Ancient Writing Materials and ImplementsA lot of my readers have mentioned the names in SHADOW OF THE LION: BLOOD ON THE MOON. For many of the names of the characters I used common spellings you might see in history books but for others I had to used the correct Greek names. In addition, the glossary was accidently left out of the volume (hopefully it will be included in Volume II  THE FIELDS OF HADES, which will be published I 2016). So I have attached it here so readers can make reference to words they might not be familiar with.focuz

Here’s a quick lesson in pronouncing the Greek and Persian names:

There are only five vowel sounds in Greek, all of which are easy to produce, though they are not stressed as long as in English. On the other hand unstressed vowels are more clearly pronounced.

ai, I, n, u, oi, ei, ui are pronounced like ea in seat  ADEIA= Adea  NIKAIA=Nikea

oi and ai are pronounced like e or i

ou  like through

eu like ev  PEUKESTAS=Pevkestas EUMENES=Evmenes SELEUKOS=Selevkos

y like in sit  KYNNA=Kinna

ph like in fall  DEMETRIOS OF PHALIRON= Demetrios of Faliron

pt like in tall  PTOLEMY (PTOLEMEIOS)= (p)Tolemy  or Tolemeos (barely say the ‘p’)

Most of the names are pronounced as they look.


 Agema           the elite corps within a military body

Ankush          a hook or goad used by a mahout

Arcon             political leader or military commander

Argeadae (also Argeads)   descendants of Argaeus. The Macedonian royal house.

Ashlar                        hewn or squared stone

Astrigali         knucklebones (a bone – metatarsis – of a sheep, used in games

Aulos              a wind instrument like a flute

Bema              speaker’s platform, altar

Bireme          a ship with two banks of oars

Bitumen        an asphalt of Asia Minor used as a cement or mortar

Bothy             a hut

Bouletarian  Council house for citizens (boule) of Athens

Byssos                        a fine linen cloth

Carhanas       a type of long horn used by Persians

Chiliarch      commander of a thousand.

Chiton                        a tunic

Chlamys        an oblong mantle

Daimon         demon

Dhotis          loincloth worn by Hindu men

Ephebe           a young man  (or cadet in the army)

Epigone         successor or descendants (particularly the barbarian troops recruited and    trained to replace discharged Macedonian veterans.

Epitaphion    eulogy to the dead

Eremenos      a man’s male lover

Eyrines          the Furies,  Greek goddesses of retribution

Galis               wrath, bitterness of spirit

Greaves          armor for the leg below the knee

Gatha             twelve hymns from the sacred text of the Zorastrian faith

Goule             a monstrous creature

Hegamon      a leader (a general or commander-in-chief)

Helot              a serf, slave

Hetaera           a woman companions, high-class, cultivated courtesan

Himation      a rectangular cloth draped over the left should and around the body, worn   as a garment in ancient Greece

Hipparch        a cavalry commander

Hoplites         heavily armed infantry soldier

Hypaspist (pl. hypaspistai) shield bearers

Karwan          caravan

Khotal         a boy who assists the mahouts

Knucklebones          see Astrigali

Kodjah           old eunuch who tends the harem

Komos           a ritualistic drunken procession

Kopis              a slightly carved sword used for striking downwards (used by cavalrymen)

Kore               relating to Persephone,  or Cycladic marble statues of  men

Krater               a jar or vase used for mixing wine

Kukuvia         small owl

Kyrbasia        a Persian head dress

Maidan          a square or field

Metic              a resident alien, one who did not have citizenship

Mitra              headdress worn by royalty

Moira             destiny

Mole               earth laid in the sea as a pier or breakwater

Mystai                mystics, those related to mystery

Oligarchy       a government in which a small group exercises control

Orisons          prayers

Paean             a joyous song or hymn of praise

Palaistra        a school for wrestling

Parados          entrance for the chorus in the theatre

Peltasts          shield bearers

Peripatetics   ‘walking’ philosopher who pace while discoursing  (from the school of  Aristotle)

Peristyle        a colonnade surrounding a courtyard

Pezatairoi     phalanx soldiers

Phalanx         a body of heavily armed infantry formed in close, deep ranks

Pilaster          an upright column

Pithoi             pots, storage jars

Pothos           an urge, or longing

Polis               city state

Posset             a hot drink of spiced milk curdled with wine

Proskynesis  the Persian practice of obeisance (from blowing a kiss to groveling before  the Great King)

Rython           a vessel for pouring ritual libations

Satrap             provincial governor

Satrapy           province of Persian Empire

Sarissas          Macedonian pike (15 – 18 ft in length)

Sistrum         a percussion instrument like a rattle

Shahziad        Persian princess

Shahryar       wife of the Shah (or king)

