172nd Bardot Blog: The House of Phaiax; No 4 in Series: Odysseus the Fleetmaster amidst Home Fleet Shipworks

In Introduction: Odysseus When and While Away from Scheria, 1272-1268 BC

To renew our immersions in the lore of Cephallenia, exclusive Scheria as outside the Ityhacan League, had Odysseus spending the months before and after the wintertimes of 1270 and 1269 BC in support of greatest ever shipworks by the former Great Gulf League. They laid out far south of Scheria, of course, at beyond a gamut of coastal passage presented by Thesprotia. I’ve afforded that seascape a good perspective from north to south, as seen on the high hovering bird’s eye view. It has us peering over Sheria.

Laërtes had deemed reasonable that the Great Gulf Galleys be converted forward of their midships, to a modified overall adaption of these longest war vessels to useful short haul freighting. The opportunity of the next two summers served him well. By having his entire Near Fleet, the Home Fleet as usually called, under such major retrofits of its Great Gulf Galley class of warships, his main area of concentration was upon the merchant classes of long cruising vessels. They had all reached an age of their hard use, soon to be supplanted by far superior sisters of every class.

The projects of retrofitting in its entirety remained under father Laërtes’ supremacy, and that involved Mentör as his chief minister over the accountancy of all ship constructions. By the implied alleviation, Odysseus need not supervise closely the three main venues where the actively conducted retrofits, by the dense shipwright populations at Dülichion, Taphia Isthmus and  Prebeza Chersonese. To have serviced them at end of summer with the logs hauled off Ëpeiros across from Scheria Island proved more than enough attentiveness and contribution to the advancement of the Great Gulf Galley class .
We shall have much more to say of those three mentioned venues, because the Bardot Group has had a greatest interest in the evolved geomorphology now found to be so unique to all of their venues. For they once were, during the Late Aegean Bronze Age and its naval prehistory, greatly different from their modern geological appearances.

I leave them aside briefly for the sake of the Bardot Blog that will ensue this posting, because the next shall expalin why so much erasure of their LABA topographies..

Pleuron

Mentör’s commentary renders about another sprawl of shipyards, at Pleuron, upon a riverine setback from the Great Gulf. Its north mainland location took off the prosperity and expansion of a great timber operation interior to Aetolia’s by upstream set backs from the Gulf, in particular the many miles of coiling low country through which deep current and lazy flow of the Achelöos River. Further upstream lay somewhere the up-and-coming major haven of Pleuron, where many minor slipways, construction scaffolding and docksides, There also was a dam by a diversion of that river away from the many miles of low country wending SSW.. Pleuron lay just below that updtream dam, perhaps behind the accumulated heaps of pebbles, bottom talus and washes of smooth stones along the embankments by the Achelöos River that delivered his spates off the high altitude headwaters so far above Lower Aetolia. The dam allowed reconstitution of the sea barriers by such heaped detritus, allowing, therefore, a short protected sea way straight on by flow into the Great Gulf.

Near where modern Mesobingli situates today, Pleuron was afforded its genesis since the late 1280s BC. The original intention was to float mature timber lengths brought down as far as the dammed diversion. They disallowed further floating into the low country as first, because the many weirs that crossed its riverine coils were ideal for the harvesting of eels duringf their migratory runs. It’s hard to believe how greatly that dependance was upon that species of especially prolific fishes. River water, fersh or brackish was ideal to the propagation of eel eggs and the immature species called glass eels.Weirs were a means to cultivating their nurture until become so-called European Congers. But we refer to the particular sub=species that was not predatory upon its own spawn, due to its manner of feeding off muddy and oozy bottoms such as characterize the Achelöos’ long evolution of its serpentine length. It an especially nutrient hardy river in any case.

Upstream, by as vast wrap around through Aetolia’s far eastern ravines, deep enough water had needed to be contained further until even deeper. That was to affect a proper long diversion, a timber parking lot as best imagined. Sisyphus of Isthmian Ephyrëa had concerted with Laërtes to create such a man-made debouch that articulated above the main dam. That construction, furthermore, sluiced deep and wide enough for high water flooding that slipped logs down off where they were amassed to the shipyards that drew off their plentiful timber launched and sent down by the Aetolian Highlanders.

View Southward over the Small Gulf & The Echinades Isles

[Image: We say aside here, however, that we are not believers in a mythical Calydon, in lieu of Pleuron, as anytime extant during the Late Aegean Bronze Age. That later capital seat than Old Pleuron (it later moved to an new location) ruled over a realm which composed from parts of eastern interior Aetolia, where a vast wilderness once shared with Gulf Phokis. The realm became Ozalian or West Lokris, by a majopr clearing settlement during the Archaic Age – afterwards of the Greek Dark Age from 1200 to 800 BC. Strabo makes a huge clutter of the ensuing tribal settlements, so I spare our readers the exactitude of his professed geography about a region that did not exist to any importance before 1200 BC (After, that is, the Illyric-Doric invaders as a rampant diffusion throughout the 11tth century BC. Hereon, by Pleuron, we have a region of eastern Aeolia, where a long bend of the Achelöos River through gorges takes a strong eastern direction of spring torrents, until a curvature of bends, until the River’s sustainable flow westward by watershed over the Lower Pindus Moutains. Man made damming has long been known above Aetolia’s Lake Trichonis, whereupon western low country shared with far western Arkanania. The Great Gulf’s north mainland shoreline is dominated at its western extent by hillock glaciation of both Aetolia and Phokis. The interior of both regions lays out as wilderness gorges of Greece’s two torrential rivers, the Achelöos/Achelóus and Euenos/Evenus].

Sluiced all the way down from the Upper Achelöos, long and slim logs also floated upon the annual flood spates that rendered the great river so swollen. Not quite flooding by overflow of embankments by early spring melt-off, the Pindus Mountains’ southwest of midriff delivered those melts most capaciously. They did so because of a long cycle of climate cooling since 1800 BC, which until the 15th century BC caused annual heavy snowcap. Cascades of snow lay over elevated hummocks most everywhere the great mountain range’s piedmont elevations. Such heavy accumulation of snow does not exist today, although the courses of the Achelöos and Arachthos Rivers still render highly apparent deep gorges that have denuded all rocky embankment in support of former heritage woodlands.

So, even as the two rivers of the north mainland assumed set courses southward during the more severe climate cooling above their respective debouches, the old growth heritage forests remained conservatories of lush and vast forests. They were distinguished by diverse and finest specimens of species pines, spruces and firs. While hardly as impressive for their lengths and girths as the timber that Ëpeiros across from Scheria once nurtured over the passing millennia, the Highlanders of north mainland central Greece had learned since the 1270s how to ably exploit the Aetolian wilderness for the sake of merchant ship timber resources at Pleuron. Logging the long shores each side of the Great Gulf proved a monopoly of these peacetime allies to Cephallenia after 1286 BC. The Ithacan League under Laërtes embraced all Highlanders as partners to towing fells to the debouch of the major diversion that passed by n ascent Pleuron.

Accordingly, there was means almost immediately to accumulating considerable logging stocks, whose variety of measured lengths and girths were amenable to the needs of shipwrights at designs. Their craft involved many natural kinds of bents and discriminated carefully the resource exactions of timbers for merchant vessels of large sizes in particular.

Merchant Vessels and Large Warships as Capital Assets

The Highlanders and the Cephallenes at convergent purposes by expanding Pleuron, the latter made it a seaport and repository of lumber awhile Odysseus’ four year tenure as Fleetmaster over the Ithacan League. That tenure proved able of service to Pleuron’s logistical needs, because Odysseus also affected considerable relocation of artisan skilled shipwrights to advanced merchant vessel class designs. He carried on enthusiastically off the example of his father, awhile Laertes co-regent years with his father Arceisius and his own solitary reign after that grandfather of Odysseus died (1280?) . Those years also demarcated Odysseus’ new found intimacy with his greatly beloved grandmother Amphithea, the mother of Anticleia.

“YaiYai” was the Meda over Gulf Phokis, but also a governess astute to appreciate well her own north mainland seaport of Itea. It was the major receiving destination for livestock imports bequeathed to the Great Chrissa Plain. Such venerated gifts of young and pristine livestock was the tithe of devotional people everywhere to the Oracle of Parnassos. By a parochial economy otherwise, the Sibyls and Elders of the Oracle exploited the grants to petitioners most desirous to know the credible futures of their families and realms. I am personally of the belief that delivered well and often astoundingly to their devoted petitioners.


Overlook to Itea & The Western Extent of the Great Chrissa Plain

Dense Olove Orchards replace the lush and plentiful pasturage of Phokis. The blue green canopy was once just as uniform as verdant grassland on account of the sunken plain’s reception of warming sunshine even in the depths of winter. The Chrissa Plain was kept a highly protected conservatory, but almost was lost over the Cephallenes’ warfare to alleviate a martial occupation of Phokis, Thebes and the Isthmus of Ephyrea from 1301 to 1286 BC.

Three Classes of Commercial Vessels

The primary class of Livestock Transport takes the offered abstract depiction below……

Broad of beam, and of no standard length by its class, please also note the permanently stepped masts, here with yards and square sails raised. The Cephallenes were late to articulate their preferred sailing rigging. While these sails could be reefed to lessen the burden of seizure of the linen fabric by strong winds arisen abaft, the main judgement about sail wear was whether to use the foresail’s yard in a manner somewhat akin to a jib articulated by the forestay (here not a rendered detail). That’s to say to jib the sail so that the transport vessel could point somewhat into the wind, while using the oars here depicted to compensate from leeway affected bearings caused by a wind arriving from abeam. The main sail was always kept square with brail ropes strung from the lower hem of its fabric for tie-downs to the stern rail. We see that rail here is held up by stern armatures.

Which feature should not confuse: The deliberate clearance of the rail above the stern allowed a ramp to be hauled over the stern bulkhead and laid down upon a shallow shore for the livestock to tread. Accordingly, this vessel was capacious enough for a whole flock to stand within, and the animals were renderd more docile as packed in with natural leaders among them for the soothing they affected. Dung, of course, was an attendant maintenance chore by such mass movements of animals on the hoof. We theorize that these vessels had no bilges in order to keep the dung from settling within them. Rather the hull was hollowed at its center line, above which some kind of long box upon which a manger for forage was nested for the nourishment of the animals. But the long box’s manger for the forage could be removed, to expose the water passing beneath the hull and the box. Dung could then be dumped down the box at end of day, or by an overnight chore while the livestock was allowed to graze ashore at nighttime layover. The collection of dung to good use and purpose has also to be considered, for there was a modest value to populace of landfalls in the manuration by wastes brought ashore for carting into inland tllth.

The sturdy vessel in class was especially useful along the Great Gulf and along the few sounds that characterize mainland coast acseveral islands within the Ionian Sea.

The true freighter of the Cephallenes takes the appearance that we afford through several other figures…..

BiPod Masted Freighter Basic to Sailing while Rowing

The vessel depicted had a broad and capacious hold for bearing freighted goods at height above the bilge beneath its decked amidship. However, there’s a lot about this merchant class that we can’t yet understand in any rigorous manner of our knowledge gains. The BiPod mast is an obvious leading feature, understandable for its use of a hoist by positioning its peak over the bow, for dragging and lifting of cargoes off a landfall. Why it was otherwise crutched, when not in use, upon two stanchions crossed by two weak appearing spanners, has us stumped.

This very rare depiction suggests that some other feature is missing. Or even two lost features, perhaps. The decked bow that is stepped down and into may reflect the original provenance of this vessel as a very large fishing smack. The fish catch by nets were unloaded far forward and kept wet while waves wash drained overboard by laterally places scuppers. The second and more speculative feature, also missing from the depiction, is clued by the castellated stern deck, or helm deck, that’s raised aft of large hold directly before and beneath it. We speculate that this vessel’s primary freight was, in fact sacked grain, which burden was settled amidship upon the raised top deck, also depicted. With so much cargo stacked as sacks amidship,perhaps cargoes taken into holds for exchange along the way of itinerary had not other hold capcious enough except that suggested by the uncovered holds against the stern bulkhead.

What we do know about these Bipod Cargo Vessels is therir admirable seaworthiness, and that they traveled long cruise itineraries most reliably. While the depiction does not allow an understanding of many oars beasting broadside, the possibility of a very large oarage, or manning by rowers, can’t be dismissed. Another gallery for oars at the breasting may have located below the amidship decking, but what belies that is the attendant understanding that this clas of vessel was indeed greatly manned. We don’t know that, can’t know that. Besides, there are many other good uses for a covered hold amidship, the greatest of which were the live stores and other resupply that these vessels likely “sutled” or served to whole fleets underway a systematic pland of war and all attendant logistics. Until we can gain a knowledge of this vessels quite regular large manning, and why for, there’s much about the BiPod that we have still to learn.

The Strongoli or Round Hull

The Round-Hull merchant ship was built to its class by the Cephallenes from the already long tradition of the skin sewn boat. The earliest era known began as sectional patterns of heavy strop leather, all then stitched together. When plastered with lac, tar and varnish the patterns adhered to the warped framing of the final round hull. How that worked from such a proper “plasticity” of the ship’s exoskeleton seems confounding, because of the warping demanded of all structural features.

Additonally, the Round Hull was most definitely not a keel boat, because it did not even have a keelson. Instead, its structural integrity and sea worthiness lay in movements through water “on a wallow” that alleviated most stresses of high waves, rolling swells, or the choppy waters that both can convey together.

The essential difficulty lay in the hollowness of the hull that was always required by the criterion of capaciousness. First, it seems, a shipyard established the overall length of the hull by single long and strait trunk of a tall tree. It was suspended from two basal stanchions that defined bow stem and vertical simulation of the aft bulwark. Those ends sere then scaffolded in anticipation of the two broadsides of the ship. This hung log was called the hogging axis of the intended ship because its length was thought in abstract fashion to bisect the essential plane of waterline, at a level to the sea surface outside. The log had strong spokes affixed to it, their end affixed downward to rounded bents of wooden frames. I can’t help imagining two frames doweled and trussed together to achieve the balanced curvature required of the final hull bottom. The scaffolding, of course held the frames at rest upon the ground and in proper upward alignments. All frames were then thrust outward and kept that way by thwarts, or cross planks and/or cross beams. Spokes off the hogging axis, or log, reinforced the uniform thrust of the exoskeleton in preparation for the appliqués of leather patterns laid upon it.

The framing overall was capped by rails, which seaferers called wales of certain types. Their was a wale along the waterline establsished for the vessel as empty or unladen. There was another wales for the waterline of the fully burdened vessel. The re was a capping wale that enveloped the entire vessel as wrapped around the hull above its freeboard. Another wale was required to “secure” the planks of decking, although many Round Hulls might not have any decking, whereupon they were called aphractos. Open vessels without any decking might describe the midship, but the projection of stern and bow in almost all cases of such ships require some kind of decking, howsoever abbreviated.

Sterns, or poops, and bows were, respectively, the aftship and foreship for descriptive purposes. They were modular constructions by attachment to the midship sewn seam and patterned hull. How both ends were stitched or adhered together took many ways and means to accomplishment. They are beyond my extensive knowledge of this ancient sea lore about merchant vessels. I shall not essay the diversity of means to ends, therefore.

The oldest sewn skin vessels originated upon the Nile, wholly besides the many trussed reed rafts earliest by Mesopotamia. Both riverine civilizations evolved to imitate the best features of both such crafts, neither of which, I emphasize again, had nothing approximating keels or keelsons. Dispensing with reeds, but lacking dense forests upon their desert landscapes, we can only skip over how and from where timber was imported to their respective river settings from vast wilderness woodland by their headwaters. Suffice to say, round bottomed boats wrapped by skins patterned and tailored to the curvature of framework of accomplished exoskeletons. Rendered “plastic” that way, the hogging beam hung lengthwise of the hull’s slipway was the lenmgthwise focus of stresses from all water outside the vessel. Put simply it “bristled flexibly to withstand stresses imposed upon the hull. Main thwarts pushed outward circumferentially against the warped frames.

[Image: The sewn skin merchant vessel here depicted shows the Egyptians’ introduction of thin veneer planks by way of laminations over the patterned hide skins beneath them. This enhanced seaworthiness, although the depicted vessel is suitable solely riverine traffic of goods, or more simply, for transporting more than for trading along its way of itienrary. The sail is woven by broad leafed grass to its square shape, and the result is rendered taught by two yards above and below its area. The stems at stern and at bow had to be rearticulated for deep sea water conditions, as was the sail by resort to linen, as turdier fabric to withstand high swells and the scudded waves that surmount them.]

That was good enough for water conditions characteristic of lakes, ponds and rivers. Because all bracing ran away from that suspended timber, the hogging axis, the patterned skins stitched together eventually needed overlay of planking by imported strips of wood to meet the conditions of open deep sea. Such cladding by planks or strips attests to truly amazing craftmanship by the flush joinings in the manner of mortices or carved pegs, and tenons or carved slots, byt which pegs were inserted slots. The outward appearance was a flush planked hull, such as today is called (overall) a carvel hull. Neither the seafarers of the Nile or along Mesopotamia ever thjought of a clinker hull such as the Vikings built, where planks were dowled together so that every upper plank lay its bottom edge over a lower plank and affixed thereby the dowels. The few ships found upon the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea reveal themselves Round Hulls of many strips of lengthwise knotless woods, usually Cedar.
As for how the carvel hull operated on the water as buoyant and seemingly “on the wallow, firstly to be said, its ship must always have seemed top heavy until laden in full or by bulk of cargo. Freight distribution also had to brace the “exoskeleton” of the hull, against which the skins were first pinned, then sewn, then outwardly planked. Water pressure exercised the plasticity of smooth hull finishes by exerting both dynamic and harmonic stresses while water flowed along the buoyant hull as propelled by oar or sails.
The modeling of hull shape, I say redundantly, was solely fashioned by standardized patterns of skins, sometimes veneer laminations, sometimes by shaped bark sections, each alternative laid over the braced ribs. The sectional patterns were readily replicated from strop leather hides to form a standardized, well-crafted smooth surface. The primeval skin boat itself, once laminated by absorbent lacs and tars, retained most necessary subtleness under constant contact with streaming water. The buoyancy resulted directly from such resilience and a lessening of strain upon the entire exoskeleton. At deep sea navigation the merchant Round Hulls managed their hogging or wallowing so that the hull strength wassufficient to withstand laterally imposed dynamic stresses. The hull had not the strength to stand a rocky landfall, however, so they had to be moored or docked, accordingly.
The Minoans and the Levantines (precursors to the Phoenicians) advanced this basic hull construction by novel praxeis (construction programming) from as many as eighty lengthwise plank or strip bents for each broadside. That they effectively supplanted the old Nilotian methods of stitched and patterned skins is attested by their buoyancy to withstand high rolling swells of deep sea.. What neither the Minoans or the Nilotians could build until the 15th century BC were whole hulls by mortice and tenon jointures that bore sufficient lateral resilience. That being required to face a rough and battering sea’s tempestuous conditions, their hulls were insufficient of thwarts and beams that might be wedded to their surfaces by implanted dowels. It was easier, it seems, to use the old and well tried methods, by stitched patterns of hides, to laminate the inside and outside of the earliest known round-hull vessels. That they did achieve outstanding water-tight vessels, nevertheless, became of centuries of trial and error by innovative surfacing craftsmanship.

[Image: The crude color rendition of a simple merchant tramp vessel, for short haul freighting, is intriguing for its simple points made. While this as a keeled vessel, its simplifies early sail rigging and the manner of sheeting or stabilizing the yard off which the sail’s square fabric hung. Note the sheets running from yard to the mast box in particular, whereby a method of turning the yard commensurate with the direction of wind coming abaft (from astern) at either quartering or direct propelling velocities. Any comparable true round hull vessel of this character would not cut deep sea well, given the bow and stern features depicted. A sturdier poop was required to support a helm deck, and the bow had to rise to lead its stem over oncoming winds.]

To compensate for the long missing lateral stability, the shipwrights of Crete organized the capacious holds of their vessels so that the cargo itself provided considerable lateral resilience to deep water stresses. By stacking freight amidships upon woven wicker sections, for instance, the shipwrights laid cargo elements over the bilges. Then, pressed firmly down with copper and tin ingot that looked like flayed hides, those sections became sustaining of the broadside bulwarks. Tucked into such stacking and pressing were bracing racks for containers such as amphoras and metallic jars. By such layering or stacking of holds amidships, the freighting also reinforced the lengthwise beams and lateral bracing spokes. Anything like thwarts – cross planks or beams – spanned the vessel only at nearest the bow and aft decks of Round-Hulls. They allowed a well ballasted ship, at last, which is also to say a seaworthy vessel, but only once a full hull was laden by the stacking below and just above the settled waterline.

[Image: Absent the later innovations of stern and bow modules, this merchant vessel approximates the class of merchant ship brought to deep water freighting by the Cephallenes.The amnner by which a broad beamed vessel could prove lengthy and still seaworthy is shown by the low curvature of the broadside seen here in profile. Quite simple it curves, whereby a means of enhanced buoyancy despite high and long wave swells into which it had to “hog,” or wallow; it rode over crests of swells and choppy waves well, because the broadness of beam helped the vessel plane off the peaks of swells and waves. The tall and proportionally narrow square sail was suitable to a shallow sea such as the Adriatic was in the years it was still called the Ionian Gulf. The planked hull depicted shows an artist who did not realize this was a vessel without a keel. The artist also suggest a clinker hull, or planking by clapboarding, rather than a clinker hull composed of flush strips of wood (1.5 X 1.0 or 1.75 X 1.5 inches) brought flush together my morticing and tenoning them together. The sail is intriguing by the loops along the sides of the square sail. This assisted reefing of sails to reduce its area exposed to strong winds. But the loops also allowed for full width spanners, by way to batten the sail flat for better reception of light sailing winds drifting up to the ship abaft.]

The superbly rounded shapes of such hulls was essential to their vessels at any undertaking of hazardous deep water. For they rolled and wallowed at their headway to any place of next destination intended, wherefore to lay off content from their holds systematically. Finely ballasted lading was the only assured way to achieve seaworthiness between deep water destinations far apart— irrespective prevailing water and wind conditions. To actually build strong vessels throughout their lengths, by both cross beams and ribbed thwarts, too much weight and cumbersomeness was added during and throughout the Minoan era. Strengthening also limited the capacity of the Cretan Round-Hulls to freight well in a best commercial way, in accordance with a supercargo’s acute sense of her “useful tonnage” at taking on and lading off cargoes by his swap exchanges of bartered goods. The Levantine vessel depicted nearest above indicates evollved betterment of seaworthiness without sacrifice opf a light weight amidships. That said, we acknowledge our lack of depictions, and therefore of knowledge, about bow and stern modules that rendered Round Hulls highly diverse.]

Further innovations, all of them excellent by both those nation races, were structural coping to allow a sturdy cage, into which a mast was properly stepped and braced by running rigging. The latter suspended cordage affixed the broadside bulwarks at just barely aloft the hogging axis or timber. The mast was stabilized by running rigging stayed outboard and secured the mast in a fixed fashion that could be biased forward or aft. A mast’s stepping point, or pivotal moment, lay below the waterline. That way to poise its peak, a full raised sail hung off a yard hauled upright, high and collared. That rigging did not render the ship top-heavy by the wear of the especially heavy linen canvas. The mast enabled sailing, of course, while the elaborate running rigging held it poised somewhat flexibly by its attitude once upright, thus slightly leaning forward, or boldly raked aft. At one or the other bias the square sails once tautly sheeted, those most rugged sailing vessels of the Minoans managed very well their short point-to-point itineraries of merchant cruising.

Innovation by Cephalos and the Lelegans of the Saronic Gulf

The true genius that brought a next era’s extreme innovation of commercial trading vessels, especially the long voyaging classes within a typical convoy assemblage, had become easy exercises of diversification for Cephalos by 1372 BC. His well sponsored shipbuilding did not at first apply to Round Hulls, however, or to the other classes of merchant vessels such as we’ve now established to have commonplace. Cephalos since a boy wasa advantaged by a dedicated and dense populace of skilled shipwrights called Lelegans (from Leleges). Many of their coastal communities had abandoned the imperial Minoans or migrated by diffusion by returns from Anatolia and the Greek Archipelago for lack custom for their skills. By the time Cephalos became a lad entering into his early teenage years, He had his older first cousins accepting innovations by skilled shipwrights of the Saronic Gulf. Their earliest commercial vessels I’ve called skiffs, which Cephalos emploed as fishing vessels, and later as most welcomed passenger transports for crosiing an increasingly industrious Saronic Gulf.

The classes introduced previously, within this posting, worked especially well for him later, over the later long duration of his reign as the eventual High Chief (Medon) over the Echinades Isles ( from 1350 until 1330 BC). His evolved improvements were mostly purposive to the quality of his vessels’ handling by simplest wear of sails or their style of rigging as well depicted by the second ship depicted above, called a carota. Odysseus would soonest be adopting both lateen or square hung by topping yards of considerable breadths. By Cephalos’ last decade, the 1330s, the Round-Hull’s wholly built essentials became unchanging otherwise, with respect to its most important features. Odysseus was to benefit from his patriarchal forbear’s standardization of a final class of Round Hull at the wallow and roll of any deep sea that it confronted.

I end this posting with his own first expressed naval genius at shipbuilding around the Saronic Gulf. While only a lad, Cephalos developed the bow heavy configuration of the skiff that led directly into the Spoon Round-Hull (our term-of-art as based on the porcelain soap spoons used by the Japanese. Cephalos made it a perfected class of cargo carrier by a forward bias of the skiff’s hold. Instead of a skin boat or anything its like, Cephalos originated a hull of broad beam based upon platforming over narrow dugout logs. Forward beam was always elliptically rounded at far below the waterline; it composed from tree trunks olf ample girths by hollowing them out. Beam and defined freeboard he established by lateral thwart planking, sometimes by crude hewn thjin logs. His hulls remained within that tradition of the sunken basal dugout hull, all else of vessel superstructure biased of mass backwards when the skiff was unladen, but intended for dipping down and forward when fully laden with fish catch or numerous passengers.

The eccentric hold far forward of any mast box attested Cephalos first design of large fishing vessels in fleet numbers for the netting of weighty catches. The saronic Gulf was once famous for the many runs of migratory schools of fish. Contained within the afforded dugout bilge of the foreship, this same class of vessel became excellent for ferrying passengers as an afterthought—for when the holds were empty and could be bench seated over. Having no feature tantamount to a keel or keelson, that forward biased ballast compensated for the lengthy weight built backward as a odest miship for rowing and a high rise to a helm deck aft. The latter was severely heightened, and not yet become a poop as defined, the lateral planking, laid down abeam and behind the mast box, allowed the stern base of lift into high platform stability.

