Fantasy before Reality

I stumbled on 5 Ancient Acts of War That Changed the Face of the Earth. The history is accurate, though the style and vocabulary are …. not what I used when writing papers for History 10 at Carleton 40 years ago. Also interesting are the parallels used to describe historical events.

“Alexander the Great Turns an Island Into a Peninsula” is about the Siege of Tyre in 332 B.C. One of the illustrations is captioned “Minas Tirith can suck it.”

The next entry, “Legio X Fretensis Ramps It Up”, begins:

During the final battle of the epic-sounding First Jewish-Roman War of the first Century, the Roman legion Legio X Fretensis laid siege to a massive end boss in southern Israel called Masada. It was pretty much the Judean equivalent to Helm’s Deep, except instead of being situated in the ass-crack of a mountain, Masada was located on top of one.

Minas Tirith, Helms Deep: The article is describing actual historical events and places by reference to those in a work of fantasy. The assumption, which I do not doubt for a second, is that the readers are much more likely to have heard of Minas Tirith and Helms Deep than Tyre and Masada. Furthermore, I suspect the images most people have of those places owe more to Peter Jackson’s CGI-enhanced movies than to J.R.R. Tolkien’s books. So we have another example of a virtual world taking precedence over physical reality.

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