Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Mystery of Dragonspyre, Revisited

A while back, in the early days of my blog, I wrote a post about the culture Dragonspyre was based on. I was so positive I had figured it out! Then Mirage rolled out, and all of a sudden my theory came crashing down. Mirage, though mainly based off of the Middle East, has a location that parallels Constantinople, which contradicts my Byzantine Empire theory. Please read The Mystery of Dragonspyre before continuing to read this post, as I often refer back to it.

Mirage is, with out a doubt, the Middle East. Aquila is Greek, Valencia is Italian, and Polaris is Russian. So where does Dragonspyre fit in all of this?

It's All in the Name
As I always do, I started with looking at the names of the NPCs because they are usually closely related to the culture that is being used. Here is where the names originated:
  • 9 Greek
  • 7 Polish
  • 7 Slavic
  • 5 Hungarian
  • 3 Czechoslovakian
  • 3 Latin
  • 2 Arabic
  • 2 Bulgarian
  • 2 Hebrew
  • 2 Nordic
  • 2 Russian
  • 2 Turkish
  • 2 Ukrainian
  • 1 Croatian
  • 1 English
  • 1 German
  • 1 Jewish
  • 1 Macedonian
  • 1 Muslim
  • 1 Phoenician
  • 1 Serbian
  • 1 Spanish
Slavic Regions
What we see here is an overwhelming amount of Slavic and Greek names. Around 580 AD, Slavs attacked Thrace, Thessalonia, and other areas near Greece. They settled there, but never truly "conquered" the land. Plenty of Dragonspyre's NPCs are Slavic, and all of them have a Slavic/Russian accent. The architecture, however, is Greek or Roman. The ruling empire at the time of the invasion of the Slavs? The Byzantine Empire.

All Mapped Out
To help visualize the cultures represented by the NPCs in-game, I made a map with colors corresponding to the number of names used per country. Please bear with me on this terribly colored in map- I am not that good at this stuff!

Red represents the most used cultures. Orange is the second most used, then yellow, and finally, green. The pink stripes on Ukraine, Poland, the Czech Republic are also part of the wider group of the seven Slavic names used. The pink area was strictly Slavic.

I partially colored in some of the other countries because they were so far away from the center of things that I didn't want to draw attention elsewhere. Additionally, some countries were unable to be filled in (such as those represented by Arabic and Muslim names) because it wasn't on this map. They are not necessary to prove my point.

What we can gather from this map is that Dragonspyre has deep roots in Eastern Europe.
At this point, I'm sure a lot of you are thinking "Well what about all the Greek and Roman stuff you were talking about in that other post?" The great thing about this is the map helps us visualize the culture. This map best matches, to some extent, the maps of the Byzantine Empire and the Holy Roman Empire. These two empires had roots in Rome, so we still have that Roman influence that is clearly seen in the architecture and dialogue of Dragonspyre.

Map of the Byzantine Empire
Map of the Holy Roman Empire

My homemade map bears a some resemblance between these two. It's very possible Dragonspyre is a cross between these two cultures, but I am going to lean towards my Byzantine Empire theory.

Antiquity of Dragonspyre
The history of Dragonspyre is much like the history of an empire. Here is a short timeline of Dragonspyre history, according to the books from the quest "The Secret History."

  • Dragons rule the sky, striking fear into the hearts of men
  • King Mene and Gavarena, the Queen of the Drakes, meet in secret
    • Gavarena accepts Mene as her rider
    • Men and Drakes join together to overcome the Dragons
  • Age of the Kingdom of Dragonspyre
  • King Mene unites Dragonspyre by moonlight, when Gavarena's flames inspired the most awe
    • The Kingdom of Dragonspyre grows
  • King Jungen dies without an heir to the throne
    • The Century was begins over the right to the throne
  • Kilgor the Magnficent ends the war when he assumes the throne
    • During this time, great advancements in culture, science, and learning are made
  • Rydall the Conqueror unleashes a magical plaque upon his duchy
    • Duke Sebastian fights with the lords of Dragonspyre for the knowledge of the cure
      • Because of his bravery, Dragonspyre Academy is founded for the children of Dragonspyre
  • Aldared the Usurper unseats the king
    • Council of Wizards, Warriors, and King forms and removes Aldared from power
    • Dragonspyre now ruled jointly by this Council
  • The king's power wanes, and Warriors and Wizards struggle over power
    • A battle takes place before the Council between a defenseless wizard and a warrior
    • The wizard wins; Wizards now control all spells used in Dragonspyre

You'll notice that the only names that sound even remotely Greek or Latin are Mene and Sebastian. Interestingly, the Bosnian word for "raven" is "gavran," which is strikingly similar to Gavarena. (CONSPIRACY THEORY: Gavarena is Grandmother Raven!!) Bosnia is near Serbia (Yugoslavia), so this fits in. Most of the names above aren't real names, but sound like variations of Slavic and Eastern European names.

