertile Crescent history
  6. Age of Exploration

Origins of what things? That could mean anything from billions of years ago when elements more complicated than helium formed, up to the present day.
 
Origins of what things? That could mean anything from billions of years ago when elements more complicated than helium formed, up to the present day.
Anything that strikes my fancy from language, tech, weapons, cities, and prehistory too. How thing happen over time is interesting and rarely as quick as we make it seem.
 
So I have a big soft spot for mythology, which isn't history per se, but it does connect with actual history in a wide variety of ways (as you'd expect), and this is often what I find fascinating. I don't have a lot of time for reading these days, but I do often get lost down Wikipedia (sue me :p) rabbit holes.

My most recent one started at gemstones, because I saw something random on social media about one of the famous historical ones. I then dove into a three-hour read about how a bunch of them were mined from a specific mine in India, how this tied into the rise and fall of various historical dynasties across India, into foreign occupation, and so on. I already knew a bit about the Partition, so this wasn't really around that specifically - it was actually more about the rulers themselves, their families, and their connection to these gemstones (as royalty often lays claim to).

But in terms of mythology, I recently finished Mythos by Stephen Fry (I mentioned it in the book thread a while back, I think). I kinda want to look at getting his other two books, because it looks like he continued with the Silver Age (as I learned, in Greek myth, they're commonly divided into Ages reminiscent of comic book eras - maybe there's even a link there, I didn't get that far in my reading) and finally with Troy itself (which basically completes the mythos as a whole, and takes us into a fully "human" age).

Mythos is great. And Fry was very good at mixing in historical anecdotes, how it relates to other cultures and the impact on language across time, even to the (near) present day. Very much up my street.

In general, I've always been into Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greek, with a side-helping of Norse myth, Ancient Roman myth, Japanese myth, and because I'm a massive nerd who reads manga (and manhwa) I've gotten a fair bit into Korean mythology as well. It's all up for grabs, basically. And it often comes back to history itself, which is great.
 
Carthage
Republican Rome
Persia (Achaemenid, Sasanid, Saffarid, Safavid and other periods)
Ottomans
Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican and Andean peoples
Mexico
Gwynedd from Rhodri the Great to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
and stuff relating to them which brings in a whole lot more
 
My two big interests are late antiquity/early medieval Europe (so, 300AD to 1100AD) and post WW2 stuff - mainly spy stuff and the decolonization conflicts in the 'third world'.
 
Gotta a History major in college. I'd say my favorite courses at the time were Tudor England, Tsarist Russia, American Civil War, Palestine/Israel, and World War I and II (especially I) Also, I received minors in both Geography and Urban Affairs and Planning, so I was very interested in the courses that touched on all these aspects like in the Feudal era.

My general interests though lie in the Medieval eras, especially the early/mid eras...or Dark, if you will. Everywhere. Especially interested in times of great upheaval and change, which often involve wars. Not religious myself, but always been interested in the historical and socio-economic impact of religions over time.

Enjoy Welsh history as well, as that is my heritage.
 
I think the middle ages are boring; I always hate them in video games.

don't see the appeal of going "raaaaaaah!" and running at people with swords in castles versus just "make ready, present, fire!"
so I guess late renaissance/colonial era cir 1500s-1800

The Middle Ages weren't just about people trying to invade castles. :huh: They were about people with much the same basic concerns of modern people: food, clothing, shelter, concern for family, friends, and so on. They just had less technology and less knowledge of science and the world in general.

  1. Napoleonic Wars
  2. Origins of things
  3. 2nd Punic War
  4. Chinese history
  5. Ancient Mediterranean Fertile Crescent history
  6. Age of Exploration

Have you ever read Delenda Est by Poul Anderson?

Anything that strikes my fancy from language, tech, weapons, cities, and prehistory too. How thing happen over time is interesting and rarely as quick as we make it seem.

Reminds me of James Burke's Connections shows and The Day the Universe Changed.

