It has been hypothesized that D&D is by nature a post-apocalyptic game. The basic premise — adventurers exploring ruins for treasure — screams lost civilization. What is not as clear is that the basic assumed setting — a fantasy emulation of medieval Europe — is also post-apocalyptic.
Although I haven't posted much recently about either, I am still quietly working on both my version of the Chateau des Fausesflammes and Holmes & Cook. It largely amounts to research about something that I am not as fluent in as I would like to be — southern France circa A.D. 1200. What is striking is how important the Roman Empire is to medieval Europe — it is THE lost civilization. Charlemagne was called the Holy Roman Emperor, for example.
I found a profoundly beautiful example of this loss while trying to find musical inspiration for the Chateau. While searching around for examples of early medieval music, I ran across this beautiful example of Ambrosian Chant from the 7th century:
When I played this for my wife (who has a doctorate in music) without revealing what it really was, she rattled off such regions of origin as Greece, Albania, Georgia and the Middle East. This is because it bears a striking resemblance to the music from those regions. Take for example this 7th century hymn from Constantinople (still sung today in the Orthodox Church):
This is a poignant reminder that despite the distances, the different languages and the different local customs we used to have one Church.
Let me finish with one other interesting way medieval Europe tried to hold on to the past. Originally, clergy wore the same clothes as everybody else; however, as fashion changed in the laity, the clergy continued to wear the style of clothing worn by generations before them. Thus, the robes worn by priests in the middle ages (and in some places even today) were normal, everyday clothes in the fashion of 4th century Rome.
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