Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Remember When . . . The Moths Ate History?

Giveaway - To Darkness Fled, a young adult fantasy by Jill Williamson.

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How's that for a weird title? LOL. Had I not wanted to use my "Remember When" opener, it would have been "The Holes History Left."

So. I'm researching for a new Biblical-fiction, which I have mentioned briefly on here before. (I'll have an official announcement about it soon-ish.) It's going to be combining the book of Esther in the Bible with the history of Xerxes (what the rest of the world called King Ahasa-whatever in the Bible) as told by Herodotus in his chronicles of the war between Persia and Greece.

Here's the thing, though. Reading them, trying to put them together, leaves a lot of questions. Stupid ones like "When was his oldest son born?" that should have ready answers. But don't. We have very few records of the Persians outside these two sources I'm already using, so if they don't tell me, nothing does.

In a way, it's frustrating. I just want to know how old the kid was!! But I'm going to focus on how freeing it is, too. Because the more holes, the more illogical stuff that's recorded, the more I get to spin my way for my story, the more I get to make up.

Scholars today also agree that Herodotus, who gives us most of what we know about Xerxes, was rather biased against him, given that X was leading a massive army against H's people and all. So in all likelihood he doctored the truth a little to reflect his own beliefs and make Xerxes look as terrible as possible in the eyes of the Greeks. I'm totally taking that into account and assuming Herodotus wasn't a mind reader so didn't actually know all the thoughts he attributes to Xerxes. I'll be attributing my own thoughts to him, thank you very much. ;-) (I mean, not mine. But my interpretation, LOL.) For instance, some of the wackier things he did are going to be explained by a sense of humor. History doesn't record one, but you know. History rarely does.

Some of my best story ideas arise when I read something in history and am left going, "Yeah, but what about . . .?" Like in Esther--how, exactly, did no one know she was Jewish when everyone knew Mordecai was and they obviously had some kind of association?? Well, I have my theory, and it revolves around my main character. =)

Does the Esther story as told in the Bible leave you with any unanswered questions for me to work in?

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