Another Successful Year of Promoting SHADOW OF THE LION

Another year is coming to a close and it’s been a busy one, although because of a mid-year move I wasn’t able to do quite as much promo for SHADOW OF THE LION as I’d like to have.  I did a couple of readings in Vancouver and for some suburban writing groups but for next year I’m hoping to get more readings/workshops lined up.

The book promo highlight of the year was the trip I made to Athens in late September/October – a short trip this time but it gave me a chance to do some readings there which I always enjoy.  Shortly after I arrived in Athens I went for a three-day trip to my favorite camp site on Naxos, and then on to Crete to visit the Minoan site of Knossos.  While in Iraklion I had the pleasure of meeting one of my writing mentors for the first time in person. Dr. Jack Dempsey and I have been on-line friends for several years and as he has now moved to Iraklion from the US I was able to meet him. We spent a pleasant afternoon at a seafood restaurant by the Venetian Harbor talking about archaeology and our books.

The first reading was at the Canadian Institute to a good sized audience of interested people, many academics as well as some friends, and a nice reception afterwards. I read mainly from SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES

The second reading I was at the Athens American School. I’ve visited there a couple of times in the past and always enjoy reading to the kids there. This time it was a class of 50 grade nine students and later a smaller class of older students where I presented a writer’s workshop which included readings from SHADOW OF THE LION (both volumes)

The following week I was invited to read at the Athens Centre.  I titled this presentation “In Alexander’s Footsteps”.  This was also a large audience with many academics attending and, as with the others, included a question/answer discussion and a reception later in the courtyard.

You may note that I have now a new website dedicated strictly to my published works which focuses on SHADOW OF THE LION.   You can find it at www.inalexandersfootsteps.com

Once back home and settled into my cozy new bachelor suite I have been back at my writing, working on another novel titled DRAGONS IN THE SKY which I began long before writing SHADOW.  In this novel, a Celtic tale in first person, I introduce Alexander as a youth.

My plan for 2018 is to focus on putting SHADOW OF THE LION into an ebook.  I have hoped the publisher would reprint both volumes in soft cover for better marketing but that may not happen. Neither will the hoped-for translation. This means I’ll have to be diligent with my marketing and I have sent out requests to as many writer’s groups and organizations as I can find Province-wide to do readings and workshops.  Hopefully this will up the sales.  Remember, both volumes SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON and SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES are available on Amazon.com and the Book Depository.

 

A WOMAN’S LIFE IN ANCIENT MACEDONIA

imagesCA5E144RAt the time of Alexander, women were expected to be stay-at-home moms, spending time at the loom and tending their children. Marriage was a social transaction aimed at creating relationships between families and the bride was seen as a valuable commodity. The wife of the king was mistress of his household and responsible for managing his residence, attend to the hospitality of guests and was sometimes present at the drinking parties for the men but mostly spent time in the women’s quarters ((gynaikonites) spinning and weaving in the company of her handmaidens.rtisnab

Because legitimate offspring were essential to ensure the inheritance of property and status, women were devoted to managing domestic affairs and bringing up children and were excluded from political life. Women did not take part in symposiums even when they were held at her home. If a woman lived in a rural area she often shared arduous tasks with the men and enjoyed a greater independence. But city women lived a fairly pampered and sheltered life. Intellectual pursuits were exceptional and girls did not go to school. Women of the more common folk enjoyed greater independent, frequenting the marketplace (agora) and some women worked as midwives and nursemaids. The only truly independent women were the courtesans (Hetairai). They circulated freely, attended symposia, entertained whomsoever they pleased and managed their own property. Many of them worked as temple maidens and entertainers.

In the Classical period of Macedonia the lives of the women of the royal house were well documented. Marriages of princesses were celebrated with great pomp which included state banquets and games. These marriages were arranged by the king for military and political reasons. Polygamy was customary for the Macedonian kings, serving their military and political purposes as well as ensuring large numbers of male offspring.

