"For as long as the world shall endure, the honor and the glory of Mexico-Tenochtitlan must never be forgotten."

~ Chimalpahin Quauhtlehuanitzin

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Pan-Indigenous Time Travel Bucket List

If you’re a fellow history enthusiast and your friends are always reminding you that time travel isn’t possible, ditch them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
Every day, you’re bombarded with news about morally corrupt politicians that leaves you feeling cynical as you lament the fall of glorious rulers from long ago. You groan at the latest degenerate pop culture trends and return to your books to avoid being consumed by your terrifying thoughts about the human condition. As you read, you start longing to live among the people of your favourite culture or epoch. Their way of life captivates you and you even feel certain that you would rock their fashion style if only you were of their world. Your friends and family members view you as unsocial and eccentric, wondering why you impose so many contemplative hours of solitude upon yourself. All they ever do is criticize your flaws and brush aside your accomplishments, much like society does to the historical figures of your favourite time period.
Trust me, I understand. To cheer you up, I’ve compiled a list of travel destinations along with the eras it would be most ideal to visit them with a time machine if you ever happen to have one in your possession. These societies were all established by the indigenous people of the Americas. You may be familiar with some of the more popular places on this list, although I’ve intentionally tried to highlight some lesser known gems. I highly recommend enjoying the remainder of this article with some hot chocolate, as it was invented by the Aztecs. 

1: Haida Gwaii


Let’s start up north and work our way south, as only seems logical for a sightseeing list covering destinations across the Americas. 
Right off the coast of British Columbia lies the archipelago of Haida Gwaii, meaning “islands of the people”. The region is also known as Queen Charlotte Islands to those who somehow think that’s a better name. Among the beautiful temperate rainforests you will find century-old totem poles, which depict animals and bare family crests such as eagles, ravens, bears and salmons. The ruins of a once prosperous trading village built by the Haida people, called Ninstints, can also be seen. It is guarded by twenty six totem poles and contains cedar longhouses. Long ago the Haida used to go whale hunting and fishing in their giant seafaring canoes. I recommend finishing off your tour of Haida Gwaii before 1774, right before the first European contact.

2: Cahokia


Reaching the zenith of its influence some time between 1050 and 1350 CE, the city of Cahokia near present day St. Louis, Missouri is known for its mounds. These vast earthen structures were built as burial chambers for magnificent rulers. The largest one, Monk’s Mound, stands thirty metres high. In addition to having 120 mounds, Cahokia also once boasted an astronomical observatory nicknamed ‘woodhenge’ and a defensive palisade. It was the cultural and economic centre of the Mississippian culture. It’s hard to miss, being the largest Native American settlement north of Mexico.

3: Teotihuacan


Very few mysteries in archaeology are as alluring as Mexico’s Teotihuacan. Built around 100 BCE, it was completely abandoned and in ruins when the Aztecs absorbed it into their empire in the late 1300s, so to this day no one knows who built it. It contains many impressive pyramids and plazas and was also probably the first site at which the Mesoamerican plumed serpent deity was worshipped. Known to the Aztecs as Quetzalcoatl and the Mayans as Kukulkan or Gukumatz, it was a god of wind, wisdom and learning who was said to have introduced civilization to the Aztecs. I suppose you could say Quetzalcoatl was like the Mesoamerican Prometheus.

4: Caral


Just like any good list blogger should, it’s looks like I’ve saved the best for last. Located in the Supe Valley of Peru, the city of Caral was built in 2600 BCE, which meant that it was flourishing around the same time as Mesopotamia was. As you can tell by its age, it was an astonishing discovery as it pushed back the limits of the history of the Americas to a much earlier time than previously thought. Among its ruins, many recording devices known as quipus were discovered. These were also used by a lot of later Andean cultures such as the Incas, who could tie knots on the quipus. It is entirely possible that this culture could have been really advanced in mathematics and even have a concept of zero.

As your journey comes to an end, be prepared for the overwhelming feeling of wanderlust. It is sort of like homesickness except it involves a yearning for distant places and a desire to explore other cultures. I’ve felt it many times before. If you didn’t understand the allure of the ancient Americas before, perhaps now you are closer to realizing what the hype is all about.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Your Inner Nomad

Note: The following is an article I wrote for the Spyglass magazine, inspired by the indigenous cultures of Australia. It's not super relevant to the theme of this blog but I still thought my blog followers may be interested in this. Enjoy. 
When I read a good historical tale, I almost feel immortal. It’s as if I’ve been transported to a different world and have been living a thousand different lives among people of various cultures. As silly as it may sound, sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong time period. I call myself an aspiring cultural anthropologist, hoping to gain some deep insight into human nature by studying the different ways in which various cultures view the world. I’d like to specialize in the native cultures of Mexico perhaps, but my most recent fixation is on a much older culture. In fact, it’s the oldest continuous culture in the world: the indigenous people of Australia. According to Australian Geographic, genetic studies have revealed that they’re descendants of the first people to leave Africa 75,000 years ago. They’ve also been a historically nomadic people, which means that my ‘armchair travelling’ through adventure stories would never content them. They live to wander.
There is something about these restless adventurers that all of us can learn from. The Australian aboriginals had a powerful oral tradition which included directions that acted as a sort of spoken map, something which anthropologists call the ‘songlines’. Every tribe had different songlines that covered their whole territory. If you memorized the songlines--which mention where to find waterholes, landmarks and food sources--you could have navigated throughout all of Australia. They also had a rite of passage called the Walkabout, in which adolescents would have to prove they could survive in the outback on their own. It is this emphasis on the act of walking in their culture that people find interesting. Sometimes, owning too many material possessions can be exhausting and tie us down. We are drawn to adventure because we want to escape. The desire to wander is one of our most suppressed instincts, and it’s something that has been passed down to us from our earliest nomadic ancestors. Perhaps it can be the explanation for why some people are natural thrill-seekers who search for experiences that can bring them out of their comfort zone, and wilt when faced with a boring routine.

