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Curiously Bipolar

May 12, 2004

Anybody who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am writing a novel set in a very critical period of the Roman Republic. It should not be a great leap of logic to assume, therefore, that I am extremely interested in the history of Ancient Rome.

This interest showed itself readily when I put together a list of future novel ideas yesterday. The majority of them dealt with Rome in one way or another, though curiously none touch upon the lives of Caesar, Cicero, or Mark Antony. I guess I feel they’ve just been done to death.

What surprised me about my list wasn’t the Roman subjects, though. Rather, it was the revelation that there was another, quite specific, period of history that draws my interest. 11th Century Europe. Not just the 11th Century, but it could even be said the last fifty years of it, from 1050-1100 A.D.

I can’t really explain what draws me to this fifty-year span. Other times in the Medieval world were just as interesting, but something about the events, the radical, unalterable changes of this period pull me in. When you think about all that happened, it is quite staggering really. I mean, from 1050-1100 A.D.:

– William the Bastard conquered England
– The Reconquista began in Spain
– The Great Schizm forever seperated Greek Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism
– The Battle of Manzikert crippled the Byzantine Empire and yielded Asia Minor to the Turks
– The Normans conquered Sicily and southern Italy, running out the Muslims and the Byzantines.
– Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade at the Council of Claremont.

I mean, holy cow! Mingled into all of these are such great stories, from the obvious like that of El Cid to the obscure, like the tale of Norman mercenary Roussel of Bailleul.

No real reason to put all this down…I just think its strange to be so attracted to two such specific periods of history.

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