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The novels refer to many locations.  To assist readers who may be interested, here are several maps.  They’re easier to see here than in our books, so please make use of this page!

 

Map of the Hellenic World - and Travel in It

 

This map shows the overall picture of the Eastern Mediterranean. Here you can see the location of the important cities of our novels: Thebes, Pisa (the location of Olympia), Athens, Sikyon, Argos, Pylos, Korinth, Mycenae and others. Many of these cities, such as Athens and Thebes, still exist today; others, such as Mycenae and Tiryns, are only ruins which can be easily visited.

 

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Although travel was dangerous and difficult, plenty of people did make journeys in ancient times, over both land and sea. Recently it was determined that a youth, buried near Stonehenge in about 1550 BCE, came originally from the Mediterranean. There’s evidence of plenty of travel around and about the Mediterranean, too.

 

Of course, traveling wasn’t easy.  If you couldn’t go by boat – which was far the least strenuous way to make a journey, even though you risked drowning at sea, being blown off course or being captured by pirates, and, then as now, becoming seasick – you had to either walk with your own feet or travel in some animal-drawn vehicle.  And, animal-drawn vehicles were not always reliable.  Wheels broke.  Roads were poor; bridges sometimes didn’t exist.  The animals, too, were not always reliable.  Horseback riding certainly was prevalent in some parts of the world, even millennia earlier, but in the regions where we focus, people tended to use chariots, partly because the horses seem to have been smaller than they are today.  Most chariot horses of yore were the size of ponies.  However, near the end of the Bronze Age, there are stories of men riding on horses, as, for example, the horse Arion.

 

Other dangers existed for travelers. The Greek-speaking world was still home to many wild animals: lions figure prominently in the myths; they became extinct in our regions around 100 AD.  Bears appear in other stories, and certainly there were wolves. The roads were full of bandits.  And, even once you reached civilization, there were risks in entering another’s home. However, there was a code of hospitality, apparently sponsored by Zeus, which said that strangers were to be given what they needed for sustenance, even before their names were asked. This was a sensible thing to do, as even a beggar-woman could turn out to be a goddess in disguise!

 

Anyway, from the map you can see where the cities were located.  We have increased the length of the time to travel by foot when our characters were lost, were struggling through rough terrain, or were too weak to travel quickly.

 

Map of Thebes

 

Thebes is one of the most important cities in our books, as several of our novels are set in that city. Thebes has not been thoroughly excavated, as the area is still inhabited, but some archaeological work has been done. We have visited the Archaeological Museum at Thebes, met with the director, and have explored the town. Some of the geography has changed – for example, the marshes north of the city have been drained for agricultural purposes, but in the Bronze Age, large portions of the alluvial plain would have been impassable – but other features remain the same. You can still see the mountains, Dirke’s fountain, and, from the depressions in the earth, guess where the streams were in the past.  On this map you can see some of the streets of Thebes today and where we have positioned the seven gates.   At least two sets of names are associated with the seven gates, with Proetides and Electran in one set.  This group is the most commonly known, and people today seem to know where the Proetides gate was. Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Victoria\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\QDQGLX01\Map_of_Thebes_20101021 (2).jpg

However, we ran into trouble reconciling the stories told in Greece’s classical age, the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, with the time period in which the events allegedly took place, the Late Bronze Age, which ended approximately 1200 BCE. There were many centuries between these periods, during which many cities were burned to the ground and a great deal of culture was lost. Greece even lost its ability to write! The script used in the Bronze Age is known today as Linear B, and was used mainly for record-keeping purposes.  Only later did the Greeks develop the current alphabet, allegedly adapted from the script used by the Phoenicians, and start using that alphabet for writing poems, plays, history and philosophy.

 

Back to the gates!  We know the names which were used in the Classical Age, because they’re mentioned in the plays written in that time period - but the myths also say that King Amphion, who built Thebes’ walls and gates, named the gates for his seven daughters. Given that our stories take place during the life of King Amphion or during the following generations, it seems much more logical to use the names of the daughters for the gates.  So that’s what we did.

We were not able to locate any information assigning the daughters’ names  to specific gates – in fact we had difficulty determining a definitive list of the daughters’ names – so our assignment was arbitrary.  On the other hand, we have tried to be consistent from book to book. As you can see, Dirke’s fountain – which you can still visit today – we have placed by the Ogygia Gate. The northern gate, which leads to the hill where King Amphion was buried, we have called the Kleodoxa Gate.

 

Map of Pisa/Olympia

 

Olympia is where the Olympic Games were started, in 776 BCE.  Please note that this is several centuries after the events of our novels!  However, the fellow who started the games in 776 BCE claimed that he was resurrecting the games that had been held by King Pelops, one of our principal characters.  If you visit the ruins of Olympia today – just next to the village of Pisa – you can locate a cenotaph dedicated to Pelops. (A cenotaph is a tomb or a monument for a person who is actually buried elsewhere.)  Pelops’ ghost was honored at the ancient Olympics by the sacrifice of a black goat, whose blood was then poured into the ground. This would supposedly reanimate the ghost for a bit – spirits, rather like vampires, could be revived either through wine or blood. Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: C:\Users\Victoria\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\QDQGLX01\Map_of_Pisa_20101021 (2).jpg

 

The myths all place Pelops in Elis/Pisa/Olympia. We have our doubts about this. We think there’s a good chance that Pelops lived and reigned in the region where we now find Sikyon, Tiryns or Mycenae or Argos. We think this is more likely because archaeological excavations around Olympia don’t go back as far as the time of King Pelops. Also, Pelops’ descendants and relatives tended to have ties to these other cities.

 

Furthermore, the king who founded – or re-founded – the Olympic games in 776 BCE – would have good reason to move Pelops’ history to his area. Pelops was a famous king, with many important descendants. The peninsula is still, after all these years, named for him (Peloponnesus = Island of Pelops).  Claiming that Pelops lived in Pisa/Elis/Olympia gave the games credibility.

 

Despite our doubts, we have followed the myth instead of the archaeology. We remind you that we are writing historical fiction.

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The Tapestry of Bronze is a series of interlocking novels set in ancient Greece, starting several generations before the Trojan War. Archaeological evidence indicates that this “Golden Age of Heroes” aligns with Bronze Age dates.  Our series forms a tapestry, because the books tie together, though each novel focuses on one strand of story.  Jocasta, Children of Tantalus, The Road to Thebes, Arrows of Artemis and Antigone & Creon are available for purchase today. And more are in the works!

Not sure if you’ll like the books?  Then electronically download a sample at Amazon.  Clicking on the covers below will take you to that company’s website.

jocastacover_thumbnail (3)  COT_cover_thumbnail (2)  RTT_cover_thumbnail (3)  

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The Tapestry of Bronze is a series of novels set in Bronze Age Greece. 

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You may be interested in visiting other parts of our website:

 

More about our books

      Jocasta

      Children of Tantalus

      The Road to Thebes

      Arrows of Artemis

      Antigone & Creon

     

βλία στα ελληνκα - Our Books (in Greek)

 

Odes to Olympians Contest Current:

 

Winners of Past Contests: Zeus  Hera  Poseidon  Demeter  Hermes  Athena Apollo Artemis Ares Aphrodite Hephaestus

 

Pronunciation Guide

 

Maps (Thebes, Pisa/Olympia, Eastern Mediterranean)

 

The Stories Behind the Stories

 

Acknowledgements, Thanks, Bibliography and Links

 

About the Authors

 

The Highbury Murders

 

Victoria's Writing Classes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you wish to contact us?  Write to us at “tapestryofbronze” at “yahoo.com”

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