The idea that some people carry this explorer gene certainly is a romantic one, but can it be backed by scientific evidence? The answer may lie in the research of Dr Richard Paul Ebstein, Professor of Psychology at the National University of Singapore, who believes that a gene variant known as DRD4-7R causes more risky behaviour in people. Carriers of DRD4-7R are less sensitive to dopamine, a chemical that controls the brain’s ‘pleasure system’, so they are more likely to seek out extreme pleasurable experiences. This not only includes travel, but also impulsive financial risks like gambling. Further research from the University of California found that the gene variant was more commonly found among migratory cultures than in settled ones. Of course, no gene variant can explain someone’s entire pattern of behaviour, but the idea of a wanderer gene carries an irresistible appeal. Some of us suffer from homesickness, but there are others among us who suffer from quite the opposite and will forever yearn for distant places.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Andean panflute music is my jam

Check out this dank Peruvian mixtape I found. It's fire. 




I stumbled across it while I was watching a documentary about civilizations in the Americas. It was used in the background and I just had to look for the original song so that I could steal it for my mixtape. Perhaps some of you will be interested in the documentary as well although it wasn't too great... and also it was in French lol but you can probably find it if you searched "Les Indiens d'amerique" or something on Ina.fr

Well that's all for today. Sorry for the short low-quality posts like the meme shitposts. I promise I'll update with good content as soon as I have the time. If you want a sneak peak on what's to come, I'll probably do something about Caral. That's a really lit historical site discovered in the Supe Valley in Peru, and it dates back to c. 2600 BCE  which is super old for something from the Americas. When it was found, it pushed back the history of the Americas by some thousands of years. I won't give away too much about it because I have an interesting hypothesis about it that I want to share in an upcoming post ;D Also I might do something on Moche gold electroplating techniques but that's way less interesting to be honest. I also have a biography post planned out on Nezahualcoyotl of Texcoco, MEXICO'S PHILOSOPHER-KING.

Stay woke fam.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Relevant Meme Stash drop

Follow @aztecatl13 on Instagram for more :)









Wednesday, January 31, 2018

An Author in Antarctica: A Short Story

Author's Note: This story is meant to be an artistic approach to criticizing my own work. It's not off-topic. It mentions Mexicans.



“Brr... it’s spicy out there!” Kalseru laughed as she entered Tecolotl’s lair, a room inside the Amundsen-Scott Antarctic research station. She unzipped her jacket, a stylish black windbreaker with the flags of Australia and New Zealand embroidered on its right breast-pocket, and hung it on the coat tree by the crackling electric fireplace with its ghostly, blue flame. She was mesmerized for a moment by the fire, its spooky flame dancing in her dark eyes. It didn’t burn any real wood, after all, where Kalseru and Tecolotl were there were no trees. It was much too cold for anything to grow at the South Pole. Kalseru removed her warm, woolen hat and gloves and held her hands in front of the fireplace. She also smoothed out her thick, curly hair that was such a typical feature of her people, the indigenous people of Australia.

Her loud arrival caused Tecolotl to stir, who had been curled up asleep by the fireplace while Kalseru had been out working for the International Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research Committee. Her country, Australia, was one of the leading contributors in a project that was helping the world to better understand climate change. Though the outside world was indeed cold, 50 degrees below zero, in Tecolotl’s lair it was toasty and warm. Kalseru laughed when she saw that Tecolotl was wearing a thick Inuit parka. Tecolotl began muttering something from underneath the hood of the parka “I now understand why hell is cold in Norse mythology,” she said “this is a cruel, merciless wasteland that has claimed the lives of so many brave explorers. I admired them all, but I sure hope I don’t end up like that.”

“Like what?” asked Kalseru, amused.

“Dead at the bottom of a crevasse, or dead of frostbite with the soles of my feet detached and my hands fallen off, or starved to death out there,” she said, glancing out of the window and shuddering.

Now Kalseru was determined to cheer her friend up. “You know, I encountered a waddle of penguins today when I was helping with the ice core extractions. They were really cute.” Tecolotl ignored her.

“Every time I go out there, the icy wind howls in my ears like the blood-curdling screams of torture victims, filling my heart with dread. The wind carries small shards of ice with it that cut me like a wind of obsidian knives. I was granted permission to come here because I needed to research the setting of my novel. They said it was a worthy project that would lead to people having a greater understanding of this remote southern land, but now I’m not so sure I should be here.”  As Tecolotl spoke, she got up to feed her pets, some freakishly cold-resistant insects called Antarctic Midges. Their favourite food was algae. As she opened the tank, Kalseru gave her an affectionate smile and stepped closer.

“You’re not just here because of that book. You’re here because you have the spirit of an adventurer, like me, like Asbjørn, like all of us Chosen Ones.” Kalseru declared.
Tecolotl said nothing and silently observed the strange insects with their shiny, black exoskeletons as they consumed the algae sheets. She noticed they had laid eggs.
“Hey cool, they’re reproducing.” Kalseru said.

“That means they are almost at the end of their lifespan.” Tecolotl sighed. “I really hope these eggs will survive.”

“Sure they will. With all the care that you give them, how could they not? Now how about I make us some hot chocolate, and you show me how that manuscript of yours is going?”
As always, Kalseru had triumphed and made Tecolotl grin. “You’re a great friend. I am greatly indebted to anyone who offers to make me hot chocolate.”

Soon, the two friends were happily consuming the elixir, a rich, spicy, dark chocolate based on an ancient Mexican recipe that called for added chili powder. It was perfect for an adventurer. It uplifted your mood as well as well as made your senses more alert so that you weren’t surrendering to the numbing cold.  Kalseru skimmed over the pages of Tecolotl’s manuscript. Tecolotl had passed her a quill and some vials of black and red ink for editing. The yellowish manuscript was actually an authentic scroll of papyrus, which had been made from actual reeds that had been gathered along the Nile River. The blank papyrus had been a gift to Tecolotl from Taharka Aqenenra Imhotep, the leader of a cult that wanted to restore the ancient Kemetic religion in Egypt. Tecolotl had long been a supporter of this cult, which called itself the Society for the Restoration of Ma’at.Tecolotl’s mind drifted to thoughts of her stay in Egypt, the Jewel of the Nile, where it was much warmer.

