In the final scene of Shadow of the Lion, Ptolemy writes in his journal, “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 destroys us.”
That described his world after the death of Alexander, when the Successors began to battle over the empire, an on-going series of wars that ended in tragedy for most of the players.
When I read that last line in Shadow I couldn’t help but think what an appropriate message it has for today’s world. Nothing much has changed down through the ages. In most cases the wars are caused by greed and corruption which also demoralize the citizens and rob them of their rights.
Going back to the 10 year wars of Troy — there’s a pretty good theory that the Greeks waged that long war because the Hittites (Trojans) controlled the grain shipping from the Black Sea to Egypt and they wanted control of it themselves. They used the excuse that Helen had left her husband and run off with a Trojan prince as a reason to wage war against the Trojans which resulted in ten years a mayhem and tragedy. It reminds me of the Bush gang’s theory of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ as an excuse to wage war against Iraq. Didn’t the oil fields have something to do with it and Sadaam was simply an excuse.
After the Macedonians defeated the Greeks at Chaeronea, they made the Greek city states into oligarchies. Oligarchy: a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes. Sound familiar?
The Occupy demonstrations taking place in the world today are all about corporate greed and corruption. The rich get rich and the poor get poorer. Just as in ancient days when the Greeks began to riot and demand to get their democracy back, so it is today. The people back in the time of my novel were demanding their rights and that’s exactly what is happening now. Since the 1% rich of America run the country, doesn’t that sound like an oligarchy, not a democracy?
By the way, back in the time of the oligarchies in post-Alexander Greece, many people lost their property and some were forced into exile. After Alexander’s death they demanded their rights and return of their property and wanted the Macedonian fortress removed from Athens. The despot, Kassandros, the antagonist in Shadow of the Lion, made sure that wasn’t going to happen by conveniently placing his friends in positions of power in Athens.
Seems like politics hasn’t changed much over the years.