Did they make this topic just for me? As a history major, it’s safe to say that MY TIME HAS COME. ONWARD.
Warning: I am a complete history nerd. These will not be tiny explanations. If you want to nerd out with me about history, please do. I will always want to talk about history.
10. The Italian Renaissance
Although I am of the opinion that the Italian Renaissance WAS NOT a real thing for anyone but about 1-2% of Italians, seeing as how most common people were still illiterate and art/culture/the rediscovery of old texts did not really effect their lives very much. Especially the poor farmers who were still very much at risk of starving. However, merchants and trades could become wealthy, the large cities became cultural centers and art was changed forever. It would still be great to see more books written about this time period. For the select few who were lucky enough to enjoy the Italian Renaissance it must have been splendid, and a book set right in Sicily would be amazing.
9. 1950’s America
There’s something really fascinating to me about this era of American history. Was it a time of horrible racial inequality? Absolutely. But it was also a time of economic prosperity and it was also a very distinct culture. This was the era where the idea of The American Dream was very much alive and well. This was the era of apple pie and doo-wop music. Elvis was a phenomenon, the civil rights movement was starting, political scandal was everywhere.
8. The 100 Years War
Are England and France fighting AGAIN? Dammit. Of course, this is the sort of thing a lot of fantasy books get their inspiration from. Powerful houses from both England and France fighting against one another for political power and territory. But most notably for me, it was when Joan of Arc (see picture) crashed her way in to the history textbooks. What’s my opinion on her, you ask? She used the religious norms of the day to gain an audience, then used her wits and intelligence to help win a war. Proving that war was not only a men’s game. Even if she ended up being barbarously burned at the stake for the official charge of cross-dressing. She’s still up there in my favorites. I REALLLYYY want a YA Joan of Arc novel. Please? Pretty please?
7. The Belle Époque
The Belle Époque was a period in French history after the Franco-Prussian War to the start of WWI in Paris. It was a time of peace, culture and art. It’s usually the time that the French most like to daydream about. Most famously, it’s when the World’s Fair was in Paris in 1889 and when the Eiffel Tower made it’s first appearance. Much like the Italian Renaissance, it only existed for a select few. Slums were rampant with disease and poverty still, but for the upper class of Paris life was good. I admit I’m no expert on this period, but I’d love to read about the romantic era of France. Since it’s not what I’m used to in my studies. Peace and romance are not a common theme in my courses.
6. The Pax Romana
The Pax Romana or “The Roman Peace” was a rare time in Ancient Rome when it experienced a long period of peace. Starting with the first emperor of Rome Gaius Octavius. My minor at University is Classical Studies and I’ve spent a whole lot of class time covering Rome and it’s many battles and show of military might. But the Pax Romana was just this very unique time in ancient history where there’s a shift in culture, government, military, everything. I’ve never even heard of a fictional book taking place during this time period. But dammit, I want one.
5. The Peloponnesian War
The Greek city states were almost always fighting one another. There was always a power struggle when they did not have a common enemy. To be a Greek was to live in a constant world of war if you were the average male. It’s hard to identify a time in Greek history where they’re not fighting someone. A lot of people think of this as Athens vs. Sparta. Which in a way, it was. But really it was Athens against the Peloponnesian League which was LEAD by Sparta. Athens was getting too powerful and the rest of the city-states didn’t like it. They formed a league and said “Fuck you, Athens.”. (It’s a lot more complicated than that). In the end, Athens was forced to surrender and were flattened to nearly nothing. A large conflict in history always makes for fantastic literature. Besides, who doesn’t like to hear about the Spartans?
4. The American Civil War
I’ve only read one book set in the Civil War and I hated it. It was basically Mulan set in the American Civil War with a very annoying and stupid protagonist who I did not feel a bit of sympathy for. I don’t know a lot about American History, I will be the first to admit that. But I hardly ever see Civil War historical fiction. I WANT TO SEE MORE. I WANT TO READ IT. ALL OF IT.
3. Middle Republic Rome
The Middle Republic of Rome was the era of Julius Caesar, the First Triumvirate and a whole lot of other things that Rome was famous for. It’s where our idea of the men in toga’s comes from. The stabbings on the streets, the Gallic Wars. This is all Middle Republic. When I started taking University level courses I didn’t think I liked Rome at all. I was very strict on that belief until I had a brilliant professor who showed me the error of my ways. If you want a bloody, violent and insane time period, look no further than The Middle Republic of Rome. The political intrigue, the culture we think of as Roman and the military innovations. The time before the emperors and the Gladiators. When “I am a Roman Citizen” was golden and could get you anywhere. Please, if you don’t know anything about Roman history, LOOK IN TO THIS PERIOD. You’ll fall in love. Alternatively, watch the HBO series ROME. I’m sure there are books set in this period, I just haven’t come across them. Let me know in the comments if you know of any!
Warning: This is where my inner Historian is going to come out.
2. The Golden Age of Versailles
By far out of everything, French history during this period is my absolute favorite. Hands down.
I don’t want to give an exact timeline here, because it’s really hard to narrow that down. Of course when Louis XIV had it built, that’s where it begins. This age is also called the Ancien Régime. But that’s more of the political history. The culture and art of Versailles is probably my second favorite era of history. The daily routines for the monarchy of France, the hierarchy of the noble class. The Baroque fashions and lavish dresses of the court. A world where everything you did was watched, gossiped about and eventually reported on is so foreign and so intriguing to me. The life of the nobles and the monarchs who lived a life of luxury, parties and traditions. A lot of the YA novels that are out today, the royals in them seem to come directly from French history. Right down to the greed and backstabbing. I want to read every historical fiction about this era. I have yet to find a good one. Maybe one day I’ll write one.
1. The French Revolution
The French Revolution is hands down my favorite historical event. No comparison.
Alright. So my previous one had to do with Versailles and the traditions of the nobility and monarchy of France. What do I love more than that? When they got torn limb from limb by the starving people of France of course! The Third Estate fought the inequality caused by both the Church and the Monarchy, effectively changing the way we think about the power of the people forever. It is arguably the bloodiest and most interesting revolution in history. When the people fought the tyranny of the royals only to turn around and cause The Reign of Terror. Where you could be jailed and beheaded for being a sympathizer of the royals without a trial. A new religion was created, they changed the calendar to one separate from the Christian one. They began to worship “reason”. The church was finally being seriously questioned. The people realized their true power. So much happened during the French Revolution that I can’t even begin to talk about it.
It is the PERFECT setting for a novel. I do have two or three novels set during this time period that I’ve been saving for a rainy day. But I want more. All the things set during the French Revolution please.
Sorry if I got carried away, everyone. Feel free to comment!
~The Grisha Lieutenant