Whoosh! Issue 72 - September 2002

ON SAPPHO
Page 3


Notes

Note 01:
Jules Verne, Vingt mille lieues sous les mers, XXII La foudre du capitaine Nemo.
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Note 02:
In the words of Brian Wall and Michael Zryd, "Vampire Dialectics: Knowledge, Institutions and labour", in Roz Kaveney (ed), Reading the Vampire Slayer: An Unofficial Critical Companion to Buffy and Angel (2001) [Tauris Parke Paperbacks 2002], pp53-77, at p60. In the words of Bill Osgerby and Anna Gough-Yates, "Introduction: Getting into gear with the action TV series", Bill Osgerby and Anna Gough-Yates (eds), Action TV: Tough Guys, Smooth Operators and Foxy Chicks (2001) [Routledge], pp1-9 at p1, Xena is about "Amazonian warriors in a neo-classical fantasy world".
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Note 03:
Zoe-Jane Playden, "What you are, what's to come: Feminisms, Citizenship and the Divine', in Kavaney pp120-147, at p126. Buffy is an exception: she was born a Slayer and also became one.
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Note 04:
Playden p127
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Note 05:
As sung by the princess (Goldilocks?) in IF THE SHOE FITS... in Joxer's version of the classic Tyrella story.
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Note 06:
The biggest early spectacular leap from a sea-cliff was in LOST MARINER though there were many smaller leaps before then. The leap in MANY HAPPY RETURNS explains the traditions surrounding Sappho's leap. There are also numerous episodes where Xena goes to a cliff top to contemplate.
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Note 07:
Goofily, CRADLE OF HOPE had the first (and serious?) disclaimer, to allay fears among the audience about the baby-tossing in the episode. It was also the episode, in a multi-author text environment, that raised the question, "Why not put disclaimers in other episodes (and have some fun)?" Secondly, there really must be something in the water besides the baby. The film It's in the Water (1998) is set in Texas. A reviewer's remarks about another blonde Texan also called Renee sounds very much like the early Gabrielle: "The charming combination of bubbly goofiness (in a good way, mind you), irrepressible charm and sweet earnestness that she's used in the past suits Bridget [Jones] to a tee." - Gary Dowell on Renee Zellweger, reviewing the movie Bridget Jones' Diary, "Zellweger silences her critics", The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) 08 July 2001, p119. This is really an excuse to slide in a Bridget Jones-like wide-bottom reference. To paraphrase a remark by Lucy Lawless in her commentary on the final story Friend in Need: "Never put a camera between an actress and her bottom." Edith Sidebottom, who played the Widow Twanky in several Hercules episodes (like AND FANCY FREE, and GREECE IS BURNING) needed a supply of her own special water. Now she was a real drama queen.
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Note 08:
Margaret Reynolds (ed), The Sappho Companion (2000) [Vintage 2001], p171. There are three joys in the world: finding a new Sappho fragment, watching a new Xena episode, and, in the words of Philip Nel, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Novels: A Reader's Guide (2001) [Continuum], p55, discovering "an eighth Narnia manuscript".
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Note 09:
Reynolds, at p234. A Victorian playwright, F C Burnand, wrote a burlesque with this theme, Sappho, or Look before you leap! (1870). Some of his other material was Ixion, or the Man at the Wheel (1863) and Helen, or Taken from the Greek (1866). A very punny man.
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Note 10:
Reynolds, at p20
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Note 11:
Reynolds, at p22
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Note 12:
Reynolds, at p73. Other futile frivolities included researching where Homer was born, and who was the real mother of Aeneas.
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Note 13:
Reynolds, at p71: "Little changes in the literary world: the same assumptions are regularly made today about writers, especially women writers."
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Note 14:
Reynolds, at p362 on violets: "They are her flower because she mentions them in Fragments 94 and 103, and because she describes the Muses as 'violet-haired'. So a gift of violets spelt out a private message between women in the nineteenth century's language of flowers". Fragment 94 has stephanois ion kai brodon (garlands of violets and roses).
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Note 15:
Reynolds, at p373. Compare the account of examining a limited edition (1 of 2 copies) of Frain's fragments in London, in 1989, where even a strand of hair takes on meaningful significance.
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Note 16:
The Spectator, No 223 (15 Nov 1711). 
Link: classicpersuasion.org/pw/sappho/sp223.htm
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Note 17:
Reynolds, at p. 17
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Note 18:
Calvert Watkins, How to kill a dragon: Aspects of Indo-European poetics (1995) [Oxford University Press], p108: "The phonetic frame is POTHON, the word for 'desire' in the accusative, the governed case par excellence. In the poetic message, 'desire' is the direct object of an unspecified - and unknowable - transitive verb."
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Note 19:
Francois Lissarrague (translated by Antonia Nevill), "The Athenian Image of the Foreigner", Thomas Harrison (ed), Greeks and Barbarians (2002) [Edinburgh University Press],pp101-124 at 107 
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Note 20:
Wilfred Nippel (translated by Antonia Nevill), "The Construction of the 'Other'",  in Harrison, pp278-310 at 283 
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Note 21:
 "The Western cultural bias of casting gendered categories and associated roles and behaviors as binary opposites has routinely placed women on the negative side of the contrast." - Sharon Ney and Elaine M Sciog-Lazarov, "The Construction of Feminine Identity in Babylon 5", in Elyce Rae Helford (ed), Fantasy Girls: Gender in the new universe of science fiction and fantasy television (2000) [Rowman and Littlefield], pp. 223-244, at p. 224 (discussing Ivanova, the telepath Lyta, and Delenn working alongside of or inside masculine power structures). Hanley E Kanar, "No Ramps in Space: The inability to envision accessibility in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", in Helford, pp. 245-264, at p. 246, describes how the negative stereotype functions to stabilise the definition of the 'Other'.
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Note 22:
 Robin Roberts, "Science, Race, and Gender in Star Trek: Voyager", in Helford, pp. 203-221, at p. 206 (discussing Janeway, B'Elanna, and Seven as female scientists whose coding for "race" enters into their interactions with each other).
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Note 23:
 For example, the inverted gender roles of The X-Files is a novelty. Constance Penley, NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America (1997) [Verso], at p10: "The female Scully is rational, skeptical, and devoted to conventional scientific method, in contrast to her male partner's emotionality, attraction to the supernatural, and total lack of scientific superego." Linda Badley, "Scully Hits the Glass Ceiling: Postmodernism, postfeminism, posthumanism, and The X-Files", in Helford, pp61-90, continues the analysis of Scully as an anti-Pam (as in Baywatch) and an anti-Mulder. Jules Warrick,  "Life, the Xenaverse, and Everything", in Nikki Stafford (ed), How Xena changed our lives: True stories by fans for fans (2002) [ECW Press], pp42-46 at 45, sums up the Xena-attraction as: "There is no concern with how they look or conversations about what to wear and how to attract a man". This is a refreshing presentation.
