The Videssos Series is a set of multi-volume story arcs by Harry Turtledove, set in a fantasy world. Its primary setting is the Empire of Videssos, an analog of the Byzantine Empire where magic works.
The Videssos Cycle, also known as the Legion Cycle, was the first published work in the series. This tetralogy took a Republican Roman legion and transported it to the magical realm, which was based on the 7th century AD Byzantine Empire that Rome would eventually become. Naturally enough, none of the legionnaires discovered that they were, in effect, seeing the future of their world.
In the two series (The Tale of Krispos and The Time of Troubles Cycle) and three short stories ("The Decoy Duck," "A Difficult Undertaking," "The Seventh Chapter") which have followed the original Videssos Cycle, Turtledove has examined the history of Videssos, continuously exploring earlier periods of Videssian history and her struggle with Makuran (later Yezd), an analog of Persia. In the novel Bridge of the Separator, Turtledove examines the origin of Rhavas (a recurring bogeyman from the earlier series), as well as the beginnings of Kubrat and how it separated from Videssos.
Since much of the cycle is loosely (and sometimes not so loosely) based on Byzantine and Persian history, the avid reader may be able to glean some clues from the study of their histories.
The geography of the Empire of Videssos--and the rest of the fictional world in which Videssos is placed--is based upon the geography of the Mediterranean, Europe, and parts of Asia compressed and reversed so what lies to the East in our world lies to the West in Videssos and vice versa.
Most kingdoms and peoples correspond with real ones in our world and the history of Videssos parallels that of the Roman Empire. The Khamorth invasion of Videssos' northern and eastern provinces and the fall of Skopentzana parallels the barbarian invasions of the Western Roman Empire and the fall of Rome. The successor states that arose from the Khamorth invasion correspond to states and peoples in western Europe who--like the people of Khatrish, Thatagush, and Kubrat did--developed a religion based on but separate from the rest of the empire.
List of volumes
- The Videssos Cycle, aka The Legion Cycle
- The Misplaced Legion (1987)
- An Emperor for the Legion (1987)
- The Legion of Videssos (1987)
- Swords of the Legion (1987)
- The Tale of Krispos Series
- The Time of Troubles Series
- The Stolen Throne (1995)
- Hammer and Anvil (1996)
- The Thousand Cities (1997)
- Videssos Besieged (1998)
- Bridge of the Separator (2005)
- Elabon Series, a fantasy series set in an analog of the Western Roman Empire where magic works.
- After the Downfall, which begins with a soldier from a war in our history magically transported to a world where magic works, similar to the beginning of The Misplaced Legion.