The Spoon Round-Hull by Cephalos, from 1330 BC

Our 174th Bardot Blog addresses the Shipyards of the Ithacan League by its established venues of specialized shipwrighting appropriate to all classes of merchant vessels and warship galleys. But intervening that posting is our 173rd, or next Bardot Blog. It shall be about the geography of Cephallenia and the north mainland across from the Outer Echinades Isles.


for the Bardot Group

 

171st Bardot Blog: House of Phaiax, in Series No 3, Scheria & the Great Forests of Epeiros

In Medias Res, Odysseus at Early Supervision

Odysseus earliest tours and friend Mentor’s survey accountancy brought them to the forest fells by which truly vast timbers of Spruce and European Redwood became recumbent and lengthwise denuded logs. There sheer immensity began the truly pharaonic task of hauling those logs from the forest stands where the fells of prior year cutting by large teams of skilled lumberers. For what I must say hereon, please understand that enslaved men, and other men described as bondsmen under indentured labor can also mean men exalted for the skills that their lifetimes brought to the impressive forestry of Scheria’s mainland possession of Ëpeiros. [A precursor to Epiros, the original place name meant “Mainland Across” or, more literally  “Land Opposite”]

Odysseus was first helped by Kassiophë’s capable supervisors-at-field over the land based corvées. He found them following through upon several prior years of timber fells. So he began with readiness of some fifteen logs stripped bare of limbs, the next to be hauled down to shore by strings of auroch yokes. [About the Auroch as a species beast of burden, more soon and subsequently] Early that naval year, as many as thirty heritage timbers had been delivered already down to nearest landfall for their flotation into deep water. These logs denuded of all their branching completed some 45 such fells by two previous summers of such drag haulage over rolling baulks to seaside. To imagine as many as twenty yokes of paired beasts of burden — e3ven to have steered each log’s great length and broad girth downward in manageable fashion — required a scale for these ancient operations that no longer exists nor can ever be revisited again. Manipulated ever so slowly, nevertheless, the painstaking portage of those fifteen great and cumbersome lengths proved also exceedingly tedious spectacles.

That first immersion at supervision over the haulage led Odysseus aside, to other logging corvées that were completing new fells, allowing his friend Mentör to grasp with some solid sense the systematization of such amassed labor. How it coordinated at various exercises of strong man and beast manipulation, until haulage downward into man-made turns and wends, was a tedious even if also spectacular feat of managed animal husbandry. While the fortnight of his first indoctrination, he also supervised the gouging of long slipways from the seashore, to enable the largest of the heritage felled timber to be floated fro preliminary carving into dugout longboat hulls. For they had to be inweighted in situ before they could be floated for dragging over deep sea. Mentor learned intimately what was entailed of upkeep and good succor of all the hard working men brought into the corvées day to day.

Upon the inland sites of fells still in progress, the two friends were surprised to discover such amassed labor meant, first, the task of delving deep and then digging around the crowns of the heritage timbers to expose their root [systems] while still standing. They had not expected such mining excavation, to expose thick rooty coils that extended from one tree crown matrix to another by intertwining. For such trees as Serbian Spruce and once extant European Redwood had rooty matrixes, and they seemed to claw beneath gravelly soils of considerable depth. A single standing tree roosted that way over a granite base of mountainous upcropping; such topography was typical of  grooved and striated coastal glacial morrains  that bequeathed the deeps soils and their constant retention of moisture. Without any actually rotting of “the claws’ of rooty matrixes, the trees clawed high and dry, therefore, but no less the wonder of such deep soil drainage at its nurture over hundreds of years of huge, nigh denuded trunks of great girths. They loomed exceedingly high, moreover, until by their very high elevation their peaks poked sky, but without any apparent wind stunting of their toppings. Digging and excavation allowed access to the individual knuckles of clawing roots, which were stubbed by the expert foresters, but not without cutting through near neighboring root crowns to the one exposed bare at last at its standing.

Properly done, a whole prospective fell of such heritage timber had all roots exposed as well as possible. Thereby one felling of a tree accompanied others just as vast and difficult, because the cutting operation itself required a special mastery  and eeliberate patience to have them crash sequentially, awhile their toppings were kept at good aim of falls downward and into a long ravine for its further haulage down to seashore. Removals from stands of fell that way was by means otherwise, too, of course, because of the elaborate curves of causeway that must be wrought to the wending logs by their inclinations downward so gradually to seaside. Much preceded such a causeway by exposing the various stream beds beneath them, by means to widen them to accommodate the great girths and lengths of logs under the hauls. The cordage required of the drags must have meant a full time industry at the weaving of hawsers sufficient to haulage.

Considerable deforestation attended all such timber hauls as the drovers of the long trains of yokes must ground out a fareway through a succession of shallow bottomed, mud slicked, tightly curved gorges that were man-made anew by the hauling. Indeed, that’s why it all was rather Pharaonic, or so seeming by the manning about the fells and at haulage off their stands. Although those greatest pinewood lengths hardly compared with the quarried stone tonnage by the humongous tasks of haulage required of building pyramids, it was rather more than Pharaonic for the Ëpeirotes. Their Egyptian contemporaries along the Nile River, all else considered, had the advantages of long inclined planes by grooming desert floors, whereby easy access to deep waterside and fewest natural obstructions between the several venues of quarried great stones and their destinations to deltaic seasides, for removal via canals of the Nile—along which, we can presume, the barges so precisely suitable to bear such humongous carved monoliths.

Thereby, I must say aside here rather sadly, a first greatest denuding by so much deforestation of the most wondrous and primordial Adriatic seashore. While this era of forestry had begun by commodore Nausithöos and his sons, then down to and through Cephalos’ son Arceisius and his grandson Laërtes, their era of enormous cuttings were followed by several centuries, a very long hiatus, thus ample duration for old growth forest recovery over subsequent quiescent maritime periods.

As a feat of tremendous scale, though, we must especially appreciate Arceisius, a strongman at his thirty or more years of age awhile his first extensive prospecting of the best heritage fells. He drew off oldest growth coastal stands, even if the trees themselves stood aloft and above the deep ravines closest to seaside. Intended for his first ever layouts of hauling causeways, his deft appraisal of the prospected timbers further inland at higher elevations, in particular the “how-to” of their “engineered” haulage, had induced his logical conduct of stringed oxen drags. Thereby the several related logistical requirements over his forty long years of intense overland and overseas transport of all finally selected and felled logs.

Indeed, his own manor house upon Ithaca was built from logs deemed less suitable for the dugout longboat hulls of his warships. Those great timbers possessed the long smooth grain to split easily. As many as three splits served ridge poles to span thatched roofs. They also were gouged and smoothed to appear like flat bottomed vessels before they raised upside down and high upon pier buttress stanchions, all supportive of  massive cross beams for upper stories. The ridges actually hung thin trunks of Sentinel Italian Cypress from ridge pole to cross beams below, doweled at each end to lift up, from underneath, whole upper stories. Supported by the doweled cross beams,  the ground floor below could bank fires whose smoke flowed up through long flues that ejected the choking fumes off basin hearths of firelogs.

Odysseus and Mentör that first summer had solely and simply to observe how keenly impressive the First Wanax over the Cephallenes must have been to best manage into a tradition all logs later felled and hewn since his times. They observed with both astonishment and utmost appreciation the grandfather’s superb coordination of the Ëpeirotes at supervision of every log at haulage by provided labor corvées. Incidentally, all his men had composed from wayward and errant southerners — Argives and Cretans — whom he’s captured from sea battles, granted a cruel mercy and then enslaved to toils comparably debasing to the scourge that he’d saved them from. Or else he’d indentured the doughty haulers of logs, by making him  his bondsmen, after his sparing of their lives from the penurious debasement that their birthplaces had so unjustly served them. For all else said, the logging corvees were kept fully manned through Arceisius’ rubouts of a vast piracy that once had permeated the Ionic Gulf and west coast of the Peloponnesus.

About the Auroch

Just as wondrous, moreover, were the great beasts of burden that bore the cumbrous haulage of logs. They amounted to as many as twenty yoked pairs of aurochs. Kassiophë proved especially proud that these beasts also were her husbanded resource, for provision to all timber programs because of their great mass, strength and stamina under the hauls.

So, accordingly, Odysseus at supervision and Mentor’s at journalizing his accountance of the logs left the fells to be hefted and guided by strengths of yokes downward, until a shoreline strand of beach or shingle was achieved for the immense timbers’ repose within slipways gouged out of seashore for their enclosure. Set upon and within them, incoming tide could set the logs afloat their indentations of shoreline. Then again, flotation was accomplished by hauls off the slipways by many ships, whose hawsers were as though counterpart to the strings of yoked pairs of aurochs. That managed endeavor, however, was the every fortnight specialty of Commodore Loththröos and a young merchant magnate, Mentes. Both had preceded the summer solstice of 1271 BC at ably coordinating the difficult navigation preliminary to floating vast timbers away from their slipway enclosures. They resumed at the seashore slipways as soon as Odysseus and Mentör embarked away with Kassiophë and Aretëgenaia into another fortnight of leisurely bliss.

Because the examined timber haulage and related naval operations ashore were already long standing, because their tradition was recurrent every year since the early 1330s’ collaboration between  a youthful Arceisius and a crusty old Nausithöos, Cephallenes and Scherians had prospected the Ëpeirote woodlands together. Awhile Odysseus’ brief yet intense experience of the latter, ending with his preoccupation to learn about wherever those logs were floated off the coastal landfalls and towed to their nearest destinations of relocation – the great southern shipyards to where they were towed –, be reminded that many such felled trees demanded the carving of dugout longboat hulls in situ, or upon the long shores of Ëpeiros. That left to the early tows the much lesser timbers of uniform girths that also must be trimmed, collected ashore, then floated and parked at mooring water located far offshore.

Once afloat, that is, they were parked alee two islets off Scheria’s northern massif of a long dormant volcano. Afterwards, throughout early autumns’ seasonal doldrums, logs adrift the two lee shores were allowed by stages to channel southward by drift of ebb tides, until brought above the major shipyards of of the Ithacan League.  [They have yet to be introduced and shall be the subject of Bardot Blog No. 174.] Such activity, however, attended every naval year resumed over every fair season duration between the equinoxes.

That first hard duty fortnight passed, four more ensued and elapsed, until time and opportunity of late summer for a cursory examination of the aurochs’ breeding grounds. Their nurture and livestock management became another earliest learning that was worth Mentör’s deliberate accounting of massive endeavor.

Scheria’s Savannah and the Aurochs Raised There

Attendant to the far northern logging operations was a great livestock husbandry, also an anomaly unique to any time of prehistory. Because of the most peculiar specialization at breeding aurochs, all of it aimed directly towards the yoking and training of gelded bulls,. those beasts of burden, now extinct, must be presumed essentially mammoth. Such is the consensus of the Bardot Group despite the lack of forensic evidence in rigorous attestation. Supposedly akin to a breed of European Bison, most of our depictions of aurochs offer characteristics instead of very large, long and sleek cattle bulls. One such, depicted above, is by extensive Cretan breeding for an altogether other purpose than pairing aurochs to yokes—that of the famous Minoan Bull Dancing depicted upon fresco wall panels within the Cretan palace metropols before 1400 BC.

This bull and another by the festival bull dancing shows incorrectly the extreme length of the beast and his slim hindquarters relative to his forward great mass. For they were nothing so much of either species, cattle or bison, even as the male Auroch is reckoned by another  consensus besides the Bardot Group’s to have possessed the huge chests of low carriage upon short withers and forelegs of immense grabbing strength. A Buffalo at the front, for sure, but wholly without the fallaciously narrow hindquarters over sleek legs. Instead the bull auroch had the girth of haunches and mighty hind legs to lurch himself forward mightily.

So an Auroch was mammoth proportionally on account of both his chest development and his hindquarters. That, however, was solely on account of breeding calculated to induce the heavy and brawny musculature of his hoofed extremities. Empirically speaking, the environment by which Odysseus knew the beast (after four years very well) would have it named Aurochus Scherianicus, in proof that the Lamarckian thesis of environmentally induced genetic change is possible if a breeding program proves consistent and recurrent over many bred generations of an animal.

Scheria Island’s physical mapping in accordance with the agronomy
practiced during the 13th century BC. Note the southern savanna where
the specialized range disposed to the husbandry of feral Aurochs.

Odysseus and Mentör spent a next duty fortnight ashore Scheria at heavy trekking the extensive savanna that sprawls through the Island’s southern projection into the Ionian Sea. Because of the summer season, they only chanced to observe tamed gelded bull Aurochs and the many feral females of species kept restricted until the weaning of their young. They were separated from the calves since the culls of their yearlings that sorted out the most promising of them as male gelds. The wild beasts born within scattered large woodlands roamed upon high ground above the savanna and couldn’t be readily observed in summer season. The only good time for that touring was during their late fall rutting season when the feral heifers of prior breeding seasons were made accessible to them.

Domestication of the feral animals began with prospecting for male gelds just after the open range dropping of young calves, or just after their captures from the wilds as nearly matured to yearlings. That exercise of husbandry must be imagined as extremely dangerous. For prematurely strong bull calves must have shown their promise of adult strength by their ferocity, whereupon a cull of their few pure breds who would then be returned to the wilds for proving best by the culls to stud the cows kept herded and feral within the savanna wilds. Heifer calves, to use the parlance of cattle ranching, were subjected to another criterion at their culling. Segregated especially were the heifers of any kind of size or apparent strength for use directly imposed upon them to serve as plow animals. They were placed within the Mesa`oria, or central span of alluvial tilth, across the middle of Scheria Island. However, any female stock out any breeding season that showed particular traits of femininity – plain comeliness, say, or alluring ways to young bulls – were taken out of the culling and placed back in the wilds with the feral bull calves. Sexy cow aurochs bred well, survived deliveries of their calves well, and likely they had longevity as breed stock while constantly exposed to the wilds
.
But back to the bull aurochs:

In order to serve as beasts for heavy haulage, the much larger cull of strong albeit mellow beasts had to be gelded once they were segregated and retained in captivity. Throughout their growth years they were then groomed and nurtured to their highest potential for immensity. Segregated n timely fashion to their heavy feeding upon forage over winters, and kept within contained pasture to lure them together by every springtime, proper maturation of two year old calves led into and then past their fundamental innate transformation to mature bulls.  For greatest innate strength became manifest through indications of potentially mammoth size. Engendered by such careful husbandry, to effect greatest size and stubbornness of hardy temperament, demanded exclusion of the male gelds from their feral brethren. Such became the magnificent results of constant competition between the yearling bulls in the wilds before the vetting of their most docile, seemingly most manageable stock for careful domestication.

The gelds’ body mass proved congenital, accordingly, to an unnatural immensity of size and strength. Unnatural as their containment was, whereby their much retarded final maturation, such slow development as was induced became finally rewarded over a period estimated from four to five years. Their conditioning to haulage thereon left behind their much smaller brethren, the calves kept feral as culled prize bulls for siring feral heifers. The feral stock likely looked increasingly like Bisons of long flat backs by their maturation. Of a conformation still unlike any North American Buffalo, or closely related European Bison species, the retained breeding bulls, we must allow, matured finally to much lesser size than their brethren gelds.

Why? Because of the long rutting seasons during autumns and their entirely regular habitat, where, too, their lives spent in remote and confined savanna range. The constant dueling between bulls of all ages rewarded the most agile, quick and energetic male specimens—by contrast, that is, with the wholly pacific containment of the male gelds upon the Mesa`oria of Scheria—where, we presume, their asexual commingling with herds of large and strong females of much lesser sex appeal than the still feral heifers.

So greatly curtailed from feeding, the feral yearlings’ inabilities to forage and pasture differentiated them from their domesticated brethren. Down south, where sprawled the savanna lands and forested hummocks of prickly thin pines, a conservatory and extensive range proved worthy exclusive habitat for feral and still potent Aurochs, who had no predators except the human being. The siring bulls bred cows and bulls that were best tracked for their finest feral conformation, whereas their maturing offspring were carefully hunted, culled out and finally brought at considerable effort into sturdy closes, or corals, at autumn season’s end. Those, then, were precisely the herds that Odysseus was allowed to observe at the outset of their careful domestication. Summer was not a proper season to venture the wilds for observation of the feral aurochs at their dry season grazing of dormant grassland. Parties of many herders caught the young bulls, weaned them perforce despite their mothers wholesome ferocity to protect them, thereby to mature out to huge size throughout next winters of lush grassland range along  the verges of the Meso`horia.

There were also cattle bullocks and oxen, perhaps even some cross-breeding of either to hybridize aurochs alike our modern Beefaloes. More importantly, these huge animals so purposive to haulage of heavy burdens and drags were maintained by the Medai, or Matron Governesses of great manorial plantations, to be shared out at communal resource —  a great enhancement of agronomic productivity for the sake of their commoners. The Bardot Group does not denigrate Bronze Age matriarchy as essentially communist, as so many scholars of the 19th and 20th century have sought to taint the social order of matriarchates. The leading precept was, instead, a sharing of the land to maximize the areas put under tillage, meadowland rerserve and tilth for forage, orchard tending and marginal lands roamed by all livestock at pasturage. There were communal seed stocks, sties for feeding offal (edible garbage) to swine, ovens for bread baking, wagons for drayage and all manners of beasts of burden on the short term loan. Among the many benefits to commoners, was the maximization of the growing areas around their small hamlets or allotted homestead market gardens. This might seem like we’re swinging the pendulum away from sham allegations of communism to a dogma enhancing anachronistically the Protestant Work Ethic, but then our readers will miss another important point. During these oldest centuries long ago population density was extremely low whereas the challenge to bringing good land into good cultivation by both proper crop rotation and manuration seemed insurmountable. Sharing out their resources of some complexity by their yeomen handlers was the matriarchs’ best means to securing annual large surpluses as barter exchangeable for foreign imports such as tools and vital materiel.

Aurochs brought to mature strength were yoked individually for haulage under the tether, at first, but later were paired to buddies alike each other. The pairings were tamed to become harnessed constantly to their shared yoke. Other tamers taught their cooperation as paired  into strings of yokes, and by then they had proved beasts to dwarf the largest humankind embodied by their handlers.

Odysseus was to learn from the Meda Kassiophë that her great grandfather Phaiax had bred and ranched Aurochs in East Bay Attica to serve Cephalos for his own heaviest portage needs—shuttling of hulls, even whole ships, at short movements  between various venues and slipways of their multi-phased construction programs. She could only guess, however, how Phaiax took the imprimatur of Cephalos’ special programs to transport and train the original breed stock brought from Brauron Basin of East Bay Attica to the Echinades Isles, and from there up to Scheria Island. Suffice to say, some kind of collaboration of their elder years finally brought import of breed stock aurochs from feral landscapes of Attica to the far west, thereby to become a greatest species for plowing, lumbering and haulage of all kinds.

Further to Forestry

Finally taught to Odysseus and Mentör during their first summertime near abroad Scheria, Kassiophë explained the famous diligence of her great grandfather Phaiax and Nausithöos to build coppice, or cultivated dense woodlands for reserves of highly preferred species. Whether pines or hardwoods or stiff but pliable branching shrubs, all species were cultivated as pole timbers for curved bents or as stiff reeds trussed together for various uses aboard war and merchant vessels. The hardwoods were especially important elements both preparatory and conservatory to resources needs of shipwrights at meticulous crafting of bow and stern modules of warships. Thereby coppice, too, the component wood varieties necessary for most intricate feature construction, such as the finely benched oarages amidship as nested above bilges. These woods could not be found anywhere naturalized upon Ëpeiros or Scheria, regardless such south low country as seemingly ample, open and opportune habitat for stiff reeds. Such stiff tufta were abundantly available, by contrast, along the southern shoreline along the Peloponnesus.

Mentör continues onward, to treat about flotation of great logs offshore. He made inventory of future year stands of trees that were ideal for fells unto next dugout longboat hulls. Likely such keen observation of coppice was served well by a third fortnight at roving many new venues of the Isles far south of the Ionian Corridor. The two friends had the Great Gulf Galley Lütrökas for their best convenience at moving about both forests and the alternate shipwork locations that exploited them. Discussion of them follows in an overly speculative manner of speaking

The Immense Logs at Flotation

Maneuvering logs across the northern headland of Scheria we presume very difficult and accomplished only during rare southern or eastern winds. The Boreades from NNW and the Zephyr West Wind prevailed, and they both blew strong during most afternoons. They impeded all launches of logs for towing westward into mid-channel of the Ionian Gulf. When rare winds such as the Notos and Euros blew strongly, they greatly assisted crossings to that effect. Theye ven set a priority for all fleets close offshore Scheria, or nearby and adrift the mainland shoreline of Ëpeiros. By contrast, maneuvering humongous logs into strong currents offshore proved a mostly natural steerage of the logs by assist  the Boreades at nudging their progress southward. Logs adrift, lightly lashed together for stable buoyancy, they rode on swells coming abaft and through them by water becalmed by channel surface movement. Compensation for the light ebb tides off the Ionian Gulf was usually easy, but the Water of Flight, the Ionian Gulf so-called since the migrations southward from Istria by the Hyperboreans, could rear up waves tempestuously all of a sudden. Whereas the incoming tide allowed for corrective maneuvers in between the retarding ebbs, the able partnership of Commodore Lothröos and Mentes undertook together the painstaking navigational challenges. Their disciplines lay firmly in the alternation of the two prevailing winds through springtime and autumn. They baffled their slow haulage of timbers by constantly nudging  several drifts of the logs at the same time, coordinating their flotation steadily eastward. Otherwise there was considerable dragging of rogue logs off eastern shoreline where they lodged themselves as escaped from their lashing by tiber hitches.

Having towed the logs across for corralling offshore within strings of booms laid in tandem to each other. They drifted the becalmed lee shores of two Isles while summertime lasted. Still lashed together for wide spanned drifts while floating alee, the two islets just above Scheria Island to NNW served good fortune most every day, or most days, by mornings of becalmed waters. When released from the booms, the loosely lashed rafts came under tows that were assisted by the Boreades. Logs we kept adrift natural surface channels, but offshore breezes often wafted the drifts of logs, or loosened the lashings by timber hitches. The channels were strong and sufficient to drift logs past Scheria and the two islands below her, Paxos and Antipaxos.

Bafflement of llosened or rogue logs became difficult, even inevitable by the mass inertia of those huge logs as no longer becalmed together, once winds, that is, mounted strongly through afternoons; especially the  Zephyrs from SSW. They nudged the logs out of the channel drifts and  strongly eastward, at full loss of the channel’s guidance of bearing of all massive logs still tethered together. Ever raft-like adrift, thus ever southward the drifts. The Zephyr arisen strongly beyond midday abated only after dusk. All logs released from their lashing became challenging to bring to end destination as they neared Taphia Island & Isthmus and the nearby entry into the Small Gulf (of Ambrakia) above the Arkananian mainland.That kept all ships busy until next dawns of becalmed water, because they had to be at towing any deviant logs back into their proper final bearings of channel drift.

Image: Overview of the Ionian Sea and Cephallene Mainland Divisions

Ironically, Great Galleys had to become the beasts of burden at the hauls of loosely lashed immense timbers! Command of such maneuvers fell to Commodore Lothroos over the North Far Fleet. He absorbed Odysseus’ sea duties those summers by every fortnight alternations ashore or at duty. Every “duty fortnight” at supervising forestry ended with Odysseus’ return to the Grottos of Scheria with most urgent diplomatic mission: That to bed Kassiophë beneath her bowers and become quite the genuine father who so greatly pleased little daughter Aretëgenaia. Such was the rest that enabled a next fortnight of sea duty back and upon the drifts. It seems that the alternations of command over deployment of massive log drifts went well, likely because of the many veterans aboard all the Great Galleys who knew so well the nuances of logs at their channel drifting.

The flotation of the logs accorded to precalculated sorts of them, as they moved into their final maneuvering at slow and tedious pacing, without Odysseus’ constancy at attendance. He supervised, nonetheless, so that Mentör could master an inventory of the floating drifts, after full awareness of the sorts by end-destinations. Often the individual character of the drifting log was a factor in accounting it a most invaluable forest resource taken off Eperios. Even if often outside Odysseus’ own cognizance, Mentör sums up the intervening timber operations at sea as particularly interesting to Odysseus the Fleetmaster. Clearly what follows must impress him for the great number of ships at coordinated maneuvers, all awhile the full manning of their oarages at rowing drills of consummate expertise taught him by his veteran pilots.

“By that last fortnight of our first summer’s end, at across from Ëpeiros but at NNW above Scheria, all logs amassed and floated first had been towed into a mooring, or “parking” offshore, as sorted drifts kept tightly alee two islets. There they were stabilized by booms to rest together loosely, until the next phase of their navigation, to the southern shipyards where seriously began all-fleet maneuvers to tow away the logs by their sorts or their end destinations. Drifts began just beyond mid-summer, all logs stocked on mainland landfalls throughout early  autumns. The Boreades blew enough strength of impetus to allow vectors of drift upon the discernible main current wandering southward and past the isles below Scheria [Paxos and Antipaxos].

Odysseus stayed north with Kassiophe, but he usually arrived to assist Commodore Lothröos and to unify both their fleets briefly, or until Lothröos had directed the drifts of timbers farthest  southward of the Near, or Home Sea. Such navigation was constant and exceedingly slow and painstaking. It also was the only phase of transport operations that offered nothing whatsoever of possible shortcuts. Operations ceased when Lord Mentes, who acted at tows of logs or great rafts of much smaller hewn timber, arrived nearest to the several end destination slipways. That early autumn phase also began the Autumn Watch over the many livestock convoys, all under Odysseus at adjutant command to Lothroos over the Home Fleet, whose own assemblages of transport vessels were parked along landfalls at each side of the Maw of the Great Gulf……

 

A Livestock Transport of medium length under sails. The running rigging and stays of sail are left out of this abstract depiction — of a permanently masted vessel awhile its service to the Autumn Transport Season. The prevailing zephyrs rendered strong winds abaft while these vessels were heading eastward to end destinations at the far end of the Great Gulf — Phokis, the Isthmus of Ephyrea and Sikyon. Note how the oars shafts were designed to keep the ships on heading by plying against the leeway effect of winds coming from either quarter astern. They were manned by three oarsmen per oar loom.

…….Scheria put past and left behind, Lothröos and Odysseus swapped roles as commodores. While the Commodore could best direct the navigation of drifting logs as they neared their destination shipyards, Lothröos was fully appreciative of Odysseus’ unique role and opportunity which his intimacy with Kassiophë served to the Ithacan League. He long had been urging Laërtes that a closest presence and vigilance in and around Scheria behooved the Wanax’ great promise to her of his own North Far Fleet, awhile its longstanding outreach throughout the far northern ambit, as defined by the broad rim of the Ionian Gulf. Mixing ardent passion with the excellent commerce of old growth woodlands extraction was a boon of greatest fortune. Put into everybody’s laps without having to breach discretion about fortuitous means to ends, so what that they involved constant carnal delights for the Fleetmaster?  The duty for everybody else was to repress too much honesty while traveling south, and to beware the tidings of Goddess Rumor – whose full veracity of so much salacious conduct for once could not be nay-sayed!

To Lothröos’ good mind for guile, what was going on that first midsummer would bear best by good annual repetition, while enforcing a vast and expanding ambit of tranquility into his own grand consolidation of a hegemony over the Water of Flight. No longer need it bode longstanding great perils implicit in that name, meaning “Sea of Exodus,” by the savagery that once but no longer descended into the Great Land off  Hyperborea [ Tundra Lands that we believe ended farthest north upon the Baltic Sea].

So I enjoined my own concluding activities of special mission and final summer season to Lothröos at supervision over the Autumn Transport Season. The Wanax was sure to show up conveniently at Vasiliki [meaning “Kingsport”] at the south end of Taphia Island. All the huge congregations of sheep herds for the livestock transports issued from there, often with Lord Mentes along side him at diligent supervision of yet other autumn barges ready and at finality of their year long commerce exchanges at the Maw of the Great Gulf.

