Things that keeps me moving forward 3: History Documentaries
Last year I wrote about how much having influences and motivation helps in a work that you are constantly by yourself.
Part 1: Grant Morrison Talking with Gods
I started trying to get knowledge from things I used to study when I was a child and I was driven to BBC History documentaries from the whole Roman Empire, Dark Ages, Religion, Scotland, British kings and Egypt. My favorites were Summer, Hittites and Assyrian histories, which we are not used to them and shows how the world started in the Anatolia peninsula and Mesopotamia, actually. It’s weird how places we connect with a distant unknown society today was the whole base of what we understand now as our way of life. I almost watched them all twice.
Think of this: To put it simple: We all know the story of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans, Right? they fought King Darius’s son Xerxes, who was a Persian King. Persia wanted to grow west by crossing the Thermopylae pass and then move as a revenge to a previous invasion (First Persian Wars, think the battle of Marathon). Are you set in time? Let’s travel a long back then: Persia hold the Anatolia Peninsula and the Mesopotamia region. Before Persia, this peninsula held the Assyrian Empire, a warrior society, undefeated in battle.
And then the Hittites, a religious, scientific and warrior society so developed that settled their biggest and most important city Hattusa, on a mountain developing its own water system based on a modular clay half tube. Amazing. they also are the firsts of have accurate economic system and writing documents using the clay tablets and cuneiform writing method. They praised lions and their kings were reflected in them.
But before all of them, the societies were created in the Mesopotamic region and Egypt… the Summerian society created somethings that we are so used today, like the number 0 and beer. Ur and Uruk are their most known cities and were created back in 38th century bc when people started to settle and began farming crops. They were the first cities to began organizing themselves into a pyramidal structure, often ruled by faith (that made me wonder if faith is something people create to separate will from duty)… I swear that this documentary makes me feel the weight of time.
I had some favorite people over those documentaries:
- Alexander The Great was so clever and always faced straight at impossible problems. The Gordian Knot Legend was the clearest example of that. If you don’t want to spent time solving a problem… go straight to the solution at once.
- My favorite pharaoh? Not Tuttankamon, of course, but his father, Akenathen. And here’s why: Hunchback, ugly, ill and despised by his parents, became pharaoh without wanting it. And changed the whole religious society (gods and law) to the point of changing gods (from a whole pantheon to a single and very logic god, the sun, or Aten), changed his name and also moved his whole capital city to created his desired city, Amarna. Extreme Bullied-children syndrome. by the way, you may know his wife, Nefertiti. This documentary of the finding of this mummy is great.
- I am also very fond or Constantine The Great. This Roman empire of the Constantine Period. and that’s why: He might have committed the most biggest lie in order to cross a single bridge. And that lie makes me wonder the whole religious system we live in…This is actually something that blows my mind and now that I’ll be visiting Rome in like a month it’s something I am planning to do. Constantine was an emperor from 306 AD to 337 AD. He was the son of a former emperor and a general of the pretorian guard. He marched with his army to Rome to fight for the throne, which was something many many emperors and aspirants did. Just look at the list of roman emperors to see how many they were and how brief was their time on the throne. He was outside Rome and needed to cross the Melvian Bridge and fight Roman general and also usurper Maxentius (but also an emperor). by that time Christianity was the lower classes and soldiers most common religion, but still they were persecuted. The Christians grew constantly after almost 300 years after the Death of Christ. History tells that Constantine, just before facing Maxentius on the Melvian Bridge, saw a light in the sky and suddenly God (the Christian God) told him to fight under the banner of Christ and he’ll be crowned emperor. He did. He ordered his soldiers to paint the then Christian Cross on their shields and they won the battle. Then he converted to Christianity, gathered the first Christian Concilium (Nicea, 325 AD) where were appointed almost all the christian message/doctrinae we are being taught. What’s is not clear is that he probably did that in order to surprise his enemies beliefs and gain the favor from his Christian soldiers. The Arc of Constantine, located at the Roman Forum which shows his prowess, shows no christian symbol at all and this documentary was a bomb to me.
- So Constantine The Great was the one who set the fire of Christianity to be an accepted religion in Europe. What came later was, to put into a single word: complicated. Even this documentary, quite subjective in my opinion, shows the most ramifications of Christianism. Still it’s a good view if you want to see religion as a case study and not a faith. I know that would be hard to separate, thou.
- This another documentary from the BBC helps us locate ourselves places that in the Bible are considered divine, but actually they are very real: Do you think that Paradise is actually Bahrein?
- And that Armageddon is actually a crossing near Jericho?
Also, I’d love to do a comic where Palmirian Queen Zenobia meet Constantine I the Great, even thou there are 70 years gap. Better now than later, since ISIL is destroying all Palmirian Empire ruins. too bad that history does not respect itself…
Well, there are lots of things I learnt from these documentaries… I’ll make another part about Middle Ages, Scotland and Vikings!
Besides I have also a great post in mind about comic book podcasts.