Two of my earlier articles have been judged worthy to find their way into All About History’s Annual bookazine! The first is ‘Roman Mystery Cults’, a look at several religious cults of the ancient world that are not as well known as those dedicated to the more familiar Olympian deities. The second is ‘Hannibal Barca: Enemy of Rome.’ Yes, it really is about Hannibal of Carthage, and right again, he also did not like ancient Rome, not even a little. Look for the Annual on the magazine rack of your local bookstore if you’re in there soon.
Big news! I’ve just had a short story, “Yesterday’s Battlefield,” appear in the science fiction anthology Dimensional Gates! Published by ZMOK Books, Dimensional Gates is set in the same universe as the miniatures battle game Beyond the Gates of Antares, the latest masterpiece from the legendary designer, Rick Priestley, who is also the creator of the famed Warhammer 40,000.
Here is the background of Antares: In the far future, six ages have come and gone, and in the current, Seventh Age, humanity has built an ultra-high-tech galactic civilization tenuously linked by transdimensional gates clustered around the red giant star Antares. Antares, however, is actually not a star, but is rather a massive alien machine that allows faster-than-light travel through space. Intrepid explorers, merchants, and military men go through these star gates seeking riches and lost technology. The result of their efforts is anything but peaceful, and Beyond the Gates of Antares is all about their conflicts. “Yesterday’s Battlefield” is about one such explorer who transits a gate to an unknown star and bites off more than he can chew.
Thank you to ZMOK Books for publishing my story, and thank you also to Rick Priestley for conjuring up such an extraordinary universe in which to set it.
I have added again to the non-bellicose corpus of my written work! In plain English, my latest material isn’t about war. So yes, there is a Softer Side of Marc! Check it out in All About History’s latest bookazine, Book of Ancient Greece. What is a bookazine you ask? Wait, you didn’t ask? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. Imagine a very beefy magazine with a square binding. Bookazines are softcover special issues, so they go into greater depth on a particular subject than would otherwise be the case in a regular, slenderer, monthly issue. My own contributions in this particular publication are in realm of Ancient Greek mythology and religion, and include: The Greeks and their Religion; The Gods Themselves; and The Twelve Olympians. If you find yourself in a bookstore soon, please give it a look. It will be on the magazine rack.
The gentlemen-scholars of the Ancient Warfare podcast and I have done it again. Another splendid episode recorded and now ready for download! This month’s offering covers the early years of Julius Caesar’s civil war with the Roman Senate. The struggle featured Caesar’s dramatic battles against his former BFF and fellow triumvir, Pompey the Great. Please give it a listen, and let others whom you think would be interested in the subject know about the podcast.
The latest installment for War of Words, my column in Military History Monthly, is out now in Issue 84. The topic of the month is ‘press gang,’ the compulsory service of sailors in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Impressment was a big deal, as the Navy struggled to find enough men for its ships. It also caused huge problems with the Americans, who were sometimes impressed to serve on British ships, and was a leading cause of the War of 1812.
Check it out!
The character of the crafty Odysseus is well-known to all readers of Homer. He was a major supporting character in the Iliad, and then took a star-turn of his own in the sequel, the Odyssey. As the Odyssey closes, Odysseus has reunited with his wife Penelope and regained the throne of Ithaca after a twenty-year absence. Did you know that there is more to his story? Upon reaching retirement age, Odysseus and Penelope moved to Florida. While Odysseus quickly adjusted and discovered a love of golf and sports cars, he was deeply confused by certain other aspects of American life. My poem, “Odysseus, Retired to Florida, at the Mall,” which has just been published in the wonderful literary humor magazine Defenestration, takes a sympathetic look at the old man as he struggles to navigate his way through a food court in a suburban shopping mall. Please give it a read.
There are only a few things that fascinate me as much as military history, and one of them is the history of words. So I found a way to squish both interests together, and the result, like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, is a delight in which the combination is even better than each part on its own. For a little over a year now I’ve been writing a short column for Military History Monthly titled War of Words in which I examine a word or phrase that we know well from ordinary English and explain its origin in, or relation to, military history. In previous issues, I’ve looked at first rate, knight, and ironclad. For the August 2017 issue, the word is panoply, the full set of equipment carried by an ancient Greek hoplite. Take a look at it if you find yourself in a bookstore soon.