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Note 24:
 Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen, The Science of the Discworld, II (2002) [Ebury Press], p26 
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Note 25:
 Which Buffy inherited and built upon exponentially - see Esther Saxey, "Staking a claim: The series and its slash fan-fiction", in Kaveney pp. 187-210, at p. 189.
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Note 26:
 Saxey, at pp190, 191
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Note 27:
 "knowledge of this world is necessary to invent one" - Peter Hunt, "Introduction: Fantasy and Alternative Worlds", in Peter Hunt and Millicent Lenz, Contemporary Classics of Children's Literature: Alternative Worlds in Fantasy Fiction (2001) [Continuum], pp. 1-41 at p. 7
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Note 28:
 "Fantasy cannot be 'free-floating' or entirely original, unless we are prepared to learn a new language and a new way of thinking to understand it." - Hunt, at p. 7
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Note 29:
 "[the audience] decode action series in the context of their everyday lives" -  Osgerby and Gough-Yates, at p. 6
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Note 30:
 both global and local - see Bill Osgerby, Anna Gough-Yates and Marianne Wells, "The Business of Action: Television history and the development of the action TV series", in Osgerby and  Gough-Yates, pp13-31 at 28. There was a series, Monkey, and a genre offshoot, The Water Margin, that were very popular because the audience was "receptive to the spectacular choreography, humour, strong narrative, and to the spirit of friendship"
Yvonne Tasker, "Kung Fu: Re-orienting the television Western", in Osgerby and Gough-Yates, pp. 115-126, at p. 124. Here is the beginning of an historical inkling as to the popularity of Xena
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Note 31:
 An example of the latter is the occasionally allusive episode title on Xena: A FISTFUL OF DINARS  (A Fistful of Dollars), THE DIRTY HALF DOZEN (The Dirty Dozen), SEND IN THE CLONES (Send in the Clowns), BACK IN THE BOTTLE (the proverb about the genie), IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (the traditional marriage vow "I take thee in sickness and in health" etc), SINS OF THE PAST (the proverb about the sins of the father being visited upon the children), and so on. An example of the former is Buffy's martial art fighting style - there isn't one, so it can't develop or adapt to different opponents; and even if there was a style, the "primary audience" would not recognize it. But that is OK. Buffy is not martial arts genre: "the narrative heart of the show is to be found in matters of love, not war." - Dave West, "Concentrate on the kicking movie: Buffy and East Asian cinema", in Kaveney pp166-186, at p185, and pp180-184. Xena, on the other hand, seems to be exuberantly inventive when it comes to the major fight scenes. There seems to be an acroballetic symphonist spirit choreographing things, including the chakram and its thousand and one uses.
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Note 32:
 Osgerby and Anna Gough-Yates, at p. 2
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Note 33:
 "the demands of genre often call for greater complexity of performance than do more plausible naturalistic dramas" - Ian Shuttleworth, "They always mistake me for the character I play! Transformation, identity and role-playing in the Buffy-verse (and a defence of fine acting)", in Kaveney pp. 211-236, at p211
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Note 34:
 "The structure of viewing is different. ...A taste for the excitement of development, rather than the contentment of the conclusion, is engendered." - Saxey, at p. 195
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Note 35:
 Fan fiction both supplements and provides more of the same of "that which is thrown out of [a series like] Buffy: themes dwelt on in the middle of episodes or plotlines, which are then abandoned or overcome as part of the plot dynamic." - Saxey, at p199
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Note 36:
 Fan fictions "explore the possibilities generated by the middle of the narrative, which closure cannot hope to tie up; in part because there are many more opportunities than could be covered by one series." - Saxey, at p207
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Note 37:
 Chris Gregory, Star Trek: Parallel Narratives (2000) [Macmillan], p. 107
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Note 38:
 Helford, at p142
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Note 39:
 Helford, at p142
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Note 40:
 Douglas A Anderson, "Tolkien after all these years", in Karen Haber (ed),  Meditations on Middle-Earth (2001) [St Martin's Press], pp12-151 at 148 about Middle Earth.
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Note 41:
"Readers do a lot of the work themselves, and are capable of extrapolating from the clues you give them to fill in the missing pieces and rebuild your world inside their heads." - Lisa Tuttle, Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction (2001) [A&C Black], at p. 47 
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Note 42:
"showing two points is enough for the viewer not just to infer a line between them, but also to extrapolate it beyond those points." Viewer participation allows the writers to depend on the participation and then to create surprise (and hopefully delight) by throwing unexpected curves. The story becomes a theatrical transaction between the audience and the "stage". See Shuttleworth, at p227. He is talking here about the art form that is the presentation of Buffy, but his remarks apply to any story where there is feedback.
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Note 43:
"The oral storytelling traditions depended on the audiences pre-knowledge of the narrative conventions of the form which allowed the storytellers to 'play' in a self-referential manner with various contemporary and universal themes. The way in which postmodern TV narratives 'play' with the history of their own texts duplicates this process in the modern era." - Gregory, p114
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Note 44:
Ney and Sciog-Lazarov, at p223
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Note 45:
"it was no single factor that made Xena such a great success. It was a true collaborative effort that cannot be reduced to any mere television formula. Certainly, Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor deserve the lion's share of the credit. Yet, let us not dismiss the unique contributions of the writers, tireless crews, and the pristine beauty of the New Zealand landscape" - Bradley Danbrook, "Xena and the Seven-Year Itch", Whoosh,
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Note 46:
 Penley, at p101, in a chapter called "/", which is as inventive as having a character called "Q". 
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Note 47:
 Penley, at p. 148
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Note 48:
 Ney and Sciog-Lazarov, at p. 224
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Note 49:
 Gregory p. 116
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Note 50:
 Gregory p. 117
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Note 51:
Xena became "a bit like Mexico City in the early eighties. Everywhere they dug, they hit inconvenient and unwanted oil." - H.P.P. Antigone, Why Xena Was Killed: Belated Thoughts On The Warrior Princess, Edward Albee, And Ownership, in Whoosh June 2002 - #69, par 10, discussing the (producers' undesirability of) subtext. 