The everyday life of the women of the royal house was simple. they helped in preparation of the daily meals, wove cloth, and participated in formal banquets. Macedonian women seem to have been fascinated by magic as indicated by the wishes and curses they inscribed on lead strips (katadesmoi) placed in te tombs of the deceased.  Plutarch refers to the surreptitiousness of Olympias who took part in licentious rites with large tame snakes coiled around the thrysoi and wreaths.

However, they also played an important role in state affairs. Women such as Eurydike and Olympias – mother and wife of Philip II – had their statues set up in the Philippeion at Olympia . These women enjoyed special treatment and were permitted to be the regents of kings who were still to young to rule and were actively involved in matters of state. Often they were the target of scandal-mongering as in the many tales told about Alexander’s mother, Olympias.  When Alexander was away in Asia, she had general supervision of his kingdom and represented the Macedonian state. After Alexander’s death she issued decrees on behalf of the joint-kings and herself as well as ‘in the name of the house of Philip and his son Alexander’.  Even so she failed to unite the royal house and her life story has been embellished with many scandals, most likely to be untrue as they express the defamation and hostilely that had broke out between her supporters and her opponents who were supported by Kassander.

 

A second interview with the author of SHADOW OF THE LION

My writer friend Kathryn Gauci kindly offered to interview me about SHADOW OF THE LION.  Read it on her website:RA Grani

http://www.kathryngauci.com/a-literary-world-greece-an-interview-with-ruth-kozak/

I appreciate these opportunities and plan to reciprocate with some interviews on my own writer’s blog, Living the Writer’s Life  http://wynnbexton.blogspot.com

INTRODUCTION TO POLYPERCHON

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Polyperchon was the son of Simmeas, a Macedonian nobleman, born in 380 BC. He showed up in Plutarch’s “Lives of Alexander” in 351 as one of the murders of Dion’s assassins in Syracuse. He later became a general in Alexander’s army, first as phalanx leader at Issus (333 BC), then Gaugamela and the Hydaspes. He was leader of one of the six battalions of phalanx that crossed Asia with Alexander. His first independent command was during the Lamian War (321 BC) where he proved to be a skilled leader. He was later sent back to Macedon with Krateros to settle affairs with the Regent.Lux Standart

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Polyperchon is introduced at the end of Volume One of SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON and plays an important role in Volume Two: SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES when he is named guardian of the joint kings and acting regent after the death of Antipater.

He appeared to be a heroic figure, charming, likeable, popular and loyal but he is also shown as an opportunist and is capable of manipulating to get what he wants (fame, fortune and a good slice of the empire!)

He had a good relationship with Alexander’s widow, Roxane and knew how to manipulate her with his charms. To Alexander’s son, Iskander, he seems a heroic ‘grandfatherly’ figure, strong, manly and very Macedonian. He was always loyal to Alexander’s mother, Olympias. She trusted him and found him charming. He knew how to humor her and was never intimidated by her. He reckoned on Olympias’ hatred of Kassandros when he invited her back to Macedon from her exile in Epirus. (Discontent with his role as ‘vizier’ Kassandros had organized a rebellion supported by Adea-Eurydike.)

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Polyperchon’s courage, good humor and affability made him popular. He resolved to win the whole of Greece to his side by proclaiming liberty to the Greeks.  At the same time the other successors of Alexander, the Diodochi, were warring over Alexander’s empire. Eventually Polyperchon ended up siding with Kassandros. This was the end of his political career although he remained master of the Peloponnese at least until 304 BC. He died not much later when he was more than ninety years old!

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INTRODUCTING SELEUKOS

Seleukos was born in northern Macedonia in about 358 BC.  He was the son of Antiochus, one of Philip II’s generals and a member of a noble family. His mother’s name was Laodice. Curing his later conquests, Seleukos named a number of cities after his parents.Фауна Земли

As a teenager he served as the king’s page. As was the custom, all male offspring of noble families first served in this position and later became officers in the king’s army. He accompanied Alexander’s army to  Asia in the spring of 334 BC when he was about twenty-three and within three years he had risen to the command of the elite infantry corps, the “Shield-bearers” (Hypapistai) also known as “the Silvershields”.