The final drifts by natural surface currents of winding heading southward had most logs well landed upon Taphia Isthmus’s seaward shore at mid-autumn. There spread out in reception of them the several shoals that now belong to modern Lefkas Island, the former Santa Maura Island of the Venetians. Winter tempests helped them form a widening barrier, through which one good seaway and another only a slice of deep water. Earthquakes have several time distorted the shoals or opened the cuts wider since the 12th Century BC. Preceding the imperial maritime era of the Venetians, our oldest mapping possible by which we are to reckon the isthmian shoals have them  a true land bridge arcing over to the Arkananian mainland, at some short distance below the serpentine entry into the Small Gulf (of Ambrakia.)

The most persistent stray logs, usually those adrift by constant leeway running eastward, stranded upon a short peninsula, the Prebeza Chersonese. The pesky afternoon Zephyrs daily arisen to high wave toss surged until the logs  lifted ashore, to stay stuck at a narrowest place of the chersonese. There being no point in hauling them off, the logs instead were steered ever so stubbornly into excavated slipways. These lay along a mostly sandy strand heaped up with white seashell casings. It was the sea ward side of a narrowing whose gulf side was the Tuck, a landfall ideal as a coastal shipyard for vessels constructed from lesser timbers, even if also usefully long and  hefty of girths.

The Small Gulf was a gentle water which was best known in later ancient times as the Gulf of Ambrakia. Our satellite rendition shows its S-shaped entry above Taphia Isthmus.

Legend to Figures depicted above:The two shipbuilding centers served finished dugout hulls for delivery to the shipyards of Doulichion Isle. All preliminary build-outs were performed there for the Ithacan League. Having been brought down with difficulty by managed drifts, each tremendous log was nested into a sandy or partially scaffolded entrenchment upon the seaward coastlines of both Taphia Isthmys and Prebeza Strand. They appears here as the long beach at the top of the modern satellite image. At the south of the first image, a depiction of Taphia Isle & Isthmus, we see the slim sea passages through the main shoal and a far east promontory, The shoals were always alternative sites for nested slipways, often taking the most immense logs floated down from Scheria. Of additional significance to this overview are the many lagoons and inlets here depicted; they served the refinements of the dugout hulls by build out of superstructure which surmounted the basal midship dugout hull. To each end was affixed an Aftership and Foreship, generic terms-of-art for the raised poop and bow extremities of the Great Galley.

Merchant Ships Classes & Constructions

Our series of Bardot Blog is an Intermezzo, after House Ascendant I remind, and it’s also by a skilled redaction of Mentör’s mature crafting, because performed during his late years. His hindsight brought to copious length, we are now skipping over the end of one summer to a next springtime begun. That was a pattern of nearly four years’ duration, from 1271 to 1268 BC.

The second springtime after a full winter layover upon Ithaca Isle had Odysseus early across Cephalonia Island and upon its west side. Doulichion Isle began across a narrow channel. There sprawled the major industrial residency and shipworks of the Echinades Isles beforetimes the advent of Cephalos to become their martial occupier and first appointed High Chief invested with absolute war powers to wage naval strife in protection of all isles. A tradition of succession to those royal powers, after several successions by son and grandson, had the heir presumptive first learning the construction programming of merchant vessels. Our figures below introduce them, and our next Bardot Blog, the 172nd in a series shall discuss them.

Figures:

Merchant Vessels particular to the Merchant Convoys of the Ithacan League. From upper right and then down and clockwise, we have (1) the Hulk; (2) the Round Hull or Strongoli; (3) & (4) the Livestock & Troop Transport, whether sailed or rowed; and the (5) Light Sailing Shuttle, a.k.a. Inter-Isles Freighter. None of these merchant classes met the definition of keeled ships, whereas the Hulk was a double-hulled vessel that also wore a Bi-Pod Mast.

Conclusions So Far

Thereon, with the winter solstice soon arriving to retire all ships into shoreline recess, Odysseus took constant immersion in the shipwright crafts of both war and merchant vessel construction throughout the League. He took himself through the building of mercantile vessels in particular, by all phases of rude fashioning of Merchant Round-Hulls. Our depiction of the vessel above greatly understimates the length that this class could achieve by their launches during the 1270s and 1260s BC. The advanced art and science of the Strongoli was by his great grandfather Cephalos, as ably supplemented by Zakynthos, his adopted son, the former Master-of-House or Prince by Pterelaus the Uniter. His father had died at repelling a foray of land invasion by Amphitryon. His requirements of withdrawal pressed Cephalos too close to the landfall of foray. Pterelaus had positioned a considerable navy to ambush Cephalos, forcing him to leave off Amphitryon and fight his way out of entrapment. That sea battle within the Bay of Argostoli of Cephalonia cost Pterelaus his life in its last phases of ship boardings.

Other great merchant magnates of the Isles contributed useful features to Cephalos’ accomplished genius, but the hull remained highly salutary of the League’s special classes of such vessels via Pterelaus’ Taphian legacies, which were also the  heritage grants to Lothröos and Mentes. Their forefathers contributed a special imprimatur upon finest long cruising ships of the Wanax Laertes’ maritime commerce.

 

Please excuse that what we’ve depicted above are depictions of short haul, highly utilitarian tramp merchant vessels that proved so integral to the maritime commerce within and between Hellas’ far west principalities, petty kingdoms and high chieftainates. Only the Round Hull, depicted in the lower right quadrant – a somewhat unimpressive rendering of a modest sized vessel in class – was the hardest working ship upon open sea. It navigated mains throughout two years of long cruises while attendant convoyed merchant fleets.

The Great Gulf Galley, while primarily a formidable warship, was also a proper shuttling freighter. By Cephalos’ late lifetime legacy to the Ionian Isles of earliest prototypical Pentekonters (“Vessels breasting a total of 50 oars”). After its proven prototypes were well tested for their seaworthiness over deep sea swells, permanent compliments of long and large Round Hulls attached to Arceisius’ war fleets to serve logistical support to  Great Gulf Galleys and their escorting Triakonters (vessels breasting a total of 30 oars”). Freighting by either class of great galleys was common, but the Great Gulf Galley’s last editions before The Trojan War served such logistical needs best. By shuttling between Round Hulls, which could not be docked or berthed at many destinations of their arrival, a landfall of commerce was fulfilled of small lift deliveries out of Round Hull holds for finalization of exchanges.

The Ithacan League’s original great fighter at sea was Cephalos’ natural son Arceisius, a great man borne in the 1340s BC from a last sacramental marriage to heira- Lysippë of Samë. Often in defiance of his fatrher, Arceisius had mostly enabled the Echinades Isles’ greatest contribution ever to sea warfare. By his whole fleets amassed, thereby became a second genesis of great oared warships from what had been “paddle dugout long boats.” They were open decked vessels, aphract monoremes [monereis in Greek] by proper term-of-art. Alas, by much later periods of Greek History, or after the several intervening brief eras of poorly constructed oared vessels, far too much became lost of what the Aphract, or open hull class’ construction praxeis of ship construction actually composed from of most distinguishing and largest scale of size features. The modern scholarship, for instance, still admits a woeful penury of any primordial naval architecture once known about fore and aft assemblies of oared vessels. Both oared galleys of greatly elongated midships had both their ends affixed with decked foreship and aftship modules. By whatever we can know of those modules — besides, that is, what we’ve gained from Odysseus’ apt descriptions and Mentör’s dictations of his declamations into masterful writ  — we’re still left asking more questions than we can get robustly conceivable answers to. In the end, by the summing up, we are properly accused ingrates for faulting both Odysseus and Mentör, or either of them, for their manifest omissions of naval architecture and treatment construction of those immensely complex modules.

Notwithstanding our risk at seeming too breezy or pell-mell by the onrush of the sea lore heretofore, allow us here, in brief, what Mentör’s Fifth Chronicle conclusively has afforded us so far into this series of Bardot Blog. We’ve learned how the great heritage tree fells of Ëpeiros yielded immense timber trunks, of lengths from 180 to 240 feet by uniform beams attesting to astonishing wide girths of 16 to 20 feet. By many yokes of Aurochs, a most formidable animal husbandry, those logs were dragged over mud slicks or rolled over wooden baulks to shoreline. There, the immense timbers were trussed by cordage in elaborate preparation for their flotation upon entrenched slipways. Those seaside niches were accessible to high tides to float the logs while parked ashore. That way, they could also be unweighted of their mass, for ease of haulage out of the slipways until at flotation offshore upon deep water.

Later discussion shall address the little we know or can theorize about unweighting such lengths and broad girths of logs parked. There’s such a thing as too much disclosure at any one time, a heed that we must duly pay less our lay readers “chuck it all in” as wholly exasperated over their assimilation of so much sea lore as we’ve said all at once.

As We Move Along……. 

After that first summer of Odysseus’ closest observation possible, and his overall supervision of supportive logistical exercises, the Near Fleet’s land based corvées upon the fells proved fortunate to deliver as many as thirty-five truly immense logs into deep water. As many as twenty yokes of oxen had to steer ever so slowly their great and cumbersome lengths to a seashore where other hawsers, laid out to Great Galleys from Commodore Lothröos’ North Far Fleet, lay upon a strand as tethered offshore. Oxen hauled from the trussed peaks of logs in slipways, while the Great Galleys hauled their basal butts as tightly timber hitched. At both at the exercises together, by crews at oars and aurochs at the tugging,  so for how the logs floated out of their slipways while a high tide.

Before then, moreover, there had been constant excavation of the elaborate curves and wends of ways downward off the stands of fells. So for the gargantuan finesse accomplished along stream beds of ravine bends. Considerable deforestation attended those timber hauls, as the drovers grinded and ground out hindrances along each succession of shallow bottomed, gently curved ravines. Baulks served either for rolling or for sliding their lengths past tight pinches. Such fareway hauling can only be imagined in a manner to astonish any realized visualization.

We shall resume at description of how the logs were navigated southward to awaiting shipyards of the Echinades Isles. But there is some history that should precede such description.


for the Bardot Group, from Westhampton, Long Island

170th Bardot Blog : The House of Phaiax, Series No. 2, The Founder & Dynast Introduced

Phaiax by the Literary Legacy

We know from Plutarch [a Master of the 2nd century AD] that Phaiax, was Kassiophë’s most illustrious paternal forbear. A mythic personage astonishingly obscure otherwise, he avenged homeland Attica from the last and severest severe penance imposed by the Great Minos (Classical Greek Mythology’s King Minos II) in retribution for the assassination of his son Androgeos.

After two times of prior tributes assessed, by takings that enslaved royal sons and daughters from everywhere the North Rim of the Saronic Gulf, no wonder that finally, therefore, there had suddenly arisen a navy out of nowhere to deliver imperial Crete most just redress. Volunteering willingly to the exaction, the enslaved prince Theseus of Attica went under bondage and captivity to Knossos to wreak ruin upon its entire palace metropol. There, we’re given to suppose, he overthrew Palace Knossos, then his son and heir presumptive, the ruthless and monstrous natured Prince-Minotaur, and finally King Minos himself. Afterwards that bloodshed and looting of the palace premises, both the imperial and home fleets of the Minoans were destroyed, either upon their home landfalls or drowned in the deep sea surrounded by one of several archiplegos that composed Crete’s naval hegemonies .

In all that transcendent glory and sole glorification of Theseus, his total lack of any naval upbringing was – and still is — wholly ignored. So was that prince’s sire, Aigeus the King of Attica, a landlubber devoid of any naval capacities—just as had been his two grandfathers, likewise men of bold reputations at land warfare. Theseus hardly fought and wrought triumph naked of any naval support. Theseus’ upbringing took place in Tröezen, across from the Attican Peninsula, where his training at weaponry was such to produce a landsman champion-at-arms. All his subsequent adventures took place as pure land engagements or as land war interventions. At sea, by contrast, Theseus eventually became a loathsome predatory pirate of no seamanship whatsoever.
Mentör, therefore, quite inadvertently fills an information gap that’s been too long kept vacant of any naval expository writ from Antiquity. The only man who schemed those over many years so long ago at the eradication of imperial Minoa was, in fact, Cephalos son-of Hersë by a sire Deion. That he never got to deliver the naval redress personally to the Great Minos is excused by his banishment from Attica in 1360 BC, just when his long plotted secession had amalgamated variously oppressed feudatories of Minoa. An accidental cast of a javelin during a hunt had slain his wife, the High Princess Prokris, just as everything had been settled to firm readiness.

And yet, in accordance with Cephalos’ brilliantly phased implementation, all plots that ensued retaliated against the supposed oppressions of both the Minotaur and the Minos alike. Even so, the fully realized instruments of his naval warfare, visited upon imperial Minoa in Cephalos’ absence awhile his exile, were by his boon adjutants and oldest friends, the so-called Erechthëid Prince Commodores — Phaiax, Phereklos and Nausithöos — altogether concerted.

Phaiax and Phereklos destroyed the Home Fleet of the Minoans wherever its home island landfalls. They also transported well-drilled land forces across to Crete Island from Thorikos of Attica, accomplishing thereby a martial occupation for their liege sovereign Aigeus [ the natural father of Theseus, please be again reminded]. Nausithöos and Cephalos had used the autumn immediately following the full looting of the palace metropol Knossos to destroy the Great Minos’ Imperial Fleet amidst the Cyclopes Isles. That battle water lay below Sicily Island.

Then, only a year later, Cephalos had kept his promise to abet another boon friend, Amphitryon, the valiant but hard pressed Regent of Thebes, at his venture to conquer the Teleboeans and Taphians of the Echinades Isles. Cephalos had not an adequate navy to serve that venture at its outset, although he’d built during his exile a fine class of war vessel prototypical of yet another, herein called the Great Gulf Galley. He’d had enough ships built over the brief years of his banishment from Attica to make of the venture a very honest try.

He had not counted on all the good will that seafarers of all shores owed him by 1354 BC. His exalted status, formerly earned through his marriage Prokris brought him great fruition. Her death by his lethal throw of a spear was forgiven as soon as, perhaps because of the injustice of his exile. For suddenly that amassed following turned out to serve him full naval force as both high commands and able crews, as though by a divine intervention invoked by his most fervent prayer. By hideous contrast, Theseus had proved quite the opposite to Cephalos’ benign sovereign ways. He’d used his royal accession immediately after the fall of knossos to foment civil war. He’d spread ill-will most everywhere surrounding Attica and the Saronic Gulf. His bully ways and reckless adventures further abroad would eventually ruin his one successful, most powerful and preeminent sovereign year as the once valiant young prince who had destroyed the Minotaur.

What happened was as follows, in brief:

Upon a dawn, coming over the western horizon as seen afar from the Isthmus of Ephyrëa, were the navies under sails of his three boon companions, the Princes Erechthëid aforementioned. Attican commodores and Attican warships came down the Great Gulf to enjoin themselves to Cephalos’ vanguard war navy by Thebes. In order to serve themselves over to Amphitryon, they pledged their fealty anew to Cephalos, a by him, in good turn, their loyalties were formally expressed to the Regent of Thebes.
These commitments they found easy to make. The crews and followings aboard their ships were looking for a new home and royal House to renew their aspirations. Cephalos always had been at the heart of their best directed skills and strengths. Under him they could begin again, because so long a man who had inspirited them all.
Why was the eagerness for new affiliation so easy?
Mentör explains……

“The three arrived commodores were solely in the know betwixt themselves on a single horrid fact. That was how and why Attica had lost their liege sovereign King Aigeus to suicide. They knew that he was begrieved over the loss of his wife and son, [Medeia and Medeios respectively], whose self-exiles into flight Theseus had compelled [in 1357]. He also was firm in the understanding that, by releasing Theseus to captivity by way of a ruse to destroy the Great Minos, any success thereby would be heralded back to the High City of Attica immediately. The means to such great news was supposed to be a fast galley rigged with white sails. For the ship of the prince’s departure had worn a darkest red sail set square, thus typical of vessels retrofitted to carry amidships the biers of the dead for burials at sea, or by immolation of the funeral ship itself.
Instead the fast ship sent home most precipitously had worn exactly those same funereally hued sails. Both Phereklos and Phaiax had known too well that had set forth in that wholly unapproved manner. They had been preoccupied themeselves with sweeping the Aegean Archipelago of imperial Minoan warships. They had hardly expected that they’d be countermanded by prince Theseus, in secret, who pretended the wear of the wrong sails was entirely due to his own reckless haste to return home with the best news possible, a salvation of the tribute slaves announced by his [physical] person. What had belied that weak excuse was the fact that Theseus never showed up aboard the ship when it landed. Worse, the leap off the cliff by Aigeus had already happened, because the sight of the ship of darkest sail had been sighted from Point Sounion, leaving ample time for Aigeus to destroy himself in the manner of approved ritual suicide, by way of his own hallowed penance – his death – as a scapegoat cause of worst calamity.”

While the two boon friends kept their knowledge secret until they could inform Nausithöos, the actions of Theseus otherwise until they did had proved utterly outrageous. He’d declared himself king-of-kings and the conqueror of Crete. Of mourning for his father there was none; nor any remorse or of a scantest kind, if any.
They did not believe that a sovereign penance of suicide a proper death for their beloved and elderly sovereign. He’d been their patron over the navies since 1372 BC. Despair of his lost sons had overwhelmed him. It did not take long afterwards these several knowledges that their navies felt disgraced by their duties of depredation under their pledges of fealty to Theseus. So they’d abandoned Attica altogether in a most spontaneous manner, for even the returning fleet from the west under commodore Nausithöos proved easily convinced to insurrect along with Phaiax and Phereklos. Their young brides and closest relations were brought aboard ships of transport. The insurrection became a convoy at exegis [exodus]. They had then voyaged around the Southland Peloponnesus to travel down the Great Gulf. At its end they found Cephalos’ modest homestead of exile within the Bay of Alykai—Thebes main port and shipworks beneath Mount Helikon.

There they rallied, subsequently to disperse to western landfalls above the Messsenes’ longshore, where everyone prepared by Cephalos waited covertly before embarking upon their common mission for the Regent Amphitryon. Their they prepared the last stages of support and resupply for the intended naval invasion of the Echinades Isles…..

Destiny Awaits in the Far West

Such, then, the expression of both a necessary past and best reason for an excursus from what Mentör treats of Phaiax individually, as the foremost paternal forbear of Kassiophë. For he continues in triumphant vein as follows….

Bay of Alykai by Modern Times; The Bay of Alykai after millennia of deforestation. Since Cephalos established a base there, for naval construction in behalf of Thebes and her Regent Custodian Amphitryon, it has proved a perfect haven for shipyards specializing in warship hulls of extreme lengths and natural broad girths. For protection of the Isthmus and of Gulf Phokis besides Thebes, this depiction should present the old growth heritage forests which once skirted and mantled Mount Helikon, which rises behind the photographer.

As the Bardot Group has Mentör saying,…..

“After Phaiax’ successful collaboration with Cephalos and Amphitryon, and Kassiophë’s forebears by his patrilineal descent from Attica passed to her, events and developments become blurry for me. Especially the ten to fifteen years of his sole reign over the Scherians: Become their appointed Medon, [High Chief & Home Lord Protector]. I only know that he married and spent those years at rearing children. Notwithstanding that his colleague and fellow collaborator Nausithöos had enjoined his own naval force and following to him, nevertheless that able commodore had taken his spoil winnings and greatly rewarded following away—after many sea battles in the far west against pirates who were native and local to the Ionian Gulf. Nausithhöos convoyed his following across to Iapygia, the “heel” of the Italian Peninsula. Seeking new settlement there, another decade went by of mostly obscure developments.”

Phaiax at exploration of the Ionian Gulf soon found Scheria Island a constantly imperiled land, but otherwise an oasis of civilization, even an exemplary matriarchate through and through. A champion of matriarchal regime and of rural plantation governesses, their counterparts of Scheria were all that he required to renew his will to protect and nurture the Scherians. He had learned from Cephalos how to develop the governance of well-populated villages and ports along the lines of timocracy, by which all male population were reared for their own self-determination through amalgamating various orders of merits, skills and meritorious services. These they dedicated to farms and rustic hamlets, to the livestock husbandry and to the navies. He believed himself destined to defend, then settle, and thereafter maintain a matriarchal realm to which he would prove aptly subordinate and loyal—exactly as Cephalos had been appointed to become over the Echinades Isles upon the Ionian Sea.

Another Prince Erechthëid, the boon friend Phereklos, was the only commodore to return east, at first to Attica, but soon thereafter to resettle and help to build a Northern Sea hegemony that Cephalos had also engendered through his oled contemporary, Great King Aiakos. They had jointly established Attican sea power to covert and yet full dominance over the Aegean Sea from 1372 to 1362 BC. That had their last collaboration together, wherefrom their considerable prize, a franchise of immensity, the exclusive permit of naval escort and safe distribution of the Great Grain Convoys annually arriving out of the Sluice [later Bosporos] off the Euxine Sea. Immense sailing barges led the two principals to expand such convoy duty as soon as Commodore Phereklos pledged himself in fealty to Great King Aiakos. All seafarers along the Strait of Abantis and north mainland shoreline gladly made him their first ever Fleetmaster. His lifetime afterwards proved him outstanding as the sole navarch in service to Aiakos’ Great Kingdom of Aeoleis & Minya.

Meanwhile, Nausithöos’ bold venture at Iapygia and across the Ionian Sea failed. Natives of a hostile interior rendered his any defense of new settlement too hazardous to maintain. He returned to the service of Cephalos while that friend’s earliest years of appointed supremacy over the Great Gulf League and the Echinades Isles.
He sought his own opportunities of realm, nonetheless, and that search led him to accost Phaiax while that boon friend and kinsman was at his own formative roles. New settlement upon Scheria, Phaiax had found, lacked only for sufficient population to succeed. By happenstance, Nausithöos, the younger man than Phaiax and late to marry, had proved a father of three daughters while upon Iapygia. Phaiax made compact with his old friend that they found a co-regent realm out of his own marriage to the then supreme matriarch over Scheria. That woman remains anonymous, but she was the mother of the grandmother for whom Kassiophë was named.

New champions of matriarchy thereby, they let that marriage build to a dynasty under Phaiax’ only son by that anonymous wife. Here genealogy and matrilineage, both subsequently expunged, does not allow us to name which of the three daughters of Nausithöos chose the young master, son-of-Pahaiax of new House, in marriage. The marriage took place, as did her sisters’, but the details thereafter become too vague for any apt recital – as do so many other matters of highest peerage and prior royal circumstances that attended the finally resolved co-regency over Scheria.
So, suffice to state much too curtly, all such matters of greater family plot as two illustrious male forbears devolved from am initially patriarchal dynasty upon Kassiophë. She became the supreme matriarch over the House of Phaiax since the 1280s BC. …..

[Note: For a patron royal dynasty to revert to its primordial matriarchal roots was not unusual. Neither was a royal House that bore the matronymic of an alleged founding matriarch even as founded intentional of patriarchal governance. Such were the hybrid bred dynasties of the Late Helladic Period, LHP IIA. Ff., wherein emerged several Late Patriarchs descended from illustrious mothers over matriarchal regimes and primordial female dynasties.]

……. Mentör can only attest to that young dynasty’s success as manifest most amply nearly two decades later. Even if always fragilely, by then we’re to reasonably believe that Phaiax and Nausithöos grew old and contented within their amalgamated clans, even as they likely burgeoned apart, or else their children duly intermarried each other by endogamous unions. That had the direct successors to the founding co-regents ruling autonomously from the Echinades Isles as later generations of royalty passed or grew old.

Only in those much later years did the founders’ established co-regency welcome the embrace of the Ithacan League as manifestly useful. By then it was the successor to the Great Gulf League, whereas Scheria must formally acknowledge herself a protectorate under a pledge of fealty—most willingly expressed, nonetheless, to the First Wanax over the later named Cephallenes, Arceisius son-of-Cephalos. The time for thatnaming of nation state and region was formally expressed four years after the inception of the Isthmian War. Then Arceisius had shattered the imperial sea power Great Argos and thereupon became the appointed War Wanax of the Isles. The cardinal date for his ascendancy was 1299 BC.

The House as a Sovereign Entity

The alliance of Houses, I access of that admittedly murky past, should have advanced Kassiophë to become the foremost bride desirable for Laërtes to take in marriage. She’d been much too young for a bargain of betrothal, however, and she remained too unformed as a maiden to compete with the staggering virginal attractions of Anticleia of Phokis. Laërtes married just as the Isthmian War had drifted into a cessation of its hostilities and thereupon began an aftermath of armistice that would assure the Scherians autonomy from the Echinades Isles.

All now aforementioned well put to a murky past, it’s vivid enough that Kassiophë by 1270 BC knew herself most eligible for a high royal marriage. That has now been established as irrefutable on account of her progeny, about which some further explanation as this serialization of Bardot Books makes her preference for consortship with Odysseus her major objective.

Allow that Mentör took most of his assertions on faith, notwithstanding the daily spectacles of that most disarming woman herself, whom he does not fail to fully describe. Allow, however, that were are not yet ready to know her other than as hostess of the two friends and the promises they bear to her from Laertes, the only man to whom shes’ happily pledged in fealty in highest sense of her loyalty to the Iathcan League.

House Ascendant began our proto-history in 1286 BC with the birth of Odysseus. We brought him through his childhood and boyhood years until his age sixteen. His setting in time was the Long Turmoil’s Aftermath to what the Cephallenes called their Isthmian War, whereupon the beginning of an informal, scarce believed armistice which enjoined the earliest Greeks to a twenty-four year epoch that I have called the Great Peace of Thyestes. The settings were mostly within Western Greece of the Echinades Isles, along with many allusions to the alpine massif interiors of Mentör’s Highlanders.
Now, ahead, we become inclusive of most everywhere else along the mainland western divides of the Greek Peninsula.

Proto-history is the developmental process of regional syntheses from the copious recitative historicity off Early Greek Mythology. It’s presumed as once rendered solely though a great oral rendition. Despite the considerable revisionism by much later Classical Greek Mythology, we’ve made the originating opera robust by our analyses of source materials supposed written by syllabaries, whereby an oldest Greek known that preceded any and all composed works of alphabetic writ. The latter, by compositions of the Bardot Group of Scholars of Antiquity, affords us hereon copious content despite its relatively scant historicity as either biographical treatments of mythic personages or prehistorical treatises about the ancient regions at their earliest period originations within the Late Aegean Bronze Age.

Our immersion remains the subset Late Helladic Period while its last epochs of zenith. The span of entire duration defines from 1415 to 1190 BC. We have so far proceeded within that span from the year 1270 BC. We adhere doggedly to the so-called Middle Dating Method for enumerating co-relative historical events within the entire Late Aegean Bronze Age. They can be dated, or affixed of dates by the runs of parallels events demarcated by span of reigns of the Egyptian Pharaohs. Our analyses so far become mostly contentious against events recently dictated by chauvinistic Egytologists, whose updated versions of events are no longer comparable to our own syntheses’ of archival chronologies. We have long refuted the revisionist propensities of Lyric, Classical and subsequent Greek mythographers. Now we have to refute the most recent Egyptologists. Failings at rigor we can readily admit, have done so many times over and are ready to do again. When recent scholarly updates interpose themselves to deliberately confuse us, we have fallen back honestly and appropriately upon vital source materials since Homer’s epics. They were based on rhapsodists and Lyric Age bards subsequent to him, the so-called Homeridai, from within the 7th Century BC.

Admittedly, they were mindless of dates.

We are not. Where the Bardot Group has honestly failed to prove rigorous enough, we’ve supplemented the lore, legend or myth robustly, sometimes with highly argumentative exposition. Our co-relative dating of major events juxtaposes the genealogies of greatest personages while the several important epochs of the lifetimes that preceded and overlapped the Trojan War Era. That has meant that a lot of prehistory by the 14th century and earliest 13th century BC has been bypassed or rendered cursory with respect to events and developments within them that we compose proto-historically. We’ve looked back as doggedly as ever, repected our betters, even if not always or even sufficiently so.