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Note 52:
Susanna Centlivre, The Basset Table (1705), Act 3, Scene 1, in Paddy Lyons and Fidelis Morgan (eds), Female Playwrights of the Restoration: Five comedies (1991) [Dent & Tuttle 1994], p261. Susanna Centlivre, "the most successful female playwright until Agatha Christie" (pxii), seems to have had an interesting life, including, amongst other adventures, dressing up as a man and going to Cambridge, and marrying Queen Anne's cook after he fell in love with her after seeing her perform as Alexander the Great at Windsor Castle (pxiii). The audience reaction to her plays sounds reminiscent of a fair sample of a modern audience's reaction to Xena: "the audience only came there for want of another place to go, but without any expectation of being much diverted; they were yawning at the beginning of it, but were agreeably surprised, more and more every act, till at last the house rang with as much applause as was possible to be given..." (pxiv, quoting a reviewer). See Stafford's book generally for Xenite variations of this theme. On the bardic side of the coin, Susanna Centlivre was a poet who could depend on her pen for her livelihood (pxiv). Does this mean that Gabrielle was the breadwinner in Mycenaean times?
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Note 53:
 Kanar, at p245, discusses a particular episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as an example that "illuminates the fact that the writers were unable to extricate vestiges of the racism and sexism that plagued their own social context."

