Something has been bothering me lately, though not necessarily in a bad way. Last week, I wrote an entry about some research into creatures from Greek Mythology as represented by RPGMaker 2003. Normally, this isn’t the kind of thing that would upset me, except that it occurred right about the same time I had a breakthrough in mapping my version of the ancient world.

This little bit of research and subsequent mapping breakthrough should have remained unconnected, except that they coincided with one another and had the creative equivalent of a head-on collision in my mind. About a dozen Greek myths popped into my head at the same time, several pieces of disparate research bubbled up to the surface, and I got a world-building stew.

Originally, I thought that the unique creatures were evenly split between male and female, until my reading brought me to the conclusion that only the minotaur and Cerberus, of my original lot of eight unique monsters, were male. Now, in addition to that, I’ve had this long-standing difficulty accepting the prevalence of “turn-you-to-stone-with-a-look” and “deadly-venomous” creatures.

It was my opinion that “stone gaze” could easily be symbolic of powerful charisma, such that an enemy might be frozen (turned to stone) in their tracks by a glare. The imagery is powerful enough to exist in the cliche, “if looks could kill.” Deadly venom, issued from the breath or a bite, could symbolize cunning or manipulation, existing in the cliche as, “poisoning their minds.”

There’s been research done into the early history of Greece, and there’s some evidence to suggest (I’m not going to assert anything here, ’cause I’m neither a historian nor an archaeologist) that Greece was a matriarchal society before a significant cultural upheaval, and represented in myth by heroes overthrowing established belief systems (symbolized by the slaying of female monsters).

My idea was that each of these monsters might represent an entire culture or city-state that was destroyed or integrated at some point. Given the prevalence of female monsters, my thought was that queens were just as common as kings, and that priestess and oracles had just as much social and political power as men, perhaps following in the wake of a prior societal upheaval, like a major (read: Trojan) war.

I’ll freely admit that I’m speculating here, and with a highly modernized perspective. It’s entirely possible that I’m very, very wrong about the interpretations here, but you know what? It’s my fantasy world, regardless of the inspiration I draw from. I’m pitting Cthulhu against Zeus, so help me. This isn’t all that big a stretch, and may well be unique.