Friday, January 11, 2019

The New Achilles - a new novel

Salvete Omnes,
I have been reading novels by Christian Cameron for a while now.
In the past I enjoyed his series Tyrant (Scythia and wars of diadochoi, and I do hope for more books in the series) and the Killer of Man series(Persian Wars).
I read yesterday that pan Christian is about to publish a new novel taking place in ancient Hellas - The New Achilles.

This is going to be the story of well forgotten Hellenic commander Philopoemen.
 I am looking forward to read this novel - it is not typical to see Hellenistic Greece in the English language novel -  even if our esteemed author is 'furiously anit-Spartan.' We have novels of Mrs Helena Schrader to give us a different view of ancient Sparta.
I expect good storytelling, plenty of adventure and a feel of ancient warriorship all by  Christian's skilled pen work.
Being in my usual critical mode, I just wish that they cover would reflect the ancient pottery techniques - red-figure, black-figure or white-ground ones. 
Here is link to Plutarch on this great warrior -
His skill as warrior, horseman, cavalry armament and actual fighting as described by Plutarch(6.3) during a battle under king Antigonus III Doson of Macedon against Spartan Cleomenes III (one of my favorite ancient heroic and tragic figures) :

Philopoemen was stationed among the Macedonian cavalry with his own fellow-citizens […] 
he took matters into his own hands, formed his fellow-citizens into a wedge, and 
charged upon the enemy. [4] At first the light-armed troops were thrown into confusion, 
then put to rout with great slaughter. And now Philopoemen, wishing to encourage 
still further the king's troops and bring them swiftly upon the enemy thus thrown into 
disorder, quitted his horse, and with grievous difficulty forced his way along on foot, 
in his horseman's breastplate and heavy equipment, towards ground that was irregular and 
full of water-courses and ravines. Here he had both his thighs pierced through by 
a thonged javelin. The wound was not fatal, though severe, and the head of the weapon 
came out on the other side. [5] At first, then, he was held fast as by a fetter, and was
 altogether helpless; for the fastening of the thong made it difficult to draw the weapon
back through the wound. But since those about him hesitated to attempt this, and since,
 now that the battle was at its hottest, the ardour of his ambition made him 
impatient to join in the struggle, by moving his legs backward and forward he broke 
the shaft of the weapon in two in the middle, and then ordered each fragment 
to be drawn out separately. [6] Thus set free, he drew his sword and made 
his way through the front ranks against the enemy, thereby greatly animating 
the combatants and inspiring them with a desire to emulate his valour. 
After his victory, therefore, Antigonus put his Macedonians to the question, 
and asked them why, without his orders, they had brought the cavalry into action. [7] 
They defended themselves by saying that they had been forced against their will 
to attack the enemy, because a young man of Megalopolis had first led a charge against
 At this, Antigonus gave a laugh and said: ‘Well, then, that young man behaved
 like a great commander.’

XIX century sculpture
Nota bene Polybius on this battle and Philopoemen.
and Pausanias giving a bit about Philopoemen.

And from Pausanias description, from the linked page above, comes another interesting story of Philopoemen as cavalry commander and horseman:

Going back to Megalopolis, he was at once chosen by the Achaeans to 
command the cavalry, and he turned them into the finest cavalry in Greece.
 In the battle at the river Larisus between the Achaeans with their allies
and the Eleans with the Aetolians,2 who were helping the Eleans on 
grounds of kinship, Philopoemen first killed with his own hand 
Demophantus, the leader of the opposing cavalry, and then turned to 
flight all the mounted troops of Aetolia and Elis.



Dario T. W. said...

all illustrations are from Wiki Commns - :)

Dario T. W. said...

o krolu Kleomenesie III
ten wodz grecki po polsku to Filopojmen z Megalopolis..