As mentioned above, the quest "The Secret History" chronicles the history of Dragonspyre. Procopius, a Byzantine scholar and recorder of the reign of Justinian, wrote a book known as The Secret History. However, there appears to be little relation between the contents of Wizard101's books and Procopius' book. (I didn't look through the entire book, so I'm sure there is something related.) I think this is a major piece of evidence that supports my Byzantine Empire theory.

In my previous post I explained how King Mene and Gavarena, when united, overcame the Dragons. I then said that it sounded like Justinian's campaign to take back the Roman Empire from the Barbarians. I would like to reiterate that point because I have another theory to go a long with it. Justinian I and Theodora ruled together, much like King Mene and Queen Gavarena. I think Justinian and Theodora are portrayed as Mene and Gavarena.

On Tuesday, January 13th, 532 AD, the Nika Riots broke out in Constantinople. The riot caused the rapid spread of a fire through out the city, and many buildings were destroyed. Is it possible that the awakening of the Dragon Titan was Wizard101's version/personification of the Nika Riot? Like the riot in Constantinople, the Dragon Titan desecrated Dragonspyre.

Another real-life explanation for Dragonspyre being fiery is that there a plenty of volcanoes in southern Italy, Greece, and Turkey. This could also be a contributing factor, not the main cause of fire.

Architecture and Locations
The locations and architecture of Dragonspyre are very important to solving this mystery. Some key places include

  • Greek Locations
    • The Labyrinth
    • The Atheneum
    • The Necropolis
  • Roman Locations
    • The Forum
    • The Basilica
It is completely logical to have Greek and Roman locations and architecture. If Dragonspyre is truly based off of the Byzantine Empire, it would be historically correct. The Byzantine Empire incorporated Greek and Roman culture into almost everything they did!

Before the Byzantine Empire was the surviving remnant of the Roman Empire, it was a Greek colony known as Byzantium. It quickly grew successful and was often fought over by the Greeks and Persians. Later, it was fought over by Athens and Sparta, and was under the control of each state at different times. Eventually, Byzantium became part of the Roman Empire and was renamed Constantinople. This is where I believe the Greek and Roman factors come into play. Each culture influenced the Byzantium region.

Roman Forums were everywhere in the empire. The most famous forum is the Foro Romano (Roman Forum) in Rome. There are three forums in Istanbul (Constantinople), known as the Forum of Theodosius, the Forum of Constantine, and the Forum of Arcadius. The fact that there is a forum in Dragonspyre is important because it confirms that there is at least a little Roman influence in the game. The Forum in Dragonspyre also has an amphitheater, which is consistent with Roman Forums. Another essential component with in a forum is a basilica. We see this as the port hub when we get into Dragonspyre.

At the Plaza of Conquests, there appears to be a huge triumphal arch with two large statues standing on either side. This is also common in or near a forum. I've included a picture of the Triumphal Arch of Theodosius, which bears similar architecture of that throughout Dragonspyre and looks similar to the arch in the Plaza of Conquests.

Triumphal Arch?
Triumphal Arch of Theodosius

Dragonspyre itself appears to be surrounded by a three-tiered wall. It closely resembles the style Theodosian Walls, which was employed by Constantinople for protection from invaders. Take a look at the comparison between these two! The bottom third of Dragonspyre would be the moat, especially since it is sectioned off. In Constantinople, the moat was sectioned off to be flooded with water as needed. You'll notice that the walls get thicker as each tier gets closer to the heart of Dragonspyre, just like in the picture below.

Notice the 3 main tiers? 
Theodosian Wall

The Basilica in Dragonspyre is a square building. Is it a complete coincidence that the Hagia Sophia (Basilica of St. Sophia) is also a square building, and listed as an architectural marvel because it is topped with a dome? I know the Hagia Sophia is in Constantinople, which is represented by Catstantinople in Mirage, but Dragonspyre was made way before Mirage existed. Maybe it's a plot hole? I may be just really stretching for evidence here, but I honestly think it's possible.

