One of my favorite fantasy movies, in which just about all of it is unhistorical and quite fantastic is The 13th Warrior. It’s a great adventure yarn if you can forget everything you know about history except the fact that an Arab writer did once encounter the Vikings, and wrote about these amazing people, ‘tall as palm trees’ for the Arabs. The number thirteen has an archetypal ring to it. Viewing the movie for about the fifth time started a train of thought about a real thirteen that has been ignored in favor of a mentally constructed twelve. Here’s the train.
We’ve all been brought up on the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The one thing common in any audience of people, whatever their profession or work is that they all know their birth sign. The Twelve have been used to develop astrology and provide analogies for all kinds of observed phenomena. Most people take them for granted. Unexamined assumptions are the causes of many human problems, particularly religious fanaticism.