Classic era, Greece, Rome, Persia and this stuff

:thumbsup:

My two big interests are late antiquity/early medieval Europe (so, 300AD to 1100AD) and post WW2 stuff - mainly spy stuff and the decolonization conflicts in the 'third world'.

Funny how the SCA stimulates interest in a variety of eras. I wasn't into Tudor stuff until a friend decided to base her persona in that era.

Gotta a History major in college. I'd say my favorite courses at the time were Tudor England, Tsarist Russia, American Civil War, Palestine/Israel, and World War I and II (especially I) Also, I received minors in both Geography and Urban Affairs and Planning, so I was very interested in the courses that touched on all these aspects like in the Feudal era.

My general interests though lie in the Medieval eras, especially the early/mid eras...or Dark, if you will. Everywhere. Especially interested in times of great upheaval and change, which often involve wars. Not religious myself, but always been interested in the historical and socio-economic impact of religions over time.

Enjoy Welsh history as well, as that is my heritage.

Ah, another person who minored in geography. :) My major was in anthropology, so it dovetailed nicely at times. History has always been more of a hobby, though I took a variety of courses in it.
 
No, but it looks to be a fun read. Thx
Just about anything by Poul Anderson is blast. One author commented "Over his long career, Poul Anderson write a lot of mediocre stories; but even a bad Poul Anderson story is better than what you get from most authors."

Indeed, Poul Anderson's various Norse stories (The Broken Sword*, Hrolf Kraki Saga, and Mother of Kings) really helped get me interested in the early middle ages in northern Europe. (Unfortunately I still can't find a copy of Three Hearts and Three Lions.)

*The Broken Sword is quite interesting for its take on Germanic myths. Anderson draws from the same wellspring as Tolkien did, but without Tolkien's work to integrate one-eyed blood sorcerers into a Christian morality.
 
There is however one worthy mention about "Broken Sword".
 
There's another too about the "Spear of Destiny" ;) Nazis believed in paranormal - that is why they've had swastika - buddhist symbol reversed as theirs ... need I say more ?
 
Just about anything by Poul Anderson is blast. One author commented "Over his long career, Poul Anderson write a lot of mediocre stories; but even a bad Poul Anderson story is better than what you get from most authors."

Indeed, Poul Anderson's various Norse stories (The Broken Sword*, Hrolf Kraki Saga, and Mother of Kings) really helped get me interested in the early middle ages in northern Europe. (Unfortunately I still can't find a copy of Three Hearts and Three Lions.)

*The Broken Sword is quite interesting for its take on Germanic myths. Anderson draws from the same wellspring as Tolkien did, but without Tolkien's work to integrate one-eyed blood sorcerers into a Christian morality.

Poul Anderson is one of the founding generation of the SCA, along with authors such as Gordon Dickson.

Anderson was the GoH at a convention I was at, back in July of 1985, if memory serves. That was a fun con, as his wife turned up at the Saturday night filking session and sang some of the songs that are popular in their region (some filk music tends to be regional, or at least some verses and melodies).

One story we heard that weekend was about their daughter, Astrid. Waaay back when Astrid was a little girl, her teacher asked the class one day what their parents did for a living. Back then, Poul Anderson was involved in a literacy program at a prison (helping inmates learn to read), in addition to his normal writing.

So little Astrid got up in front of the class and announced, "My daddy is a writer. He often goes to jail."

Little Astrid grew up and eventually married SF author Greg Bear... who wrote a Star Trek book that I got him to sign at a different convention in Calgary.


I don't recall now just how many Poul Anderson books I have in my collection. It's a lot. My favorites will always be his Time Patrol stories. If you were to ask me which fictional characters I'd like to meet, Manse Everard would be in my top 10.

Delenda Est is one of those time travel stories that tends to get anthologized more than many. One thing it addresses is the ethics of changing history - of course you want to change everything back to how *you* think it's supposed to go... but what of the people who were born, lived, and died in the new timeline? Do you owe them anything, including the chance to exist? What makes your history right and theirs wrong? After all, they didn't do anything but be born into a timeline that isn't the same one you remember.
 
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