“No offense, Tecolotl, but this sucks. It’s a terrible waste of papyrus.” Kalseru snapped, bringing Tecolotl out of her reverie. Tecolotl was shocked that her friend would be so blunt about the manuscript, which was Tecolotl’s life’s work.

“I am sorry, but as your friend I have to be honest.”

“I understand. Please, tell me what’s wrong with it. I thought it was good, and very descriptive.”
“Excessively descriptive. Every time you introduce a new character you spend pages describing their physical features. Your protagonists were all perfect and beautiful while you described the villains as hideous and grotesque, the stuff of nightmares, all of them!”

“Oh.” Said Tecolotl. She really couldn’t argue with that.

“I want you to read this part out loud and tell me what’s wrong with it.” Kalseru chided, circling a paragraph of the appalling story. Tecolotl sighed and grudgingly obliged, reading out the following in a dull, monotonous voice:

The Revered Speaker of the Mexica, a godlike man named Ce Tepuzmachiyopilcac entered the meeting hall, where delegates from all over the Land of the Eagle and Condor were gathered. They all rose from their seats when they saw the majestic ruler, overwhelmed by his divine presence and his tall and intimidating stature. This was the man who had united the indigenous people after 500 years of living under colonialism and mental slavery. There was a look of fierce pride in his shining, almond-shaped obsidian eyes. His ebony hair cascaded down in waves and bounced around his shoulders, straight and healthy and washed with dye made from the indigo plant to hide the few locks of silver that had sprung up due to his ancient age and the stress that he always carried.  His chest was bare but for a turquoise pendant shaped like a two-headed snake which he wore around his neck. It looked like a symbol of power against his flawless, dark skin. His whole body was framed by a magnificent azure cloak with crimson trim that was decorated in parrot feathers and swept the ground, trailing behind him. It matched the colour of his long, embroidered loincloth. His strong arms glistened, the skin on them was the colour of liquid bronze and he wore heavy gold armbands, but they weren’t as valuable as his earrings of pure jade. And of course no ornament was more precious than the turquoise circlet which rested proudly on his head. 

“The turquoise circlet which rested proudly on his head! Yes, stop. Stop right there!” Kalseru demanded.

Tecolotl’s finger paused next to the period beside ‘head’. She was bewildered. She really didn’t know what had sparked Kalseru’s harsh criticism. The description of Emperor Ce had been absolutely glorious.

“You see mate, you wasted an entire paragraph there to describe your protagonist, and you really didn’t even tell me about him at all.” She said.

“But I described everything... his hair, his eyes and-”

“What about his personality? Is he brave and charismatic? What character traits does he have that led him to getting this exalted position?”

“Of course he’s brave.” Tecolotl snapped. “He’s a hero.”

Kalseru continued flipping through the novel. “All these characters... they’re so flat, so unidimensional. Real people are supposed to be complex, Tecolotl. Where is the depth? Where is the complexity?” Her eyes darted to the painting that hung above the fireplace, a portrait of Jandamarra, and Australian aboriginal warrior who had led an uprising against the European invaders. Kalseru and Tecolotl had chosen it together for the lair, Kalseru because she carried some of the blood of Jandamarra’s tribe, the Banuba people, and greatly admired his deeds, and Tecolotl because she liked the way Jandamarra’s hair looked, long and curly. “Every good guy in your story is Mexican, every villain is a European. Listen to me, Tecolotl...”

The writer’s attention piqued.

“Think of Jandamarra. To my people, he’s a hero. To the government of Australia, a traitor.” She put her arm around Tecolotl. “Spice things up a bit. Add a few traitors to this story, some sellouts, some cowards, people who are completely different from how they seem at first. It will make it a more accurate representation of reality, and so much more interesting.”

Tecolotl nodded. It was an interesting proposition. She had encountered many people like the ones Kalseru was describing and was sure she could weave them in somehow. “But what about my meticulous historical research? Isn’t is amazing?” Tecolotl asked, getting defensive again.

“No. It just looks like you’re trying to show off, with tones of references to ancient civilizations and mythology that no one cares about except for you. Oh and another thing, this ending is ridiculous. The Europeans and the Mexicans face off in Antarctica in the end, for a final battle.”

“I thought it was cool.”

“Sure it is. But it’s random and unmotivated. The ending leaves the reader very unsatisfied, and it also feels like you’ve let the Mexicans win too easily. Raise the stakes. Give them a formidable enemy.”

Tecolotl began folding up the manuscript and putting it away, crestfallen. Everything she had felt pride for had been roasted to death by Kalseru in just a few minutes.

“You have so much potential to be a great writer someday. Do not despair, my friend. Just reflect on what you’ve written and make changes to it. This is your life’s work, your creation. It’s like your child. So just nurture it, help it grow, and someday it’ll be great.”

“Thank you so much, Kalseru. You’ve really helped me.” Tecolotl said. She hugged her friend.
“No problem. Now, tonight is a very special night. Asbjørn has invited the two of us to accompany him.”

Tecolotl thought of Asbjørn. He was part of the Norwegian exploration team and had very long, blond hair which was terribly unruly and made him look like he was part of some strange Scandinavian Death Metal band. He always wore a mjölnir around his neck, a silver amulet in the shape of Thor’s hammer, and was very knowledgeable on Norse culture and mythology. Tecolotl thought he sometimes looked like a real Viking who had somehow time travelled into the future. The thought of spending time with both him and Kalseru made her thrilled. “Where is the dragonborn taking us?” She asked.
“He has found a very good location for observing Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights. I know you’ve already spent time among the Inuit and observed the Northern Lights, but I promise these will be even more amazing. I’ve caught a glimpse of them in Australia before, but here we will get the best view for sure.”

“Alright. Let’s go.”

(End)

The Last Phet: A Short Story

Author's Note: Here's a quick fantasy story I spun up recently. It vaguely relates to the theme of this blog as it has to do with an alien race colonizing a planet.





I heard the Stelios approach before I saw them, although the slimey Racing Snails they rode were silent. They came when I was inspecting my algae. I was hunched over my pond, squinting at the surface on which the valuable crop, the staple of my people grew. It was ridiculous that I, Belobog, Prince of Phets had to do the work of farmers. I tried to concentrate on figuring out why the small garden patch wasn’t yielding as much as it should. At the same time, I swivelled one of my pointy ears towards the sound of the approach. It was then that the Stelios started stirring up such a ruckus with conches and drums that my sensitive ears with their furry lining like green velvet started ringing. I was so shocked that I fell into the pond and barely made it in time to a nearby cluster of reeds when the snail riders arrived. They wouldn't have hesitated in killing the heir to the Phet throne if they saw me.

