Historical RPF

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RPF Fandom
Name(s): Historical RPF
Scope/Focus: Umbrella term for RPF fanworks using real people from history as characters.
See also: Category:Historical RPF, Historical Fanworks, Historical AUs
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Historical RPF is an umbrella term for RPF fanworks that use real people from any historical period as characters.

The use of historical figures in fiction, often mixed in with original characters and fictionalized plots, is widespread. Because of this, Historical RPF fandoms sometimes have fuzzy boundaries with FPF canons. For example, someone my chose to write about Cleopatra and Marc Anthony and they may think of it as writing historical RPF, or they may consider the work to be Shakespeare fanfic. The fanfic for The King's Speech is listed under movie fandoms at the Archive of Our Own, even though nearly every character in the film is a real person.[1] In this case, the stories use the personas of the characters as depicted in the film, and the plots, characterizations and background details from the film become the fandom canon.

The division from original fiction or profic involving historical figures, such as the alternate history and historical fiction genres, is fuzzy, especially where the fanwork doesn't draw on a single source. While historical RPF often slashes historical figures, so does much recent profic.

While Historical RPF is the commonly used term, the genre is often treated separately from contemporary or near-contemporary RPF. It differs in acceptability from much RPF, perhaps because the characters involved are often long dead and/or because pro-historical fiction has a long tradition. For example, the Mithril Awards in the Tolkien fandom excluded Lotrips, but allowed well-known historical figures who have been dead for at least 50 years.[2]


There have always been fictional stories about "real people", their adventures and their sex lives, written by authors as diverse as Homer, Shakespeare, Murasaki Shikibu (The Tale of Genjii), Sir Walter Scott, and Thomas Pynchon.

Alexander the Great was an immensely popular figure of legend. Centuries after his death in 323 B.C., fantastic tales were spun about his adventures.

All four surviving Brontë children (see Brontë family at Wikipedia]) wrote and roleplayed many stories about the Duke of Wellington and his two sons, Charles and Arthur.[3] Their portrayals of Arthur became mythic (and erotic) in scope; he became the Duke of Zamorna and presided over the empire of Angria with many epic adventures.

Most published historical fiction includes real people as main and/or secondary characters. More recently, Susannah Clarke included several real characters in her novel Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Many writers may disguise their use of real people via an "expy" character who is clearly meant to be that person, but has a different name and perhaps a slightly different background.


There are many historical eras that are small Yuletide fandoms. The characters may be drawn from the ranks of politics, the nobility, literary figures, scientists, musicians, celebrities or those who are famous, or infamous, for any number of reasons.


Amorous adventures of aaron burr.png

With the success of the Hamilton musical comes Historical RPF of the characters in the show. Fans have also discovered antique Historical RPF, including the "Amorous Adventures of Aaron Burr"[4][5]


Byzantine emperor Justinian:

Three Kingdoms Era



  1. ^ King's Speech works, accessed August 14, 2011
  2. ^ Mithril Awards: Rules & Eligibility (accessed 26 October 2012)
  3. ^ The Brontës at war: how Charlotte and Branwell brought Waterloo into their drawing room. BBC's History Extra, April 29, 2016.
  4. ^ angelica-hamilton on tumblr, a-fun-fact-there-is-a-pornographic-biography-of dated 2015-10-08, accessed 2015-11-11
  5. ^ Amorous Adventures of Arron Burr A version digitized at the University of Indiana document VAC5581 accessed 2015-11-15