That we’ve portrayed an early and true Greece from the viewpoints of her mostly western forbears relates to our chronicler and major source, Mentör Son of Alkimos, by the major finds of his entablature since 1985 AD. We’re forwarding his opera through the several agencies enabled by Rudolph Rodham Bardot, whereas I, his descendant and a translator, have meant to be faithful to the Bardot Group for all of my own legacy scholarship on account of its own college of philologists.

So, a previous book has declared the impetus of events since Laërtes became the 2nd Wanax over the Cephallenes, whie sole sovereign over the Echinades Isles and their near mainlands. A rare convention of the League Council has had him affirming declaratively his son Odysseus’ apparency as his heir, the presumptive co-regent Sea Wanax and Home Lord Protector of the Isles. We’ve now extended detailed naval lore by that previous Royal Chronicles to this,and into this Fifth by Mentör. This volume also expounds the brief few years that Odysseus had to serve in limbo, howsoever happily subordinate to his father and his foremost tutor at the practicalities of high naval command, Lothröos of Taphia.

An Intermezzo ended the previous volume, wherein Odysseus has remained under probation even as he’s fully acquitted of his many years as a command apprentice. A purposeful active study has attended the years of sole sovereignty and navarchy under his accomplished father, until he’s became broadest ranging by study and experiences that have brought Odysseus through so many venues of the Ithacan League’s overseas ambit.

Within some of its settings we’ve greatly understated the enormous capital ship expansion by the League. Now that we find him far north and abroad Scheria Island at the systematic operations that entirely new great ships have engendered, we venture to teach the primary naval architecture of great oared vessels. By a fourth and last summer season offshore Scheria Island [1267 BC], we must begin at last about Odysseus’ immersive activities as a budding supreme navarch awhile those of comparable great art by Mentör’s performances at writ.

He’s sixteen years old; Mentör is at his age fifteen.

Odysseus & Mentör at an Idyl

They began with a fortnight of libertine self-indulgence, about which I translate from the Bardot Group, whose many philologists have Mentör saying in late June of 1271 BC.

“Imagine my predicament, an intrusive guest lodged indoors and nearest an infatuated twosome all that fortnight. Odysseus was so craved and yet too craven himself to shoo me away. So we shared a suite of rooms too ample for us both, but it proved of little immediate use to Odysseus. As though curtains had fallen around our chambers, I was blocked from the inner sanctum into which he plunged. All this from the moment of out arrival at just past darkness, he prevented from settling in, and I going through the motions, befuddled, of an unwanted early bedtime imposed upon me.

He’d become suddenly victim to the mother of his first ever child. He must pleasure her as a love-slave, a kept toy. Darting around me, alas, imagine a small tot daughter sprite of frothy auburn locks, a merry prankster, and also about as small a person as barely could scramble about at prance and a dash upon two feet. The only compensation to my great appeal to her was my resignation, expressed as my usual pastime after any long summer day, when I’ve been happy to receive an adoring little spirit that all little girls become once they’ve picked out a favorite safe playmate.

Howsoever reluctantly made available to her, such, alas, had I been for Odysseus’ sister Ktimenë, a thorough nuisance to my late afternoons for more than ten past years. Now another Cephalid daughter was sizing up my tummy for a place to bounce upon regularly, springing herself upon me in delirious joy and frolic.

Nonetheless, Arëtegenaia was a cutest tiny girl ever – at barely more than eighteen months old! What most amazed me was that she was so agile at the quick at barely an age of a grown baby into a smallest tot. More wondrous still, her mother Kassiophë had been talking about her father all that spring until summer, already sure of Odysseus nearing prospect of reunion with her. And yet soimehow I was the greatest surprise to enter into her life.

Seriously stated, theirs was a love affair of high sovereign importance besides.
Here, then, was a woman of bold enticement who knew too well her undeniable appeal. In no way of a form – too tall – or size – too slender – to my tastes. And yet I still had to admit a beauty that grew rapidly upon a man—until his most firmly conditioned sense of total female appeal of physique must alter itself to Odysseus’ sensibilities. Not that mine had to change even a smidgeon, because she had not the slightest thought to project herself upon me in any provocative way.

Besides, Kassiophë had within her huge summertime suite every sort of petite, slim or plump, ennobled maidens and young matronsthat a vacation from their arduous hinterland tilth and livestock husbandry can crowd together. There at the grottos whole bevies of them, arriving or departing every summer fortnight that would next pass until the autumn equinox. Yes, that fortnight would not stand alone, because some three or four of them would repeat the pleasuring of us ashore. Too, she had her very important honor matrons, Medai, hard working governesses over Scheria’s fertile Meso`horia [Mess-so-HORE-aye-ah], and they were far more saucy and eager than their many randy daughters who set upon our transient captains and commanders also at fortnight sojourns.

They vacationed with Kassiophë as her immense entourage even if easily enough made to disperse to every hiding place and lurk, until a most uncommonly attractive community compounded of both highest born and humblest women. Their passionate natures and dispositions for sportiveness the Meda made no attempts to control. Any man might find the earliest vigor of his youth in their easy and comely ways….”

…..Yes, dammit, I will describe Kassiophë for her effect upon Odysseus, which to say was as an enveloping spider web upon her caught fat fly, acting so in all respects except for her allowance of his constantly agile performances at pleasuring the spider while he’s also being devoured……

“Not all of it can be flattering by the words I have for her. She was, for example, a bit top heavy of bosom when seen in profile, even if finely curved at the facing or when seen from the back. Her torso balanced slightly forward of a firm, even if not overly large rump, cascading off which her main summertime raiment, a short tie-skirt of light fabric, with a swath of belting tied off her back to accentuate how its shimmering fall fell off the cheeks of her buttocks. That profile never failed to lift Odysseus into transport of rapture and ravishing zeal. For her entire figure beckoned deft hands and touch upon her, especially whenever her splayed posture upon the couch. For that’s what followed the enticement of him.

Odysseus was wont to say often to me, even if surreptitously, “If ever there was a woman to seem perfect for the couching, it was by her prostrate and inviting form. I just couldn’t ever get enough of her invitations by that way of the come hither.”
About her obvious beauty of face I shall not fall short at rhapsody. Her face was a perfect oval as set within a froth of dark brown curly hair. It was an immaculately clean always, even if worn shorn short, her curls most naturally gathered up into a fine framing of her visage. She had dark eyes, perfectly round, and they peered gently yet fixedly beneath well-groomed brows and naturally long flares of eyelashes. In that way she hinted her arch-ancesstresses as truly Cretan beauties, but far above the best of them, because of her firmer jaw and the strong delineation of her temples. They showed her off as Hyperborean, by some deepest past paternal ancestry that belied her in any way ever by the Atticans—such as the patriarch, her great grandfather Phaiax, had well exemplified of that people.

All of what now I’ve said was very plain by every woman’s reveal, because so uniform of appearances by those consecutive midsummers replete of scantest costumes at the bouncing and dancing around the pleasure compound’s swards. Too, the Scherians have never heard anything about modesty of presented physique, nor have they learned an intolerance for overly revealing raiment or posture. Her summer compound was all one immense gymnasium of nudity everywhere lawns, pleasure walks and seaside grotto lagoons for settings of desnuded fleash.

Oddly, there wasn’t anything to question or object to about it. All of it seemed so befittingly happenstantial.

Accordingly, no sooner the earliest arrivals of our flotillas, triads of the warships disembarked in queue, many iterations of such crews to follow by every fortnight rotation of shore leave. For Commodore Lothröos spelled Odysseus at resort to the Grottos, for his own needed rest provided to his own crews and commands. Whomever his own paramour of delight, she’d show up as timely to the convenience of their impassioned rapport.

No wonder. I was to witness from that fortnight’s end, in witness of Lothröos’ arrivals, how enormously toilsome the crews of the Near Fleets abroad the near offshore water and mainland had to be. The hot torpid heat over so constantly becalmed waters was enough to free an oarsman of all clothing except his groin-tuck, bench kilt and wicker brimmed hat. The better that way to have the slime and sweat of any recent hard rowing washed off by a dunking, then scraped off by a comely handmaiden within a sea pool of gently undulating wave rises and falls.

Accessible and available to the women ashore all the young buck conscripts, so long as washed properly. So, too, for why everybody bathed at the soonest, and often again throughout the days of those summer seashore delights. There was besides all the gamboling upon the thin coastal sward how Kassiophë found some sort of genius to seed and groom thick coatings of grass around the sprawl of lodging compounds. Large patchworks of terraced grass were kept neat and pillowing below the shading of tallest stone pines. They rose above scatterings of rocky upcrops, every patch of lawn concealed from each other for the privacy of men and women laying down together after everything else they could do and enjoy at playing exuberantly but not always recumbently together. Or whenever not a their tossing of soft-balls, at frolicsome skip-roping together, or at teaming up for all sorts of dashes and relay races, and, of course, at lining up in pairs in as many ways as they could teach each other the steps of differing dancing customs. Their families, home villages or the communities where assembled their clans had ways of dancing utterly distinct from each other.

The dancing was mostly by competitions between small teams – men off the crews gathering together at mutually known sets of steps and tunes. Maidens entwined themselves into such teams as were formed up, or they matched them at their own numbers for the festival steppings, both teams also together matched up into octets and sextets by late afternoon call-dancing. A most difficult albeit agile pastime all that, given the quick changes of postures and steps that their [choreography] required. It was all for showing off young bodies at their best motion and elisions of contact, and usually there was a long pause most necessary before the late dining at far beyond the twilight, because of the need beforetime for the fullest lusty exertions of couples paired by the dancing – all having become soonest well met and eagerly repairing to shady grottos afterwards – there to find within that patchwork pillowing moss the many happy reposes at the ends of shady lanes running inland to deeper inland glens.

My favorite play for the pure pleasure of seeing the best moves by those maidens was a ball game called dodging. The crews were awfully good at aim and fast hurls because the balls were splendidly made as an especially tight bound core wrapped by strop leather. Ideal for catching the dashing rump of a leaping nymphette – she most aptly on the toss or fly – by which good aim, if repeated several times afterwards, earned him good claim as well upon the body that had ricocheted his every toss. Three times so smitten, in fact, the couple might as well take vows, at least for the rest of that day, to sport together through the rest of the fortnight together. That’s why, too, the comely maiden was also damn good at the throw upon her intended, inviting his happy revenge, for he rarely managed to dodge well the ball while his sudden rapture for the hurler.

In short, Scherian women are outstanding of looks and clearly of always fittest physique. That prompted my curiosity, of course, to look behind so much litheness of physique, and why the enormous energy that they provoked from our crews when so very tired off their arduous naval duties.

Kassiophë presided in a casual way, but affected mostly a least intrusive manner. She’d join in the fun and encourage Odysseus to do so as well. But she was a diurnal sort of woman of early risings and earliest retirements by both dusks. She was content to mostly observe or orchestrate activities, with a light touch of encouragement to include everybody most recently arrived. But come the nighttime she was away and too obvious at her impatience to retire. And Odysseus learned the knack of fine leave-taking most surreptitiously, as he retired, too, by unspoken or barely heard command a-wafting from the mistress’ huge suite of rooms – to which his own chamber much closer to them than mine – convenienced by both a special annex and hallway.

The early cool mornings, just after sunrise, often had the crews off and away at maintenance drills aboard their ships moored offfshore. Returning after the winds were up and brisk by midday, then was the most apt playtime for smallest children with their randy and briefly satiated mothers. All of little ages, boys and girls, they were well cared for by their attendant nurses all the rest of the day. Kassiophë was then an attentive and imaginative mother superior over them all.

I soon learned why her tiny girl was so advanced for her age and diminutive size. Her mother explained everything so very well to the little girl! Odysseus caught her best devices and manners by which to exemplify the same ways himself. The little girl responded with astonishing cooperation to any encouragement of her bright and witty mind. Arëtegenaia already had a lot of guile about her, much good humor for mischief, too, and a very odd tolerance for sometimes cruel teasing from any nasty older children. So she was unlike most tiny girls who can’t abide much of mean pestering from children above their own age. But she had a fey way to return a tease upon its maker. Her mother beamed at her every sly effort, especially when she scored just as nastily at some very good riposte.

Odysseus and Aretë could banter away, interrupting their good times together only to include the many other children who were her usual friends during that one summer season. It was all most amazing, therefore, all those early mornings while Kassiophë allowed herself to be at the very pinnacle of it all.
I was never for talking to by those children. I tried and I failed to engage them that way. Instead I was a small adult body to collide with and tangle with by both small boys and girls. They did so without any hesitation to attack me and wrestle me to ground, their endless amusement at pummeling me. The only way I could stop them was to pretend to cry over their hurts of me.

Not that that was any deterrence whatsoever………

I played the field, of course, or else I performed as an alternative for all those ladies in highest body heat for Odysseus, who must be ever ready, eager and unstinting for his hostess alone. Not that there was going to be any problem at that, or any of my causing, given the suite-to-suite accommodation of their infatuation – wherein mostly carnal or procreative at crushing me to themselves.

So long as my proper duties, I consorted her ladies discretely along the many walks and pleasances of the Grottos’ setback. By them, cumulatively, my own well-received questions about Scheria and about who was who and why within the Island’s supreme order of lusty First Estate…..”

Thus for how was began, and renewed every summer, the annual paternity of children by Odysseus at service of his licit consortship. His relations with Kassiophë come across blatantly deliberate to the siring of her maternal wants and aspirations. That those three summers ended exactly the same, with her already pregnant, so the next late springtime of their renewal by reunion, some new baby daughter or boy had been borne before our arrival fortnight. No surprise at that, of course, other than the rapidity of recurrence as so precisely annual. No wonder either, given all her guests and other transient females, that the summer compounds were teaming with children borne from every previous summer’s recreations and conceptions.
The only wonder in it all was where the Scherian men had gotten off to. Mentör learned not to ask, of course, but he knew anyway from the crews. Scherian men were obviously inured to the absolute power of their women over them. They accepted that summer retreats to the Grottos meant a paradise at practice and reverence of some unexpired Eidyllion. So long as their lives and careers aboard their merchant vessels allowed them long fair voyaging seasons far away from the Home Island, they could not mind that their wives took the League’s mariners to their laps in a best season so obvious for mating.

So for how a first fortnight passed. The return to sea at duties near abroad had Odysseus’ accommodating Kassiophë with a scout ship so that she could attend him on his first few tours of Ëpeiros’ heavily forested seashore. Her barely toddling girl accompanied her that first fortnight at mainland duty, in reward for her easy taking to Odysseus and Mentör. While at sea both mother and toddling daughter were tucked into woven seats of cordage which dangled off some stanchion or another along the helm deck. They showed good sea legs and a mariner’s disposition for the sea. The Meda was especially smart to keep herself unobtrusive.

Our next Bardot Blog shall sketch how Odysseus went immediately over to the mainland to observe there and within the hauling of immense logs off flooded landfall slips. While dammed up, the slipways were where they’d been stripped of their top growth limbs, then parked recumbent for dragging offshore and away to a deep sea mooring where they would float through summertime as tethered together beneath two isles NNW of Scheria Island proper. That and other procedures shall duly be explained.


for the Bardot Group, from Westhampton, Long Island

169th Bardot Blog : House of Phaiax Series No. 1, The Prehistory of Scheria Island until 1272 BC

I reproduce the cover art to Bardot Books’ House Ascendant in both background and premise of a series ‘ continuation of the Royal Chronicles by our contemporary narrator, Mentor son-of-Alkimos. Regular readers  of these Blogs know me the scribe and pseudonym, howsoever sketchily, for the Bardot Group of Scholars of Antiquity. They originated the Mentor and his Oldest Greek by composition off a syllabary of his supposed invention or innovation.

Regrettably, House Ascendant does not have a proper sequel as expository fiction in the genre that I prefer, proto-history. It’s the derivative process of mythological analyses which lead into my syntheses of authentic biography of mythic personages and plausible prehistory of the regions to which they belonged. To say there’s no sequel means that whatever I have from the Bardot Group, as updated by my modern academic research and source materials does not make a robust case for Odysseus’ years from age sixteen to nineteen. So what I would essay for those years as his further biography and the ongoing prehistory of the Cephallenes does not make a book. So I begin a series of Bardot Blogs instead, in order to make plausible record of Odysseus in conjunction with the House of Phaiax over the seafaring people whom Homer called the Phaecians in The Odyssey.

There are three tenets to his story biography that we’ll cover:

1…… His impetus to his father Laertes following that sole reigning wanax’ major advancement of his navarchy over the Ithacan League. Laertes had made his son Fleetmaster, a title reflective of Odysseus’ conduct under probation, which was to last until his 19th year of age and his promotion to the co-regent title of Sea Wanax.

2…..  The speculation that Odysseus  entered into a summertime consortship during four of those years, and with intention that it continue. It was a licit marriage of endogamy to the Meda (Governness) of Scheria Island, whom I have named Kassiophe [Kass-ee-OWP-hay]. She was the acceded matriarch of Scheria Island and ruled over the House of Phaiax. The wedlock of two vital royal person ended with the summons and mission of courtship to Lakonia, where Odysseus was a suitor/courtier of Helen, the future Wanassa of the Wilds over the Highlanders of early Greece’s two mainland alpine vastnesses.

3….. His summertimes restricted to five or six fortnights each summer, from 1272 to 1269/68 BC, Odysseus became intimate and closely supervisory over an advanced class of Great Gulf Galley. While still a prototype of the future  Pentekonter, an open hulled (aphractos)  oared vessel which breasted twenty-five oars at both broadsides by manning of two oarsmen to each sweep oar. Attendantly, he was also at major supervision of ship construction that built four distinct classes of merchant ships, although their programs of praxeis (phased programming) were perfromed over the three years of Odysseus courtship and absence away to Lakonia. Those years ensued to the famous trials-at-bridal of Helen, and they circumscribe the bretrothal of Odysseus to Penelope, the foremost princess by the House of Oebalos over the Lakonians.

Our Narrative Restyled:

The Fifth Chronicle within Mentor’s Royal Series concludes his  study of writ by syllabary while the ward of Laertes. His model and inspiration, thus his main subject, is still his greatest friendship with Odysseus. By that priority, too, has been their respective comings-of-age, in parallel fashion,  whereby a crude hewn, dual biography as that genre’s oldest writ in any form of Greek. This translator’s compositions – or selections – have offered our readers two bildungsromans, accordingly. What’s been permitted of insertion by the much later epic literature, mostly by Homer and his disciples, has supplemented all the Bardot Groups efforts to sleuth out a mostly lost prehistory on account of a deliberately expunged past.

What my many collaborators by the Bardot Group and I have now of those two lives, accordingly, runs quite well together, although I must spare readers much bibliography by our members that’s been lost to myself as their spokesman and translator. So “we” say together with some anxiety, or rather with a nervous immodesty. From this next beginning of the series of Royal Chronicles — after some facts of awareness in continuation of House Ascendant, — we’ve managed lengthy diversions about the one young man or the other. Mentor performs his own supplementation, by deepest hindsight from far years ahead, about himself as a young man and still young apprentice of artful writ by syllabary. He’s now, however, writing at viewpoint from his middle-aged years, cherishing years of youthful adventure with and exploits apart from Odysseus. Not that he isn’t any longer clearly in genuflection upon his long friendship with Odysseus, even as their years apart prolonged through a decade and more at absence from each other, from 1255 to 1240 BC. Thatw as a most uncomfortable duration for them both.

So herein and heron there’s a slight change in authorial temperament that must be explained, even if we’re not so happy to have to capture so early in these Bardot Blogs.
In the much larger sense of our proto-history in genre, Odysseus’ effective exile from Ithaca, from 1248 BC by both the relative and referent dating off the Middle Dating Method conferred upon us by Egyptologists, became a formal banishment.  It derived from his failure to retake his marriage vows as soon as possible after the Trojan War. For over the ten years following the Sack of Troy, by another referent date, 1250 BC, there also began an unwanted and inadvertent estrangement between two formerly steadfast friends.

Upon Odysseus’ famous return and devastating restoration, moreover, there began a pilgrimage of Mentor, whereby he delved into the lost past that would eventually enable his Archival Chronicles in series. By this Fifth Chronicle of the Royal Series, such content became retrospective, and because its composition is  from far hindsight, coverage of pre-war and post-war events as the same durations can seem jarring. It certanly has thrown your translator a bit out of kilter.

Accordingly, I  pause for introductions anew, by fresh outset, immersion and itinerary into a deep and mostly lost past of longest ago. A particular issue here put forth is what Mentor has effectively buried under the revisions and ultimately rewritten scripture off his original oral renditions to the House of Cephalos. Once fresh and wholly ingenuous from dictation of illustrious elders to himself, at only fifteen years old and only three years at his expansive syllabary; so his shared reminiscences of personages closest to him from long before his own war years upon the outback of Troias at his own war annals as a “chief of staff” to Menelaos. Too much of that voice to the Fifth  Royal Chronicle remains no longer from his inscribed entablature.  Young Mentor but Sage & Old Mentor contrast too greatly; the Sage has displace the Young Mentor.

Two Young Men at Opportunity of Scheria Island

Between arrival to Scheria Island and departure from  Ithaca Isle just before the summer solstice of 1271 BC, what’s been lost too obviously from their years befoire then is the innocence of two young men at their constant discoveries of Cephallenia’s ever expansive ambit. Before has occurred an unimpeded ascendancy by that greater region’s own youthful maritime era in the far west of Hellas, or the Greek Peninsula when known as The Great Land. There’s loss of our sense of an approaching zenith, the acme of the House of Cephalos, while too much about the learned and technocratic educations of both our young men has so far been past by. Suddenly, therefore, we’re becoming a bit too anachronistic by Mentor’s induced treatments of Scheria Island.

Too much of  ensuing content by the Master is boastful hearsay out of his  future years. About a happy past, it intersperses rather prurient divulgences of two young fellows at their insatiable love-lives as teenagers. We have the following from Mentör just for openers:

“Bring back those days that begun so soon that morning after our evening arrival to Scheria. How were we to know from the early bedtimes of all inhabitants of dia-Kassiophë’s summer compound and commune there what a teaming horde of lusty female guests lay randy and nigh rapaciously at wait of two lordly swains such as Odysseus and I. Or I should say of me alone. Not that we weren’t up to their challenge to our stamina, mind you. Nor was Odysseus ever expended by the solely singular invitation of the Meda Kassiophe to resume ardent relations. Rather, they became each other’s sole preoccupations. They dated the consortship that they had with each other from the last League Council [of 1272 BC].

Mostly unbeknownst to both of us, we were becoming separate men in so many respects. I was easy to succumb to any strong woman of authoritative and commanding ways – one or a few at a time, of course –, while he was solely and all for dia-Kassiophë at her self-indulgence of his manly stamina. Such, too, was his way of single-mindedness upon the best and most thorough satiation of herself. His boast was the regular and exquisite accomplishment of her ecstasy, in which he was full partner on account of her avid pleasuring of himself.

Mine was another boast, and the only one that can be so different at another extreme of fatuous self-indulgence. I played a field, a whole bevy, even if somewhat restricted to the highest born among them, thus no longer at dalliance of the many lowly handmaidens who then populated Ithaca, the Isle that had fostered me since my thirteenth year of age.”

Such boastful braggadocio echoes what their homeland chum Halitherses, a Seer, must declaim by an earlier Royal Chronicle, which rendered so well about the prima nocte intimacies of royally arranged marriages. Mentor applied such early learning to his bachelor assignations. Still, his lessons are too often in premise to how happily Mentor indulged the dia-Kassiophe’s courtly ensemble of women, all of highest peerage by Scheria’s traditions of greatly empowered women over manorial plantation demesnes vouchsafed them by legacy of arch-ancestresses.. For four mid-summers in a row Mentor became inured to their having their way with him, and he to the precepts required of him – of readiness, appetite and stamina upon the couch.

Odysseus won’t disappoint us, either, at his utterly indiscreet divulgences, duly taken down by Mentor at dictation, by the jots of the Master’s personal syllabary, Here, then, a brief example:

“I had thought, afterwards all the torrid tousling and moussing by the night of the League Council’s convention two years previous, that I could not ever hope to exceed its passionate indulgences. Never underestimate a supremely governing Meda, however, when intent upon her maternal aspirations. We were back in time and then present place as though in elision with that one and supposedly only time allowed us to be together. We were fresh, ardent and exhaustive at our wants of each other. Even at that, I only left her before that next sunrise out of felt proprieties observed for her sake, as a leading guest, even a principal, too, amidst that League Council. For even the wobbly kneed seafarer at too much toil by sea duty would have found her utterly irresistible under that next dawn’s radiance”…..

Strong words and overly boastful, too, it seems. And yet Odysseus, too, proved good for his word. Despite his mother the Dia’s needs and wants to anticipate nearing times and what he would have to decline of offerings by other lusty ladies at the top of the royal hierarchies tehn extant, he already had proven himself at love and nurture of any woman brought into a dependency upon him for great Love and Life.

In Outset

Accordingly, hereon a Bardot Blog and bold redaction, whereby I’ve glossed over most of the lusty diversions within the span of almost five summers for Odysseus, and four for Mentor. Conflated as mostly a common experience, almost to say of a single summertime repetitive of all of them – thus ever anew, as within one intense season –, the two friends assume separate yet convergent missions along the Near Seas’ northern maritime corridor. Mentör is being constantly distracted from him mission of audit as the surrogate of the Wanax Laërtes. Odysseus is alternating summer fortnights at coordinating the timber hauls off Ëpeiros of the mainland opposite to Scheria with the fortnights of fatuous indulgence in behalf of Kassiophë. That places them far above the familiar ambit in and about the Echinades Isles, before Odysseus’ resumption of obligatory autumn travels up and down the Great Gulf. By such refined redaction we’re also back and comfortably within times as they continued to unfold by rendition of the Fifth Royal Chronicle.

By the fourth summer per se, as it came to an autumn end. I’ll have Mentor reciting about the nearing fullest ascendancy of the House of Cephalos until 1265 BC. For then, I shall remind of that year, a new co-regency manifest of Cephallenia’s climb to preeminent sea power and, as said, standing as a recognized High Kingdom. That year effectively has ended both friends’ comings-of-age. That is where we are going — into their prime manhood years.

Still, it does not make  authentic biography about both our subject personages out of Early Greek Mythology. Nor does our process make a plausible prehistory of Scheria Island. I’ve tried yet again for good flow by the narrative pacing, through careful preservation of Mentor’s still ingenuous style that’s a grant to us of easy modern idiom and expression. Thereby his many mistakes at amateur rendition must amuse us still. They occur amidst all his other errant foibles, some most personal to himself yet also most instructive to ourselves, while yet other are writerly habitudes, at exposition of an overly candid and shamelessly indiscreet Odysseus. For our contemporary narrator is all awhile, and especially over those four years and summertimes, becoming a most adept minister and diplomat for his own nation race, the Highlanders. Just as he’s always been, in fact, while the fostered Ward-of-House under Laërtes’ tutelage,

Odysseus, by contrast, has matriculated from Master-of-House to become Fleetmaster upon the landfalls and slipways – wherever the several great shipworks of the League. whenever, that is, he was not voyaging about assiduously at his learning of navarchy. Too, while actively engaged at command of whole fleet deployments and the attendant logistics of coordinated supply by merchant ships’ sutlers and scout vessels at protective vigil or fleet escort, he serves in adjutancy to the Wanax and to First Commodore Lothröos of Taphia.