      

"Hear ye, hear ye! This royal proclamation is to announce that his majesty the merciful King Gibbous of the Stelios has revised his policy regarding the native inhabitants of the planet of Phetnoct." I scowled as one of the trumpeters read from a scroll, for he had mentioned the invader Gibbous, the slayer of my father, King Dazbog. But my interest was piqued at the mention of my noble race and I listened on to hear whatever Gibbous had to say about us Phets. "We know that there are still Phets in hiding, and while we noble Stelios are far superior to you swamp-spawn, consider yourselves sheltered by the king's mercy." It took all of my self-control not to spring out and bellow in rage. These invaders had abused my father's hospitality from the moment they landed on Phetnoct in their starships. They took advantage of our tribal generosity and were now ruling over our beloved land of pallid yellows and mottled greens as if it were theirs. “You are spared if you aren’t a mage or the coward Prince Belobog.” The statement continued, confirming what I had feared, that there was a hunt for my head. “Tonight we will burn all spellbooks written by the mages so that no Phets can ever learn the dark arts again.” Here the announcer held up a bulky, overflowing sack brimming with books. He turned and mounted his Racing Snail. I watched him as he was about to ride swiftly away when one of his companions spoke to him in a gentle voice.

      

“Thank you for letting me tour the kingdom with you! I really want to impress my fiancé with knowledge of Phetnoct’s geography.”

      

“We shall always protect you on your adventures, Princess Ostara.” The king’s men replied.

      

My heart skipped a beat, for then I beheld her. She was a creature of such beauty that I almost forgot she was of a vile people and the daughter of my most hated enemy. As an attendant helped her mount her monstrous snail, I was able to observe all of Ostara’s features. She had long hair like spun gold and sky-blue eyes. A silver circlet rested daintily on her head, inlaid with amethyst and rose quartz. Her small lips were pressed together in a serious, determined spirit. Her Racing Snail darted away, squirming through the wetlands with a wicked speed.

      

I suddenly recalled my days as a young Phetling when I would sit on King Dazbog’s knee and listen to him lecture me about ancient Phet traditions in his booming, thundering voice. “Belobog, my son, do you know what the law of the land is when it comes to murder?” He had a twinkle in his bright, yellow eyes with their pupils like slits. “It is that the family of the perpetrator must give up someone of equal value to the victim’s folk as a sort of blood-price.” I found this law to be wise, for it guaranteed that the farmers would get a replacement helper for their algae crops.

      

I started to wriggle out of my hiding place and wade to shore. My thoughts were interrupted when something hit my foot lightly. “Oh, what’s this?” I asked. I bent over to pick up some kind of bewildering manuscript that had been floating in the pond. Flipping through its pages of flowing Phetian script, it dawned on me that this was a verboten book of magic. Some clumsy Stelio must have dropped it here. There would be one less stack of pages for their bonfire. My father had many mages to serve him and I made a mental note to preserve this book and see if I could dry some of its drenched pages. I retreated further into the wetland to avoid running into Stelios again. “That was a close call.” I muttered. Yes, such was my condition! In that state of desolation the cruel Stelio overlords made me feel like an outcast on my own planet. But then somehow flipping through the book gave me an idea as I came across a spell that could save the Phet race.

      

Laying my eyes on Ostara had reminded me of all that her people had taken from me. My own wife died in my arms after being struck by a Stellion arrow. My father had been executed publicly.

      

The Stelios assumed that some Phets must have retreated into the wetlands and survived. The truth was that I was sure I was the last Phet. I growled in anger and struck a moss-covered tree when I remembered how the proclamation had called me a coward.

      

The spell book inspired me. Each day I resolved to wake up early and practice from it. Most of the spells were related to growth and healing, which helped keep me from starving as my algae flourished.

      

One day I finally felt ready to travel to the Stelios capital with magic as my shield. I readied my own Racing Snail and donned a black, hooded cloak as a disguise and sped off. When I arrived at Gibbous’ castle I saw that it was very elaborately decorated as if for a celebration. A large crowd of Stelios was gathered outside. I parked my Racing Snail and viewed the merriment from a distance, careful to keep my head down. “Princess Ostara is getting married to the brave knight Jupiter today! How lucky we are to be invited to this wedding by the generous King Gibbous!” The Stelios cheered. They were all nobility with long, trailing dresses and robes covered in patterns of stars. Gibbous had laid out tables in the castle orchards for a feast, but I wasn’t tempted by the smell of any of the dishes. There were no sheets of sweet moss-covered bark and no steamed lily pads.

      

I focused on the task at hand, which was to find a way to get into the castle. I was using a winding path through the orchards which seemed to be one that wasn’t frequently used. I could hardly believe my luck when suddenly I encountered a Stelio in my way. It was an old, disgruntled man who had pushed his way through the crowd. “Move, you people! I have to deliver medicines to the king.” And the people parted for him, for healers are held in very high esteem among both the Phets and Stelios.  Soon he was with me on the secluded garden trail which winded between the trees.

      

I quickly improvised. “Ah, good day. I see you are interested in the medicinal properties of plants, as am I. My name is Mars Stellan.” I tried to allure the healer into a conversation by bringing up a topic of his field to him, and quickly thought of the most generic Stelion name I could.

      

The healer squinted at me “are you that apprentice that the king wants me to take in?”

      

“Why yes, sir. I am.” This totally distracted the healer from his job as he chuckled and went into a long speech about medicinal plants and about how he’d always longed for an apprentice to pass on his knowledge to. I wasn’t impressed at all, for the Stelios are rather primitive when it comes to medicine, and my spell book taught me more than what this healer knew. I looked around and realized that we were secluded. I began to exert my force into a growth spell that would trap the healer. The trees and plants around him began to rapidly extend their roots and branches and soon tangled him in a mess. His screams were stifled and he was quickly suffocated. Before he died, I revealed my face to him and he let out a startled squeak. I gathered his clothes and his basket of medicines so that I could pose as him. It was still fine for me to wear my cloak, for it is the tradition for healers to go about looking mysterious and strange. It was just their style. Then I slipped inside the castle easily, for the guards at the back gate were all heavily intoxicated by something they drank at the wedding feast.

