From Artaphrenes, to Dârayavahu, Great King, King of Kings, King of Many Lands and their People, Blessed of Ahura Mazda, Atar's Sacred Arm, Protector of the Earth and Water,

Dear brother, may the Lord bless you and our family for many years.

I write you to let you know of matters of utmost importance.

The Yaunâ cities are in revolt. After sending along men and ships to help the Yaunâ Aristagoras, of Miletos, he failed to use them to pay retribution to the islanders of Naxos, and failing to pay the fine we had agreed, has converted Miletos into a
`demêkratos' and is raising the other Yaunâ cities to revolt.

I am told that the mainland, mother Yaunâ cities, Athênê and Lakedaemonê among others, are considering sending troops and ships to assist their Yaunâ people on our territory. We are preparing for war. At this very moment my spies are reporting the uprising of an army in Naxos, Samos, Lesbos, Éphesos, Colophon, Mitylene, and other important, coastal cities. I am dispatching the army to siege Miletos; I think that if we cut the head of the
adeva its many paws will follow suit.

I have been informed that Histiaeos, Aristagoras's father, who's serving you in your Court, may be aiding them from within. I beg you to keep an eye on his activities, in order to avoid a treason from our deepest core.

The situation is grave, for the revolt could spread beyond Yaunâ into all the coastal cities to the South, in Karda, and to the North, in Tyaiy Drayahya and even accross the Troada, to Skudra. However, I hope to be able to stop it by taking Miletos. I'll keep you appraised.

Be well, my brother, and may Ahura Madza bless you and all our family.

Your loyal servant, satrap of Skarda

Yes, NaNoWriMo strikes again. Instead of trying to strech Damned Linneage or The Libyan for 50 more Kwords, I've been bitten by the plot-zombie-bunnies. Thus, I'll keep writing (if I manage!) "Inaros" until November, and then jump head first into the "Ionian Revolt".

Besides being the spearhead of the most important series of events for the Ancient World in Western Eurasia--it ended with Aléxandros, and, ultimately, with the fall of the Oikoumene under the hands of Romans, Seleucids and Parthians--, it became the cornerstone of relationships between Near East and Far West (in the Ancient conception, of course) for many years to come.

The starting point, however--and paradoxically--will be, of course, the Battle of Marathon, which I hold dear to my heart because it's my 2004 NanoBits short tale (a failed project, but a nice tale nevertheless) which I wrote in English and which, after some revisions, I will try to market in the Saxon circles of the Historical Fiction Society or any other related magazines. I'll appreciate comments and corrections from my dear readers when time comes, thanks!

However, Marathon, and the end poitn of the First Assault, will be the conecting point from where everything will nicely pivot in the novel. As I want to win this year (last year victory was sweet :-) I'll have a great time and will be letting you know promptly of progresses and seeking advice . . . :-P

And that's the (disastrous) state of things around here: bitten by a zombie plotbunny, poisoned by Nano's sweet scent, I resemble noble, clever Oddysseos at the land of the Lotophagi. Let's go through the stormy seas and--after the Revolt--return safely to the coasts of Íthaka, and the pacification of Mudraya and Putaya, I mean, Egypt and Libya.

But first, let's pacify the Yaunâ!



Pacal said...

Good idea! Must keep the neurons active.

That book on the Persian Empire by Briant has a really good account of the events of the revolt and there is of course Herodotus. Although I would be very careful about Herodotus's atribution of motives to the leaders of the revolt.

What is also fasinating is the relative, as against Marathon, Salamis, etc, is the ignoring of the revolt. This isn't because of lack of source material but, in my humble opinion, because the Persians won.

Its rather fascinating in that it can be argued, probably correctly, the Ionians in revolt were militarily more forminable than the Greeks who resisted Xerxes in 480-479. (It is commonly ignored / "forgotten", that most Greek city states did not resist the Persians at the time and many in fact joined her.)

Given the strength, even now, of the "Asia" versus "Europe" mythology, with its "Oriental hordes", and the crap about huge "Oriental" armies against tiny "European" ones, one has to work hard to avoid this pernicious ideological nonsense.

