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Historical & Mythological Contexts

MCA/Universal, the distributor of XWP, says that the show is set "...in the Golden Age of myth, long before ancient Greece or Rome, on the distant frontier of known civilization." That was a little vague for your detail-oriented, anal-retentive FAQ Administratrix, so I investigated further. (Special thanks to Chris Rodliffe, who pointed out several things I missed entirely!) To complicate matters, the series often presents contradictory material, making it extremely difficult to pin down the time frame. Here are the clues we have:

  • Since iron is used in weapons, the time can't be significantly earlier than about 1500 B.C.

  • Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) is mentioned in DEATH IN CHAINS [#09], which places the series no later than about 380 B.C.

  • Hercules, a contemporary of Xena's, is generally believed to have died some 79 years before the start of the Trojan War, which would place the time period of the show somewhere around 1250 B.C.

  • There are several mentions of heroes of the Trojan War in BEWARE GREEKS BEARING GIFTS [#12] and THE RECKONING [#06], which would place things sometime after 1184 B.C., the traditional date of the end of the Trojan War.

  • Speaking of the Trojan War, Ulysses (aka Odysseus) took ten years to return home after the war ended, yet his homecoming, as portrayed in ULYSSES [#43], seemingly takes place not more than a year or so after BEWARE GREEKS.

  • In ATHENS CITY ACADEMY OF THE PERFORMING BARDS [#13], Gabby competed against Homer and Euripides in a barding contest. The three couldn't possibly have met; Euripides lived from 480 to 406 B.C., while Homer is believed to have lived no later than 700 B.C.

  • Both Hippocrates and Galen, who appear in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? [#24] are historical figures. Hippocrates lived ca. 460-370 B.C., while Galen was born much later, around 129 A.D.

  • Goliath, the subject of GIANT KILLER [#27], was killed by David (1000-961 B.C.).

  • Julius Caesar (DESTINY [#36], THE DELIVERER [#50], WHEN IN ROME [#62]) lived from 102-44 BC, and was Roman besides.

  • Cleopatra (KING OF ASSASSINS [#54]) was born ca. 69 B.C., and had her fatal encounter with the asp in 31 B.C.

  • The British warrior queen Boadiccea (THE DELIVERER [#50]) staged her rebellion against the Romans in A.D. 60.; the real Boadiccea, however, did not fight Caesar (who was by then long dead), and was defeated by Rome.

  • Stonehenge, which in the Xenaverse is the collapsed ruins of Dahak's temple, was constructed ca. 1700-1500 B.C. No domed stone buildings (e.g., the temple) would have been constructed until at least the arrival of the Romans.

  • Xena is seen negotiating with a Phoenician trader for passage from Britannia to Greece in GABRIELLE'S HOPE [#51]. Trade routes from Carthage (home of the Phoenicians) had existed since ca. 450 B.C., but by the time that Carthage was razed by Rome (remember the salted earth?) in 146 B.C., trade had long ceased.

  • In THE DEBT [#52-53], Xena travels to the kingdom of Chin, where she encounters the Great Wall. Construction of the Great Wall was begun during the Ch'in Dynasty (ca. 328-206 B.C.), and continued under the succeeding Han Dynasty (ca. 353-100 B.C.).

  • Xena's second trip to Chin was made by boat. The sea route from Greece to India, and beyond to Cambodia and Chin, date from 100 B.C.

  • Black powder (seen in PURITY [#96] and BACK IN THE BOTTLE [#97]) was not Seems it was invented until the 9th century. (For the record, the ingredients were sulfur, saltpeter, and honey.)

    As you can see, the show plays around with actual places, events, people, and myths without compunction. (In fact, we suspect that the writers take perverse delight in confusing us.) However, none of this can be taken too seriously. After all, this is the Xenaverse, where anything is possible!

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