Writing Round-Up

Sorry it’s still been slim pickings on this blog lately. I am still working on something, but it’s slow going. I’m getting married next month and between the arrangements for that and my other extra-curricular writing, I’ve not had as much chance as I’d like to write things for Ancient Worlds.

Anyway, if you want to catch up on what I’ve been writing in other places, here’s some of my recent output:

From Final Fantasy 12 to Uncharted 3: exploring gaming’s Orientalist fantasies (Eurogamer)


In-depth with the objects in the CREWS Exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum:


A Babylonian Tablet

A Replica Ugaritic Tablet

A Phoenician Arrowhead

I hope I’ll be able to get a proper Ancient Worlds article up soon!


In Praise of Video Game Castles

I’m aware that recently this blog has slightly devolved into a set of links to things I’ve written elsewhere. Unfortunately things continue to be busy and writing that’s either my job or I get paid for has to take priority. I promise I am working on a couple of substantial posts specially for Ancient Worlds, though. They might take a while, but I hope they’ll be worth it.

In the meantime, I’m on Eurogamer again, thinking about Video Game castles and how they differ from their real-world counterparts.

I do love me some castles…



Mermaids and Merfolk of the Ancient World

Things have been a little quiet round here recently. Sorry about that – term kind of got in the way. But hopefully now things aren’t quite so busy I’ll be able to get a few things written, starting now.

Let’s talk about mermaids, shall we? Well, not just mermaids but mermen and fish-people of all stripes. I’ve been meaning to write something on this for a while, but a discussion on Twitter this morning about Dagan prompted me to actually get started. Dagan has often been seen as a fish-deity because in Hebrew dag means fish. These Mesopotamian images of mermen and priests dressed as fish are often linked with Dagan.


Continue reading

Imagining and Deciphering Writing Systems for Games

The lovely people at Eurogamer have let me get my archaeology and linguistics all over their website again. Here’s an article on invented writing-systems in video games and the window-dressing vs puzzle approaches:



Also, if you enjoyed this, a reminder that I did an in-depth thing on the writing-systems of Zelda right here on Ancient Worlds.

Where do Monsters Come From? Tracing the Leviathan from Ugarit to Final Fantasy

Rounding out a busy week for the blog (who would have thought that Aegean stuff in Doctor Who would have been so popular?), I have another article up on Eurogamer. This one’s a bit of a sequel to my one looking at the afterlife of Ba’al and traces the sea monster Leviathan from Ugaritic poem to triple-A video-game.



A Visual Guide to the Aegean Bronze Age in Doctor Who

Most people probably don’t associate Doctor Who with the Aegean Bronze Age. I mean, why would you? They’ve only done two stories set there and one is entirely missing from the archives. But when you delve a bit more closely, there’s a thread of Bronze Age stuff running through from the very first episode and lasting at least until the end of seventies.

Here’s the TARDIS in the very first episode of Doctor Who, in November 1963. Isn’t it lovely?


And that funny-looking chair is a replica of the stone one found in the ‘throne room’ at the Bronze Age palace of Knossos on Crete. Continue reading