2005-07-13

When the Real Thing is not enough

When you are researching a topic for your novel, story, etc and Ctesias is your (almost) only source, you know you are in trouble.

He was famed as one of the greater liars of the Ancient Times. Lucian of Samosata, an author I have started to read recently, (and to love deeply, he was good!) clearly exposes (exposed?) so in many of his works. Ctesias was a liar.

When Thukidides barely mentions something in 3 paragraphs, and Diodorus in a couple more paragraphs, and Ctesias has a couple of pages, you are in deep trouble.

This is, more or less, the situation I find myself researching information about the so-called Inaros's Rebellion, ca. 465BCE, and the Athenian help forces sent to assist him against the new Great King of the Medes, Artaxerxes I. This is an old project of mine, Hellas in Egypt, with Persians and ships and basically every single hoplological situation one can dream of (phalanxes, skirmishers, naval battles, sieges, escapades, lots of exhausting work, and all kind of war niceties, at least there wasn't, at the time, the term "collateral effects": you raped, burned, chomped and basically did whatever, and it was okay, such is war. Nowadays we have a kind of sissy morals).

Thus the story, if well told, should be good. Indeed! The problem is, the Egyptians lost, the Greek lost and they won. Therefore, understandably, the Greek historians barely mention it, as a small episode in the grandeur of Perikles's powerful, and more powerful everyday, Athens.

If you can help, I'll be thankful. Anyway, I need to write this in order not to go crazy with the Visigoths. It will help me to slow down a bit, and I will be writing! :-)

Kallisti!

1 comment:

Gabriele C. said...

I have a post about history that turns into legend on my blog. :)

Seems something in that way has happened in your case, too.