The Year-god’s Daughter by Rebecca Lochlann

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Ancient Rome, Featured Book, Historical Research | Comments Off on The Year-god’s Daughter by Rebecca Lochlann

The Year-god’s Daughter by Rebecca Lochlann

When I conceived the idea of The Year-god’s Daughter, (and eventually the entire series) most of us relied on dot-matrix printers. I still have a stack of yellowing sheets with holes along both edges, but the story and its author have undergone so many transformations that it’s impossible to connect the initial concept with what exists now.

Originally, I had no idea that any place ever existed comparable with the fantasy world I intended to create—a country called Shamar and its mountainous neighbor, Lothean. Men governed Lothean in a familiar, traditional way. Shamar, however, was that scandalous place where women ran things.

One day, I happened to pick up a book. I didn’t hear any toll of phantasmal bells to warn me of the momentous change it would bring to my life—but I imagine they did ring, somewhere.

Moon, Moon, by Anne Kent Rush, is a collection of scientific facts about the moon plus moon-myths from around the world. It slants toward the unique relationship women have had with the moon throughout the ages.

I had no idea where Moon, Moon would ultimately take me. I often wonder if I would have started my quest had I known how much work it would take, how long, how much of me it would consume, and how dramatically I would be changed.

In the pages of Moon, Moon, I read for the first time about the “year-god.” The Goddess, who held titles of bride and lover as well as mother, gave birth to a son who later became her lover, and whom she offered in sacrifice. Necessary for the world’s fertility, this youthful year-god had to die in winter and be resurrected in the spring. “One man a year must be sacrificed to honor her source,” is how Rush words it. “From his blood, the blood of a king, all men will be guaranteed fertility.”

I next found the wonderful book Dawn of the Gods, by Jacquetta Hawkes. From artifacts that have been discovered on Crete, she theorized that women were the ruling class, property passed from mother to daughter, and peaceful prosperity reigned. Here was Shamar, my imaginary country, but real, measurable, a place one can still visit today.

Since then I have read hundreds of books, fiction and non-fiction, archaeological to theoretical. Truly, unearthing the past is a never-ending task.

I abandoned Shamar and Lothean for Crete and that part of Greece later to be called the Peloponnesus.

What happened to Crete? What caused its successful culture to vanish?

No one knows nor ever will…not definitively. Archaeologists once believed the Theran volcano destroyed Crete. Not so. Crete survived. But it was changed.

Research offered ideas upon which I could build, and the result is my imagined version of what could have occurred—with a little extra.

I have long imagined our world as it might be now if Crete had been the dominant ancient influence upon us. I hope others will also imagine the world that “could have been.”

Rebecca Lochlann, February 27, 2012