Let us progress, accordingly………

Ambits of the Great Sea Powers, 1300 BC, ff.

Making a Start

While I have deemed Mentor too speculative at most of his continuations beyond House Ascendant, I grant Mentor his excellent study of Scheria Island as an extension of his Archival Chronicles about Cephalos and his boon friends the Princes Erechtheid, aka the Erechtheid Commodores.

Still, I redact…….

The pleasant late summer of 1271 BC reunited the close friends Odysseus and Mentör. Long separated since the last autumn livestock transport season, a long wintertime naval recess afterwards intervening. That duration had Odysseus away amidst eastern powers in embassy for his father. The boon friends have now arrived to their middling teenage years, after both of them had matriculated from the famous school-at-arms of the Cheiron at Mount Pelion. They were about to undertake a summer mission together, and they were hopeful that it might prove open-ended as a promise made by Laërtes to their hostess upon Scheria Island.

A hope to come true, too:

It would linger over nearly four mid-summers, two or three intense months each, at deeply immersive activities near abroad of Scheria Island. Across from its north rise of volcanic massif, a headland above a sea passage, wondrous old growth forest stands grew upon an eastern vista of striated, low mountainous topography—where mainland Ëpeiros. Just within the farthest northern ambit of the Ithacan League, there operated inland the laborious extractions of timber fells.

Their annual tradition had begun with Odysseus’ grandfather Arceisius while a most industrious young man at the building of great galley warships. Such operations he’d achieved every mid-summer, followed by slow hauling of great logs by strings of yoked aurochs. Superbly prepared dry courses ran the bottoms of ravines and gulches. Every such peak season was embraced by the months around it, of course, first by extracting the recumbent huge logs off their prior year cuts of fell, and afterwards, by assembly of each huge timber for drags and flotations offshore. Each hot and torpid season ended with towing those great logs south to the shipworks that would carve them inwardly and so marvelously into dugout longboat hulls.

Mentor’s description of four whole summers’ worth of amalgamated learning and accomplishment ended the Master’s Fifth Archival Chronicle. I’ve drawn from Mentör’s experiences of those summers to redact them down to a single common experience, as though a single summer and one holistic experience of all four immersions patched purposely together. The collaboration of the two friends best expresses itself that way, regardless that the paramount sovereign experience for Odysseus would prove his comportment of his father’s navarchy, as an appointed proxy, while also at regular consummation of a consortship that had begun in 1272 BC with the last convocation of the League Council. Then his formal probation had begun as the Fleetmaster of the Ithacan League.

Afforded Mentör’s close company while those summers away from Ithaca, that Ward of Laërtes was at another service for the Wanax. He held all responsibilities of literacy and numeracy, thereby to perform as controller, at accountancy—summations if we will them to be such. He was charged to articulate into writ the exacting timber operations ongoing from earliest beginnings of new naval years upon the striated landscapes of the heritage fells. His mastery of writ would take him home to his royal clerisy by the autumn equinox, leaving Odysseus to detach himself from the most pleasant distractions of Scheria for the duties of the League’s Autumn Watch instead. It preceded the livestock transports off the Isles, which traveled down the Great Gulf (of Korinth) under the League’s convoy escorts.

Some of our readers shall recall how Odysseus’s told Fates came about through a prophecy by grant of the Oracle of Parnassos. While said to his father’s petition explicitly, it had foreordained warfare as replete his only son’s young prime years of manhood. And yet the times then were a Great Peace sustained since Odysseus’ birth in 1286 BC. Most certainly, Odysseus had complete faith in the told Fates — that the tranquility would end withal wartime obligations heaped upon himself—to prepare in all ways nearest and soonest possible full combativeness of the Ithacan League at naval warfare.

Introducing Scheria and the Hostess Governess Kassiophe

It helps just here to renew our immersion into a very far past so long ago.

At the League Counsel of 1272 BC the then fifteen year old Odysseus had taken to the carnal delights of his pleasuring of Kassiophë, the High Meda – Governess – of Scheria Island. Belying her age at quite a few years older than he was, he’d trysted most vigorously that sole supreme potentate over the House of Phaiax. Notwithstanding that was a patriarchal dynasty, Kassiophë was its hereditary matriarch. How? Why? That was due to a reversion of all temporal powers to the hierarchy beforetimes of High Matrons, who ruled over inalienable demesnes called manor plantation commonwealths.
Delighting in him, utterly determined upon all her wants of maternity by him, a festival occasion had proven her happiest respite from her lonely rule over the most isolated dominion of the Ithacan League. Even while so, she was the soul of an affinity to which her subordinate Medas adhered, all rural governess solely by oldest First Estate of Scheria. They earned the League Council’s greatest esteem because of the burgeoning prosperity of their constant nurture, albeit by commerce outreach of Scheria’s male Second Estate. The founder of House Phaiax had compelled the fostering of a Duopoly, whereas only the vast and still growing merchant marine of Scheria was vouchsafed to Phaiax’ established dynasty, on account of his traditional and most personal sense of a navarchy—always principled upon the rural agronomy that supported all naval and foreign affairs.
Despite the separation of First Estate of highest womanhood from its male counterpart of Second Estate, supreme sovereignty vested in the highest governance over the land; or, more exactly, the vast resources appurtenant to lands under a arch-ancestral heritages. It subsumed commoners of all villages, farming hamlets and outback stations at livestock husbandry and orchard tending. They were unanimous in their veneration of Kassiophë, as measured by all male populace that worked the heritage lands that best managed their own pursuits and avocations.
Now, too, Kassiophë was earning rewards in proof of her contentment with patience and sufferance of loneliness, at first while her pregnancy, afterwards on account of the pure delight in nurturing a splendid daughter’s infancy. Nearly eighteen months having passed since the late summer of 1272, she knew that Laërtes’ firm promise to herself was in keeping and  in support of her vast timber resources by mainland Ëpeiros. The promise, moreover, had come to realization as the person of his only son. Odysseus’ arrival to the Grottos, her pleasure seaside resort so well tucked into Scheria’s northwest steep palisades, made him for her a next happiness, another promise fulfilled, even another royal grant to end her long awaited expectations.
By a boon to Mentör, rather incidentally, she soon proved why she was that soul of affinity for the far off Medas, or Governesses of the Echinades Isles. They and Laërtes had made the Highlander their proxy, he having been charged with a full accountancy of what had been accomplished, and would be attained, by later summers in continuous homage to a new and most gracious hostess.
Now passingly stated, the following year had borne to Kassiophë by the siring of Odysseus Aretëgenaia [AHR-ah-tay-YEHN-yah]. Homer would name her Aretë, a name which meant in his far future days “excellence of person.” The earliest meaning, though, meant a confession, of a mother’s pride in the “excellence” of her child’s heritage birthrights, and, too, of the splendid eugenics by her most fortunate choice of sire. For Kassiophë had no doubts about the Fates that were steering Odysseus to his highest ascendancy over the west of Hellas. His teenage years had already attested well for his strongly alluring physical attributes, whereas his attained good comportment while conducting his appointed naval roles was obvious: It was reflected in the obvious respect and affection that his crews brought ashore and exhibited so dutifully towards him while her guests.

Take early heed here, however:
Kassiophë should not surprise us that her every royal child by him could, would and did retain anonymous paternity. Most all matriarchal dominions then extant named highest born children after their mothers, thus matronymically. They’d never be addressed by the patronymics of their fathers.
Kassiophë was, besides, a clever woman of considerable guile. She knew how to abide her time as proper to the opportunities that her delightful little girl would most likely afford her. The ruddy haired little tot said everything about her sire’s good looks, whereas her infant agility imparted what her father could also gift to all his progeny by Kassiophe. On that account, Mentör makes emphatic, Aretë was likely going to become a highly prized bride, a high princess nearly equal to Odysseus’ sister Ktimenë.
Mother and daughter also perpetuated two most famous forefathers whose paternal and maternal lineages originated in Attica.
Not that we know much about either genealogy, whether from Mentör by his sleuthing or from other respected sources in Antiquity. Homer would have us believe that his fantastic people the Phaeacians were seaborne and adrift a dream-state seascape afar, a wonderland of civilized elite denizens that had mostly to do with equally elite wandering seafarers and the greatest ships ever built, or sailed or rowed. Their ships rode waves that combed a Halcyon sea, by days upon days of temperate climes, much as though skimmer birds that soar under the lowest ethers and wave crests to snatch up minnow fish in their beaks at easiest sustenance of themselves.
to be continued…….


for the Bardot Group, from Westhampton, Long Island

168th Bardot Blog: Medea & the PreClassical Tradition of Mythic Literature & Interpretation

A Young Irene Pappas in the dramatic role of Medeia

Most regular readers of these Bardot Blog postings can’t readily appreciate the prehistoric syntheses that alienate the Bardot Group from the subject tradition of scholarship and literary interpretation. Long offered by Classic Studies Academia, prior ages of the derivative literature, we find, renders it at least obsolescent, and best deemed now obsolete.

From time to time we assert anew that alienation, most vociferously so with respect to subject mythic personages that have a truly special luster, fame and notoriety from our farthest pasts. For we consider them to have been real persons by Early Greek Mythology. Such opera had them right biographically, howsoever sparely, and they are still our best sources of the historicity inherent the origination of Greece’s most famous mythic sagas and the robust offshoots of brilliant interpretation that they have induced.

Medea, whom we insistently spell Medeia [Meh-DAY-ah] after the Ancient Greek manner — by contrast, that is to her Latinized Greek by the Erasmian spelling — is just such a famous personage who lived to great glory during her early lifetime, but also to greatest condemnation before she had a chance to prove as famous as a leading governess over Ephyrea, the precursor region to Corinth/Korinthos and Megara/Megaris. What amazed all Greeks living from the 1st millennium BC onward, considering her truly hideous blood crimes against sovereign men, was how her blood crimes wrought her neither ire nor harsh redress from the Gods and Goddesses of any paramountcy in her lifetime. Even her mortal contemporaries, who adjudicated those capital crimes, reasoned properly that she should be exonerated after weighing the causes and benefits to her fellow humankind in performing singularly for their benefit. Those who perceived her a savior from tyranny, or worst oppression, saw her as a font of severest redress against the vile machinations of cruel and wicked men. Her blooded victims were proven mostly upstart, vaunting and presumptuous. They reckoned that they would never be punished – not ever ! — by their fellow mortals. Those who were saved from such miscreants also learned to admire the manner and method by which she dealt out a proper and yet severest justice whether approved or disapproved by “the Deities.”

The motive for this and a next series of postings is another artsy-fartsy book in the PreClassical Tradition of Greek Mythography. It’s a stupid and silly work that has earned an important book review from Mary Beard, a most respected classicist and most greatly praised contemporary Latinist. Being well versed in Roman Classical Mythology and its own mythography (by Ovid, Vergil and others nearly as famous), the Bardot Group takes no umbrage that she saw fit to afford her own sense of Medeia to prospective readers of inept makers of legend out of earliest historical period Greek Literature & Culture.

An Offensive Book in the PreClassical Tradition

        The cover nearby of the book by David Vann is as dark as its portrayal of Medeia within its covers. This makes it typical of the mythography by the Ancient Greeks and Romans,  wherein Medeia is a demi-goddess and high priestess of Hekate, “the Dark Sorceress at the Darkest Arts.” An imitator, he points up just how bad those Greeks were at writing about their illustrious forbears during the Bronze Age centuries of early Greece. We wonder that Vann appraises the mythographers that lived over four centuries later competent at their mythic subjects, even as he himself effaces them as real, even minimally plausible persons.

Vann begins his book with the flight of Jason and Medeia from Colchis, a region rich in gold at the far end of the Black (a/o Euxine) Sea. First in appearance in the stern of the Argo, Medeia crouches terrified, mean and nasty over her father Aietes, to whom she has several times amputated the corpse of her brother Prince Apsyrtus, as a means of halting a dreaded pursuit by superior ships.  That vanguard of chasing ships launched by her father Aietes halts to pick up the floating amputations — just the first of the many irrationalities that Vann respects from his source mythographer, Apollonius of Rhodes, and his Argonautica. Thus we must first discover of the imagined far east of the oldest Greeks the stupid and tactically inept denizens whom they regard barbarian. For wouldn’t any ship that found a floating hunk of the butchered Prince wave past his companion ships, ever forward and ahead in continuance of a chase, all awhile the directions from Aietes, presumably from far astern of a whole pursuit fleet? That way, Medeia’s ship, the Argo, would be under a relentless press of pursuit, to exhaust the fabulous crew that manned her.

Alas, most readers of this polemic book review must be made aware of the source of all that Vann has about Medeia and Jason, with respect to a most implausible feat of literature at its very best, that being the Argonautica, by Apollonius of Rhodes, written in the 3rd century AD. Very poorly received in its own time, that epic poet’s critics “laughed him out of the School of Alexandria,” the once intellectual center of the Hellenistic Period’s literati.

His epic work aside, Apollonius pioneered a literary motif in much use by the School, perhaps even at over-use ever since, especially by English novelists of our most recent eras of high literature. Called the “interior monologue,” Vann makes enormous his own utilization of the motif while quite ignoring altogether the historicity or prehistoric content that once was inherent  Apollonius’ own authoritative sources by which could be known, thus well remembered, about Jason and Medeia. The Bardot Group, moreover, has always taken greatest distress over books based upon classical mythological content that ignore entirely the great reform that Robert Graves brought to those subject persons by the Classical Greek Mythology. For his classical dictionary of myths and their sources led him and other mythographers since WWII to an alternative interpretation from Vann’s. Too obviously a trained adherent of the PreClassical School and Tradition, he ignores that Aietes and Medeia were denizens of the delta formed by the Eridanus (Po) River of Italy. He was Greek, albeit a Sun Worshipper and putatively a demigod as born to his sire Helios Hyperion off the lap of the comely Oceanidae Perseis, a Titaness out of the Oldest Greek Beliefs in Ocean and Tethys. Medeia was also the niece of her father’s sisters, one of whom, Pasiphae, became the Wanassa of the imperial Cretans and wife of the Last Minos by the House of Minos, whereas the other was one of several illustrious Cirkes, a luminary sorceress out of the cult tradition of the Goddess Hekate, a goddess popular among the earliest known Ionic Greeks (by Kadmeis/Thebes, the Isthmus and Attica).

The book makes clear that Vann has no knowledge of this necessary homework. Or he commits a greatest crime of intellectual dishonesty to have ignored what he must have learned. It makes him an incredulous poseur.

Just what does the PreClassical Tradition entail? There are no cardinal rules of reckoning, but the rules attached to the preclassic credo creates such dishonesty even today. It thrives amidst our ahistorical novelists, blinders-on humanities adherents and pseudo social scientists who presume that they’re somehow prehistorians.

The Tenets

(1) That Greek mythographers of the oldest historical periods are the most reliable sources upon which to rely, for having lived closest to the imputed times, all dates uncertain, of the mythical and prehistorical settings wherein the greatest personages that once populated them.

(2) That Greek sources of mythography are also the best upon which to rely because only the surviving works of greatest literature met all the contemporary tests of censorship and highly promoted revisionism that made fools of Renaissance and later classical studies periods of Scholars of Antiquity.

(3) That a fusion of recitative opera by Early, Classical and Roman Classical Mythologies, each of them with respect to their greatest works of mythic interpretation, allow whole anthologies  of mythic opera that conform to the rules of naming by Erasmus, whereby all place settings and names of personages take his orthography a/o spellings. That allows erasure of the Greek orthography for all the constituent opera. Thus Medea, a Latinized Greek name, must always be written instead of Medeia, the only accurate orthography awhile reciting the heroine’s name correctly.

(4)That the Ancient Greeks and the Roman Literati had no sure reckoning of dating does not militate against them as sources, even when using dates haphazardly from any periods of prehistory that they wished to conjure. In no way, that is, does that dating illiteracy besmirch the addiced authentic accounts of the oldest mythic sagas or the renditions at epic length as drawn earliest from Homer and Hesiod.

(5) That Greek history, accordingly, began with Homer’s two masterpiece epics of the 8th century BC, to which Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days were added as authoritative history of Greek religion sometime within the middle of the 7th century. Greek acculturation began with both those Masters, despite the allusions, by Homer in particular, that he was greatly owing to a Great Oral Tradition that long preceded his lifetime, (now estimated as middle 8th century to the first quarter, perhaps beyond, of the 7th century BC).

A Good Start by Shanower

(6)That the Trojan Saga, a composite of eight epic recitations, is the only true account of a great conflict that might be fictitious or not. The best way to know this particular Traditionalist creed is to buy Eric Shanower’s illustrated series of the Saga, Age of Bronze, from its beginning to its end of all major personages illustrated. Nonetheless, the Bardot Group stands in proof opposite that the war was a real war of Greek prehistory, because fought between philHellenic Troias, a feudatory of imperial Hattic Anatolia, and two major coalitions of Greeks, Danaans and Argives, who fought for contradictory ends and ambitions, some wholly besides the ultimate recapture of Helen.

(7) That the only relevant religion of the Greece was that finally shaped into the Olympian Pantheon, to which the Roman Pantheon stood in parallel. The former, by long evolution, became an orthodox polytheism in the late Lyric Age, 6th century BC, as reinforced through dramatic enactments, all carefully judged, that became the masterpiece Classical Greek Dramas of the 5th century BC.

(8)That the oldest names by their pronunciations, once transliterated into alphabetic script since the 8th century BC, cannot prove a correct orthography that’s anyway definitive of how their persons were actually called or addressed. So, too, for place names, howsoever large or small of geography, even those brought to most frequent mention by the earliest alphabetic writ. So, accordingly, the names of personages, and any toponym of ancient places, are a cardinal orthography of the PreClassical Tradition whether drawn from oldest Greek epic, or from Latin take-offs utilizing Erasmian or Latinized Greek.

Allow here, that the Bardot Group for whom I write is agreeable solely to that Eighth Rule aforementioned. It remains cardinal in absence of plausible philological alternatives. All the other seven rules, alas, have different degrees of absurdity, because there have always been extremely well-educated Greeks and Romans who really knew the earliest and  original mythology, all of which was recitative, even if there contemporary bards and.or mythographers fell well short of preserving the accuracy and prehistoric authenticity of accurately reiterated, original sources, taught by pedagogues.

So listed and briefly remarked, we return to Vann’s “interior monologues” by Medeia and what they bring forth to us about what her world composed or was “felt” by her to have been at  a precocious age of fifteen years old.

A Woman Obsessed with Introspection

It takes very few pages for Medeia to emerge as hideously a father hater, while also become self-centered, a conceited sorceress, and a gross manipulator of her overly superstitious contemporaries. She has early notions that she’s well-fated to become a King-Killer, especially of kings who have no graced ancestry or high pedigree by royal succession, and who fail, therefore, stature as the first of their patriarchy dynasty. There is no room for dynastic or sacral matriarchy in Medeia’s youthful mind, even though we know her mother Idyia was by that tradition of oligarchic governance. Medeia has no aspirations, therefore, to become a matriarch of any greatest possibility, or as she would well-fated to become over her mother’s Ephyreans. This kind of innate repudiation, too, is propensity of the PreClassical Tradition, to deny, and thus to obliterate, the Silver Age of Humankind that Hesiod recited and attributed to a long lost era of Matriarchy. The Tradition also disdains the classic observation of the historian Diodoros, who says, “Once we were all named after our mothers and often knew not our fathers’.” Accordingly, the tradition has never admitted of royal and sacral born bastards who were deemed entirely licit by their mothers and their loyal subjects.

The first half of the book has Medeia constantly introspective about where she stands in any world hierarchy of ranked personages, to whom she naturally belongs. She’s mostly highly introverted otherwise at beholding what the future betides for herself and her chosen closest associates — Jason performing as one solely for her convenience to get way from Colchis forever.. Vann has Medeia right in one respect, though, and at that I gladly grant him, that his Medeia has not a whit of prescience, reasoned anticipation of where developments lead or mantic gifts and capacities. Her world is opaque, insusceptible to readings of omens and signs. None of the Argonauts have those gifts of foresight either, Her mind doesn’t regulate her thoughts allegorically; that left me wondering whether and how Vann can produce a heroine who was famous as most capable of eavesdropping, for gathering highly secret intelligence or for sleuthing out plots brilliantly before they could be hatched. Those are gifts of the utterly unprescient. That omission, which I thought would be fulfilled, proved my only fall back upon any suspense that I might have gained from the book.

It had not been satisfied by Vann after he has taken Jason, Medeia and the Argonauts down the Hellespont and thus finally fully escaped from Aietes. I only realized that many pages at accomplishment by intuiting that the butchered corpse of Apsyrtus could no longer be stinking on the poop deck of the Argo. I guess there finally was some thoughtful soul of an Argonaut who dispensed with the bodily remains, because, it seemed, the torso and hips proved no longer useful or needed as some juncture.

The Return to Iolkos

Some suspense finally instilled the book by this famous phase of the epic story. Beginning at Page 283 out of the 416   that compose the whole book. By then we have earned some inklings of the more robust legacies bequeathed Medeia from her mostly unknown and yet knowable mother Idyia, and by her pedigree to have been directly descended from Helios/Hyperion on her father’s side. Next she confronts Jason’s pedigree by a late weakling father, Aeson, and discerns that his uncle, Pelias, is a usurper over an undistinguished patron clan that holds easy tyranny over Jason’s would-be subjects, the Iolkans. Grant Vann at last some intellectual curiosity to have found that the Iolkans were utterly lacking in maritime commerce and tradition, and that it was preposterous that Jason would have ever given it to them by the voyage of the Argo.

As he conveys that honesty, Pelias has no interest in advancing his realm among humankind for any posterity that could prove him legitimate as a usurper. Having sent Jason away on a major and perilous errand, he makes no fame for Iolkos by subjecting Jason and Medeia to slavery for six years. A proper book reviewer would not mention that fact. But I have to, because Vann is in a very big hurry to have Medeia gain full vengeance upon her enslaver Pelias. The rest of the book is about how she does so, and yet his is hardly the best mythography that can be written about how she won herself the exquisite delight of a perfect crime, just the first of many that know about Medeia at her still early age of 21 years old. For her second perfect murder ends the book, and shouldn’t count as such because Vann has it occurring at Corinth where Kreon is king over the Isthmians. In Early Greek Mythology, we explain. Kreon was the force retired regent over the High Kingdom of Kadmeis, as deposed by the remarriage of his preeminent sister Iocasta to Oedipus, the son of her late husband Laius, who was her new husband’s sire.

The machinations by aftermath to a flight from Iolkos, which soon has Medeia shunned as a cause of Jason “won abdication,” result from her reasonable compulsion to overcome the weak bully Jason, who so immediately begins to tryst with Kreon’s daughter Gaulke amidst the high city AcroKorinth of the Isthmus. No mention or realization of Vann, therefore, that her saga has Medeia earning supremacy over the theocratic matriarchy that Ephyrea once was in the 14th century BC, as a realm in whom her mother had an illustrious pedigree. No matter, the author wants us to know why Medeia found it quite easy to murder her two puling children, especially the youngest, while dispatching Kreon and Glauke to oblivion and Jason to ignominy. Believe me, he makes a mess of it all, to my wonderment that Mary Beard, who seems to appreciate his writing style (at least) volunteered her important review of Vann’s opus.

I can only guess that she found a book about Medeia too tempting a heroine of Antiquity to overlook, and once she had read it and found it’s grievous faults, found it easy enough to claim the book for some kind of recognition of the rehash its purports to be.

My Admitted Biases

I admit to have given Medeia considerable study. I know a lot about her saga with respect to what Vann has covered in his book. My published mythography about Medeia, however, concerns the period of her youth and lifetime as a refugee from Ephyrea at an age about 28 or 29 years old, or just upon the impending lapse of her marriage to Jason. For they formally married at last, after “running on the lamb,” but not in any manner that Vann describes. The marriage contracted was a sacramental wedlock of term, for a Great Year of 100 solar months, which spanned from her age 21 to 28, possibly into 29 years old. Accordingly, at that last age she became a suppliant to King Aegeus over Attica. Without any seduction on her part, she soon became his beloved consort mistress. She bore him a son Medeios circa 1370 BC, for which most wanted and blessed conception he made her his wife and queen consort over the Atticans.

Those storied years are my means to explain the greater complexity of her flight from Jason and Ephyrea with considerable assistance, with gratitude for a great deed, which Medeia performed singularly, by foiling a plot of invasion of the Isthmus. Despite the bloody trail of her causation, my book in which this story is featured early explain why and how she was exonerated and absolved for her blood crimes from capital redress.

I shall have more to say about my book as it draws close to its impending release this year. Or, better yet, I shall emend this posting’s ending by expanding on what I’ve said so briefly of its early contents.

for the Bardot Group

 

167th Bardot Blog: Helen’s Anatolian Epoch: Third Phase — A High Queen Debased

In our last posting we established the thread of plot that’s alternative to that which has become canonical by Homer’s The Iliad. So we’ll describe how the Trojan War virtually ended with a 9th campaign year and almost a 10th. But we have a caveat: Homeric Scholars always take the 8th campaign year that we featured in the last Bardot Blog posting as the ninth year of the Trojan War. That it most certainly was not.

Here below is a listing of the campaign years of the Trojan War, by the numbers, and how they infer that the Trojan War had almost an eleven year duration, or was, as most think, a ten year duration of hostilities as the so-called “Eastern Conflicts” were contemporaneously known……

First Aulis, 1230, and First Blockade: An aborted mobilization and failed invasion of Troias by Agamemnon & Palamedes. A successful naval sweep of the western Anatolian coast.

Second Aulis, 1231: Encirclement Blockade of Troias became almost complete as far as MesoPontos a/o the Sea of Marmara. Stalled mobilization of all other expeditionary forces at Aulis except for the Cephallenes, first blockade Highlanders, Lakonians and Minyans under Achilles. Invasion in late summer, complete to all expeditionary forces and reserves as settled along and behind Scamander and Bezikos Bays.

First Full Campaign Year: Blockade of Troias complete. Fortress Ilion has been abandoned by the royal House of Laomedon. Settlements upon Scamander Bay are for extensive naval forays of depredation to thwart cohesion of Trojan alliances. City Troy’s outskirts are destroyed or occupied; and all inhabitants take refuge behind Ilion’s fortress ramparts. They are not besieged until the end of the Eighth Eastern Campaign.

Second Full Campaign Year: A year mostly away from Fortress Ilion and spent upon depredations of Troias’ foremost Allies.

Third Full Campaign Year: Successful reliefs occur rarely but amply, and usually brilliantly by penetrations of Hektor and Polydamas as Trojan commanders in chief. The Dardanians under Aeneas and the House of Asarakos finally join the war to prevent Greek invasion of the Seha River Lands (Mysia and Lydia as later known). Despoliations by the Argives are consistently unrewarding of hireling followings, and even costly to the Argives themselves. Aeneas reverses them constantly. Truly successful Greek depredations occur for Odysseus’ Cephallenes, for the Minyans under Achilles and other north mainlanders, and for the Coalition of Danaan expeditionary forces in particular. Menelaos pacifies and commingles his Highlanders with the western Anatolians, while converting earliest concentration compounding (of all surrendered males) to domestic service cooperatives of indenture captives. By these liberties the captives support whole families of fellow refugees everywhere at their self-sustenance. A most successful martial occupation ensues over all subsequent campaign years.

