Let’s be honest: the line between history and fiction doesn’t really exist. After all, history is just stories we tell ourselves. The way we tell those stories says more about our time than about the times we’re examining. Reading about decades- or even centuries-old events in contemporary sources and then comparing how we talk—or don’t talk—about them now is a sobering insight into how writing history shifts what happened into what we think happened and how we process it long after the fact.
So when we write fantasy using history as our playground, we aren’t really rewriting history. We’re writing our own questions played out on a historical background. Fortunately for us, history is cyclical, and we keep needing the same questions answered again and again and again.