      

I pushed my way through an ensemble of court musicians and found Ostara’s dressing chamber. Her servants were brushing her long, golden hair and getting her makeup ready. She saw my figure in the mirror and waved away the servants.

      

“Luno, my loyal healer! Finally you have come to bless me on my wedding night. My father said you can leave the medicines with me until-”
She was confused when I shut the door, but still not frightened.

      

“Is something wrong? Is my love Jupiter alright?”

      

I lunged to seize her and pressed my dagger against her throat. She dared not scream, for she was now paralyzed by fear. Ostara glanced toward the mirror and her eyes widened in horror as she saw me shake off my hood and reveal my twitching ears, my piercing yellow eyes that stuck out from my green fur, and my jutting snout.

      

“Everything will be alright if you cooperate, Ostara.”

      

“You will die, Belobog. Jupiter and my father will slay you.” She threatened through her gritted teeth.

      

“I no longer fear death. Now, Ostara, I will spare your life if you agree to flee with me from this castle and abandon your family. I want to hear no talk of Gibbous or Jupiter. From now on, you are to live as my wife.”

      

“Never!” She spat and tried to bite me, but I dug the blade deeper into her neck and she stopped resisting when a few drops of her blood started trickling down. She was now wincing in pain, but she managed to choke out a few words. “You are a dirty Phet, and I am a noble Stelio. Such a fate could never be.”

      

“Why not? We’re both royalty, aren’t we?” I asked, amused. “Unlike your Jupiter, who I’ve heard is a warrior.”

      

“But my people are the Children of the Stars, that’s what the word ‘Stelios’ means.”

      

I scoffed at that. “You Stelios are amazing at painting yourselves as the victims when all you do is plunder and oppress the people of other planets. Children of the Stars? Do not think I am ignorant about your real origin story. You are not a race of romantic wanderers. You had a home once, a native planet, and you were so evil and cruel that you were cast off that planet by the other members of your species who inhabited it.”

      

“I don’t know where you got these lies from.” Ostara shuddered. “Anyway, I refuse to accept your terms. You are a Phet, and I am a Stelio. You are ugly-”

      

“And you are beautiful.” I finished for her, and nodded my head in agreement. “This is an obstacle, I agree. But this challenge is not insurmountable. I know a way to make sure it won’t interfere with our union.”

      

She stared at our reflections in the mirror in front of us and seemed to be deep in thought, desperately plotting how she would escape from this situation. The average Phet is much stronger than a Stelio, and there was no way she was getting out of my grasp. I began muttering the incantation I had memorized from the spellbook, the only spell that didn’t have to do with plants. It was the spell that would save the Phet race. I watched as Ostara’s eyes glazed over with tears. She desperately wanted to scream when she saw what was happening, but knew she couldn’t. Her golden hair shortened and turned green, and she started shrinking and morphing more and more into the shape of a Phet. “Now your vanity won’t interfere in my plan, because you will bare me many Phetlings and help me repopulate my race. Don’t try to run around for help. Gibbous’ men will see you as a trespassing Phet and kill you.” Tears streamed out of her now lime-coloured eyes and she lowered her ears in despair. I opened the window of the dressing chamber and prepared to jump out. I reached out my hand to her, and she took it in an act of hopeless surrender.

“Come with me, princess. Now I am all you have.”

END

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy new year, fam! Although the Mexica New Year actually happens in spring. I hope your 2018 will be lit. 


Also, check out this super cool new movement that my white internet friend started recently. It's called "Back to Europe" and yes, it's as good as it sounds: https://backtoeuropebte.blogspot.ca/ 
You can also like them on Facebook

For now, it looks like they're inspired by the Mexica Movement, which is cool (I'm obsessed with the MM and I know it's definitely an inspiration to all of humanity) but I'm hoping BTE will be a little more original and come up with their own content instead of copying stuff the MM says. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Best Yule Gifts for the Historian in your Life

Hello, fellow wannabe historians and Merry Yule! Those of you who know me well will understand why I avoid saying Merry Christmas. To me, Christmas is just... well... too Christian. Since Christianity was a religion that was violently forced on indigenous people, I avoid celebrating the holiday the Christian way. I do support saying "Happy Holidays" though, to be more inclusive of other religions. I also support the pagan Yuletide celebrations which celebrated the winter solstice before Christianity was around. The tradition of the Yule tree (Christmas tree) has been preserved since the ancient Germanic Yulefest. And of course, I'm an excellent gift giver (and gift receiver). So, I've decided to make this post about gifts that you can give to the historian (or wannabe historian) in your life. This list should come in super handy if you have obsessive history friends in your life.

Antique Maps and Globes 

Henricus Hondicus 1630  map print

Some of us like to daydream of world domination. That is why we tend to hoard maps and globes to plot out our ascent to power. As John Green once said on Crash Course world history, a historian can never have too many globes. We also love maps, which are just as special to us but which you may consider giving as a cheaper gift. Colored antique maps are quite beautiful, and you can frame them to make the perfect gift item. Look for ones with drawings of ships and sea monsters in the oceans, random Latin phrases inscribed in the borders, etc. I recommend the Henricus Hondius map from 1630, you can easily get a print of it or buy it online. 

Cosplay Supplies 


  


We're really picky when it comes to cosplay items, so make sure you do a bit of research on this before hand. We like historical accuracy, so don't get us a horned helmet. Also try to stay away from cultural appropriation. Lets say you're going to get beaded moccasins for a follower of this blog. I'm sure they'd love the gesture, if you buy them from an authentic indigenous artisan and not some shady "made in China" ones. A woolen Viking cloak would be perfect for staying warm this Yule and we historians do think it's a shame that people don't wear cloaks anymore. Check out the Kult of Athena site for great deals on weapons.

