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My new website

In case you were wondering what I’ve been up to the past few weeks…

I want to promote a new website I set up for myself using Bluehost and WordPress.org (as opposed to WordPress.com). As was the case with this blog, the site is meant to showcase my art and writing, but I wanted it to look more professional (like a sort of portfolio for me).

Brandon Pilcher’s Creative Adventures

To be honest, now that I’ve set the new website up, this old blog now seems superfluous and obsolete. I’m not going to shut it down right now, as I want people who have been following me for some time to check out the new site. But I might be less active here unless I can find an alternate use for this blog. Anyway, check out my new site!

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Flag of the Roman Empire

Flag of the Roman EmpireAfter doing flag designs for the ancient Egyptian and Kushite civilizations, I decided to indulge my inner vexillographer some more by designing a flag for the Roman Empire. The abbreviation you see in the middle represents the Latin phrase Senatus Populusque Romanus, meaning “the Roman Senate and People”. It would have been the Roman imperial motto much as E pluribus unum is the motto of the modern United States of America.

Now I ought to design a flag for another ancient civilization that doesn’t need as much red…

Trojan Warrior

Trojan Warrior

This is a soldier from the civilization of ancient Troy, which thrived on the western coast of Anatolia (now Turkey) between 3000 and 950 BC. Also known as Wilusa, this is the kingdom that the Greeks fought in Homer’s Iliad. It was famous for its capital’s “high-walled” fortifications beginning around 1750 BC, which would have been about 16 feet thick and over 26 feet high. Nonetheless, archaeological evidence indicates the city experienced multiple destructive fires, some of which may have been the result of war (including the one described in Homer?). After 950 BC, the Trojan capital would be replaced by the Greek settlement of Ilion and the Roman Ilium.

Although Trojan warriors are commonly depicted with classical Greek armor, I chose to base my depiction on the soldiers of the neighboring Hittite Empire in central Anatolia. Given its geographic position between the Mycenaean Greek and Hittite civilizations, I figured that influences from both cultures would have affected the culture of ancient Troy.

Makeda, Queen of Sheba

 

Makeda, Queen of Sheba

Meet my interpretation of Makeda, the biblical Queen of Sheba known for her expedition to visit King Solomon of Israel. Some sources claim that Sheba was located in southern Arabia (in the area of modern Yemen), but I chose to go with the other tradition that identifies it with modern Ethiopia (where Makeda to this day enjoys a legendary status as a founding heroine of sorts, much like Genghis Khan does in Mongolia or Alexander the Great in Greece and Macedonia).

Snow White

Snow White

I’ve never cared for the Snow White fairy tale, in no small part because the Disney adaptation frightened me as a child. Nonetheless, the traditional description of Snow White as pale-skinned with dark hair and red lips made me think of a woman from Japan, and so that’s how I chose to interpret the character. The fruit she’s carrying in her hand is a “Japanese apple” (actually native to China) which resembles a tomato in shape but is supposed to taste really sweet.

The Rescue of Andromeda

The Rescue of Andromeda

In Greek mythology, Andromeda was a princess of Aethiopia (which at the time usually referred, not to the region of modern Ethiopia, but to the kingdom of Kush in what is now northern Sudan) whom, according to her boastful mother Queen Cassiopeia, was more beautiful than the Nereid sea nymphs who accompanied Poseidon. To punish the queen for her hubris, the sea god sent the monster Cetus to terrorize the Aethiopian coast. Only by sacrificing Andromeda to Cetus’s appetite could the Aethiopians enjoy respite.

Thankfully for Andromeda, the Greek demigod Perseus came over to slay the monster the moment she was about to be eaten. Afterward Perseus and Andromeda married, had seven sons and two daughters, and founded the city-state of Mycenae.

For this portrayal, I based Cetus’s appearance on the Livyatan melvelli, a cousin of the modern sperm whale which prowled the seas during the Miocene epoch between 10 and 9 million years ago. Since the name of Cetus is related to our modern word “cetacean”, I figured a whale would make the most logical base for his design.

By the way, this is not the first time I have drawn Andromeda. Her story has actually fascinated me as an artist for quite some time. However, since my art style has evolved so much since I last depicted her, I felt obliged to redraw her anyway.

Portrait of Menhit

Portrait of Menhit

Next in our line-up of goddess portraits with animal motifs, we have another leonine goddess named Menhit. She was very similar to the Egyptian Sekhmet insofar as they were both warrior goddesses associated with lionesses, but Menhit seems to have originated further upriver in the kingdom of Kush, in what is now northern Sudan. You could say she was the Kushite take on the same underlying theme as Sekhmet. Nonetheless, veneration of Menhit seems to have spread into Egypt as far north as modern Esna, where she became a wife to the native Egyptian god Khnum.

Nyasasaurus

Nyasasaurus

Meet Nyasasaurus parringtoni, a creature which roamed Africa during the Middle Triassic Period around 243 million years ago. Although known only from scanty fossil remains, Nyasasaurus could be a contender for the oldest dinosaur yet discovered. It’s very likely that the very first dinosaurs to evolve would have looked something like this animal.

Sekhmet’s Portrait

Portrait of Sekhmet

This is a framed portrait of Sekhmet, the leonine Egyptian goddess of war and destruction. This time, I have represented her lioness motif with a helmet-like mask inspired by those used in the Broadway adaptation of The Lion King. Personally, I like the idea of various Egyptian deities’ animal “heads” really being masks or helmets like those worn in other regions of Africa.

Flag Designs for Ancient Egypt and Kush

These two are flag designs I created for the ancient Egyptian and Kushite civilizations which dominated the Nile Valley in ancient times. The flag with the ankh symbol on the left represents Egypt, whereas the Kushite flag is the one on the right with the god ram head symbolizing the god Amun.

For both of these flags, I wanted to use the pan-African colors red, green, and black. It was a bonus that, in ancient Egyptian culture, red represented the desert and black the fertile soil of the Nile floodplain (hence while these regions were known as the Red and Black Land, respectively).