Celebrate this World Book Night with an extract from my humorous (hopefully) history book ‘Escapades in Bizarrchaeology’.
It’s available in paperback and ebook from amazon.co.uk RIGHT NOW.
Yes, that’s RIGHT NOW.
Spiderman is a hero because he has magical Spider juice in his veins. Heracles was a hero because he had magical Zeus juice in his veins (that sounded weirder that I was expecting).
Who would be their teacher? Max Virtus of course. I have the agoge for training, I have the top tips, all I need is the student… and that could be you dear reader! So grab your Xiphos and get ready, as I transform you into a Mythical Hero.
Don’t learn how to Sword Fight
Why are you rolling around on the floor? Stop it. That includes backward rolls. It looks cool in film but that’s because they have plenty of attempts to get it right. Chances are that if you try that in a real sword fight that you’ll only impale yourself on your own blade or accidentally slice open a major artery. Either way this will result in awkward embarrassment and premature death.
That’s the equivalent of a spin whilst rolling and is frowned upon in the Sword Fighting community.
Despite the temptation, avoid swinging on a conveniently positioned rope in a sword fight (this includes chandeliers) it’s rather tricky holding on to your sword whilst doing so and unlike most actors you don’t have a wire work team to keep you suspended in mid air. Also, don’t do a pirate and hold your sword in your teeth, that results in sliced lips and a permanent smile.
That was all pretty negative, if a Mythical Hero can’t do any of that stuff in a sword fight, what can they do? Well, they should take a leaf from a Greek Hoplite’s book and simply use the jab.
Your shield also proves handy at slamming down on an enemy’s toes. Regardless of how much armour resides on your opponent’s body their feet fingers will still be poking out of their sandals. What better way to greet them by slamming your shield down upon them? Sure to open up the defences of even the most sturdy of opponents.
In conclusion, to swordfight like a hero just practise the jab, each and every day and victory will be yours.
Have a Dark Origin story
Let’s look at the Hero of all Heroes; Heracles (or Hercules if you’re Roman). Disney teach children that Heracles had to prove himself worthy to live on Mount Olympus with his father, Zeus, by completing 12 labours, that’s because the real reason was not family friendly.
Heracles killed his entire family. The 12 labours (originally 10 but that pesky King Eurystheus kept changing the rules) were an opportunity for Heracles to seek redemption. It’s the equivalent of Bruce Wayne being the one who shot his parents rather than a faceless gangster.