Posts Tagged ‘Ancient Greece’

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Ada Lovelace Day – Cleopatra the Alchemist

10 October, 2017

Cleopatra the AlchemistToday is Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating the contribution of women to the sciences, technology and knowledge.

As is my wont on ALD, I choose to highlight notable women of ideas of the Ancient World (see my 2011 and 2012 contributions) and today is no exception:

Cleopatra the Alchemist

Considered one of the finest alchemist of her time, roughly the 3rd Century CE, and was said to one of the four women alchemists who had mastered the philosopher’s stone and were capable of changing base metals to gold.

Alchemical secretsSadly, not much beyond that is know of her, there is a single page of symbolic notes she is believed to have written.  But the school of alchemy that she was attached to was well known as using advanced technology, she is associated with the early use or even invention of the alembic, used for distilling (and still used for distilling alcohol).

Notes: Images from Wikimedia Commons (seal) and Wikimedia Common (symbols) both are in the Public Domain.  You can read more about Cleopatra at Wikipedia.

Today’s magic item is inspired by her.

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Wandering the Web [5]

8 September, 2010

A variety of interesting  bits of information that I have encountered recently.  Hope you find them as intriguing and useful as I have.

How the Terror Bird killed its prey, this makes me think of the axe beak from the original Monster Manual.

Athena cover

Athena: the Grey-Eyed Goddess by George O'Connor

A wonderful set of graphic novels retelling the tales of the Olympians by George O’Connor.  Which I found both well drawn and well researched.  So far volumes for Zeus and Athena have been released with Hera’s legends and stories the next one scheduled.

Lost Persian Army found in the sands of Egypt, you would think it would be difficult to lose an entire army for 2,500 years.

Terraforming in microscale, Charles Darwin’s ecological experiment on Ascension isle.  Sometimes it is amazing what can be done just by attempting it.

Sci-Fi Airshow takes spacecraft and airplanes from SF shows of the past and treats them as if they had actually been built.  Complete with service histories and ‘where are they now’ sections.

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Through the Lens of History – Vision 14: “You can’t get there from here” Maps in the West from the Ancient World to the Middle Ages

13 August, 2010

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 14: “You can’t get there from here”
Maps in the West from the Ancient World to the Middle Ages

Maps are more than ways to show how to get from place to place; they are tools to help us understand the world. Ancient Greek maps placed the Oracle at Delphi at the center of the world, and medieval European maps made Jerusalem the central point. Both illustrate important aspects of how these cultures viewed the world and their place in it. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Through the Lens of History – Vision 13: “Gold and Silver Pieces? Exactly” Money, Part I

15 July, 2010

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 13: “Gold and Silver Pieces?  Exactly.”
Money, Part I

The best things in life are free
But you can give them to the birds and bees
I want money

-“Money (That’s What I want)” by the Flying Lizards

Money is such an interesting concept, yet we rarely think about it.  Pieces of printed paper and minted coins have been imbued with a value far exceeding the material or artistic value of the items involved.  But it is only recently that the value of money has become divorced from the value of some item; usually the precious metal that the money either was made from or represented.  For example, silver dollars were once made of silver, and the value of a coin was usually relative to the amount of metal it was made from.  As a note, bullion is bulk metal, valued by weight alone.

This Lens will take a brief look at the origin of coins, coinage and some other monetary systems.  Money and coinage is a subject the Lens will return to.

Part I – The History

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Review – Clash of the Titans (2010)

6 April, 2010

Laura, my wife, and I went to see this on Easter, caught the earliest show which was nice and uncrowded.

Clash of the Titans begins with a potted history, which totally screws up the Greek creation myth and the conflict between the gods and the titans.  The coherence of the story does not get any better from then on.  The special effects are quite good, the action is above average and the movie looks good but the plot is weak, contradictory and does constant violence to the fabric and ideals of Greek myth.   If you can let the plot wash over you in a Zen-like state to enjoy the action scenes and the pretty visuals, you will be better off for it.

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More spoiler laden comments follow after the break.

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Pankraton Master prestige class

26 March, 2010

This was a prestige class built for my Ancient Greece-inspired game and is an evolution of the Pankraton feat.  It is a combatant that relies on their own skill alone to defeat his opponents:

Pankraton Master
“Let us fight like real men, with just our hands.”

Pankraton Masters are those warriors who have mastered the physically demanding martial art of Pankraton (“all-powerful”).  In unarmed combat, the Pankration Master is devastating, outside of that arena he remains a competent warrior.

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Through the Lens of History – Vision 9: “Message for you, Sir!” – Part I Mail and Messengers from the Ancient World to the Early Middle Ages

15 March, 2010

Tis the ides of March (of which Caesar failed to beware) and time for more history:

Through the Lens of History: Using History for Better Gaming
Vision 9: “Message for you, Sir!” – Part I
Mail and Messengers from the Ancient World to the Early Middle Ages

Hand in hand with the development of writing was the use of writing for long distance communication.  Written messages did not need to be memorized by the messenger and they were almost guaranteed to be delivered without being accidentally changed. As literacy spread, so did letter writing and the demand for messengers.

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