Fourth Full Campaign Year: Menelaos, Ajax and Teukros subdue the Seha River Lands and offer themselves in liege to the imperial Hatti for the purposes of a martial occupation governed from Karia, or Milliwanda. Despite successful depredations by the Danaan Coalition of expeditionary forces, the Argives and their Peloponnesians fail for the incompetency of Palamedes at logistical support. They have to resort to piracy to support themselves off the Greek Archipelago and few neutral coastal High Kingdoms along the Anatol. That proves costly, because all other Greek refuse to abet them at scourge. The year ends with Agamemnon fully retreated to Scamander Bay, where he demands an unearned and disproportionate share of the Danaan winnings. That causes a rupture of the entire Order of Helen in so far as the supreme command is concerned. Menelaos, apart that imbroglio, remains totally successful at his blockade. But he loses his foremost adjutant Highlander at command – Mentor son-of-Alkimos – to an ambush and relief effort by Alexander and his Wilusans. Direly wounded, he has to retire his major assistance of Menelaos and the Highlanders.

Fifth Full Campaign Year: Forays at search and discovery of the royal family members and their warlord retainers of highest nobility bring off considerable attrition of both. Otherwise the war effort lacks central focus and strategy, and most initiatives are desultory. Parlay continues towards a foreshortening of the War but to no avail. The Greek supreme command is left mostly ignored and on its own while Agamemnon’s manifest greed and ineffectuality at leading offensives persist. Enormous numbers of captives taken this year and the next require their transport in mass to the homeland sponsors, for basically unwanted needs of labor, howsoever in support of their burgeoning agronomies. There is tremendous war remuneration brought home otherwise, until only the Argives of the Peloponnesus are noticeably deprived of rewards taken by others.

Sixth Full Campaign Year: Ruthless warfare at slow attrition of the Trojan royalty, its allied high peerage and general nobility continues. All fifteen of the Tröad Kingdoms are reduced or despoiled of their reserve strengths. Karia/Millawanda finally is forced to join in the warfare for the Trojans. Their merchant naval strength turns predatory upon the convoys of resupply and reinforcements of the Greeks. The year ends with a central focus upon punishing all of the Trojan support from the satellite high kingdoms of the imperial Hatti.

Seventh Full Campaign Year: Managing the enormous war economy attendant to lucrative hostilities become a full time employment of the supreme command that’s actually winning the Trojan War. Reducing the Trojan allies both new and most recent, leads to a major autumn invasion of Fortress Harbor Miletos and the Meandros River Valley. A bold and exceedingly brilliant method of penetrating the Low and High City causes a capitulation of the city fortress occupants. As soon surrendered, however, and while removing the spoils from the successfully invested city, a vast Hatti armada is espied oncoming from the south. Determined upon the Greek naval besiegers under Agamemnon, Palamedes, Idomeneos and Odysseus, the vacancy of the city aborts in order to take on that naval force. The Argive supreme commanders flee while they can, so cravenly, in fact, that they leave their greater naval force abandoned within the confines of Miletos difficult approaches by sea. Odysseus musters a defensive sea battle through a sally that causes the enemy armada to swerve off and away. Then, however, the worst possible scenario is presented Idomeneos and himself as the armada makes clear to cross the Aegean and assail the homeland coastal powers of the Greeks. Indeed, the armada reveals a strategy to plunder the Greek Peninsula, and then to winter over all ships in far western retreats apt to that recourse. The armada shall await springtime to devastate and plunder the homeland systematically upon their return by crossing to Anatolia.

Eighth Campaign Year: It began late – in early summer– as all naval forces formed into a tactical cordon of reception, full defense against the expected deployment of the Hatti naval armada. Knowing it oncoming, or even so, the armada was surprisingly unsuccessful at penetrating all gulfs along the southern Greek Peninsula. Instead, that strength converged into parallel defiles of all best warships as purposed to pierce their ways through the Mid-Sea Isles (The Cyclades). The armada meant to sweep western Anatolia of all enemy navies at blockades of maritime commerce. Agamemnon and Palamedes had been demoted from supreme command—another reason for the tardy beginning of this campaign year. The idle Argive navies and expeditionary contingents simmered with resentment along Scamander Bay, but most of their allies had deserted them in order to be into the main fighting under Achilles (over Horse and Foot), and Odysseus at navarchy over all allied battle commodores and their now concerted navies. That Wanax of the Cephallenes manages to stage a great sea battle off Amorgos Island, by awaiting there in main force during early springtime, awhile his several adjutant battle commodores served their navies as bait deployed further west, thereby to steer deployment of Enemy upon waters that Odysseus has rendered most advantageous.

The sea battle was waged at huge cost to the Cephallenes and their constituent Far Fleets, but the losses to Enemy were nigh total as far as any ability to fight on the offense ever again. No sooner than the toll of naval warfare been tallied, however, than land expeditionary forces were compelled to a major field of battle upon Scamander Plain of Ilion. The Hatti allied might had penetrated all blockades of the Highlanders under Menelaos through brilliant subterfuge that has been disputed by prehistorians ever since. The Bardot Group takes the full envelopment of the Greeks as the battle which Homer put to allegory as the wrath of Achilles against Agamemnon, whereby he refuse to fight and longer in league with the incompetent supreme commander. Incorrigibly overweening without the scolding of Achilles, Agamemnon made a grand show of his ineffectual might until confronted by imperial support of Troias from all high kingdom in concert. This is also the battle that killed Hektor before the campaign year had ended. Our position has been that the ultimate success of the embattled Greeks, because so well rallied by all the young kings and princes over the defensive expeditionary forces.

This was to mean, as well, a virtual end of the Trojan War in this campaign year, supposed the 9th year as measured from First Aulis in 1230 BC.

The Ninth Full Campaign Year: Both Troias and the Order of Helen by the Greeks were both exhausted. Covert channels used to probe the possibilities of a general armistice had been constant over all campaign years. Now they resumed most ineffectually owing to the Argives refusal to end the war without a sacking of Fortress Ramparts Ilion to avenge all the years that had so greatly shamed them (except, that is, for High King Diomedes of the Argolis and Great Prince Sthenelos over the Argive cattle lands Piedmont. The main principals to induce truce had been Odysseus under proxy for Menelaos and King Antenor of High Ida as the plenipotentiary for Priam and all of the Tröad Kingdoms that composed the High Kingdom of Troias. Now, while the fighting had swung irrevocably over to Greeks, they had to besiege Fortress Ilion while being constantly outflanked by laggard imperial allies who kept showing up to pester all efforts to breach the fortress walls. Siege per se became tantamount a stalemate, even after hector had been slain. In this campaign year, Philoktetes was able to snipe Alexander upon a parapet overlook with an perfectly aimed arrow, Odysseus covering him with a long shield while the archer’s stance to the knock of the arrow to his bow and patience at taking careful aim while exposed. Following the death of “Paris,” so too a failed rescue mission of the Amazons under their Queen Penthesileia. Achilles slaughtered her and her entire force readily, but his success was followed immediately by his own death. While scrambling over the ruined north wall of the citadel Pergamon, he was struck by a spear to his ankle and tendon, which soon festered and caused him to die of blood clots by phlebitis after many days of tortuous agony. The late autumn of this calamitous reversal allowed the Greek no more endeavor than to complete a sapping tunnel. This they defended throughout the wintertime that followed.

The Tenth & Partial Last Campaign Year: The end of the Trojan War would manifest a covert penetration into the high city Pergamon by means that the Trojans themselves couldn’t discover until too late. Odysseus and Menelaos by then had decided to save the royalty and high peerage of the Trojans. The Trojan Horse was actually an engineered bulky apparatus, a wheeled and armored “Turtle.” Caused to slip into the tunnel, ladders could be raised from its shell, when fully inside the outer north wall. Its edifice had been constructed as entirely new masonry braced against the old north wall that had been overly weaken by earthquake circa1300 BC, during the times, that is, of Laomedon’s reign. The sappers in elite force were allowed to climb the ladders and up the interstices between the two parapet walls, oldest and newest since 1300. The saved, however, such Trojan men as had always stood against the hostilities from the very beginning, along with young and old women such as Theano, Kassandra, Kreousa and Polyxena. Aeneas and Antenor were foremost among those men, but neither of them could save the royal women mentioned. They fell to rapine and capture, although a few sought refuge under the fortress ramparts, which were caused to collapse in their entirety under a sapping in the form of immolation. Accordingly, the High City, the Pergamon, was never ruined or leveled, whereas the entire fortress perimeter was fired to utter collapse and destruction. The cost in human life was owing to the panic and haste of so many Trojans at seeking the ramparts as their last recourse, which it veritably was, because no effective recourse to any safety whatsoever.

Helen under Siege

While it’s a matter of speculation how long Helen acted as the High Queen over the Wilusans, the Bardot Group adjudges the duration from the Fourth Campaign Year through the autumn of the Eighth. Contrary to Homer’s epic assertions, we believe it highly unlikely that Helen stood witness upon the ramparts of fortress Ilion over the slaying of Hektor by Achilles. She most definitely was resident within the High City and citadel Pergamon by the Ninth Campaign Year, when she lost Alexander to an arrow sent through his gorge by Philoktetes, the famous Oechalian archer.

There remains as well as utterly speculative whether (1) Helen bore him any children, or (2) having conceived them, whether all of them died, as alleged by other Greek mythographers, as crushed under an earthquake—while still in residence of the capital seat over Wilusas. What seems certain, nevertheless, is the complete downfall of her regal status as Alexander’s widow. So greatly was she reduced that she was compelled to become a consort mistress, or remarried to the Trojan High Prince Deiphobos. While he survived briefly to become the sole heir apparent to Priam after the deaths of his brothers Hektor and Alexander, he has been sullied for his alleged debasement of Helen, or for being at cause of her debasing herself as traitorous to the Greeks so valiant at attempts to recapture her and save her from doom.

The entire atmosphere within Fortress Ilion by 1221 BC was that of a besieged and oppressed city populace. However, it also is our confident reckoning that several rescue plans to save the Trojans, while either aborted or rendered futile at repulsing the Greek expeditionary forces, forced an oppressive stalemate upon both opponent forces. The genuine incompetence of Agamemnon over all Argive forces must be blamed, especially after Phoenix over the Minyans/Myrmidons could not replace the war genius and tactics of the dead Great Prince Achilles. The youthful supreme command under the popular and respected Minos of Crete Idomeneos continued to dominate all sea girting Ilion and everywhere else of Troias, Menelaos’ successful blockading and rearguard command over Helen’s Highlanders, the Lakonians and expeditionary forces of her former suitors were despondent over a war that was capturing them within a foreign land a war objective.

Meanwhile Helen lived a life of a debased woman.

How the Trojan War Peetered Out

Our sense of the prehistory that ended the Trojan War was that of a culmination, that to award all Trojans that had always sought to prevent the hostilities in the first place and afterwards. Their abettors were the likes of Odysseus, for sure, by Diomedes, perhaps, and by Phoenix and the Minyan high command. Odysseus did not subject himself to the ruse of the Trojan Horse. He did mastermind the conversion of “a siege engine” into a sturdily designed canopy that appeared alike a squat turtle set upon wheels. This wheeled sapping device allowed penetration of the Pergamon’s refurbished north wall foundations by an undermining of sufficient depth and length inward to have the old inner wall scaled by armed infiltrators. Odysseus intended to force a capitulation of his longstanding friends, all of them earned since the failed treated peace attempted in 1232/31 BC. His hope was to remove the acknowledged favorites among the elite occupants of the Pergamon. He’d remove them to safety by bringing them down the embankment of the fortress, at above the Simöis River and marshes.

Then, once the removals of those justly deserving of mercy from any siege sacking, all commands concerted full force to scale and then have the run of the entire interior of Fortress Ilion outside the bastion walls of the Pergamon. All companies of warriors were let loose as rapidly and as expeditiously as possible afterwards. Odysseus failed at most attempts to save his personal favorites, e.g. Great Lord Antenor, Princess Kassandra, Prince & Priest Helenos, and High Princess Kreousa. Aeneas and Andromache managed to find a tunnel outlet, essentially a warehousing conduit under the walls, by which to exit the fortress beyond the ramparts. Aeneas led to safety many Trojans who would become the founding settlers of a New Dardania. They would settle around the Pergamon after the immolation and collapse perforce of all the fortress ramparts, their outbuildings and troop barracks, All such constructs were leveled to ash.

Essential to our premise of a surviving bastion, or high city, is the partial, perhaps even most part salvation of the edifice Pergamon over the core edifice, Troy Level III. Greatly rehabilitated circa 1270 BC (per Latest Dating Method), holy relics and important royal artifacts were taken away, all else despoiled mostly lesser chattels or utilitarian articles. There were sufficient preserved interiors and ceilings, moreover, to rehabilitate the Pergamon from even a minor sacking. The whole edifice would survive restored and kept intact afterwards until well into the Late Tröadic Period IIIC – and likely until much later, into the brief Tröadic Dark Age of northwest Anatolia. It finally fell to a massive earthquake during historical times, after which the Romans scraped away the immense amount of rubble to build Troy Level X along neo-classical lines of redesign.

Alexander the Great likely saw the Pergamon still standing, even as naked of any surviving rampart surrounds (with the possible exception of Great Lord Antenor’s mansion residency, in the NNE “quadrant” of the former fortress interior). The success of the surviving and former high city was that of the New Dardanians under Aeneas and his House of Assarakos and his ability to draw to himself the fealty of his many former enemies, the Highlanders, from the deep interior verges of Ilion and Old Dardania. These warriors had served at blockade around Ilion for ten years, having taken native born wives subjected to their benign martial occupation(s). They resettled Ilion under the directions of Menelaos for several months after his recapture of Helen. His supervision, at least mercy albeit, was served the citizenry that had fled wasted City Troy in 1230/29 BC. There was ample populace in 1220 for a successful, albeit subsistence level of habitation. Most certainly it wasn’t all about squatters making meager existence by hutments built over a rubble center core of a bastion.

Helen Regained and Restored

Restored to Menelaos, the war aftermath phase of Helen’s now robust lifetime in Anatolia is obfuscated by the wholly fictitious Trojan War Saga, Composed to recitals by the Greeks rhapsodists living after the 12th century BC, their complied saga posits a failed return to Lakonia by Menelaos and Helen. They were compelled by a stormy and circuitous return to land upon the Delta of the Nile River, where their supplication to a king who had no semblance or way of an Egyptian pharaonic existence. Despite the exceedingly long reign of Rameses II, 1265 to 1200 BC, our most famous Greek couple never had any access to his majestic imperial court. The more likely events of this aftermath to war was Menelaos careful measures to see her loyal subjects home, or well retired instead upon the coastal plains of Anatolia—including the vast extents of broad river valleys wending deep inland from their debouches upon the Aegean Sea. Understand, moreover, that his supporting navies under Idomeneos, Phoenix and Odysseus had swept away all pirates and marauders from their squatting grounds and coastal haunts. Fully rubbed out, even surrendered prisoners to the Greeks were liberated sufficiently during the warfare to undertake new coastal homesteads, farms and fields as rendered vacant of constant and,or periodic visitations of scourge. In evidence of this one truly benign consequence of the Trojan War, and despite that the Hatti empire fell into ruins by 1200 BC, the refugee yeomanry from the interior blockades found immense boon in building the agronomy of the several former high kingdoms along the Aegean Sea. From the devastation and depredation emerged long period of tranquility, until 1150 BC at least.

Finally Helen took ship with her husband and returned to Lakonia. Homer posits their next existence as mostly owing to a patriarchal Menelaos as a Great Wanax over Argolis, inclusive the former feudatory realms of Lakonia and Andania. They never took up the royal residency called the Heights that was built for them by the Mantinian Highlanders at somewhere nearby to Tegea of later Arkadia. That extensive royal compound was gifted to Helen’s sister Timandra and her Highlander husband, Echemos of Arkadia. They had governed well for Helen in proxy, particularly throughout the alpine Peloponnesus and its mountainous shoulders by the Pholöë and Treton Mountains. Sufficient for Helen as restored to her daughter Hermionë was the sacred palace and precincts of Amyklai. The realm vouchsafed to that temporary capital seat was the entirety of the highlanders along and above the midriff mountain range of the Peloponnesus called the Amykais. Helen and Menelaos resided there until there was built a new palace compound of considerable opulence upon display. That residency became the site of the hero cult Menelaion of Lakonia.

Leaving the southland Highlanders to the successful coregency of Timandra and Echemos (until she cuckolded him on account of his impotency to take lover of Phyleus King of Elaea & the Westlands). Helen abetted Menelaos in the subordinate capacity of queen consort, likely because the exhausting duties imposed upon him as the surviving Great Wanax over Argolis and the Argolid. For Agamemnon had been slain by Aegisthus, and Orestes was unseated for killing his natural father Aegisthus as the lover of his mother Clytemnestra, leaving Mycenae of Great Argos vacant for Menelaos by 1217 BC, when, thereupon, his delayed return with Helen. From that date onward, until we know them in epic mythography again by Homer, in The Odyssey, our famous couple led a most lavish, but also most generous existence as the paragons of the waning Mycenaean Age.

We do not know when or how they died. Helen was predeceased by Menelaos, and she lived on for many years and into a graceful old age as a most retiring beauty. We don’t allow credence of any Greek mythographers about revenge plots by wives who resented her causing the premature demise of their warrior husbands. Besides, too many later Greeks have scorned her for blatant adultery, despite a record that can only discern as a several brief reigns, all of which did honor to her subjects by all the realms involved. For certain she was not worth all the life loss and agony that she inadvertently incurred, but there was nobody who suffered from the malfeasance of her abduction by Alexander that didn’t think Helen worth the hard challenges imposed upon them.


for the Bardot Group

166th Bardot Blog: Helen’s Anatolian Epoch: Second Phase — A High Queen at Ascension

Our last posting introduced the acculturation of Helen as a High Queen presumptive of reign over and above her “husband” Alexander. His consort status, most peculiarly, had him clearly subordinate to her. The Great Queen of the Hatti, Padukhepa, was her only superior besides the then Great King, even as we cannot ascertain her status at the verybeginning of the Trojan War as either a dowager widow or most helpful co-regent with Hattushilish III. That Great King we adjudge to have been incapacitated by his dotage. By either circumstance, though, that imperial transition now means a great unlearning of modern scholars has to be underway. Just who was who as hostilities began in the northwest Anatol, seems more separate and isolated than ever from the imperial New Kingdom of the Hatti.

This posting brings those hostilities, no longer at any prospect of Helen’s restoration, into events occurring across a far horizon from both Greece and central Anatolia.

We have also taken Alexander as Homer revealed him in epic, as somewhat a spoof of what a High Prince unto High King had of rank and status relative to the superior powers of his matriarchal wife — once, that is, Helen was enabled of her ascension over the hybrid matriarchate of Wilusas. We get a glimpse that her only subordination was that which Aphroditë compelled her to. Acting only as her mate, but just so abetted by Aphroditë, they together overcome any resistance from Helen to his carnal demands. Such are the appearances once the lovers were rendered no longer suppliant to the Great Court and New Kingdom of the Hatti/Hittites. Within Fortress Ilion, again most peculiarly, Alexander can be taken as fully humbled by his fellow Trojans, even as she’s exalted still as the successor – a sort of “mother prospective in waiting,” – to Queen Consort Hekabë.

Because this is such a sharp reversal of the Trojan War Saga by Classical Greek Mythology, much else has to be explained, even unlearned, about whatever cognizance Homer had of a deep past from his own times of the 8th century BC. Particularly, we ask, could the Master of Epic interpret Helen’s real royal status awhile her few years of suppliance, or again, awhile the virtual captivity of her by the House of Laomedon over Troias?

A Painful Exit from Hattusas

I shall not embroil readers of this brief serialization in the detailed Trojan War events and happenings of the 1220s BC. Suffice that treaty overtures failed to effect a ransom of Helen; that, too, a first mobilization at Aulis was aborted by Agamemnon recklessly; and that this precipitous action caused his navarch Palamedes to strategize an utter fiasco called “the Mysian Disaster.” Accordingly, strategically mobilized hostilities should have begun in 1230 by the Latest Dating Method of the Egyptologists. Instead they did not commence so early an invasion of Scamander Bay of Ilion until late 1228 BC, and then to no more purpose that to encamp for the winter and end an aborted First Campaign Year.

There ensued two important compensations, however. The reckless maneuvers of Agamemnon against Teuthrania, a small coastal plain and kingdom of Anatolia which scholars have wrongfully dubbed Mysia, had the Argive Great Wanax entrapped ashore the Bay of Smyrna (later called) and the Argive Navy blockaded by pirates amassed above Pityoussa (Chios) Island. The Cephallenes and Cretans under Odysseus and Idomeneos made riddance of the pirates, caused an effective retreat of the blockaded Argives and Thebans, and followed up smartly with a full autumn naval sweep of west coast Anatolia at fullest riddance of all rival navies. Secondly, Menelaos landed Heavy Foot and Horse of Lakonians ashore the Kaikos River with all recruited Highlanders then able-at-arms. They settled throughout 1229 in time for a well-organized winter encampment intended for all the War Wanax’ rearguard operations. Attendant a land blockade of Troias, he proved masterful at a deep interior, overland cordon. It stretched from Kyzikos upon the MesoPontos (Sea of Marmara) into deep hilly overland round and about to the Kaikos Debouch, which river outlet issued below the Adrymittion Strait (a sound that separates Lesbos Island from the Anatolian subcontinent). That’s why, and only why, the First “Eastern Campaign” was deemed a great success despite Agamemnon’s constant aggravations and compulsive actions.

The Strait of Abantis [Euboea] and the Euripos Narrow, above and below which concentrated the mobilizations of First and Second Aulis for Greeks by both mainland divisions of the earliest Greeks whom Homer called Achaeans (Achaiwoi). Aulis in somewhat non-descript as shallow tide low country between the narrow as shown and the debouch of the Asopos River at 20 miles below.

Alas, that next spring occurred Second Aulis, a grand mobilization renewed, that directly challenged the competency of the imperial Argives at supreme command absent Menelaos upon the Kaikos. Agamemnon continued his incompetence by both the ritual preparations staged for irrevocable warfare against Troias and by flagrant mismanagement of the straightforward Order of Helen—the rich and broad command rankings by the formative coalition of Menelaos toi have Helen ransomed and restored. The Great Wanax heedlessly induced conflict to avoid a restoration, gainful and greedy for spoils as he was. Rendered illegitimate until Second Aulis, the youthful former suitors and few veteran kings – all champions of matriarchs by their homeland traditions – who committed themselves to Helen and Menelaos alone. To regain the honor of supreme command, Agamemnon acquiesced to a demand from his co-supreme Achilles and his north mainland coalition of mighty princes: This was to render a most royal princess as a blood sacrifice to Artemis, whom Agamemnon had provoked to visit a plague upon the assembled encampments most densely congregated at Second Aulis. Agamemnon sacrificed his stepdaughter Iphianassa/Iphigenaia by the marriage of his wife Clytemnestra to Tantalus III (whom Agamemnon had caused to be assassinated). While this earned him supreme command as proxy for Menelaos while in absentia, but the Great Wanax thereby doomed all ensuing hostilities to the endless reverses that made the Trojan War so protracted over ten. Almost eleven years.

[The beginning, or advent, of Agamemnon’s and Palamedes’ conjoined malfeasance and sustained incompetency is addressed by the book Embassy Outbound, Bardot Books 2008, Limited Edition, New York and now an e-Book of the same title.]

Alexander and Helen were compelled to their respective royal obligations, his as the Consort Home Protector and she as High Queen ascended over the Wilusans. Our previous posting has explained why her ostensible superiority over Alexander as derivative of the always preemptive powers of his mother Hekabë, for her to pass on at least contingently to the mother of Wliusas’ high princess presumptive. Grant that Alexander had absolute War Powers to defend Wilusas. Still, the only personage of grace was Helen, whose high majesty would abide so long as she bore children to strengthen the matrilineal legacies of Wilusas.

I must speculate that Alexander must have been reluctant to lose altogether the protections of the Great Kingdom of the Hatti as exercised during the 1220s BC by Padukhepa and her son by Hattushilish III,  Tudhaliyas IV. Awhile the Trojan War’s hostilities, after they’d begun, New Assyria regularly assailed the Great Kingdom, or Hatti New Kingdom, thereby to embroil all eastern high kings in support of that Great Prince a/o Great King. The greatest threat impended as a nascent Iron Age power, New Assyria aforesaid, over Mesopotamia. It was drawing all attention far eastward. West coastal Anatolia was insignificant, even expendable by comparison to eastern war theaters. Accordingly, Troias was on its own to defend itself and its new alliance by high marriage to Wilusas. Alexander’s realm, in turn, must render its normal tributes to the Hatti via great droves of fattened cattle and all timber besides that the Wilusans could fell or mill into lumber. All we know about that dual commerce stems from the fact that High Prince Hektor was preoccupied at support of the Hatti in both 1230 and 1229 BC—the main reason that he was not ever a trade delegate, and thereby fully exculpated from the crass abduction of Helen by his brother Alexander. By 1232, we also still believe, Hektor remained the highest royal proxy of Priam in imperial military service to the Hatti. Either at that role, or else he was the defender of Troias against invasion by passing that proxy role to another martial champion for Troias, Polydamas son of Panthöos, a man soon to prove most gallant and effective in any of his surrogate roles in behalf of Troias.

[Notice the open gap where the Assuwans are the designated occupants. This open, seemingly vacant expanse below the Sea of Marmara had shallow lakes apart each other, by a water shed that flowed away from the central Halys River Basin of Anatolia. ]

Wilusas Revealed

I pause for some geographic overview of what composed Wilusas. I have chosen for such exposition an ancient map, an “:in the raw rendition” of subcontinental Anatolia. I like it because it focuses my most unfamiliar audiences of the Anatol upon the large and seemingly vacant land in the northwest corner. I depart the consensus of modern academic scholars by adducing to that vacancy the very considerable timber and grasslands resources, to which attached considerable human resourcefulness that for so long had been happily obligated to the imperial Hatti. Since 1400 BC, if not much earlier, since 1600 BC, they were one of several foremost feudatories indigenous to the subcontinent. Rich and surprisingly dense of population, most scholars by the ancient Greeks and the imperial Romans adduce Phrygia to 1st millennium BC Anatolia as the greatest antecedent region of the northwest Anatol. They disdained the Late Tröadic Period of Anatolia except for the momentary Trojan War so quickly come and gone. Modern scholars have been trenchant about a region whose invaders swept by diffusion into northeast Anatolia, with nothing antecedent to 750 BC deemed remarkable. What was before Phyrgia was too primitive, too vacant and much too much a wilderness wilds for a great civilization to have ever been extant before 1000 BC. No thought, therefore, that whatever occurred much earlier, or that Phrygia epitomized, was still a hugely blessed region by the Idyllic Age of the 2nd millennium BC. So, then, by a resurgence from a brief dark age of the Anatol, what had been formerly Wilusas was in no way so bleak or unpopulated as had pertained to the withering chill and climate over the Greek Peninsula as between 1190 to 800 BC.

We’ve stayed convinced, moreover, of a blessed wilderness that lay below the Sea of Marmara and below its weak coastal region called Bithynia.  It melded into a sprawl of vast grasslands, forsaken of horse pastures since 1190 BC, and no longer alike the richest Hatti ranchland domains. Broad and ample grassland fattened cattle herds instead. East of Bithynia lay the deep wilderness forestlands that fulfilled Wilusas as a great land of foresters and clever lumber exporters. Huge and shallow freshwater lakes lay broadly apart each other, fulfilled by a common watershed of immense forests. All streams running rills into gentle steams, these emptied into the Sea of Marmara by seepage debouches rather than deltas.

