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Friday, January 30, 2015

Episode B8 - Scelus

Synopsis:  The death of Octavian, elevation of Tiberius, and early military careers of Germanicus and Ptolemy.

“Even during the years when he lived at Rhodes, in ostensible retirement and actual exile, (Tiberius) had studied nothing save anger, hypocrisy, and secret lasciviousness.” - Tacitus, The Annals, Book I 

“Yet the temper of the soldiers remained savage, and a sudden desire came over them to advance against the enemy: it would be expiation of their madness; nor could the ghosts of their companions be appeased till their own impious breasts had been marked with honorable wounds.  Falling in with the enthusiasm of his troops, (Germanicus) laid a bridge over the Rhine, and threw across twelve thousand legionaries.” – Tacitus, The Annals, Book I
 
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B8_Scelus.mp3

Friday, January 16, 2015

Episode B7 - Tropaion

Synopsis:  The death of Gaius Caesar, and Juba’s return to Mauretania. 

Tropaion (Greek):  A battlefield monument, erected at the “turning point” where the enemy’s phalanx broke.
 
http://s407341505.onlinehome.us/Episode_B7_Tropaion.mp3

Friday, January 9, 2015

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!
Scott C.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Episode B6 - Eurus

Synopsis: Juba accompanies Gaius Caesar on his Eastern expedition. 

“Tigranes…marched forth with an army of such huge proportions that he actually laughed heartily at the appearance of the Romans present there.  He is said to have remarked that, in cases where they came to make war, only a few presented themselves, but when it was an embassy, many came.”  - Cassius Dio, Rome, Book 36 

“Pompey…announced to his soldiers that Mithridates was dead…Upon this the army filled with joy and, as was natural, gave itself up to sacrifices and entertainments, feeling that in the person of Mithridates ten thousand enemies had died.”  - Plutarch, The Life of Pompey 


Map of the Near East c. 1 BC:

Near East Family Trees: