Friday, September 4, 2020

Highlights from Herodotus' Histories

This post was brought to you by "getting back into writing cursive, and realizing exactly how much more I can write, and write faster, if I do it longhand."

Also because I have a copy of the Histories sitting on my bookshelf.

Peoples of the World

If a man's father dies, his body is cut up and mixed with the meat of sacrificial sheep provided by other family members, and then cooked and eaten in a banquet. The head of the deceased is set aside, cleaned, shaved, set in gold, and brought out in a yearly festival. Women have equal authority and rights under the law as men do.

Women wear bronze rings on their legs, grow their hair very long, and have a habit of killing vermin they catch with their teeth. The king of this nation selects his wife from the entire population.

Numerous, polygamous. Drink goat's milk mixed with the powder of dried locusts. Swear oaths upon the tombs of the dead, and divine the future by sleeping in the tombs of their ancestors.

Live in the wilderness among animals, avoiding contact with other humans. They have no weapons of war.

Grow their hair in crests, high on the crown and trimmed down elsewhere. Their war gear predominantly features ostrich skin and feathers.

The women here wear leather anklets, each one a gift from a different lover.

Wear their hear long in the front, short in the back. Yearly festival where young women form two teams and fight each other with clubs for the glory of Athena. One girl is chosen to lead a procession around the lake by chariot, in full armor. There is no marriage here, and children are raised as a group until they come of age.

Have no personal names. Curse and insult the sun daily at its rising.

Baster beekeepers. Pain themselves read and eat monkies as their primary food source.

Wear black cloaks, regardless of season, sex, or circumstance.

Deep blue eyes and red hair. Hold Bacchic furies every three years. Were "driven out of the factories along the coast" in the past and now live as nomads.

The men favor luxurious clothing and gold decoration. Wives are held in common, and all men are considered brothers.

Said to transform into wolves a few days a year. Nomads whose home was destroyed, now sheltering among the Budini.

Worship a god named Zolmaxis, who they believe they will go live with when they die. Every five years a messenger is chosen to be sacrificed, to carry their prayers to Zolmaxis.


  1. Filler time, filler time.

    Also - learn or relearn cursive, productivity goes through the fucking roof.

  2. A copy of "The Landmark Herodotus" is well worth owning. Many handy maps.

  3. one of the better filler episodes I've seen

    I wonder if there's a good way to boil down cultures in this style for a random generator? What'd be the key categories to choose from? Appearance (physical, fashion, whatever), history, strange custom, diet, reputation, etc.? Good way to get a culture fast and gameable

    1. I did a big table a couple years ago of culture ways:

  4. Ever read Soldier of the Mist? It's Histories, but retold by Gene Wolfe.

  5. I, too, curse and insult the sun daily, but upon my rising rather than its own.

    Good gameable stuff, as well as educational. Goats' milk and powdered locusts sounds like the original protein shake.