Crossing the Dateline
Episode B6, Eurus (“East Wind”) represents a milestone of sorts, in that it took the story from 1 BC to 1 AD. Actually, it’s even a bit more poignant, since Juba & company were marching around near, or sailing close by, Judea that year. Very “right place, right time” of them! It also represents another milestone, in that it’s around the middle of the first story arc of the series, covering Juba, Selene and Ptolemy of Mauretania. After the first dozen-or-so episode arc is complete, I’ll probably be taking a month or two off to relax, recoup and prepare for the next story arc.
Episode B6 was also significant for another reason. Episode 36 of the original series left off with the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BC. Since the current series will be spending a lot of time in the Near East, I wanted to bring everyone up to speed on (1) what does the Near East look like now and (2) how did it get that way from Alexander’s time? There were a number of possible approaches, ranging from going country by country and giving a synopsis, to just having the characters “show up” places without giving much historical background.
My choice was to strike a “middle ground”, starting around 90 BC and projecting each major Near Eastern country both backward and forward. Using this approach, I was able to bring us up to date with Pontus, Armenia, Media, Parthia, Cappadocia, Judea and Nabatea – the big Near Eastern players of the day – while also placing incidents related earlier in the series in a bit more context. And for those who were a bit overwhelmed by the names and dates, just be glad I didn’t get into Sophene, Commagene, Osrhoene, Cilicia, Bithynia, Iberia, Lycia or Colchis. You’re welcome!
Eurus will serve as the “connective tissue”,“primer coat”, etc. for the ongoing storyline. Many of the characters introduced will pop back up, family dynasties will continue to intertwine, and different regions will have their moment (or longer) in the spotlight. Also, as we spend more time in particular countries, I’m planning to more fully flesh them out, historically, geographically and culturally. Next episode, we cover the remainder of Gaius Caesar’s Eastern imperium. HINT: When Armenian rebels invite you up to the city walls to “talk,” send a centurion in your place. And not your favorite one.
Thanks again for listening!