WHO WAS ANTIPATER?

ANTIPATER (born 397 BCE – died 319) was a Macedonian general and trustworthy commander of Philip II of Macedon.  Following the Battle of Charonea in 338, he was entrusted with the task of accompanying young Prince Alexander to Athens to take the remains of the Athenians killed in the battle.  He was one of the leading figures in Macedon and afer the assassination of Phil in 336, he helped to secure the succession to the throne for Alexander. When Alexander was named king at age 20 and left for his conquest of Asia, he left Antipater in charge as Regent.

Antipater’s main task was to hold down the northern frontier against hostile tribe and keep order among the Greek states. He was unpopular in Greece because he supported the oligarchic governments. There also conflicts with Alexander’s indomitable mother, Olympias, who he described as “a sharp-tongued shrew” Her attempts to meddle in government affairs forced Alexander to intercede and eventually she returned to her home in Dodona, Epirus in exile.

After Alexander’s death, when Perdikkas became leader of the army, Antipater too control of Macedon and Greece. After Perdikkas’ death,he was named Regent of the Macedonian Empire for the two joint kings: the intellectually disfunctional Philip III and Alexander’s infant son, Alexander IV (Iskander).

Antipater died in 319 BCE aged 80 after he had named Commander Polyperchon as Regent, inciting anger with his eldest son Kassandros who would eventually take control and was responsible for the fall of Alexander the Great’s dynasty.

SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES

330px-Alexander1256ALEXANDER THE GREAT

We are driven by greed to win fame and power in unrighteous ways, and the more we have, the more we covet, until greed and blind ambition finally destroys us.

These are the closing lines of SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES.  Volume Two of the SHADOW OF THE LION  duo is out soon.  I know you’re all waiting anxiously for it and you won’t be disappointed!  This is the most exciting part of the story of the fall of Alexander the Great’s dynasty When I read through the proofs I was on the edge of my seat. It seemed surreal that I actually wrote all those words, I know my Muse, Alexander, was there with me as I told his story through the characters that he loved and trusted. And I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did writing it!

Watch for SHADOW OF THE LION: THE FIELDS OF HADES to come out soon.  And in the New Year I’ll be holding a special book launch!

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 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.

 

WHO IS IN THAT TOMB?

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For the past few months there’s been great excitement in Greece over the revealing of a huge tomb uncovered in Amphipolis, Greek Macedonia.  This sparked a lot of interest for me as I’ve visited Amphipolis on a couple of occasions while doing research for SHADOW OF THE LION.  This site, which at Alexander’s time was an army fortress, is one of the settings in my story:  in the end of Volume One BLOOD ON THE MOON, and for almost the whole last half of Volume Two THE FIELDS OF HADES (to be published in 2016).

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In September, as I was going to Macedonia to attend a friend’s book launch, I decided to venture to Amphipolis to see if I could view this remarkable archaeological find.  I took a taxi from the seaside town of Asprovalta and was lucky enough to get a driver who knew the area well.  On our way up to the location, we passed the famous Lion of Amphipolis by the roadside. The lion statue was dedicated to one of Alexander’s generals, Laomedon and it is now believed that it once stood atop the tomb and was taken away by the Romans who left it in its present location.  The statue is 5.3 meters high with a base making it 15.84 meters. It resembles the stone lion statue that was erected on the field of Chaironea in Greece where King Philip II and his young son Alexander defeated the Athenians and annihilated the Theban Sacred Band.

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I was only able to view the tomb digs from a distance, across the valley. The tomb is on a hillside inside a 500 meter long surrounding wall of marble and limestone. The wall is 3 meters high with a cornice of marble from the nearby Aegaen Island of Thassos.  The entry has an arch containing two headless sphinxes and steps leading down into the tomb. It is believed the tomb could be the work of Deinokrates, who was the imperial architect during Alexander’s time, the same architect who Alexander had design the city of Alexandria in Egypt.

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But whose tomb is it? There is so much speculation:  Was Alexander buried here? Well, not likely as he was embalmed in Babylon where he died in 325 BC and a year later was taken to Alexandria where his body lay in state right up to the time of Cleopatra and the Romans.  Was it Olympias, Alexander’s mother? Not likely either. She was an Epirote, not well liked, and stoned to death by Kassandros. While I visited  Pydna, the site of her death, an archaeologist who was looking for a token tomb there told me she was likely buried in the royal tombs at Vergina where all the Macedonian royalty were laid to rest. Was it Alexander’s Soghdian wife and his son, both who were murdered on Kassandros’ orders at Amphipolis? Not a chance as she was hated by the Macedonians and the boy, Alexander IV is very likely the one occupying a tomb at Vergina that is the tomb of a young Macedonian prince about 14 yrs of age – just the age he was when he was murdered. (This tomb is next to the one where Philip II was found and an archaeologist at the site told me it was a good possibility the prince was Alexander’s son and only legal heir.)

