I'm currently creating a setting with a large culture that takes a lot of inspiration from Zoroastrianism and the Ancient Near east and Mediterranean.
It's going pretty good I'd say, but I've realized that all of my cultures, barring linguistics and rituals specifically relating to magic, are one-to-one identical with the real world cultures I've taken inspiration from. In every way. From their interactions to their clothing. I've taken too much inspiration, you could say.
I've tried to look up guides online about this, but most of them relate to cultural appropriation. Which is a valid issue (I'm not gonna debate this in the comments because it's not the point of my post btw) but that's a separate discussion, and partially irrelevant to me as I'm working off of cultures that don't really exist anymore, like the Minoans, or exist now but in much different forms, like Achaemenid Iran.
In the case of Iran I make sure not to use any aspects relating to modern Islamic Iranian culture, for example.
But still my question remains, the peoples I've created are far too similar to their analogs for my liking. This is supposed to be fantasy not historical fiction.
Please don't give me the same "just mix and match" solution, I've tried that and I don't like the results personally.