Delving into the Appeal of Historical Fiction

Let’s take a look at why historical fiction is not only fun to read but important to digest!

Book Culture Historical Fiction Opinions Recommendations
ancient statue and pillared building

Historical fiction can often give a human, empathetic side to events and wars that occurred long ago. Readers have the chance to explore the motives people might have had and explore an author’s interpretation or retelling of familiar events. Once forgotten or overlooked historical events can be retold, subverted, or put into a different form.

Iconic Historical Fiction

Notable books include Roman Blood by Steven Saylor. This book introduces people to Gordianus the Finder, who is tasked with solving crimes during the Roman Republic. You also have On Wine-Dark Seas, a novel by Tad Crawford. This follows the events after the Iliad, detailing the events that happened during the years of wandering.

The Song of Achilles is a retelling of Homer’s Iliad. Having lost his will to live, Achilles returns to battle and avenges Patroclus, in an exciting turn of events that helps to add another dimension to the classic story.

The allure of ancient civilizations isn’t just explored in books either. It’s also in other forms of entertainment, including theater, movies, and online slots. If you visit a casino site, you may notice that online slots aisles are filled with historical content, with games including Gates of Olympus and Amazing Link Zeus. Traditional slot machines are placed on aisles because they’re high-traffic areas, so it’s not surprising to see interesting themes, like historical fiction being used to draw even more people in when playing online variants.

men standing in battle dress of metal armor, spears, and shields

Amplifying Unheard Voices

It’s no accident that a lot of earlier historical fiction authors were women. They include Anna Maria and Jane Porter, along with Mme. de La Fayette. This genre helped them to recover the voices of those who have been erased or who have had their historical experiences excised. Historical fiction has a sense of authenticity, but with that being said, it has to move beyond historical fact. This helps to add flesh to the bare bones of history, turning something from being black and white to a colorful tapestry.

It also helps people to gain insight into historical events. Although the work may be fiction, it lays bare the emotions that might have been felt at the time. Fiction romanticizes and simplifies the past while exaggerating the dark times that might have happened. Through historical fiction, every struggle, warfare, and rediscovery can be explained.

It’s possible to learn not only about the events that shaped the modern world but also about the people who challenged the norms of their time. Whether they fought oppression, won their freedom, or made bold and exciting discoveries, their stories can be told once more. This helps to create engaging and gripping narratives that immerse the reader in a time long forgotten.

Humanizing the Past

The goal of historical fiction is to give you the chance to explore the past through the perspective of a character. It gives you, as a reader, the chance to look through the window of society. Even though you may read facts and figures about a particular period, it can still seem distant. Historical fiction helps to humanize the past, making characters more relatable while giving you insight into the decisions they made during their time. Even villainous characters can be understood on a deeper level, bridging the gap between empathetic understanding and cold consideration.

Historical fiction is also a gateway to help people understand a time before they were alive, making it an informal part of learning. You can be introduced to different cultures, periods, and perspectives, unconsciously. Fiction can be read without any prior understanding of a topic, without any need to know the entire context. This can help readers connect to history, providing a gateway where they may want to go on and read non-fiction books to find out facts or proven stories from that era. It also helps people to understand the trials and tribulations that the previous generation might have gone through.

Even though the line between fact and fiction can sometimes be blurred, fiction is a fantastic way for people to learn more about ancient civilizations and gives insight that cannot be obtained with other forms of literature. For this reason, it’s not far-stretched to think that fiction is just as important as non-fiction when it comes to historical understanding.