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Note 54:
 Kanar, at p250, 251, 254, 261
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Note 55:
 For example, Japanese anime is intended purely for local Japanese consumption. The writers can assume the audience is familiar with Shinto references.  To an audience brought up on Judeo-Christian monotheism influences, and a tradition of drawing dividing lines between binary opposites, like reason vs. intuition, reality vs. fantasy, dreams vs. waking, anime can appear unpredictable, weird and off-beat, making you think about "things you never even noticed before" because it does not take for granted the ideas that form the basis of American culture. -  Antonia Levi, Samurai from Outer Space: Understanding Japanese animation (1996) [Open Court 2001], pp16-17.
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Note 56:
 See Bev Zalcock, Renegade Sisters: Girl Gangs on Film (1998) [Creation Books International], at p43. I use the term "non-male" because female relationships are more subtle, complex, and richly-woven textures than the (male-originated category?) "lesbian" implies in most contexts.
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Note 57:
Levi, at pp. 37-38
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Note 58:
Zalcock, at p. 69
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Note 59:
Millicent Lenz, "Ursula K Le Guin", in Hunt and Lenz, pp42-85 at p85
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Note 60:
Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1590), Book 4: "The Legend of Cambel and Telamond, OR OF FRIENDSHIP"
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Note 61:
Jean Rudhardt (translated by Antonia Nevill), "The Greek attitude to foreign religions", in Harrison, pp172-185 at 183
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Note 62:
Francois Hartog (translated by Antonia Nevill), "The Greeks as Egyptologists", in Harrison, pp211-228 at 219 note 18
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Note 63:
Edith Hall, "When is a myth not a myth? Bernal's 'Ancient Model,'" in Harrison, pp133-152 at 148
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Note 64:
Michael Swanwick, "A Changeling Returns", Karen Haber (ed), Meditations on Middle-Earth (2001) [St Martin's Press], pp33-46 at 41
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Note 65:
Terry Pratchett, "Cult Classic", in Haber, pp. 75-83 at 78
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Note 66:
Robin Hobb, "A Bar and a Quest", in Haber, pp. 85-100 at 95
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Note 67:
Orson Scott Card, "How Tolkien Means", in Haber, pp. 153-173 at 161
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Note 68:
Paulina Sanchez Vazquez, "Xena is Art", in Nikki Stafford (ed), How Xena changed our lives: True stories by fans for fans (2002) [ECW Press], pp. 50-51 at 51
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Note 69:
Reynolds, p. 391.
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She's really reading a book called 'Campfire Cooking for Dummies'
It says here that I'm multi-threaded!
Xena Trading cards, Series 3, Card 33




Articles

Edward Mazzeri, "Chakram Levels." Whoosh! #41 (February 2000)

Edward Mazzeri, "Mirror of Virtue, The." Whoosh! #43 (April 2000)

Edward Mazzeri, "Word Count and Meaning in Xena: Warrior Princess." Whoosh! #47 (August 2000)

Mazzeri, Edward. "How Has Xena: Warrior Princess Changed the World?" Whoosh! #50 (November 2000)

Mazzeri, Edward. "Word Count and Meaning in Xena: Warrior Princess: Season Two." Whoosh! #51 (2000/12)

Mazzeri, Edward. "Serendipity and Meta-Subtext: Contemplation From Under the Lake." Whoosh! #63 (Dec 2001)

Mazzeri, Edward. "On Watching The Director's Cut Of The Series Finale." Whoosh! #70 (July 2002)



Biography

Edward Mazzeri Edward Mazzeri

I have occasionally done some recursive coding in an office environment and am impressed with the information compression and storage capacity of poetry. There is a lot in Xena that pleases the eye and ear. There is a lot more besides that also pleases. It is a series that keeps me up at midnight, and makes me see the Moon in a different light. Also, I seem to be checking the index of books for entries on "Xena" before I start reading them.

Favorite episode: Any episode where the Xena and Gabrielle storylines interweave, like A DAY IN THE LIFE or LEGACY or the Amazon sub-arcs.
Least favorite episode: Any episode where a side issue was the main excursion and did not loop back into the Xena-Gabrielle thread, like KING CON or PURITY.
Favorite theme: The numinous freshness of the natural world being so close at hand; though in the real Mycenaean world there would have been bears and lions as well as more lack of vitamins than you could poke a stick at.




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