Monday, May 14, 2012

Writing Prompt- Lost Civilizations

I don't know about you, but I'm a history geek. I love history. Especially ancient history. Tonight's post is going to be about ancient and lost places

So after looking at these cities for ideas, trying writing a scene or a short story where someone discovers one of these cities, goes back in time to, or where the character lives there. Remember that most of these cities, we don't know a lot about. And most of what we do know is guess work. So be creative and have fun!

  • Machu Picchu- This is the most famous Inca city which sits 7,000 ft above sea level on a rocky mountain slope just 70 miles from Cuzco (the Inca capital). According to many theories, the city may have been home to temples, palaces, observatories, and a vacation spot for the Inca ruling class. The reasons for the city being abandoned is unknown but theories range from wars, the city being condemned for some unfavorable act,  to epidemics. 
  • Great Zimbabwe- This is the famous African city. There are two main buildings, the Hill Fortress and the Great Enclosure. Surrounded by a stone wall 830 ft in circumference, ranging in height from 16 ft to 35 ft, and is 4 ft thick in some places, the city must have been well protected. It is believed that the city was home to a Bantu-speaking people who lived there until the 15th century. Some believe that the city was built out of stone since the people living there were probably miners and used their city as a trading center and slave center for transporting them to Arabia. 
  • Angkor Wat- This ancient Indian city was home to the Khmer who followed Hinduism. Its a city of temples, beautifully carved walls, reservoirs, and irrigation canals. Since any of what the Khmer wrote themselves never survived (their documents were written on plants and skins), most of what we know more then 1,000 inscriptions in different languages. 
    • The city was founded in the 9th century by Jayavarman II and the city fell as a result to weak leadership, military campains, rebellious slaves, malaria, and perhaps, flooding. The city also inspired The Cursing although the actual city isn't used in the book (perhaps though the Temple is inspired by it?).
  • Susa- The ancient Persian city changed control many times before being destroyed by the Assyrians around 645 B.C. Although destroyed, the city rose upon again out of the ashes to house famous peoples such as Cyrus the Great, Queen Esther of the Bible, and Alexander the Great. It was destroyed again sometime in the 13th century. The burned down city was discovered in 1850 and consists of four mounds, the Acropolis, Apadana, the Royal City, and the Artisan's Town. 
  • Troy- Troy is famous for Helen of Sparta's story in which she falls in love with a prince of Troy and runs away from her husband to be with the prince. Her husband, King Menelaos launched a 10 year war to get her back and ended up destroying the city.
    •  In 1870, Dr. Heinrich Schliemann deemed that he had discovered the famous, lost city. During one of his excavations, he discovered a gold treasure and gave it to his wife, Sophia who hid the jewels in her shawl. A lone picture of her wearing the "Jewels of Helen" is all that remains for us to know what the treasure looks like for it was lost from Berlin in 1975. Only a pair of earrings and a few small other pieces remain. 
  • Petra- The Nabaraeans, a skilled nomadic tribe of shepherds, made Petra the capital of their Empire over 2,000 years ago. Originating in northwest Arabia, it took them over 600 years to make their empire and commanded a center of trading that gave them huge wealth and control. Around the time of their height, over 20,000 people lived there and in a.d 106, the Romans took it over. After the 7th century though, the city disappeared from all records but memory. The story of the discovery is quite exciting, as is most discoveries, but this one I find the most interesting. 
    • Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, an Anglo-Swiss explorer was going to Cario in 1812 when he heard about the city. Learning Arabic, he disguised himself as Ibrahim ibn Abdallah, a Muslim trader who wanted to sacrifice a goat to the prophet Aaron on a hill overlooking the city. This cover story was to convince the local Bedouin tribesmen to guide him to the city. While there, he made a quick drawing of the city under his robes, made his sacrifice, and then returned home. 
Other suggestions for cool lost cities include Atlantis and Eldorado. 

So do you know of any other cool ancient places or rumored ones? Have you ever written a story before about one or read or watched a movie about one?



  1. I love learning about ancient civilisations too!

    I wanna go to Machu Picchu one day!

    Thanks for the article! It's an interesting read!

  2. Awesome! Aren't they just the coolest? Its so fascinating thinking about that people actually lived like that!

    Same here! I would also love to visit Angkor Wat. They're such cool places. :)

    Your welcome! ^_^


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