In India he led his troops against the warrior elephants of Rajah Porus and was later put in charge of the herd.

At the wedding ceremony of Susa, arranged by Alexander to encourage his officers to marry Persian women, Seleukos married the princess Apama who he had taken to India as his mistress. She later gav birth to his eldest son and successor Antiochus 1 Soter (325 BC) She later bore him at least two daughters and another son. After Alexander’s death, when the other officers deserted their new Susa wives, Seleukos was one of the few who kept his and Apama remained by his side for the rest of his life.

After Alexander’s death, Seleukos was appointed Satrap of Babylon under the Regent, Antipater. Almost at once, though the wars between the Diodochi began and he was forced to flee from Babylon and wasn’t able to return until 312 BC with the help of Ptolemy. From then on he began to ruthlessly expand his dominions until he had conquered Persia and Media, making him ruler of the largest part of Alexander’s empire. He founded a number of cities including Antioch (300 BC) and Seleucia on the Tigris (305BC) which became the new capital of the Seleucid Empire.

By 306 BC, when the struggle between the Diadochi had reached its climax after the extinction of the royal line of Macedonia, Seleukos proclaimed himself king. He now held the whole of Alexander’s conquests except Egypt and was planning to take possession of Macedonia and Thrace as well. He would have likely tried to conquer Greece too, and had already prepared this campaign and had been nominated an honorary citizen of Athens.  However, he was assassinated by Ptolemy Keraunos (one of Ptolemy’s sons) in September 281 BC.

INTRODUCING PTOLEMY I

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Ptolemy was born in 367, allegedly the illegitimate son of Philip II and a woman named Arsinoe who later married a nobleman named Lagos. In later years he took the name Ptolemy Soter (Savior or Preserver) and also Lagos. He was one of Alexander’s companions, serving as one of those who guarded the king’s person. He was four years older than Alexander. Like Alexander he studied under Aristotle at Mieza.

He took part in Alexander’s Persian campaigns from the very beginning, in 334 and was one of Alexander’s most trusted generals. During this time he was accompanied by his mistress, Thais, who he had first met when she was only 15, a temple maiden (hetaera) from Corinth. She later bore him two sons, Lagos and Leontiscus and a daughter named Irene (‘Peace’) but he never married legally so their offspring were considered illegitimate. He was given a Persian princess for a bride at the great marriage fete in Susan (324 BC) but like many of those other ‘token’ wives, she ssems to have vanished from his life.  It was at Persepolis that Ptolemy’s mistress, Thais, was blamed for urging the men to set the Persian’s palace on fire which burned all their holy books.

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Ptolemy rose to prominence in the army and held important commands during most of the campaigns. At one battle at the Indus he was wounded by a poison arrow but survived because Alexander knew the antidote.

When Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC General Perdikkas took control of the army and Ptolemy was opposed to this. He also objected to Alexander’s mentally deficient half-brother Arridaios being named joint king along with Alexander’s newborn son, Alexander IV (Iskander) by his Soghdian wife, Roxana.

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Ptolemy left Babylon to return to Egypt and became satrap there. He was well liked by the Egyptians and supported by the Diadochi (Alexander’s Successors). When Alexander’s body was being taken back to Macedon, he hijacked the funeral carriage and took it back to Egypt (Memphis) because he said Alexander wanted to buried there. Perdikkas pursued him but ended up being assassinated by his men after a tactical disaster at the Nile River in which many of the soldiers were killed by crocodiles or drowned.

Ptolemy wanted to build the city that Alexander had dreamed of at the Nile delta, so he oversaw the building of Alexandria and later moved Alexander’s body there. He formed a strong alliance with the Macedonian regent, Antipater, and later married one of his daughters, Eurydike (Dika) in order to legitimize his connection with the royalty.