Books



Books are definitely the best present ever, no matter who you're gifting, so of course they'd be well suited for a historian. We tend to stick to traditional books rather than to ebooks, and we like to hoard aesthetically pleasing volumes on the shelves of our libraries. I highly recommend buying from the Folio Society, which the books in the above photo are from. They republish popular books on  a variety of subjects and give them glorious aesthetic covers, so that they look perfect to present to your favourite historian on Yule. What would a historian be without their books? I highly recommend checking out the Mexica movement recommended books list 

Also, who says historians don't like fiction? Yule is a great time to curl up near a fireplace and read feelsy historical fiction set in your favourite time period, with epic battle scenes and romance. Check out this list of best historical fiction compiled by Goodreads readers for some great suggestions. This isn't to imply that nonfiction is devoid of feels though. All history contains feels. 

A classic political text is also a fantastic gift, especially one that may have changed the flow of history, like the Communist Manifesto or Mein Kampf. Perhaps you will inspire your seemingly peaceful historian friend to write their own manifesto and take the world by storm. 

Chocolate 

So yeah, I've already mentioned wannabe-historians tend to be sensitive and have a lot of feels. We can also hold grudges for over 500 years. We really need something to help us calm down. Chocolate is great for this purpose. Try making spicy Aztec hot chocolate as a thoughtful gesture using this great recipe .

Jewelry 
A vegvisir representing the 4 directions with a border of Norse runes
mjolnir, or thor's hammer. Typically worn by Norse pagans and/or Marvel fans.

The iron cross: not always a nazi thing

A mjolnir pendant? An iron cross? Many historians long for the restoration of an ancient pagan faith, a fallen empire, or a lost way of life. The jewelry we wear often has a deep, special meaning to us which is why it is literally worn so close to our hearts. Jewelry shopping is never cheap, but you can check Etsy for some good deals. Remember to get creative and aesthetic. The Viking enthusiast in your life probably already has a ton of Thor hammer pendants lying around, so why not switch things up with a sterling silver Icelandic vegvisir?  For Inca enthusiasts, I recommend chakana pendants. 

Flags and other heraldic symbols

Self-explanatory. We're the type of people who would wear flags as capes.




See, I give great advice? I'm sure your historian friend is very glad that you support them. 




Sunday, December 17, 2017

Excerpt and Synopsis from my Upcoming Novel "Deus ex Mexicana"

Synopsis

How do you build a country when all you have to guide you is an unfinished manifesto and the wisdom of your ancestors? This is the question that Ce Tepuzmachiyopilcac must answer after he is chosen as the leader of the people of Cemanahuac, a confederation of indigenous nations formed after an uprising in what was once known as the American continent. Ce's people are finally free after over five hundred years, but new enemies have sprung up all over the world and even within the very borders of Cemanahuac itself. The future of his country is in Ce's hands as he learns a very important lesson: the revolution was the easy part.



Excerpt 



Ce was handed a golden chalice by the Elder. It had been carved with a design of two birds, the mighty eagle of the North and the condor of the South, the emblem of the new nation.
“When you indulge in that luxurious chocolate elixir and then proceed to sit on your extravagant throne, beware! Don’t be fooled. It will seem like the most comfortable chair in the world at first, but it is really a seat of pain. You were chosen by the people because they thought you would be strong enough to endure struggle throughout your reign.” The Elder declared.
Ce drank deeply from the golden chalice, taking care not to spill a drop of the frothy chocolate drink. It was sweet at first, but the aftertaste was bitter. Then Ce felt a burning sensation in his mouth, because it just wouldn’t be complete without added chili powder. Every ingredient had been a metaphor, of course. Ce had to be careful not to let the childish thrill of being huey tlatoani consume him, just like he couldn’t expect the chocolate drink to be sugary and sweet throughout. He could become corrupted with his power, and his subjects could end up feeling bitter towards him. Even though the Land of the Eagle and Condor had survived many hardships, it still had many dangerous and powerful enemies all over the world, but mostly in Europa. 


Anticipated release date: sometime in February

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Norse Exploration of North America :o

Are you wondering how I became obsessed with Vikings? Well this post is all about the historical event that made me become obsessed with them. I wrote this back in 2016, but I've decided to revise it and update it with new information straight from the Norse sagas. Plus today is Leif Ericson day, so it seems like a good time to post this. 

 I'm really into the history of the people whom the Norsemen called the "skraelings" AKA the indigenous people of the Americas. But when I started researching the Beothuk people who are native to Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, I came across information about the Norse explorer Leif Ericson's 'Vinland voyages'. 


First, lets talk a bit about the Beothuk people. As I said before, they were the native people of Newfoundland. While some indigenous people of Canada managed to retain their languages and parts of their culture despite colonialism, the Beothuk are all now all gone :( A little bit of their language still survives though, and you can learn it online although it has no native speakers.  A woman named Shanawdithit, who is considered by historians to have been the last Beothuk, learned some English and was able to write Beothuk words using the Roman alphabet. Thanks to her, and the efforts of a few others of the last Beothuks such as Shawnadithit's aunt Demasduit, we now know some words of the Beothuk language. The word 'Beothuk' itself in their language means 'the people'. Shawnadithit died in 1829 of tuberculosis. 

A portrait of Shawnadithit

FUN FACT: Some European settlers called the Beothuk people the "Red Ochre People" because they covered themselves in red ochre :D . 


Historically, the Beothuks were a semi-nomadic group. There were many subdivisions of the Beothuk based on extended family. These subgroups lived away from each other during the winter. During the summer they would join each other in coastal meeting places to arrange marriages and discuss important things like who the next leader should be. The Beothuk were the some of the first native people of Canada to come into contact with Europeans, along with the Inuit. The Europeans began to settle on the coastal regions, exactly where the summer meeting places once were. As their settlement expanded westward, they began to see the local Beothuk as threats to the settlements. Beothuks were hunted down viciously. The ones who weren't murdered died of tuberculosis or other diseases brought over from Europe. These were introduced by English settlers during the early 1700s. 

