As some of you might know, I am working on my first novel, which is the first book of a trilogy. It is going to be a quasi-historical grimdark high fantasy series loosely based on the 11-12th century Byzantine Empire. Historical in the sense of A Song of Ice and Fire being loosely based on the 100 year wars.
The shamanism lore, mythology and the spirit creatures are mostly based on Central Asian/Siberian Turkic shamanism and Armenian mythology. It’s going to be a very Eastern setting, drawing inspiration from severely underrated Eastern history and mythology. I know some of it since I grew up surrounded by the magnificent Byzantine legacy, Anatolian and Central Asian Turkic fairy tales & epics, Turkish and Armenian folklore, but I felt that I should do serious academic research to get a deeper insight.
That is where the Tolkien influence comes into play: Doing the advanced research like Tolkien, not writing elves and dwarves and halflings into my stories.
Now I am going to give you a glimpse of the reading and research I have been doing for this series.
The Alexiad – Anna Komnene (12th century Byzantine chronicles)
The History – Michael Attaleiates (11th century Byzantine chronicles)
The Chronographia – Michael Psellos (11th century Byzantine chronicles)
￼Armenia and the Crusades Tenth to Twelfth Centuries – Chronicles of Matthew of Edessa
The Armenians in the Byzantine Empire – Charanis et al
Armenian Folk Beliefs, by Manuk Abeghyan.
Armenian Mythology, by Mardiros H. Ananikian. From The Mythology of All Races Volume VII
Armenian Historical Sources of the 5-15th Centuries, Selected Works
ARAB-BYZANTINE WAR, 629-644 AD by DAVID E. KUNSELMAN, LCDR , SC, USN
(Master’s Thesis, Military Art and Science)
Byzantine Intelligence Service
Byzantine Magic by Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
THE SHAMANS AMONG THE UYGHUR TURKS AND THE SHAMANS’ TREATMENT METHODS A. ÖGER – T. GÖNEL et al
A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON NATIVE AMERICAN AND SIBERIAN, CENTRAL ASIAN TURKISH SHAMANISM – Arslan et al
The Beliefs and Practices on Mountain, Tree and Fire Cults in “Kaz Mountains” – Duymaz-Sahin et al
SOME MYTHS AND BELIEFS AMONG TATARS RELATED TO MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES – Cetin et al
A Mythic Creature in the Narratives of Altai Turks: Celbegen – Turker et al
Some Determinations about the Relations of the Hero with the Underground World and Sky World in Siberian Turkish Epics – Dilek et al
THE TYPE OF WOMAN IN THE HEROIC LEGENDS OF SHORS – Chirli et al
Altaic Turks and Their Beliefs – Yugasheva et al
This is not even half of it. There is a rather huge list of mythology, folklore and shamanism books in Turkish language and a myriad of other scientific papers on Byzantine culture and medieval military tactics. This is why I am not churning out tons of book reviews and writing 2k words a day.
I am doing all this research to make sure the mythology, spiritual aspects, shamanism stuff, battles, military tactics and the politics are as realistic as possible. Those books better turn out decent after so much hard work. Come to think of it, it’s rather funny that I am reading the above pile of academic books & papers to create a grimdark high fantasy series, not a Ph.D thesis.