The Trojan War Saga alludes to an upbringing of Alexander as a well-trained stockman of prize livestock, especially to the husbandry of best bred cattle. There’s also implication that he led his people as a keen hunter after fierce predators, while also preventing the royal cattle herds of his mother from straying, or becoming as feral cattle, a great malfeasance of husbandry that was especial to livestock management. There’s not so much to praise of the High Prince as a forester among his mother’s ancient people called the Arzawa, who were obscurely related to the Trojans during primordial times. In fact, all that we can surmise of any forestry expertise by the latter was that of forest management of deciduous trees such a Beech, Chestnut, Hickory and other oldest hardwood species. Specimens of each were huge of grandeur but not so easily brought into transport for export. Instead, we must surmise a paradise of immense tree stands sprawled along verges of low hillside alluvium, wheras tall pinelands surmounted those verges as straight and tall evergreens.

Notwithstanding the wrongful assumption still remains that all of the Bronze Age Anatol until the Iron Age failed any significant floruit until 800 BC and onwards. That infers sparse population beforetimes. Except, that is, that the aftermath of the Hatti was actually a trend of population explosion, even if it was preliminary to any advent of amassing Phrygians from Mittel Europa. Admittedly, what arose evolved from a basis less populous that the density of persons who pervaded the several west coastal rivers and plains along the Aegean Sea. Their valleys reached deep eastward, to where their headwaters and surrounding watershed received the precipitation off all storm fronts inundating alpine Europe. Wilusas took ample and gentler watershed from the steams flowing westward into her grasslands off the rim of the Halys River Basin.

Our point  all along about Wilusas has been that she was a separate kingdom from the so-called Tröad Kingdoms in that she was a high kingdom of enormous cattle range eastward below a shallow lake district. Her separation from Troias was that of a deep coastal outback, such that Wilusas was actually more accessible by ascents from the Halys River Basin, although they retained entirely different watersheds. As a vassal state, anachronistic as the term is, her entire economy was a dependency upon the Hatti and the Hittites, to the extent that either were distinct from each other in the middle 13th century BC.

Why the marriage of Priam and Hekabë happened remains a difficult question, but likely the alliance was a reward to Troias impressed upon her father Dymas and for the satisfaction of the encroaching patriarchy. At last to bring a high king to Wilusas, whose tradition supremacy was under a matriarch with father or son in coregency as her “champions,” perhaps it was realized that Dymas and Alexander were duds. Given the goodwill towards the House of Laomedon over Troias, there’s also likelihood that Wilusas lacked a proper prospective patriarch after Dymas died while Alexander was doing his gallivanting about the Peloponnesus in 1268.

Hekabë’s matriarchate in any case was resilient. Her native subjects placed all their adoration upon her as a maiden sound in governance—until, that is she married Priam, a man of many concubines by whom many sons and daughters to take up positions within Wilusas as transplant by their mother. There is considerable speculation in all now said and more to come. Still, Alexander was not found satisfactory. In the course of the hostilities, the consort heir presumptive became the son Tröilus’ position to have and to hold. He was one of the youngest royal high princes of the Trojan blood. What’s not at all known well, Alexander and the famous younger sister Kassandra, whose grant name was Alexandra (they were the very first of their name, either gender) became, respectively, the consort heir presumptive and supreme priestess along with her male twin of divining gifts, Helenos. It wasn’t until the last campaign years, after the 7th year of hostilities, that Alexandra and Tröilus were compelled to take up a besieged residency at Fortress Ramparts Ilion.

I won’t let us get ahead of ourselves, however. Our greatest speculation of all, was the four years, no longer, that Helen served Wilusas as their High Queen. Beware, moreover, that the Trojan War Saga by Classical Greek Mythology clearly detested the slightest notion of her acceded grandeur and high majesty. Then, again, the Greek mythographers disdained her cause of the Trojan War as the Queen Holy Matriarch over the Highlanders, of both mainland divisions of the vast alpine midriffs of the Greek Peninsula. That Helen was sensational and efficacious in serving out Wilusas obligations to the Hatti overlords and liege majesties shouldn’t be wondered. Helen was well trained in culture, religion and the extensive —some would say atomistic—tribal governances over whose hierarchy she had supreme administrative controls. It does not cause us any wonder, therefore, that Helen took command from Alexandra as soon as plopped wherever the various capital seats of Wilusas that we cannot ascertain. A presence among a new people, in invitation to them to accept her and regard her worthy of their pledges of liege fealty, the Wilusans’ hearts went out to her. She was an advent in fulfillment of their lost High Princess to Troias, and after as many as eight years of rule in absentia due to Alexander’s reckless gallivanting. He may have been for his native subjects a greatest cattle baron, perhaps over a hierarchy of such able livestock keepers and breeders, but he had not the oomph and/or might to deliver his High Kingdom’s resources to the Hatti as the annual great tribute obligations.

We envision Helen arrived and soonest past her illustrious ascension to High Queen over the Wilusans. Immediately her presence as offered to the leading dignitaries of her new realm, they promptly coordinated as best they could for her and Alexander. Recall how we’ve already said that Wilusas was a very rich and easy going vastness while ruled under a peacetime regime. What they needed most from Helen was the grace to coordinate all at the cattle drives. These amassed attendently, awhile the felling and crude milling of timber into baulks or lumber. The cattle hauled the broken down lumber, piece by great piece as necessary, dragging it down the long slopes of declination into the Halys River Basin. Deliveries upon obligations meant the achievement of depots or staging places along the way of the annual war campaigns’ marches and staged musters. First deployments of whole Hatti force ensued through spring into long forward marches begun before the summer solstice. The cart ways of parading transport had existed ever since the caravan routes trekked by the Old Assyrians, whose caravansiers has existed long before the Hatti or the Hittites had ever been known. Indeed, among the indigenous a/o aboriginal Arsuwans of Anatolia, the Old Assyrians were revered as the true forces that had compelled their advanced civilization.

In fact all of Wilusas was old, traditional, solidly competent and unchanging of their developed annual fealty rendered to their overlord of great equestrian culture. Most of that annual routine was all about their dependency upon Assyrian foreign goods by novel traffics and barter for the ingenious products of their husbandry—of horse, horse equipage and accouterment, timber resources and immense resupply of foodstuffs while each new annual campaign begun in train. Old Assyria had been an oldest provisionary of considerable diversity, offering all the best upon which Wilusas was dependent, but also that which was most innovative to then modern and evolving times by newly introduced tools and technologies, howsoever crudely wrought.

Once all such obligatory provision was, literally, “in train,” the wealth of Wilusas as a thoroughfare of overland commerce was of essential great benefits to Troias. The marriage of Priam and Hekabë, therefore, was only the highest and most preeminently practical of alliances. We should not wonder that many marriages between lesser majesties had been arranged, as between Trojans and Wilusans, or that they were contracted and/or betrothed over many prior generations of both nation races. They were both lands apart, but harmonious through their great annual bounties unto each other. Chill climate change would break the Idyll and climate calamities would ensue through the 12th and 11th centuries BC. By they were not yet seriously in advent at the end of the 13th century BC.

Alas, it was even a new realization of the Idyll that briefly occurred under Helen’s majestic and graced personage. Alexander was exonerated of his formerly reckless ways simply for having found a queen deserving of every man’s covet. She was besides a most natural Holy Queen for all orders, classes and castes of humankind to cherish as their most natural superior. Or just had she been at home, as an adopted princess among the Lakonians, as cherished by all the Highlanders everywhere of the Greek Peninsula.

Why Onward to City Troy at Last?

Again, we have some cursory review required for just here, and a necessity to generalize. First to say, accordingly, Wilusas was cut off from Troias by the earliest Greeks’ naval blockade and an overland cordon that it enabled of the Highlanders and the forces under Great Prince Achilles. The cordon ringed Troias from Kyzikos upon the Sea of Marmara around to the Kaikos Delta below and across from Lesbos Island’s Adrymittion Sound. Surrounded, all northwest commerce flows were brought to surcease, despite a few breakthroughs to resupply Fortress Ilion. Priam had to change his residencies frequently because he could not appease his dogged enemies, especially since he could not ever “deliver the real goods” in the form of Helen herself. Secondly, except for one campaign year of truly amazing importance, (even to be doubted), the imperial Hatti and the other High Kingdoms around the Halys Basin could not avail at any assistance or succor. The Trojans no longer able to join the imperial campaigns in the Middle East, therefore, the Hatti were seriously undermanned and ineffective at repulsing the New Assyrians at encroachment upon the Hurrians (the much later Syrians of truly historical times). That annual campaigning became exhausting of reserves, and failing of reinforcement drawn from the northwest Anatol, the west coast of the subcontinent became defenseless against spoils takings by the Greeks. So it went through the 6th campaign year of the Eastern Conflicts.

Despite Helen’s most adequate inspiration, Alexander failed his imperial obligation of that year and the next. During the 8th campaign year, after High Prince Tröilus was slain (and allegedly sodomized) by Achilles, Wilusas was abandoned. High King Alexander, his brother Helenos and his sister Alexandra/Kassandra repaired to Fortress Ilion and took up residency in anticipation of an impending siege lay around the fortress ramparts. All of the House of Laomedon sought Ilion as the Tröad Kingdom of last resorts and measures. Settings finally became those of Homer’s The Iliad.

The 8th campaign year was most certainly a turning point for both antagonists, nonetheless. Late in the 7th year, the imperial Hatti called all feudatory High Kings to muster in relief of the House of Laomedon. They began with a deployment of a masterful war navy that struck all war navies of the Greeks by a sweep that carried the Hatti Armada up the west coast of Anatolia. It caught and destroyed all Argive Navy berthed at Fortress Harbor Miletos of Karia, or Hatti Milliwatna/Milliwanda. The supreme command of the Minos Idomeneos of Crete and of the Wanax Odysseus over the Cephallenes could not withstand the naval force or prevent its armada strength from retiring for the winter of 1223/22 BC into the far west, down the Cretan Sea, by counter offensive operations clearly prepared for the next campaign year, to be brought east, anew, for the 8th campaign year. Understand carefully: All greatest force settled and encamped disparately upon west coast of Anatolia, suddenly all the homelands of the Greek Peninsula were under threat and impossible to rescue from across the Aegean Sea. Most especially under the foreign peril was the entire Peloponnesus. So much was that peril in prospect that all Greek navies, especially those allied or part of the Cephallenes, had to prepare set blockades across the openings of the long gulfs. While Lakonia and Andania were easy to blockade, the Argolic Gulf and all the rim powers of the Saronic Gulf were far too expansive to withstand deliberate penetration by a naval armada.

In early 1222 BC the Hatti Armada opened the new naval year with a reappearance in full force defiles. The bearing was across the Cretan Sea from the Peloponnesus’ South Sea, by heading to swerve up ENE to the Greek Archipelago. It seems that the home navies in reserve, all merchant ships fulfilling them in strong parts, managed just barely to cause the Hatti Armada to swerve off the blocked gulf entries and to steer their strength instead into the Mid-Sea Archipelago (such as the Cyclades Isles and their local waters were once called. There, Odysseus, the Minos Idomeneos and Tlepolemos of Rhodes intercepted the sweep. The sea battle that ensued was devastating to both sides, but afterwards Odysseus had wrested supreme naval powers away from the inept Agamemnon and Palamedes. The Order of Helen promoted Idomeneos into that supreme capacity, and he chose as his foremost adjutant Phoenix over the north mainland navies and Odysseus over all else of naval coalitions. Palamedes had proven craven off Miletos the previous autumn, and by recourse to flight he had not joined the amassed strength to destroy the Hatti Armada. His liege Agamemnon retreated into encampment along the entire extent of Scamander Bay.

In that weakened posture the Great Wanax tried to usurp supreme command over all land forces to which the navies were beholden under duties of resupply and reinforcement from the homelands. What Homer alleges to have been a dispute over a spoils captive, Brisëis—whose real name was Hippodameia daughter-of-Briseus—, was actually allegorical of a split in the supreme command shared between Agamemnon and Achilles. While Homer asserts that Agamemnon won the dispute, the Fates were entirely on Achilles’ side. For the second great Hatti initiative, besides the naval armada that was lost, was an ensuing grand coalition or land forces brought by the High Kings of Anatolia to Ilion in succor of Priam and the Trojans. So while all the gods took sides in the 8th year campaign, as it would seem or as Homer supposed, Agamemnon proved incompetent from the very beginning of that year’s hostilities.

[An unwilling Briseis is being strong armed by delivery to Agamemnon, by his taking of her from Achilles. The incident epitomizes what little we can glimpse of the Great Wanax’ incompetence from first mobilizations against Troias and a final sacking of fortress ramparts Ilion.]

The Great Wanax asserted his supremacy by mobilizing all encampments at Scamander Bay to form up daily in parade array. He’d then conduct martial drills at chariotry and other parade exhibitions together. On one such parade day, all forces having issued forth from the encampments and marched up the ramparts of Ilion, they were suddenly confronted. A surrounding movement of many armies forced a pitch battle. Agamemnon was up and against against that enveloping offensive by imperial allies in support of Priam. Achilles stood back upon the bayside, performing there at rearguard for all the encampments while shunning Agamemnon. He refused to reinforce Agamemnon on summons to do so, as was firmly understood awhile his demotion from the supreme command into which he’d been promoted by acclaim.

So the 8th campaign year began with a schism of Greek land force strength while the Kingdom of Ilion was being reinforced in mass by all the satellite high kingdoms under the Hatti. Whether we cite Homer’s catalog of such forces or not, Priam was at last chance to preserve Troias and the dynastic House of Laomedon. Out of it all Agamemnon came to unpardonable degree of ineptness from which all his Argive might could not spare him. Whether Achilles finally came to sufficient rescue out of revenge for the wrongful death of his Master-of-Horse Patroclus, a kinsman and greatest friend, we can only speculate.

The Bardot Group remains of an alternative belief, to wit, that the Greeks suffered irremediable damages to their armed strength, even as they restored their greatest allied naval strengths through Odysseus’ ascension to Battle Commodore (albeit under the Navarchy shared by Idomeneos and Phoenix. With respect to lanbd forces and might, the Argive High King, Diomedes of Tiryns, and other young kings and heroes alike him, replaced all others of more senior years and veteran command ranks. For the rest of the Trojan War’s hostilities the young command fought as though in desertion of Agamemnon and his naval support by Palamedes. Menelaos came up from his rearguard headquarters upon the Kaikos River at last, finally to take over supreme administrative command. Even so self-promoted, however, he left all the fighting tactics and strategies to Great Prince Achilles and to Diomedes of Tiryns. In our next posting we shall establish the thread of a plot alternative to that of Homer’s The Iliad. We’ll escribe instead how the Trojan War ended with a 9th campaign year and almost a 10th. [Homeric Scholars always take the 8th campaign year cited above as the ninth year of the Trojan War – which most certainly it was not.]

When the 8th campaign year was over, so effectively was the Trojan War over, too. It still had to limp along to a poor ending on account of the incompetency of a stubbornly inept coalition of oldsters under Great Wanax Agamemnon. Neither side had the strength sufficient to finish hostilities off as either an overwhelming Greek victory or an allied Trojan repulse. Most important to this brief serialization, Alexander and Helen were compelled to take occupancy of Ilion as their last refuge, to live utterly compromised lives there through the next winter, 1222/21, all of the next year 1221 BC and most of the winter/spring of 1220 BC.

Such will be the subjects of our next posting, itself in finale of the Trojan War.


for the Bardot Group

165th Bardot Blog: Helen’s Anatolian Epoch: Its First Phase — Acculturation

Our last posting introduced the second part serialization of Bardot Blogs about Helen. We took it as far as Alexander and her reception at the Great Court of the New Kingdom Hittites. While we prefer to call them the imperial Hatti, in recognition of the long sweep across northern Anatolia by which a dominant ethnicity of immigrants eventually subdued all native and indigenous peoples of the Halys River Basin (the Hittites of the map below, by the nomenclature attached to the much later Hittites of the Bible. But let’s not quibble.

The last posting also theorized that a courtly house was continually in presence at that imperial court setting of Hattusas. They descended from a royal house begun by Trös just before the 14th century BC. That was before the introduction of Oldest Greek speakers to northwest Anatolia through the truly illustrious marriage of Trös’ son Ilus (Latin spelling of Ilos) to Eurydicë, a high princess and daughter of High King Adrastos over the Argolid Peninsula. The infusion of her entourage into the great equestrian culture of the Hatti brought two young royal Houses into an affiliation that raised the pedigree of them both almost instantly. Ilus would become, perhaps had become at the time of the troth, a formidable Martial-at-Horse through his contributions to the annual campaigns of the New Kingdom in the Near East. Eurydicë was by House of Proïtos, the lesser dynastic branch royal clan to the imperial Persëid Argives of Southland Greece. The affinity affirmed by the marriage alliance likely arose though an obscure “international” commerce in horses, whereby the diffusion of prized battle steeds and divinely bred mares that directly attended the ascendancies of all warrior people who became imperial from 1450 BC, ff.

Ilus’ brothers were Assarakos and Ganymedes. The former became the King of Dardania and a patriarch over a lesser dynasty that that by his father Trös, to whom Ilus was heir presumptive. Ganymedes became his father’s plenipotentiary, and his legend therefrom is attested in myth by his permanent stay, for the rest of his lifetime, within the heartland Hatti and their capital seat. He was by the generation of Great King Tudhaliyas III but his great impression as a foreign diplomat of a shared ethnicity was upon Tudhaliyas II, and later, upon Suppiluliumas I, with whom Ilus has boon friendship as great men of war. We further theorize a very important marriage, by which began a long succession of able plenipotentiaries acting for Troias from within the imperial capital of Hattusas. It was sustained by the great commerce on horse, about which the Trojans became legendary in their own rights and manners of breeding prize mares.

So Helen must have been surprised that she was no sooner presented to High Queen (of Dowager) Padukhepa than they were able to easily communicate through an interpreter born of the family of Ganymedes. Well she should have been surprised, for we have the following statement of hard fact and consensus about the Hatti and the earliest Greeks of respective prehistories.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the Hittites and the Greeks of Asia Minor never lived together anywhere. On the rare archaeological sites where they are found together, they have in fact succeeded each other: in Phrygia at the City of Midas, at Gilmar in Rough Cilicia, at Comania of Cappadocia.

And further, “The illusions that were inspired by the appearances of the Ahhiyawa [a.k.a. the Achaewoi or Achaeans] in the documents of Hattusas have been refuted by the facts.”

From Mythologie, compilations of religious synopses
under Yves Bonnefoy, by translations directed by Wendy Doniger,
University of Chicago Press

The scholars of the Bardot Group, to whom I owe my various academic apprenticeships, concede to the above assertions by observing as well the little know consistency between regnant Greeks and Hittites/Hatti. That’s to say, to wit, when one great people was up in a nigh imperial sense, the other was very down, utterly reduced in a dark age sense, or somewhere in between by the dichotomy they struck in contrast to each other. In the times of Helen’s lifetime, for instance, the Mycenaean Greeks had been very down as both the Persëid and Pelopid Argives of the 14th century BC, whereas the Anatolians were burgeoning under the New Kingdom’s imperial regime under the Hatti a/o Hittite peoples. By the approaching middle of the 13th century BC, however, the Argive dynasty descended from Great Wanax Pelops had brought the Oldest Greeks into a new martial zenith and wrought civilization, even as Troias was doomed to collapse along with her imperial liege sovereigns by the Hatti.

Helen and Padukhepa, Queens for All Ages

There’s also our own observed oddity by the gamut of prehistory and history that imperial Anatolians by all their imperial ages have been nigh hyper-religious, whereas the Greek Peninsula has been characterized by so many precursors evocative of secular humanism and false piety, or for their plain unadulterated agnostics or atheistic propensities until finally theocratic subversives within the Byzantine Empire. It must have seemed odd to Helen that most all intellectual conversation with the Great Queen Padukhepa led always into theological discussions, most often by way of comparing what Her Imperial Majesty knew of the high deities as anyway comparable to those by the inculcation of Helen.

In this posting we shall imagine conversations between them in précis by way of some expository insights into the religious tenets of both their religiosities at zenith by their respective imperial ages. For Helen knew a lot of what Greek Religion was before it came to the historicity about it that’s latent in the final, much later Early Greek Mythology. So did Padukhepa, who had to manifest an imperial tolerance for as many as five major pantheons that had come under her aegis by the late 1360s BC. To keep this ex\position in check, I will dismiss away all of them by the evolved belief before 1600 BC, after which date those pantheons had major impact upon the lives of their believers.

The Pantheons amidst Imperial Anatolia and the Levant by the Hatti

I shall address only three pantheons – (1) of the Hattusans a/o denizens of the Halys River Heartland and the adjoining Kaska Lands far north, (2) of the Hubesnans of SSW Anatolia of the Taurus Mountains Divide, and (3) of the Imperial Hatti called the Arzuwans along the south and southwest corner of the subcontinental shelf a/o peninsula. Although there are two others, both Semitic, we’ll leave them undiscussed and pursue where long established diffusions of Hatti precursors, off Azerbaijan and Armenia, became situated religiously. What the pantheons all had was a Storm God, often doubling as a supreme deity over forest and woodland wilds, whom we’ll subsume under his ecumenical name of Teshub; and equally ubiquitous thereby them was a Sun Goddess who became generalized as the Lady of Arinna. She doubled as a supreme deity, perhaps inspiring Greek Hera. Most frequently taken as a love and fertility goddess over devout commoner farmers and livestock herders, she was actually a deity of most fierce demeanors. Very general was a War God; River and Mountain Gods; and KAL gods who were theronic as winged and winged lions by allegorical depiction. We should also add to Teshub’s preeminence his most immanent aspect, as Telipinus, a name which all Tabarnases a/o Great Kings became in soul for all eternity by apotheoses after their deaths. There were thousands of minor deities, of course, or so many that even Padukhepa had to have a huge entourage of literate, escribal archivists about her imperial court to keep book on all the generous largesse apportioned out to them less they become neglected and prove really nasty to all the Queen’s cherished little people.

The Lady of Arinna is here depicted as the Sun Goddess amidst and circle of radiance.

 

 

None of this or what follows is fascinating stuff, but it was to the deeply religious Padukhepa. Still,  the paramount deities must be taken in gist or in general as a Great Earth Mother and Sun Goddess, Arinna, who was aboriginal to all of Anatolia somehow, some way iconically. After 1600 BC, nonetheless, she became clearly outranked, ubiquitously so, by Teshub, a Storm God of many invoked names (see them below my signature that closes this posting). A foreign become a fully indigenous deity, his iconic depiction is an armed Warrior God who Strides upon the back of a totemic Bull. While I don’t have an image at hand to portray him, I also offer Teshub as a god of the wilds, while Arinna is arms length from him as a Sun Goddess. Both are depicted variously upon the famous Hittite cylinder seals, all crafted during the Hatti New Kingdom Period and in counterpart to a comparable great age of the Egyptians.

I also include the KAL winged gods (above) to make the point that the Anatolians eventually equated them, perhaps because of Helen, with the winged Harpies of hideous female gender — the supposed daughters of Zephyros the West Wind, all deities invested with powers to serve dire redress and severe retribution upon greatly offending mortals of highest statures.

Helen by way of reply could not offer as yet a full-fledged pantheon by the earliest Greeks. But her deities too were myriad as titans and titanesses. The closest she could express of a counterpart hierarchy of deities relative to the Hatti was her world obtained from five distinct creations. The last two of such a syncretic holiest order were solely by the Great Mother and Earth Goddess Gaia after three prior creations before humanoid “Life” itself as both immortal Titans and Titanesses. There was also her Last Creation of mortal living things, including monsters, giants, chimeras and freakish human beings who lived for so long that they were nigh immortal. Helen would also point out that they were all anthropomorphic deities that were never depicted, even allegorically, as bestial or theronic. Her favorite goddesses enacted material and emotional constructs that fused with favorite “Man-Gods” whose composed aspects were exclusively those of raw power, inputs of energy and applied force as in numerous ways brought to a deified aspect. Accordingly, Helen could amuse Padukhepa though her description of Gaia as Earth at deliverance of geological manifestations, or at “walking around” upon the surface of her globe, happily at creating titans, for instance, as mountain cascades and floods; or at conceiving deities of like great force and kinetic power while also nurturing many daughter titanesses into becoming manners or fashions of shaped matter, emoted strong feelings and other tangible wonders of herself as Mother Nature.

Or, to plagiarize here off the Roman mythologist Ovid, in answer to what Padukhepa must have asked, say, as “Tee Hee! You mean that Gaia emerges from the Earth in human form and then finds, or found, all sorts of places in the sea or upon the land where to create habitat and spawns of mortals and immortals?”

“Oh, Yes, Your Majesty, just so and so easily, too,” replied Helen. “But also by appearing to our ancestors as the many goddesses who are her surrogates, to do the walking and appearing for herself in  Transcendence among us mortals. That way she can be the All-Holy-One but also the Many All-Holy.  You have said that you know well about our famous Eleusinian Mysteries: I can only say of them that they were introduced to humankind by Gaia as the Many All-Holy through our Mother Demeter, also our Queen Measurer & Apportioner, along with her daughter Korë Sitopotiniya, “Queen Maiden of Grains,” a goddess of seasonal renewals unto great bounties. They’ve taught us how to venerate properly the renewal from winter’s dormancy of Mother Demeter’s fecundity, through tilth of the awakened soils and by our husbandry of vastly tamed livestock brought through “the dropping season” of their young. Howsoever bred off once ferocious feral cattle, boars or great hind, my Highlanders by the Great Land of Gaia feel just as devout towards them, too, as served through her two wilderness surrogates, the Goddess Beasts Wild [The Theia Therön] and her daughter Querasiya, whom girls and maidens adore as the Huntress Maiden. Even as an eternally young, a teenager, she’s the holy midwife at care of all births of wild creatures both greatest and smallest!”

“Why not a goddess, then, who’s both of them at once?” Padukhepa likely asked with delight. “Whether a matron or a maiden, by whichever appearance might befit your Gaia’s mood to recreate herself in aspect, has she not that kind of power?”

“A very good question,” Helen replied with greatest enthusiasm. “But she simply doesn’t do that, act that way. As our Many All-Holy she seems to take aspects of great meaning by her appearances as godheads contrived as divine trinities, and thereby, I should add, they appear as crone or matron or maiden of a female rank order. Our Fates are like that: A maiden spins spools of thread off a distaff to form myriad Fates, then a matron weaves some threads with others into a skein of a person’s many Fates to know many other persons; and then, that skein complete, the twine is snipped just when a whole lifetime comes to its inalterable death day! Our Trinity of the Day is a most appealing and most feeling aspect in trinity as our cozy and reassuring Maiden Eos the Dawn, but she’s most radiant as the Midday Matron Hemera, who floats high aloft under her Mother Theia the Blue Sky and the Orb of her brother Helios until every late afternoon. Then, like the crone Fate, Crone Hespera the Dusk escorts Helios down and beyond the far western horizon of enwrapping Ocean. By her pleasant evening twilight, though, she’s become so old and feeble that she needs her daughters the Hesperides to help her finish the whole day through as its nighttime rendered luminous solely through her sister the Moon Goddess Silenë. Both of them flirtatious nymphs besides, they somehow stay always feisty maidens to take lovers for the pleasure of their manly lifetimes. All through the Night they are as though daughters of the First Creatrix, Nyx the Night, who’s also deemed the great grandmother of Gaia.”