Of course, the 1700s were NOT when the settlement of the Americas, or even Canada began. Settlement of Canada was attempted by French explorer Jacques Cartier in the 1500s. It was extremely unsuccessful thanks to the fact that Cartier was so STUPID in the way he dealt with the indigenous Iroquois people. The Iroquois were really nice to him and taught him a cure for scurvy (birch tea). To express his gratitude to them for saving his life he kidnapped their chief and a bunch of other people and killed a lot of people. Later the Iroquois allied with the British and wrecked the French.
Anyway, Cartier's expeditions were quite hilarious failures but talking about them in detail would be for another post. Europeans never really became successful in starting Canada's settlement until another French guy, Samuel De Champlain, came along in 1604. Anyway, the point is, Jacques Cartier is credited for being the first European in Canada. 

The title of "first European in the Americas as a whole" is given to Christopher Columbus who was discovered lost at see by native Taino people of the Caribbean in 1492. 

WHAT I'M TRYING TO SAY IS NEITHER OF THESE PEOPLE DESERVE CREDIT. 

Because the first European in Canada was 

LEIF ERICSON

and the first European in the Americas was 

LEIF ERICSON

another fun fact is that

LEIF ERICSON

wasn't an evil scary genocidal horrible person the way columbus and cartier were.

Leif Ericson, or Leifr Airikson, will always be one of my favourite European explorers. His half-sister Freydis Ericsdottir was cool too. 

 Columbus was known for selling 9 year old girls into sex slavery. Even the Europeans of the time admitted he was a genocidal maniac. The only person who liked him was queen Isabella of Spain. 

And Cartier was just stupid.  No monarch in France liked him because he brought back 'gold' and 'diamonds' from the New World which actually turned out to be pyrite and quartz. That's where the expression 'Canadian Gold' comes from to describe something worthless.

He ended France's interest in settling Canada for almost a century. 

I'm sure Eric the Red's son was better than that. 

Anyway, the remainder of this post shall be dedicated to talking about the exciting Norse exploration of North America, which occurred 500 YEARS BEFORE COLUMBUS. 

And if any of you still believe that this is pseudo-historical nonsense, well, please go to L'anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland and see that there are indeed Viking settlements there. The Norse called that little hamlet of houses "leifsbudir" after Leif of course!
You can book a room in Valhalla lodge (named after the glorious afterlife that Viking warriors went to) in the fabled Vinland and stalk all the skraelings and Vikings there. You can even watch some cheesy white people dressed as Vikings do cool sword fighting reenactments while you're there. I haven't had the pleasure of going to northern Newfoundland myself. However, I have personally met one of the reenactment groups who perform there. THEY WERE COOL. I WISH I COULD FIND THE PICTURES I TOOK WITH THEM BUT I CAN'T :( . 

Sometimes I write fanfictions about Vikings. 

Perhaps I should start calling them the Norsemen instead of Vikings, as Norsemen is what they called themselves. It means "North men" obviously. Viking was a word of the time meaning raider or explorer. It was their occupation not ethnicity. 

Early Settlements in Iceland

The Norse culture originated in the southern Danish peninsula in the 790s. From this time until the Norman conquest of England in 1066, northern Europe was in the period of time known as the Viking age. 

Iceland was settled by the Norsemen in about 870 AD. However, Gaelic monks and other  people had settled the island and established monasteries a bit before that. There weren't any indigenous people on the island, so Icelanders are not guilty of committing mass genocide or anything like that. I mean sure, some Greenlandic Inuit may have visited the island before Europeans, but they never stayed and such an event was never recorded. Iceland is European. It is the BEST European country. 

 NORSEMEN ARE COOLER THAN IRISH MONKS THOUGH. I'm glad they left when they saw the Norsemen or else they'd "get rekt" like the monasteries of Lindisfarne, where the very first Viking raid happened.

"Protect us, O Lord, from the wrath of the Northmen" 

~ a random monk from Lindisfarne before a Viking killed him

The Norse really needed more farmland so they eventually discovered Iceland, the land of Ice and Fire. Once it was settled they wanted even more land. 

SO THEY FOUND 

Grønland 

WHICH HAD NATIVE INUIT PEOPLE LIVING THERE 

Greenland was settled by Erik the Red, also known as Erik Thorvaldsson, which means his dad's name was Thorvald. That's how these patriarchal Norse last names work. And you guessed it, Erik the Red was the father of Leif Eriksson or Ericson or Aerikson or however you want to spell it there are like 5 ways to spell that last name. His daughter's last name was Eriksdottir. Erik the Red wasn't the first European in Greenland but he was the first to actually settle it.

It's like how Samuel De Champlain stole Jacques Cartier's title as the Father of New France. 



Erik the Red, called that because of his epic red beard and hair, settled Greenland. The Norsemen called it Grønland. BUT WE MUST CALL IT KALAALIT NUNAAT BECAUSE IT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS TO THE INUIT. 

Oh well, if the indigneous people take back their land I imagine that place will be a territorial dispute. Perhaps they can share Greenland to play skraelings vs. vikings with each other ad infinitum

Erik the Red went to Greenland after he was convicted of manslaughter and banished from Norway. Greenlanders considered him a hero and stuff. Cool. 

He slept around a lot according to sagas and soon had a son named Leif Erikson or Leif the Lucky.
He also had an illegitimate daughter named Freydis Eriksdottir. Freydis sounds liked my own name, Freya, doesn't it? Freya was a Norse goddess of love and beauty. Like me, she had two pet cats and admired the heroic dead, ruling the afterlife of Valhalla for fallen warriors. Her name translates to "noblewoman" or "queen". But before any Scandinavian people accuse me of sacrilege by taking on a goddess' name, I have to say that my parents had no idea that Freya was a Norse goddess before they named me. According to them, the name means 'beloved' in Persian. 

So I suppose you can guess where the history goes from here. Leif Ericson was the first white person to see the Americas minus Greenland right? wrong. 

The first white person to see the Americas was the Icelander Bjarni Herjolfsson in 986 A.D. He saw the distant New World when his ship was blown off course. He saw three different new lands through the icy mist. The Norse saw to it that they were named "Helluland", "Markland" and "Vinland" which are believed to have been Baffin island, Labrador, and Newfoundland respectively. 

Bjarni's tails inspired Leif to sail westward to these cool new islands. He bought Bjarni's own ship and set sail, seeking VINLAND. 

