Damascus steel was used to produce weapons in the Middle East, as early as the 11th century. As is the case with Greek fire, the exact technique for producing Damascus steel is now a mystery, but the process left a distinctive ripple pattern in the metal.

Thrones analogue: Valyrian steel, also known for its unique ripple patterns.

5. Marcus Licinius Crassus

Crassus was a Roman general and patron of Julius Caesar who was also extremely rich — like, one of the richest people in Rome rich. While governor of the Syrian province, Crassus tried and failed to conquer Parthia (present-day Iran), and he died during the Battle of Carrhae. Standard Roman empire stuff, except for this part: The Parthians poured molten gold into his throat as punishment for his greediness.

Thrones analogue: Viserys getting “crowned” by Khal Drogo.

6. Charles VI of France

An engraving of Charles VI.

Charles served as king from 1380–1422, during which time he drained the royal treasury, expelled Jews from France, and lost the Battle of Agincourt to England (which you might remember from Shakespeare’s Henry V). He also suffered from a mental illness that caused him to abuse servants, forget he was married, and think he was made of glass, all of which earned him the nickname Charles the Mad.

Thrones analogue: Aerys Targaryen, aka the Mad King.

7. Knights Templar

You might know a fictionalized version of these guys from The Da Vinci Code or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, though they were probably not nearly as mysterious as those movies made them seem. Established by Pope Innocent II in 1139, they were a military order who fought in the Crusades, handled finances for other people fighting in the Crusades, and eventually amassed a lot of land and wealth. They reported to a Grand Master, who held that position for life, and took vows of chastity.

Thrones analogue: The Night’s Watch.

8. War of the Roses

After the Hundred Years’ War with France, England dived right back into conflict with the War of the Roses, best summed up as a battle between House Lancaster and House York for control of the English throne. Eventually Henry Tudor of the Lancasters defeated Richard III of the Yorks, and became the first Tudor monarch in 1485.

Thrones analogue: The War of the Five Kings, but also everything.

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