Marathon is a minefield, I still read crap about the Persians numbering 20,000 (which is I suppose a improvement over 100,000+) Marathon is a small costal plain. 20,000 men manovering their is highly unlikely and much of the plain was marsh then. Then there is of course the fact that the Persian army was sea borne. An army of 20,000 being sea borne at this time is highly unlikely in that it would emply a sea borne force of at least 50,000. AS for a crushing victory at Marathon given that the Persians tried to take Athen after losing the battle I really doubt that it was crushing.

Just my thoughts.


P.S. I might be going to Spain in the summer of 2008. Any interst in meeting?

Excalibor said...


Yes, we are in a similar case to the Egyptian Expedition. We have little information, and little analysis of the impact because the Hellenes lost; Marathon, however, which was a small skirmish, is elevated to the peak of Greek--and Athenian!--power and capacity.

I've managed to find a University Library which has the French edition. My French is rusty, but I'll try to find a nice time slot to have a good look at it!

I am sure the Ionian Revolt was military speaking pretty impressive. Ionia, Lycia and Caria are all pretty rough spots, and with it spreading North and South until Thrace and Chiprus, it must have comprised a large number of city armies, and a stretch to the Persian armies in Sardes, Phrygia and Lidya.

I'm a firm believer that army size was bound to supply lines and food and water availability, no matter how many Historians say otherwise, an army is a physical entity and must follow the laws of Physics, in this case about food, water, higyene and resupply. Therefore I will fall into my own traps (basically my ignorance) but not in those ones... :-)

About Marathon I have tried to track down Osprey's bookm I think it was in the Men-at-arms collection, to no avail. From my other reading and a superficial account, 10,000 Greeks and 20,000 Persians could be there, but most of the PErsians would be rowers, indeed, armed with javelin and wicker shield maximum. I haven't made a propotionated map of the plain. A CAD map of it with the armies depicted on it, would help to understand how many people were there, and how they could do their bidding.

Maybe this is a good moment to try some Physics on it, I'll let you know if I move ahead on that account.

As always, thanks for your help and sugestions!

PS- of course! Let's keep in touch by email, I dunno where I'll be living then--I'm planning to move from Madrid--but we can plan ahead so we can meet!

Gabriele C. said...

Those plotbunnies are evil, sneaky critters, aren't they?

Have fun.

Excalibor said...

Gab, they are!

LOL. Well, this year I'll have a reall Nano experience, hehe.

I'll let you know (more specifically, my screams will let you know)



Megumi said...

I got bitten by a plot bunny last night (it wanted me to write about Isagoras's wife) but after sketching out a first chapter I stopped and am trying now to re-focus on O&E.

Anyway! Good letter and very engaging. I can't wait to read more. You mentioned you wanted a list of more resources? I got lots and lots of those (but there's never enough).

First things first: whether you believe he's the Father of History or the Father of Lies you MUST read Herodotus. No ifs, no ands, no buts. Now you seem to know your business about the Yuana (I was soo happy to see someone knew that name too!). What else? THere's Persian Fire, The Battle of Salamis by Berry Straus, and a ton of other books I'll come back and list (I'm at work right now).

OH. Yes, Artabanus is real, though clearly that's not his Persian name (forget what his Persian name actually is). He's most famous for trying to talk Xerxes out of his conquest of Greece. Artabanus is Darius's brother and uncle to Xerxes, and his sons commanded parts of the army. Most of the characters in my story are based on real characters, so let me know if you have more questions. :)

Excalibor said...

megumi, thanks a lot!

I'd love to get those Persian references, of course!

I am currently re-reading Finding the Persian Way, by C. J. Kirwin, which tells the life of young Cyrus the Great. My understanding is that the author plans on getting several novels to tell Cyrus's whole life. This is the second one, although it's the only one I have for the time being.

Herodotus... OK, he's no Thukidides, but then most ancient historians weren't in the modern sense of the word, and we must play with what we have, right? What they said plus archaeological registry plus cultural work, plus a bit of common sense: fun but hard!

Nevertheless, I intend to make my best effort for a Nano novel, and will leave the bulk of the work for the review (that is, I'll try to do it as good as I can while I am churning out words, and correct the countless faults later on). My idea is to expose the Persian POV, and only rely on the Yaunâ when I need such a narrator, in order not to rely on news and dialog between Persians themselves...

Anyway, I'll accept any and all help, corrections and discussion, I am stubborn but not that silly (yet) ;-)