He is remembered not only as a king and general but as a distinguished historian and founder of the Library of Alexandria and the cult of Serapis, an Egyptian god who was recreated in such a way that it was acceptable to both Greeks and Macedonians. During his rule as Pharaoh, Ptolemy kept a journal to record the exploits of Alexander and the Successors. He abdicated at the age of 82 after a 38 year reign that founded a dynasty which would continue to rule until 321 BC. He was succeeded by his son, age 24, who ruled as Ptolemy II Philadelphus until 246 BC. Ptolemy died in 283 BC. His line ended with Kleopatra XIV, the so-called “Queen of the Nile” of Antony and Cleopatra fame.

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Introducing General Perdikkas

  2133609418_f31e86632e-003   WHO WAS PERDIKKAS?veroxybd.com

There isn’t a lot written about Alexander’s Companion and general Perdikkas who was one of the Successors.  From what I did read (in histories) he seemed like a self-serving individual who grasped onto the power in order to better his own status. In his career he was known to have made several tactical errors that cost Macedonian lives. And in fact, his final act, a forced crossing of the crocodile-infested Nile River, cost him his own life.

Perdikkas was the son of Orontes, one of the tribal lords of the Macedonian province of Orestis. He distinguished himself during the conquest of Thebes (335 BC) where he was severely wounded.  He was 4 years older than Alexander and had been a Companion since Alexander’s youth serving as one of the generals in the campaigns of Asia. After Hephaestion’s unexpected death, he was appointed as commander of the Companion cavalry and chiliarch. At the marriage nuptials encouraged by Alexander at Susa, Perdikkas married the  daughter of Atropates, a Persian satrap. During the campaigns in India he held an important command.

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When Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC Perdikkas seized the opportunity to interpret Alexander’s dying words to mean that he should serve as the supreme commander of the army.  When we first meet Perdikkas in SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON he is 37 years old.  His actions, claiming the power, were rejected by a number of the generals who felt that Alexander meant his beloved commander Krateros should be declared supreme commander, however Krateros had been sent back to Macedonia shortly before. Perdikkas then took over as official guardian of the royal family and had Alexander’s idiot half-brother Arridaios named joint-king along with Alexander’s newborn son and legitimate heir, Iskander (Alexander IV). He was intolerant of anyone who opposed his position and further alienated himself by brutally killing any of these opponents.

Once they royal family had left Babylon en route back to Macedonia, Perdikkas furthered his quest to seize control of the throne by agreeing to marry the Regent’s daughter Nikaea.  However, true to form, when he was also offered the hand of Alexander’s sister Kleopatra, he broke off his marriage to Nikaea and sent her home.  Perdikkas knew that because of Arridaios mental deficiency and Iskander’s part-Persian heritage, he would stand a good chance of seizing the throne himself. When the other generals and the Regent learned of this they set out to stop him.

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As Perdikkas marched south in pursuit of Ptolemy who had hijacked Alexander’s funeral carriage and taken the body to Egypt, Perdikkas actions created friction in the army who complained against his severe orders.  When he ordered troops to cross the crocodile infested river that was the final disaster of his career.  After seeing hundreds of their companions drowned and killed by these vicious river beasts, a group of his officers plotted to kill him. Led by Peithon and Seleukos, a group of  generals raided Perdikka’s tent and stabbed him to death.  He was 39 years old.

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There is no monument for Perdikkas.  No bust of him has been found (at least there is no record that I have found) so there is no physical image of him.  He left behind his legacy of corruption and the tragic consequences of his quest for power.

 

 

INTRODUCING KING PHILIP II

Who Was Philip II of Macedonia?Высокогорья

Although Philip II is only mentioned in the two volumes of SHADOW OF THE LION, he is still an important character because he was Alexander the Great’s father and one of the greatest warrior kings of the ancient world.