Other Connections
Something I think that is overlooked is the fact that there are these little "pox" creatures that you battle in the Tower Archives and in the Loremaster's Chamber. In the Tower Archives, they are called Damage Pox and Protection Pox; In the Loremaster's Chamber, they are called Font of Life, Font of Strength, and Font of Weakness. I think these represent The Plague.

As mentioned in "The Aftermath of the Century War," great advances in culture, science, and knowledge were made in Dragonspyre. The same is true of the Byzantine Empire. The empire tried to improve its daily life. Engineers designed spectacular buildings (i.e. the Hagia Sophia) and improved public structures, like sewers and aqueducts. The Byzantine Empire was heavily Eastern Orthodox, so the culture advanced around it. Daily life was filled with social gatherings, as many people visited theaters or the Hippodrome in Constantinople. The Byzantines valued education greatly. The Imperial Library of Constantinople held books from both Greece and Rome, making it an excellent center of knowledge. This may be the inspiration for the Dragonspyre Library, as well as the use of Knowledge Crystals (books/scrolls). There was also 3-4 stages of education (schools) for boys, as girls were not usually educated at a school. Girls were literate, but only wealthy families could afford for a girl to be privately tutored.

Zanetta Stormbreaker states
"...Our culture is based on knowledge and warfare. The nobles of Dragonspyre sent their children to this academy to become soldiers and sorcerers. Because we are a warlike people, our education requires trial by combat..."
Since Dragonspyre is a militaristic society, many of you immediately think of Sparta. While this is a good guess, it doesn't really add up with the rest of Dragonspyre. The Byzantine military was extremely advanced. They used heavy cavalry and fast moving archers that were more efficient and successful than the Roman legion. Since the Byzantines used cavalry, I think the Wizard101 equivalent is the drakes and drake riding. The cavalry was the center of the Byzantine military, just as battle drakes are in Dragonspyre. 

The quest "Et tu, Statue?" is a play on the famous line Julius Caesar said as he was being stabbed to death in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. "Et tu, Brute?" is Latin for "Even you, Brutus?" There seems to be no relation between the two, rather just an interesting allusion in the game. 

To learn about smaller connections, take a look at my original post The Mystery of Dragonspyre. I did not feel the need to repeat everything in this post because it would get even more lengthy than it already is!

Nordic Champion's Official Theory
I'm not saying Dragonspyre is Constantinople- it does not really appear to be any particular city, just some area that was influenced by Romans and Greeks and later inhabited by Slavic people. Plus, it really can't be Constantinople since Catstantinople already exists... in Mirage. Therefore, I have concluded that Dragonspyre is one of two things.
  • A ruined Roman/Greek area that was pillaged by the Barbarians, now inhabited by Slavic peoples
  • A ruined Roman/Greek area that was pillaged by the Slavs, now inhabited by the Slavic peoples
I believe that it exists during the time of the Byzantine Empire or a little after the fall of the empire. It is likely set in the general area of Byzantium, but is not exactly the city of Constantinople. Greek and Roman influence is evident, but is not the main culture of Dragonspyre.

So yes, I stubbornly maintain my Byzantine Empire theory. After a lot of research, I couldn't prove it to be anything else. What is could it possible be? The Byzantine Empire satisfies all of the requirements: Greek, Roman, and Slavic cultures are all represented.

I apologize for such a lengthy post, I just had to share all the evidence that I found! Thank you for reading, and I hope you learned something new! If your opinion on the matter contradicts mine, please share below... I would love a good conversation about this.

**I am no scholar! I have no credentials! I'm just really good at stuffing a bunch of information together and relating to Wizard101. How I relate history to Wizard101 is completely subjective. If something isn't correct, please let me know so I can get rid of it quickly.

"Advancements of the Byzantine Empire" - Champlain College
"Byzantines" - History World
"Byzantium" - Ancient History Encyclopedia
"Constantinople" - New World Encyclopedia
"Decisive Battles: Fall of Constantinople 1453"
"Education Byzantine Empire" - Britannica
"Hagia Sophia" - LiveScience
"Holy Roman Empire" - Britannica
"Procopius: The Secret History" - Penelope
"Slavs" - New World Encyclopedia
"The Military of the Byzantines" - Weapons and Warfare
"The Nika Riots" - Penelope

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