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Videssos universe

Harry Turtledove's first venture into writing, to which he often returns. Turtledove's first story, written in his teens, was a Lord of the Rings fan fiction which dealt with a Roman legion being ISOTed (as we would say now) into Fourth Age Gondor. Later on, he reworked this story and set it in a new fantasy world of his own devising, one based on his studies of Byzantine history. This is the world of Videssos. Its history before the Legion arrived was sketched out in later books. One holdover from its Lord of the Rings days is the villain, Avshar, who was originally derived from a reborn Witch-king of Angmar - noticeable both in his name and the fact that he never reveals his face, though eventually for different reasons than the Witch-king.

Although the universe is in many ways as unoriginal as Turtledove's other works, incorporating lots of OTL events and thinly disguised analogues, the fact that the period involved is more obscure tends to hide this. Also, his early books have richer characters and better editing than his more recent ones.

Books in the series

The Videssos Cycle:

The Misplaced Legion

An Emperor for the Legion

The Legion of Videssos

Swords of the Legion

The Tale of Krispos:

Krispos Rising

Krispos of Videssos

Krispos the Emperor

The Time of Troubles:

The Stolen Throne

Hammer and Anvil

The Thousand Cities

Videssos Besieged


Bridge of the Separator

Various short stories

OTL equivalents in the series' universe

The Empire of Videssos is the Byzantine Empire. In a common trick by Turtledove, geography is reversed so west is east, but otherwise its geography is much like the OTL one. Farther away, geography becomes less obviously derived from OTL. The Namdaleni represent the Normans (especially those of Sicily), and the Halogai are Scandinavians. Agder, though culturally analogous to Romania, in historical terms appears to correspond more to Western European states such as France. Makuran is Persia; the Yezda are a cross between the Arabs and the Turks, as seen from a distinctly Byzantine perspective.

However, unlike Byzantium, Videssian history appears to suggest the Empire has always been ruled from Videssos the city and has always been an Empire, and thus does not have the same republican and Roman origins as the OTL version.

Religiously speaking, the orthodox Phos-worship of the Videssians (in which the triumph of light is seen as assured) is the equivalent of Orthodox Christianity, the 'Gambler' heresy of the Namdaleni is Catholicism, and the 'Balancer' heresy of Khatrish and Thatagush is possibly Arianism. Other equivalents are less clear: the Four Prophets of Makuran is presumably Zoroastrianism and the religion of the Yezda is Islam, albeit (since it is more-or-less Satanism) Islam as seen by the Byzantines.

alternate_history/videssos.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 15:13 (external edit)