When Mark Shelton passed away over a year ago, I was at a loss for words. For months I struggled to offer his shades tribute in my own way. I then recalled a brief exchange with him about how I played the song “Fall of Iliam” for a Latin Poetry class I had recently taught, and how it was in his music that I first felt that my passions for both heavy metal and classical antiquity truly came together as one.
Gladius & Goēteia: A Guide to Classical Mythology & History in Traditional Heavy Metal (Pt. I: 80’s Origins)
The gladius was the standard-issue sword of the Roman legions, whence the word gladiator gets its name. Goēteia is the ancient Greek word for sorcery. While much of traditional heavy metal old and new has been inspired by “sword and sorcery” literature, as well as by the legends and history of medieval Europe, several bands have peered further into the past to the classical world of Greece and Rome. From sorceresses enthroned on remote Aegean isles to swords dancing in the imperial arena, our heavy metal gods and heroes have time and again put the Classics in classics.