Philip was born about 383 to King Amnytas II and queen Eurydike (one of his two known wives). When he was a youth, Philip was sent as a “hostage” (guest-friend) to Thebes where he learned battle skills from the famous Thracian warrior Epaninandos. He came to power in Macedon in 359 BCE just after Macedonia had suffered a defeat at the hands of the Illyrians. At the time, the country was in political and military turmoil. Philip set out to gain control. Two years later, he defeated the Illyrians and sought to bring all of that area under control. He married the daughter of the Illyrian war-lord Bardylis. They later had a daughter, Kynane, who was married to Philip’s nephew Amyntas. Their daughter, Adeia-Eurydike, is the young warrior woman featured in SHADOW OF THE LION.

Philip had possibly seven wives in total. One of them, Philinna from Larissa, was the mother of Philip Arridaios. His third wife, Olympias, a young princess from Epiros, became the mother of Alexander and Kleopatra. Four years later he married a woman from Pherae and they had a daughter, Thessaloniki.

Alexander was marked early on as Philip’s successor partly due to his promise and partly by the unscrupulous deeds of his powerful mother. (Olympias was suspected as being behind the poisoning of Arridaios at an early age thus rendering her own son’s possible rival, incapacitated). Philip groomed Alexander, giving him the best education under the tutelage of the eminent Aristotle.

In 338 Philip’s army defeated the Athenian and Theban forces at the Battle of Chaeronea even though his own army was greatly outnumbered. Thebes and Athens were forced to become subjects of Philip and garrisons were established with Philip’s allies in control. (This included the garrison at Athens which features in Volume 2 of Shadow of the Lion, THE FIELDS OF HADES. Sparta was the only Greek state not under his domination. At the Council of Corinth the following year, Philip gave freedom and autonomy to all the city states and established a network that would be loyal to him.

Then, with the support of Greece, he declared war on Persia (spring 336). He sent an advance troop over to Asia Minor to begin liberating the Greek cities along the coast. But just before Philip was to travel to Asia himself, he was assassinated.

He was at the old palace of Aigai hosting a wedding reception for his daughter, Kleopatra, to her uncle, the King of Epiros. It was to be an extravagant affair held in the theatre with statues of the twelve Olympic gods and one of Philip. At the moment Philip entered the theatre and alit from his horse, he was stabbed to death by his bodyguard, Pausanias.  It was said that Pausanias sought revenge from Philip because he had been shunned and demeaned as a result of a love affair he’d had with the king. There was suspicion, however, that Pausanias was paid off by the Persians and most probably by Olympias who wanted to get rid of Philip because he had recently married the young daughter of his friend Attalus. To compound this suspicion, after Philip’s death, Olympias had the girl and her newborn child murdered. Philip’s nephew, Amyntas (father of Adeia-Eurydike) was accused of treason in the plot and was executed. To appease the family, later Alexander had Adeia-Eurydike engaged to his mentally deficient brother Arridaios.

During his twenty-three years as ruler Philip took Macedonia from a weak, divided state to one of great military and political eminence. Philip had devoted great attention to his army, training it in advanced skills and arming it with the most effective weapons. By the end of his reign he had increased the size of the army to about 30,000 foot and 3,000 horse. This was the outstanding army inherited by Alexander who was his father’s successor at the age of eighteen.

Unlike his more famous son, Philip was not always invincible in battle. He suffered two severe defeats by the Phocians and failed in his sieges of Perinthus and Byzantium. He suffered serious war wounds in these battles. One reason he succeeded in the end was the way he used bribery. He was a master of deception and his victims were usually unaware of his true intentions. He used his wealth to gain his political allies. Philip’s self-indulgent life style was criticized by his Greek contemporaries – his heavy drinking and wanton sexual desires were expected of Macedonian nobles and kings. Polygamy was practiced. Nearly all his wives were daughters of neighbouring warlords. This led to bitter jealousies and intrigues in the Macedonian court. Philip’s last marriage, in 337, to a young Macedonian nobleman’s daughter was part of his downfall. Olympias was vindictive and dangerous and this union created serious domestic strife, incited by Alexander who opposed his father. What happened at Kleopatra’s wedding was the final rift.