Some pages from the Byzantines chapter I’ve been working for awhile on.
Maps, as I’ve written before, are inherently subjective—no matter how detailed or scientific, they reflect our worldview and the age in which we’re living, not to mention the difficulty of projecting a spherical globe onto a plane surface. Now compound these challenges by asking 30 people to sketch a map of the world from memory. What would you get?
In the summer of 2012, Zak Ziebell, now a 17-year-old high school senior in San Antonio, did just that.
Woah! An art piece I did was in the Atlantic.
Part 1 is up on Amazon!
Some pages from Chapter 4 detailing the rise and fall of the Roman Republic. If you’re interested in learning more, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History had an excellent podcast series awhile back called Death Throes of the Republic on this topic.
The paperback version of Part 1 is almost finalized and will soon be up on Amazon! If you’re interested, I’ll be updating this Tumblr soon with more details. As always, the ebook version is available on Gumroad, currently for $3 with the code TUMBLR.
The Chavin and the Moche! Two ancient South American civilizations that aren’t super well known but very interesting.
The story of Ashoka is pretty unique among ancient rulers. He was born to one of the less notable wives of the Mauryan emperor Bindusara, making his initial prospects for succession to the throne pretty grim. But when his dad died and the inevitable power struggle ensued, Ashoka was able to trick the legitimate heir into inadvertently walking into a pit of live coals. Afterwards he supposedly executed 99 of his brothers who also held claims to the throne. *
After securing power, Ashoka continued to hold a general disregard for human life. According to Buddhist legends (of questionable veracity) he burnt 500 of his concubines to death after a few of them insulted him for his rough skin. He also constructed an infamous torture chamber known as “Ashoka’s Hell.”
Deciding to subjugate the eastern Kalinga Republic, his army fought a massive battle at the Kalingan capital. Inspecting the results of his victory afterwards, Ashoka was horrified by the slaughter of civilians. He then decided to renounce his bloodthirsty ways and convert to Buddhism.
As the first Buddhist head of a major empire, he was instrumental in Buddhism’s spread as a world religion. He initiated a series of massive public works projects, constructing hospitals, universities, roads, and temples throughout India.
* The reports on this incident are dubious, but like most ancient figures you can divide the number by 10 and get a more likely estimate. So, if Ashoka did indeed slaughter his brothers en masse, it was probably just like 9 of them. Actually, all of these horror stories about Ashoka’s wickedness before his Buddhist conversion, despite being interesting, probably aren’t true, which is why I didn’t include them in the comic.