My theory is that it may be the tomb of the Antipatrides family, the biggest clan in Macedonia. Antipater was Regent for both Philip and Alexander. His son, Kassandros was responsible for killing of all of Alexander’s dynasty and was in charge of Amphipolis’s army fortress. Perhaps it is their family, including Kassandros’ wife, Thessaloniki, who was Alexander’s half sister.

On the other hand, now that they have found a large wooden casket with a body inside, it is possible that this might be the tomb of one of the famous generals of the time.  Although, it is strange they found a skeleton, as the Macedonians usually cremated their dead.  The possibilities of who this might be are endless:  Maybe it is really Laomedon whose burial place was marked by the stone lion; perhaps it is Niarchos, who came from Amphipolis and commanded Alexander’s navy. Or could it be General Antigonos the One-Eyed, who died at the age of 81 in the Battle of Ipsus in Phrygia (now Turkey) back in 301 when he was knocked off his horse by a spear. Antigonos was a powerful Successor of Alexander and eventually took control of most of the Empire, including Macedonia, after the downfall of the Antipatrides clan. He was succeeded by his son Demetrius who took control in 294 BC. This dynasty lasted until 1966 BC when they were defeated at the Battle of Pydna by the Romans.

These characters are all major players in SHADOW OF THE LION. So whoever it is buried in that massive tomb, it’s all relevant and has certainly help keep the interest in Alexander the Great and his place in history alive!

(NOTE: Closeup tomb photos courtesy of internet sources.)

CITIES OF ALEXANDER’S WORLD: BABYLON

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The Chaldean King Nebuchadnezzar II (604-561 BC) was responsible for making Babylon into one of the wonders of the ancient world. He is the Biblical king who sacked Jerusalem and carried off 10,000 captives to help  him build his monumental capital. He is credited with constructing the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. (There have been recent reports that archaeologists may have located the actual site of the gardens). They are described as “built with roofs from trunks of cedar wood”. Nebuchadnezzar also built the city gates which were decorated with huge bronze bulls. 350px-Hanging_Gardens_of_Babylon

In 539 BC the Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, King of Persia who sacked and burned the city. Under Cyrus and later the Persian King Darius the Great, Babylon became the administrative capital of the Persian Empire. It was a centre of learning and scientific advancement. Astronomy and mathematics flourished.

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The city remained under Persian Rule for two centuries until Alexander the Great rode into Babylon in 331 BC after Darius III, the last Achaemenid king was defeated and killed by his own men.

After Alexander returned from his campaigns in the East in 331 BC, he was warned by the seers not to go into the city. It was summer and the heat was oppressive. His advisors encouraged him to go instead to the summer palace at Susa. There had been adverse omens the Magi advised him against entering Babylon. Alexander scoffed at the omens and made his way into the city. Not long afterwards, after a few nights of excessive drinking, Alexander died. He was 33 years old.

Introduction to SHADOW OF THE LION

When Alexander the Great, King of Macedon and conqueror of Asia, dies suddenly under suspicious circumstances at the age of thirty-three in Babylon, everyone who lives in his shadow are affected.  As the after-shocks of his death bring disorder in his Empire from Macedon to Persia, a deadly power struggle begins over who will rule.trevordiy.wordpress.com

At the centre of this political conflict is Alexander’s son, Iskander, born after Alexander’s death to his Soghdian wife Roxana.  Neither the boy nor his mother are accepted by the Macedonians who wanted a pure-blooded Macedonian to take the throne and chose Alexander’s mentally deficient half-brother Philip Arridaios to act as a joint-king, until little Alexander comes of age to claim the throne.

SHADOW OF THE LION is a story of political intrigue, ruthless ambition, racial prejudice, child abuse and exploitation.  It is a true story, with all the ingredients of a Greek tragedy.  The ‘shadow’ and spirit of Alexander is the golden thread woven throughout this vivid tapestry.  The differences between the opulent, aristocratic Persians and the rough highland warriors of Macedon provide a colourful contrast in the warp and weft of the prose.