So my contributor copies of Between Sand and Sea: Mythic Africaarrived this week in Oz, which was very exciting apart form the fact I haven’t had a chance to properly read through it yet…
It’s always great to see the interior artwork finally, there’s some really great pieces that capture the flavour of the region – as a line author we get to suggest scenes for the artists but we usually don’t see the actual pictures until the final supplement.
(My copies are often delayed compared to most due to my Antipodean residential status).
I only contributed a relatively small amount to this book admittedly compared to the other authors (the Tuareg nomads, some settuten magic concepts, a few hedge wizard and werehyena ideas, the Cyrenaica and Ahaggar areas, the mundane beasts appendix). I’m really proud of this one as I think it indicates just how far I’ve developed as a writer with the generous help of my more experienced co-authors (particularly Timothy) and how far we’ve managed to stretch the once restraining envelope of Mythic Europe…
Books are an integral part of ArM5 (and earlier editions), and I’ve always been fascinated by the potential story options around books and the potential flavour they create.
While working up some ideas for Andalusian Magi, I researched a load of texts written in Arabic – both original works by Arabic or Persian scholars and those Greek texts translated by the House of Wisdom I wrote up an article on the Studia Arabum, in the style of the Appendix to Art & Academeand collated some ideas on books in general.
The Studia Arabum is the corpus of books later translated from Arabic back into Latin (often via Greek by the Sephardic Jews of southern Iberia, the so-called “Toledo School”. Many of the books later considered seminal works entered medieval Europe via this process, which has just started to provide a glimpse into the secrets of the past and the polymaths of the Arabic speaking lands by the canonical starting time of a default ArM5 Saga (ie. the year 1220 CE).
I’ve begun to post some of the material in sections in the Andalusian Magi section of this site, which I hope players and Troupes will find useful not only for use in Andalusian, Levantine and perhaps even sahir led Mythic Middle East Sagas but also for play in stories involving academia, universities, books and libraries.
My fascination with astrolabes began a while ago, but I think it stems mainly from my fascination with clockwork and mechanical devices in general (I’m a bit of a steampunk tragic, but it’s tough to translate this into Ars Magica as it stands although perhaps exciting as a variant setting).
The image to the right is one of the most interesting I’ve found, a spherical astrolabe that would be almost impossible to craft with thirteenth century technology, but potentially simple with Hermetic craft magic.
I think a spherical astrolabe would make a great talisman concept for an astrological magus and is distinct enough from an armillary sphere to play a potential role in ArM5 Sagas. I’ll be detailing other astronomical devices (predominantly mediveal Islamic in origin) over time, but for now details for astrolabes are presented here.