When I wrote about the Order of Orion in my short story, The Creature in the Quarry, there was some question of whether the organization can/should exist in the time period in which the story takes place. I think the main question was if knightly or religious orders were anachronistic for the period, and it didn’t help that I hadn’t nailed down what it was that the Order of Orion actually did. (Still something I’m struggling with, honestly.)

What research I’ve done into the time period suggests that everything necessary to have a knightly order exists (or a religious order), I just haven’t found evidence that they did. Mostly, I’m just extrapolating, based on the existence of hero worship, mystery cults, and the feudalism-before-feudalism that existed in Late Bronze/Early Iron Age society.

Ancient Greece actually had the equivalent of knights and feudalism — a lot of it’s the basis of all the problems that heroes and kings got into when their codes of honor and obligations clashed. The Trojan War and the Theban Civil Wars both provide excellent examples. The first was an instance of all the allied nations of Achaea going to war over a matter of Helen’s abduction, and the second, a battle between two siblings with equal claims to the throne (see the play Antigone for how that one turned out).

So, did knightly orders exist? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know. I’ve got one in my story, and they’re kind of plodding along without a clear goal in mind. Like an Ur-Example. For now, they mostly finance heroes and adventurers (like the protagonists of Rumors of War), and I’ll try and figure out the rest as I go.