Things that ACTUALLY EXISTED FOR REAL IN EUROPEAN HISTORY: Non-white people, mostly those of North African and Middle Eastern heritage who were immigrants, merchants, missionaries, mercenaries advisors, and scholars; female leaders, including the famed Warrior Queen Boudicca; and queer folk, seriously, Shakespeare wrote sonnets for dudes.
Things that did NOT actually exist for real in European History: Magic, faeries, dragons, wizards.
Q.E.D. The “well, there’s no black people/brown people/women leaders/gay people in this European inspired fantasy because that would be inaccurate” rhetoric is bullshit.
JESUS FUCKING CHRIST YESTHIS PLEASE AND THANKS
So much fantasy is set in quasi “dark ages” feudal Europe. Can we just take a sec and realize that Europe is that asshole who gets to be a continent even though he’s not really a continent. He’s the jerk who, when he has a bad day, everyone starts calling it The Dark Ages.
FYI, “The Dark Ages” were a golden age for almost everyone else. Islam was booming, spreading and gathering up classical knowledge that would have been completely lost otherwise. China was going through a golden age of its own unter the Tang empire and Song empires, during which China grew and traded so much and so widely that they ran out of metal for coins and had to invent paper money (they also invented gunpowder). And let’s not forget that, while we have relatively few written records from this region, the evidence suggests that Africa (ALL of Africa, both around the Mediterranean and in Sub-Saharan Africa) was booming as well, creating empires of their own, trading with Islamic travelers and building gorgeous goddamn cities.
During this massively diverse time period, there were gay emperors and female emperors in China, the most traveled man in the world was an Islamic scholar and one of the wealthiest men in the world was an African Muslim king.
*raises hand* ALSO “DARK AGES” IS A MISNOMER EVEN FOR FUCKING EUROPE. Among the things invented at the time: the script ON WHICH THE TYPE ON YOUR SCREEN IS FUCKING BASED. AMONG THE AWESOME UNEXPECTED SHIT GOING ON: Charlemagne making all his daughters into abbesses and then bouncing their kids on his knee. Wait hold up, you say, you just said “abbesses”, that means, like “nuns” and not getting married and definitely not having sex out of wedl - WELL IT TURNS OUT BIG KARL DIDN’T CARE. He stuck his daughters in positions of power and then they said fuck it and had kids with some people.
One of the niftiest primary sources we have was a book of instruction in duty, responsibility and religion written by A WOMAN to her son who was at the time serving as a hostage in someone else’s kingdom.
AND I COULD GO ON.