Shikaris         big game hunter

Skene             building behind playing area in theatre

Skolion          a celebratory song

Stater             a gold or silver coin

Stoa                ancient Greek porticoe

Stragile          an metal instrument for scraping oil off an athlete’s body

Strategos (pl. Strategoi)  a general, also military overseer in a city or province

Taxiarches (pl. Taxiarchoi) commander of a taxis

Taxis (pl. Taxeis)  a unit (size can vary) phalanx battalion which numbered 1500 men  each

Temenos       a piece of land marked off from common people, especially for kings

Thyrsos          a staff of giant fennel covered with ivy leaves, topped with a pine cone,   carried by followers of Dionysus

Trierarch       the commander of a trireme

Trireme         warship with three banks of oars

Xenophobia  fear and hatred of strangers and foreigners












Except for the imperial women, Persian princesses and daughters of the Regent of Macedon, the women in SHADOW were hardly the sort who wiled away their days at their weaving looms. For the most part, they were fierce, indomitable and conniving. Several of them were mountain women, brought up under harsh conditions unlike the women who lived in palace settings. One was known in history for being suspected of complicity in her husband’s assassination, another was a young warrior woman who styled herself after Penthesilea, the Amazon warrior who fought Achilles at Troy. One was the daughter of a war-lord who lived in the Hindu Kush mountains in what is now northern Afghanistan.


Alexander and Roxana

Leader of this “pride” of lionesses was ROXANA, the Soghdian wife of Alexander and mother his only legal heir, Alexander IV (ISKANDER). Her Soghdian name was “Rukshana” meaning ‘Little Star’. She was the daughter of Oxyartes, a Soghdian tribal lord and grew up helping her brothers load arrows on the walls of her father’s mountain outpost on the Soghdian Rock. They say she was ‘the most beautiful woman in Asia’. While writing the story I was working with an Afghani woman and she really was a true beauty so it gave me an idea of what Roxana may have been like.  It is said that Alexander fell in love with her, possibly because she had many of the same attributes as his famous mother, the formidable Epirote, Queen Olympias.


OLYMPIAS was the sixth wife of PHILIP II and mother of Alexander and a daughter, KLEOPATRA. She was the daughter of an Epirote king and Philip’s marriage to her was partly for political reasons. It was a stormy relationship. Olympias was a fiercely jealous woman who is alleged to have been part of the conspiracy to murder Philip.  She was known to do whatever needed to prevent anyone from stepping in the way of her precious son, Alexander, from inheriting his father’s throne. She is believed to have been behind the attempted poisoning of Alexander’s half-brother Arridaios when he was a small child, leaving him mentally deficient. There’s a story I read about Olympias. Whether it’s true or not, it fits her characters. When she was a child, she begged her mother to dip her into the Acheron River (the river symbolic of the Styx) just as Achilles’ mother Thetis had dipped him into the river to give him eternal life. When Olympias mother refused, she threw herself into the river. Her real name was Myrtali. She changed it to Olympias : “one who dwells with the gods.”

Her daughter KLEOPATRA (a Macedonian royal name), was not as foreboding or feared as he mother, but she was a schemer and unfortunately her plan to seize the throne for herself had a dismal outcome. Alexander’s half-sister THESSALONIKI, who had lived in the shadow of her imperious step-mother, had better results. The city of Thessaloniki is named after her.


Stone tablet engraved with Thessaloniki’s name

One of the strongest females in the novel is ADEIA, who took the royal name ‘EURYDIKE”. She was the daughter of one of Philip’s off-spring from an Illyrian campaign wife. At the age of eighteen this feisty young warrior woman led a civil war in her attempt to claim the throne. I saw Adeia-Eurydike as an a-sexual, almost mannish creature who fashioned herself after her uncle, Alexander. She was often mistaken as a boy and became quite a rabble-rouser among the foot-soldiers who admired her.


The historians give little information about these women, most of it unflattering, but the more I researched and read about them I realized they must have been extremely strong in order to have lived the lives they did, often traversing mountains and determined at all costs to get what they wanted.


There are other strong women in SHADOW too, including the beautiful Corinthian courtesan THAIS, who followed Ptolemy across the world and bore him three children; The Persian, BARSINE, widow of Memnon of Rhodes, a childhood friend of Alexander’s and one of his first lovers. She was the mother of Alexander’s illegitimate son, Herakles. And the ‘bit players” all of whom add their charm to the story, such as the Persian princesses Stateira and Drypetis. Stateira was one of Alexander’s wives and Drypetis married his friend Hephaestion. I have a dear Persian friend in Athens who reminded me of what the princesses may have been like and I modeled them after her. (She earned the nick-name of “The Persian Princess”).

Although most of these women participate in Book One of SHADOW, (BLOOD ON THE MOON), in Book Two (THE FIELDS OF HADES) you will see how they come into their own against the Successors. Who survives and who doesn’t, and at what cost?