What is Vinland? 

In simple terms, it was the name the Norse gave to northern Newfoundland. But other historians debate that the Norse explorers went southward and eventually discovered a different land which was better and called it Vinland. I think this debate is stupid as there is no evidence for it. Vinland is certainly a lot more than just a name for a measly Norse settlement. It was an idea of paradise from Norse mythology. The 'vin' in Vinland has been translated to mean either "wine" or "meadow/pasture". The latter translation makes a lot more sense to me, as the Norse were always looking for more good farmland. There wasn't much in northern Europe. It only makes sense for an ideal Norse mythological paradise to contain endless farmland. Do you think Leif the Lucky was really lucky when he found that barren, rocky tip of an island teeming with skraelings? Was it really something that deserved to be call Vinland? 

It's like the Spanish idea of "El Dorado". 

"We Spaniards have a disease of the heart that can 
only be cured by gold." 

~ Hernan Cortes, conqueror of the Aztec empire 

Cortes is only second to Columbus on the list-of-historical-figures-I-would-have-murdered-for-fun. 

Vinland was also the name of the ship that Freydis Eiriksdottir sailed to Leifsbudir on the second Norse expedition to the Americas. The crew had both Greenlanders and Icelanders, but Leif didn't come.

The sagas claim the Norse were mostly lumberjacks when they visited the Americas.
 They also traded with the skraelings aka the Red Ochre people. But don't worry, the Norse didn't bring diseases. They were considered clean and well groomed by other Europeans. That is why white women always fell for those vain Vikings. Would you rather have the North-man who you can go on raids to burn down christian monasteries with or the misogynistic catholic scrub who never bathes? Please don't ask Queen Isabella of Spain this question. 

 The Vikings were also way less sexist than Christians and there were just as many female raiders as male ones. The Norse also had pretty hair and were the first Europeans to use combs. 
Exceptionally well preserved Viking combs from a site in Russia. Many Vikings settled in and assimilated into Russian culture.

Some Norse combs also have really pretty designs carved on their handles. 

So they traded with the natives but never actually settled there. But perhaps they had the intention of doing so. Why else would they have established Leifsbudir? 

Why the Vikings left their settlement in Newfoundland: Two possible reasons why


1: Conflict with the natives

There have been accounts that say that the Vikings treated the indigenous people well. They didn't pillage, rape, or kill them. They merely traded. However, there have been also accounts that say that the Vikings did exactly the opposite of that and were as brutal, savage, and genocidal as any other European explorers were. The Beothuk and other indigenous people of the area may have fought and expelled the Vikings. Some people suggest that the Vikings tried giving the natives cow's milk. There is no proof for that but it's a funny story: 

Most Native Americans are lactose intolerant (I have a really weird sense of humor. Sorry I laughed really hard when I typed that for some reason.) The indigenous people started having whatever problems lactose intolerant people have when you give them creamy, thick, raw, stinky milk from the plump udders of Norwegian cows. 

Please, don't start randomly going up to Native American people and asking them if they are lactose intolerant. 


They were colonist cows though so alternately they might have been undernourished tiny cows who can't really produce good quality milk. The indigenous people thought they were being posioned, and so launched an attack on the weird pale blue-eyed aliens who had given them the elixir.


 In my opinion, if conflict with the natives was the reason why the Vikings abandoned Leifsbudir, it probably didn't involve lactose intolerance. It was probably just a war started after the Norse might have done something really Cartier-level idiotic. The good part is that if the Vikings were genocidal and evil, at least they were deported. Who wants to speak Old Norse and have their country capital be Leifsbudir, which may have one day become a sprawling metropolis of over 100,000 people instead of a handful of rugged Norsemen, who knows? 


2: Conflict among themselves


The Vikings might have left North America not because of the natives, but because of conflict with each other. The Greenlanders and Icelanders in Freydis Eriksdottir's crew didn't have much of a reason to like each other.After restlessly dwelling in Leifsbudir, they all might have gone mad, surrounded by endless skraeling-filled forest. Arguments broke out between the Icelandic and Greenlandic crew. Freydis herself was an ill-tempered Greenlander. A battle started in which both sides may have massacred each other. Whoever survived left Vinland forever. This would explain why only one ship returned back from the voyage. Originally there were supposed to be two, the Vinland and a smaller one. 


But no one really knows why they left.


Reasons why you might still dislike the Vikings 


and Leif Ericson:



1) HE CONVERTED TO ChRisTianiTY in his later days *gAsps*

By this time, Christianity was spreading in the Viking world like a plague. Leif converted on a trip to Iceland. :(

2) It's hard to say whether he was violent and genocidal or not. The sagas are difficult, contradictory, even. Did he merely trade with the Beothuk, or try to exterminate them? We may never know.

3) The Vikings had shown their greed for land by taking over Greenland. Maybe they wanted to do the same with Newfoundland?

4) If the intention of the Vikings was to take over Newfoundland, then the only thing that made them unsuccessful was the lack of biological warfare. 


5) 
The Norse term "skraeling" which they called the indigenous could be taken as highly offensive. It might have meant "savage". The modern Icelandic word "skraelingi" has a similar meaning.

What you can do now that you are obsessed with the Vikings and probably will be for at least a week 

Historical fiction books and tv shows 

By the way, if you read about any culture enough you will become obsessed with it. It's kinda inevitable, so don't feel bad if you now find yourself in a Viking obsession phase. You can indulge in Rick Riordan's new series on Norse mythology, or a very similar series called "The Blackwell Pages" by Kelly Armstrong and Melissa Marr. I've met both authors in person at a book convention. They are awesome and the Blackwell Pages series is amazing, probably better than the Riordan Norse mythology series although less cool than the Greco-Roman series he has written. Also check out "Sword Song" by Rosemary Sutcliffe , a story about a boy named Bjarni banished from Norway for manslaughter (how similar to the Fate of Erik the Red!) who becomes a mercenary. There is also a female part-skraeling character ;D . Check out "The Dream Carvers" and "Eiriksdottir" by Joan Clark and of course the Irish-Canadian tv series "The Vikings".

and remember, Scandinavian folk music is very good so you might want to make a new dank mixtape: 




That's all.