“I could go on and on about trinities,” Helen might have said at another time. “But to understand them, they are mostly familiar as their maiden aspects, whereby most delightful and performing as aloof matrons in aspect, and yet most transcendent one, too, as wise and discerning crones—such as Gaia really is for all us mere mortals, thus a most loving aspect of humankind as her divinity taken as both one and as many all at once or as either. It’s all can make a person quite dizzy!”

“What a pretty land must be Hers – yours, Our Lovely Helen!” Great Queen Padukhepa can be imagined to have said.

“Indeed it is, my liege Holy Queen, because we are still in our Idyllic Age since Gaia’s Last Creation, although we now have so many mean persons abounding who feel compelled to invade and trespass upon us. They do so just because the Great Land is so much more delightful than their frosty withered grasslands and far wastelands of Hyperborea, from which, I suppose, they are mostly oncoming. For all our efforts to sustain our great peace, we always have some awful warriors suddenly arisen to interrupt the tranquility. And now I might cause howsoever briefly her reckoning of a proper time for the God of Violence, especially should my Highlanders come east across the sea to recapture me, the Queen Holy Matriarch who can’t help loving them all!”

I’m sure that Padukhepa always found Helen modest about herself while telling about all the accumulated beliefs of her subject Highlanders. Too obviously they included their unabashed veneration of herself for her awesome sexual appeal. But Helen’s most delightful self was always to see brightest sunshine upon everything, and all people, too, and the best of earthly aspects she recited about while exuding a most warming, radiant charisma, thus always to affect a most hopeful and optimistic attitude towards whatever next must happen to the audiences who assembled most genuinely to adore her. Helen was far better than any Love Goddess. Notwithstanding that there could only be tears upon passing mention that she’d lost her daughter Hermionë, likely forever, to the Queen of the Hatti, I must opine, Helen was as though her own Sun Goddess – the Lady of Arinna. Known best throughout the New Kingdom’s vastness, she was alternatively Astarte, or Ishtar, or Astoreth, or Ashtat, or even Aphroditë.  As the last, though, she was whom Helen’s lowland Greeks took instead to be once a Titaness invoked as the Surf Maiden of Crashing Foam. Be sure, though, that Padukhepa replied with an entirely different litany of Aphrodite’s attributes, such as her meanness of spirit, fierce demeanors, her disdain for the utterly chaste and abstinent, thus capable of perilous mood swings and a sometimes fiendish disposition to debase women such as Helen for their highly refined upbringing.

The Immanent Trojan War

As these sorts of conversations became regularly recurrent amidst Padukhepa’s imperial entourage, there passed the four years of the Trojan War Advent. About that onset Helen was kept ignorant. Yes, even as her court interpreter by descent from Ganymedes, likely a man well-disposed to her happy future, stayed entirely aware that Alexander would never give Helen back to the Greeks, that minister and courtier was well aware that treaty negotiations had taken place at City Troy of Troias. Conducted over the winter of 1262/61, the parlay had failed dismally just upon a near moment that almost affected a rich ransom and obligatory restoration. An offer was refused despite most generous terms from Menelaos. Helen knowing nothing of that, so immersed was she in the delights of an imperial reception, she made the best of the Great Court at Hattusas. She also could not know how famous she had become throughout the New Kingdom for the sensational beauty of her looks, attractiveness of personality and accommodative comportment. Padukhepa’s subjects could hardly wonder that Alexander would hazard all to keep her, by hiding her through his stealth at tactical relocations and, at last, defend her recapture at peril of utter humiliation of himself.

For she was a queen far above himself, and he a low person already failed at consortship in proof of his low level of consciousness. Because Helen was prepared for highest sovereignty over repressed and oppressed people, she was coveted as perfect to become his Wilusans “most hallowed majesty.” Frankly, we should never wonder that anyone was uncertain that she was permanently under capture. The loss of her was barely even considered.

Likely, while still halting at any speech spoken by her host royal personages, or by highest sovereign guests from other satellite high kingdoms, Helen showed command, grace and very rapid assimilation of all the most royal qualities of the Hatti great queens. Next to Padukhepa, of course, she shone solely in reflection of an exemplary demeanor as high as hers was; but there could not be any rivalry or jealousy between them. In a way they accepted how they outshone each other. Her Imperial Majesty was definitely the more transcendent grace and most unquestioned supreme person of her sex then alive. But even Padukhepa would readily concede that the young Helen was all that she should be to make a great people out of “husband” Alexander’s subjects, whether under the High Kingdom of the Wilusans or under the Trojans who would be charged with the ultimate keeping of Helen.

All she needed was to learn their languages fluently, whereupon the imperial court must impose strict duty upon her Consort Protector the High King Alexander, whereby the termination of his safety as a suppliant. He could no longer shirk his duties as a satellite head-of-state, along with all obligations and contributions made regularly and annually unto the New Kingdom. Still, for all four years of the war’s advent, and during the first two years of hostilities, Alexander shirked. And when he was admonished, even threatened for render4ing himself virtually abdicated, he took Helen in flight in every manner and way to avoid taking her into Wilusas and defending her recapture there. And just what those obligations of contribution were, even as we shall have to theorize, stemmed from Wilusas’ primary resources and comparative advantages. It was a vast grassland interwoven broad spread old growth woodlands, and likely the greatest cattle region of all the High Kingdoms in liege subjection to the imperial Hatti at mid-century of the 13th BC.

I must make an aside here, therefore, about Alexander’s “royal portfolio” that’s separate from all that he had by his rich maternal legacy off mother Hekabë. Classical Studies Buffs, by whom most all readers who know Alexander from Classical Greek Mythology and its Trojan War Saga, accept solely a mythological personage named Paris as a supposed foundling. As Alexander, the Abductor of Helen, they must unlearn the lessons of their youth out of that opera. It’s time that we know what’s little known about him, even if sparse and greatly filtered as his historicity by myth. Cardinally, nonetheless, he is always fundamentally a prehistoric High King Alexander over the Wilusans as born and exalted to the Trojans.

Insights into Alexander the Trojan Hero.

Paris was a rogue who was invented, but Alexander became a rogue out of blameworthy character. Greatly favored, supposedly, to adjudge the ranked status of the three principal goddesses inherent the Olympian Pantheon, that judicial role, of course, was exactly what he couldn’t possibly have performed – ever! None of the three goddesses were anywhere near the attributes that they’d possess as paramount tutelary goddesses by a pantheon greatly revised over the four centuries of Greek Dark Age that followed the Trojan War.

His many stories begin with a tale told while he’s Paris, when only a young teenager. A main story element was about the marriage of Great Prince Peleus to the Thetis of Magnesia & the Upper Sporades Isles. So exalted was that troth, on account of Thetis as a supposed an immortal Titaness over the Isles, that invitations had to be sent to all the deities, who must then make their excuses if unwilling to appear at witness of the troth taken. Alas, one very willing Titaness was not invited, and she was Eris Goddess of Strife a/o Violence. Otherwise a War Goddess transcendent over all hostilities between mortals, her male persona or instrument was Enyalios, the precursor to the much greater Olympian God of War who Ares became.

To be so shunned brought Eris to most nasty intrigue, whereby her invention of discord. While the marriage festivities were underway with great merriment, most all invited managing to be in attendance, an apple of pure radiant gold was cast into everybody’s midst, upon which an inscription of its gifting was read to say “For to the Fairest.” Hera, Athena and Aphroditë were brought to outrage as rivals, and then were supposed to argue unto utmost rage against each other, a huge tiff about to whom the apple should be best disposed. Hermes was appointed judge over the arbitration, but he then brought perforce upon the three goddesses the Judgment of Paris. Shirking his own divine and unassailable duty, having refused to perform it in person, Paris was found upon Mount Ida and there became the appointed judge to referee the fairest by the immanence of the three rival goddesses.

I say no more because there’s no allegorical sense whatsoever in the judgement then made, or in the allegation that Paris became subject to bribes from the three ultra-egotistical goddesses. It’s all nonsense even to a reckoning of religious beliefs long prior to the Olympian Pantheon. For “the Fairest” was all three at once, a trinity of supreme matron daughters by direct divine descent from a Gaia of Asia. That alien Great Earth Mother essentially still subsumed them transcendently as the maiden form Creatrix and Great Mother brought somehow to virgin parturition of divine progeny. She was in trinity transcendent as well, having Hera an almighty power by Supreme Female Sovereignty, Athena as a Supremely Effective Inventor of crafts, wiles and wisdoms; and finally, Aphroditë, an Omnipotence of Love and Lust, the catalytic Force Femine which only the Greeks could understand as catalytic to the First Creation (by the intercourse of Nyx the Night and Chaos). Thereby that ardor brought to climax there occurred the Big Bang of the Greeks!

What we have to know of Alexander, instead of all that’s so false about him as a wholly invented Paris, is his conception, then his birth, as the second son born to the marriage of Priam and Hekabë. He was born after many decades of his father’s prurient bachelordom, by mates fully apart the much younger Hekabë, to whom he was likely betrothed or else aspiring of future troth. Hekabë, moreover, was already longtime the High Queen over Wilusas by a long legacy of matriarchal forbears. With the arrival of the Hittites or the Hatti or both as one ethnic identity, the line of descent was compelled to an acceptance of royal sires to whom the hereditary matriarchs presumptive must afford regent custodial majesties. Hekabë had ruled Wilusas apart from Priam, becoming a maiden presence to grace a vast territory of grasslands and tall timber tracts. The grassland conjoined Dardania of Troias whereas the great forest lay most densely as a vast verge over and around the Halys River Basin.

The royal marriage had it proper time of troth and soon had conceived Hektor and Alexander as first progeny, followed by the high princess Kreousa, the future wife of the Trojan hero Aineas son-of-Anchises by the Tröad Kingdom of Dardania. The respective upbringings of the boys were separate, obligating them fully, and respectively, to high princedoms over Troias and Wilusas. Brought up apart, as severed, they were in their late twenties or early thirties of attained age before they were conjoined together as High Princes of the Blood, whereby heirs presumptive as well to their respective high kingdoms where they had been reared to manhood and rendered mature to undertake sovereign powers bestowed by New Kingdom tradition, to make major contribution together and apart to the Hatti might, by annual campaigns to police the imperial and foreign extents of Anatolia.

Upon their reunions, after all the years since tiny boys together, tradition called for cadet marriages arranged for both princes. About Hektor’s cadet marriage thereby under taken we know nothing; about Alexander’s we know of his great fortune to have Oinonë in troth, and of his even greater luck to have her fall in love with him.

A Few Early Conclusions

We are upon the time of the earliest hostilities between the Helladic Period Greeks and the New Kingdom Period Trojans. We have a few speculations about Hektor and Alexander as men arrived to full manhood and obligation to their shared parents. Having dispensed with such background, this serialization becomes to a theme of Helen’s progress through Anatolia by various tactical attempts to evade all agencies –   imperial, Greek or what else – that might capture him with Helen and compel Helen from his grasp. Throughout that progress, and during the hostilities staged at numerous venues of Anatolia, there are stories about them together. Thereby there stories about how they interrelated outside of their passionate assignations with each other.

The mapping of Anatolia and the Levant above begins Helen’s progress beginning where the regional capital Hattusas of the Hatti, at just below the coast of the Black Sea. Where the anachronistically placed Phrygia, above, we should have Wilusas as constrained by the head waters of the two lengthy rivers that coastally debouche at Ephesos and at Smyrna (modern Ismir). From there and thereabouts variously, Helen was finally taken into Ilion. That event took place either late in the 8th campaign year of the Trojan War, or by early spring of the 9th campaign.

Other maps will depict places and geographic features as properly aligned with dates that we have within the New Kingdom Period of the Hatti and the Late Tröadic Period of the Trojans.


for the Bardot Group

 

Teshub: The Hittite and Hurrian storm-god. Son of Kumarbi. Brother of Ishtar and Tasmisu. Consort of Hebat, Huwassanas, Sabasarras and Tasimis. Consort of Shoushkas, some say. Father of Inara, Sharrumas and Telipinus. When Kumarbi overthrew Anu, he spat out three new gods, Teshub, Aranzakh and Tasmisu. Teshub replaced Kumarbi as supreme god and married the daughter of the sea-god, producing the giant Ullikummi who was made of diorite. Others say that Kumarbi married the sea-god’s daughter who bore Ullikummi or that this stone giant was created by Kumarbi to avenge his dethronement by Teshub. When Ullikummi grew so large that he threatened the whole world, Teshub (or Ea, in other versions) cut off the giant’s feet and it fell into the ocean. When his son Telipinu disappeared he searched for him in vain. In one story he was defeated by the demon Illuyankas but Inara gave the dragon and his brood so much food that they got stuck in the opening to their lair. Hupasiyas then tied them up so that Teshub could kill them. Alternatively, when the dragon defeated Teshub, he took his eyes and heart. Telipinu, a son of Teshub, married a daughter of Illuyankas and received the eyes and heart as a wedding gift. He returned them to his father who then slew both his son and the dragon. At times, identified as Teshub, Tarhuis, Tarhuis, Tarhun, Tarhun, Tarhunt, Tarhunt, Tarhuntas, Tarhuntas, Tark, Tark, Tarku, Tarku, Teshup, Teshup, Tesub, Tesub, Tesup, Tesup, Atabyrius, Tushup, Tushup, Tarhun(t), Tarhun(t), Tark(u), Tark(u), Tes(h)up, Tes(h)up, Canaanite Baal, Canaanite Baal, Adad, Cronus, Set, Hattic Taru, Hattic Taru, Sumerian Ishkur, Sumerian Ishkur, Ramman, Sutekh, Sutekh, Ja-ztak, Setekh, Setes, Sut, Sutesh, Suty, Ja-stak, Setes(h), Sut(esh), Babylonian Ramman, Hittite Pappas or Egyptian Rimmon

164th Bardot Blog: Helen’s Abduction into her Anatolian Epoch: Some Necessary Mythography

Our last posting introduced the second part serialization of Bardot Blogs about Helen. It also completed the first part serialization, about6 the epoch spanning her childhood through early marriage as a fostered princess of Lakonia. Under the aegis of the House of Oebalos, notwithstanding intensive tutelage by her mother Nemesis’ nation race (genos) of Highlanders, she had become nigh imperial of stature by her great legacy of alpine territory, such as I again depict alongside this introduction.

New Lands, New Culture and Religion

High Prince Alexander, aka Paris of the Trojan Saga of Myths, had brought her to landfall upon the Levant, and soon found supplication to the higher powers and authority of the Hurrians, a feudatory people under the Hatti, whose several petty kings were like, or in parity, to the stature of the Tröad Kingdoms under his father, High King Priam over Troias & Wilusas. No sooner his recourse as a supplicant to foreign counterparts of the Levant, however, than he was brought north to “the Gateway” into Anatolia with Helen, by way of intercepting the annual campaign of the imperial Hatti issuing therefrom. For the intention was to intercept the campaigners in expectation that a prominent Martial-at-Horse would be his brother Hektor, a seasoned leader of the Trojan contingents since his early years of manhood.

The timing of Helen’s abduction into far eastern Anatolia, by the back door served by the Levant of the Hurrians, coincides with a fraught prehistory attendant the zenith of the imperial Hatti. That superior race of equestrian caste and militant might was at apogee in so far as the conduct of Bronze Age warfare was concerned. Since the rapid imperial ascendancy of Suppiluliumas I beyond three consecutively reigning Great Kings named Tudhaliyas, the Hatti had (1) pushed back pharaoh Seti I and his son, the young Rameses II, under Great King Mutwatallis II. Thereon the next 30 years, the Hatti had (2) consolidated their imperial gains over the Levant, while expanding far beyond the Hurrians, under the brother of Mutwatallis who came to accession as Great King Hattushilis III. The zenith that proved so long by that specific reign was by the Trojan War Era’s inception brought to a pause of its apogee, as the greatly aged Great King had to pass his wisdom tradition to his superb wife Padukhepa, an illustrious queen out of Kizzuwatna, along the south east buffer lands at NNW of the Hurrian Levant. She boldly and brilliantly served dowager duties to her son Tudhaliyas IV awhile is gradual accession into martial supremacy over  the entire panoply of Hatti war alliances; she also continues her collaboration with her husband, despite his dotage, at bringing to the New Kingdom over the Hatti a most robust ecumenical religiosity to all subject ethnicities.

What we mean by fraught prehistory, though, is the attendant decadence of Bronze Age warfare in the face of an advancing Iron Age warfare that the “New Assyrians” had begun to wage so effectively above and throughout Mesopotamia. Assyria was consolidating a new imperial era through a coalescence of disloyal Hurrians, the fully conquered Mitanni and their main tribes under petty kings that ruled northern territory upstream the great rivers Euphrates and Tigris. Accordingly, Hatti campaigns annually issuing forth through the Pillars or Gates of eastern Anatolia were becoming warfare to contain Assyrian threats through the allied nation races at continuing supremacy at chariot warfare upon desert terrain. There must be speculated, however, that there were also reverses at infantry warfare as superior weapons by wetted forged steel by Assyrian smithies began to prove their superior temper over the best of forged bronze swords and copper plated armor. So, as Tudhaliyas IV sought to retain imperial extent in the far east, or “orient” by the then Near East, every campaign year brought back increased concern over the Hatti staying power. As Alexander and Helen entered Anatolia via the Levant, in 1364 BC, the effect of such concerns was a peaking of imperial attentiveness to that challenge. Likely it was nothing more, though, for the Hatti still had great self-confidence in the loyalty and rewards  from spoils warfare that earned their Great Kings due regard of “a Great Father” over all the satellite high kingdoms that rimmed around the Halys River Basin and the capital fortress city of Hattusas.

We cannot say for sure that Hektor actually met his brother Alexander upon some field of war. His commanded contingents most certainly did, though, and they brought the High Prince the news that he was now the High King over Wilusas, the realm of his mother, High Queen Hekabë. In proof of that, we additionally speculate, the rearguard commands of the Hatti included Wilusan cattle drovers and other livestock supervisors in support of that 1264 campaign deployments. These rearguard elements must duly have bowed in loyal homage to their new liege majesty.

Alexander’s Newly Realized Stature

Likely Alexander shied away from any meeting with his brother Hektor. Most certainly he was sought for already as the abductor of Helen, by new relayed about Helen and him across the entire extent of the Anatol. He did not wish to trade his security as a granted imperial supplicant for membership in the martial adjutant command ranks over the Trojan Foot by reason of his abilities as a champion- and martial-at-Archery. The latter most surely would have removed Helen from him until the higher command over the campaign year could adjudge her proper disposition to imperial authority.

Let me explain here, however, the realized great stature forthcoming to Alexander. His High Kingdom of Wilusas was, in fact, a hybrid matriarchate, by a legacy and pattern of successions that laid utmost stress on the sacral matrilineage of “mothers of kings,” This is to say that the sacral majesty of queens still had preeminence over royal scions, whether they were those queens’ fathers, husbands or sons. We know this from a favorite question posed by the Roman Emperor Tiberius to his party guests: It went in gist, “Who were the kings under Hekabe, and were they presumptive as her father, husband or son.”

While that’s a dilemma, most certainly a conundrum posed, its answer as either is not ascertainable for sure. The answer to Tiberius’ question, though, was “All three!”, whether all such candidate were still living or not. For Hekabë’s father Dymas had ruled autocratically while she was a girl as her Regent Custodian, and was still sovereign over Wilusas even as he married Priam to become his High Queen Consort over the Trojans. As soon as Dymas died, however, she was outright High Queen of the Wilusans having delivered her heiress presumptive Alexandra/Kassandra and her twin brother Helenos even as she had full powers to raise her second son by Priam to Regent or “High King & Stud” to sire a future High Queen of the Wilusans by his chosen wife. For that wife would then earn stature for her deliverance of a granddaughter, Hekabë’s designated heiress presumptive by way to supplant Kassandra (as her name is best known to us from Classical Greek Mythology)*.

[Greek myths about Kassandra have her greatly diminished as a royal presence among the Trojans for having been rendered outcast as a highest sacral priestess and Hekabë’s heiress apparent as the Trojan royal princess of the formal grant name Alexandra. Her true status was by her upbringing away from Troias as High Princess Alexandra of the Wilusans, but also as a High Priestess by her mantic gifts as a prophetess. The myth about Apollo spitting upon her mouth, whereby all her prophecies would come true but be wholly disbelieved before their realizations, is by contrived variance, thus false prehistory, from the formal demotion of Kassandra as her manifest status by the Greek Trojan Saga composed to rhapsodist recitals before Homer’s The Iliad. By this revisionist lore, Alexandra never is mentioned as High Princess over the Wilusans. [refer to www.MYTH INDEX.com]

Returning to the stature of Alexander, he was the High King as “Sire Presumptive” to a future, or next High Queen over the Wilusans. Her progeny would take stature from her supreme matrilineage by Hekabë as expressed through her natural son Alexander, a direst sire of her ultimate successor. We also have, incidentally, another great love of Alexander to consider in this particular context. She is Oinönë, a princess by way of being a daughter of a river god, a royal born High Priest or a former King of Mount Ida that the Trojan Antenor supplanted. Whoever she was, we take her as the former wife of Alexander awhile a cadet marriage arranged for him before Wilusas and Troias were conjoined high kingdoms. While such wedlock served well for petty royal alliances, it was a far lesser troth than the formal betrothal and troth required of a high royal wife. Despite that caveat, we adjudge Oinönë a wife of first worth, a sacral majesty brought to any High Prince who might covet her. Accordingly, his desertion of her for Helen, by whom he became a bigamist, was cardinal sin by Anatolian marriage law. He was fortunate that Oinönë did not bear him a child, for her rights of assertion would have been equal to any progeny that he sired through Helen.

Alexander insisted, and thereby somehow managed, we think, a martial escort of Helen and himself by grant of safe passage directly to the High Court of Kizzuwatna. There minister surrogates of Great Queen Padukhepa could take them in hand and seek the imperial authority of their liege sovereign and queen  about what to do with the suppliant refugees. Here, moreover, we make an even greater supposition, entirely reasoned speculation, about what those surrogates adjudicated. That was, after deliberation, to send them on with full honor escort to the capital seat of Hattusas, and into the presence there of Queen Padukhepa herself. Whether still the Great Queen or the Queen Dowager we cannot know. The dates allow us to interpret her husband at an age when either he’s still living but late into his dotage or just recently deceased. Padukhepa, a much younger woman than Hattushulis III, would still stand highest as an imperial authority

What eased her surrogates’ decision was the continual high royal presence at the capital of a Trojan plenipotentiary descended from Ganymedes son-of-Trös. A High Prince of Troias, the brother of high Princes Assarakos and Ilus during the middle decades of the 14th century BC, he’s supposed by Classical Greek Myth as a handsome prince abducted from his father by Zeus—for which heinous and overtly homosexual act Trös was made rich by the amends afterwards. So divinely favored, Ganymedes became the Cup Bearer of the Olympians, displacing the gorgeous Goddess Hebë, wife of Herakles, in that role.

This myth is allegorical, but close by its historicity, to another myth, about the Supreme God of the Hatti whom we shall name Teshub (a/o Teșup). It goes quite simply as the envoy Ganymedes visiting the Great Court of Suppiluliumas I where he made great sensation of his handsomeness, congenial personality and honesty as an appointed plenipotentiary of his father High King Trös. Instated at the Great Court, his residency at Hattusas soon manifest his great favor among all the courtiers at active ministry for their home realms. Ganymedes made so clear that he was of conjoint loyalty to Trös and Suppiluliumas’s best self-interests that he became a leading imperial advisor on all foreign matters of the imperial state. Accordingly, all high princes after him at annual campaign marches though the Halys River Basin had a firm friend in whomever descendant from Ganymedes was then living. And by his became the steadfast loyalty of Troias to the Hatti, most certainly for greatest consideration in return.

This myth makes great sense, even if a speculation, because there was no Zeus of the 14th century BC that was so transcendent that he would have rivaled Teshub. Conversely, that the Greeks would translate a myth about Ganymedes’ paramountcy during the revered reign of Suppiluliumas as by that Great King’s apotheosis as a Tabarnas (god king) under the aegis of the All Mighty Storm God Teshub. For later Greeks equate Zeus with Teshub thereby is entirely reasonable, as we shall discuss in our next posting, the 165th Bardot Blog about the ecumenical religiosity of the New Kingdom Hatti.

Alexander the Suppliant as Married to Helen

As soon a suppliant in residence, his accession to High King even as a liege subordinate, Alexander formalized his troth to Helen despite the bigamy that we’ve aforementioned by his marriage to Oinönë. Quite likely his exculpation in that regard stemmed directly from the outstanding effect that Helen had upon the Hatti Great Court. She was instantly an object of greatest appeal, and of a special paramountcy as well. She was, after all, already an exemplary Queen of the Highlanders and commanding of vast landedness not unalike to the vastness and nature of territory by Wilusas.

So commanding of presence, she was also singularly so by assessment of the imperial Queen Padukhepa. Thus the beginning of an affinity which we will explore of Helen’s Anatolian Epoch, as it unfolds through subsequent Bardot Blogs that are next to be presented.

 
 for the Bardot Group

 

 

163rd Bardot Blog: Helen’s Abduction and her Anatolia Epoch

Why We’re Glum at Outset:

We find especially disheartening academics who misuse the legacy scholarship by the Humanities, with respect to Classical Studies in particular, whenever they render overly verbose literary analyses about everything that’s ever been written, or discussed, or screen projected, about a famous mythic personage. Helen is certainly exemplary of such a subject heroine. Now that we’ve completed the first twenty-one years of Helen’s earliest lifetime as a foster princess of Greece’s Laconia (through a series of Bardot Blogs, No. 156-161), we venture our readers into the little realized biography of her as compelled to exile from Greece from 1239 to circa 1219 BC.

We’re also moving into the advent of the Trojan War, beginning from the Abduction of Helen in 1239 BC. [That’s 1264 BC by the Middle Dating Method minus 25 years by the Latest Dating Method. Refer, Our Good Fans, to Bardot Blog No 162 to recalibrate yourself on dating of oldest Antiquity.] This posting initiates, therefore, an epoch that’s slightly longer than the Heroine’s own declaration of duration for her captive years at the very end of The Iliad. For then she says, both fey and wondrously, that she’s been away from husband, daughter and home for twenty years.

Allow me to be briefly here a pedant, by saying that those twenty years include the year just after her declaration, when Troy was finally to fall, and thereby she became liberated by her husband Menelaos from a brief period of humiliation. The last years of her epochal captivity subjected her to debasing sexual abuse by the Trojans. The Trojan War, we must also explain, was already overly protracted at beyond the time and circumstance of The Iliad’s setting within the 9th campaign year. The entire twenty years, we estimate accordingly, composed from four years of the Trojan War’s advent, ten years of the War’s Duration of hostilities, and six years of aftermath and delayed return to Lakonia. The return, moreover, was a delay during which Helen was supposedly stranded somewhere upon the delta of the Nile River, which the oldest Greeks once called Nilotis. All of this now said in brief is part of the Trojan War Saga as brought to mythic literature by the Ancient Greeks who lived seven full centuries after Helen and other legendary forbears who had lived to enact Homer’s exceeding robust prehistory.

We’re about to challenge that mythography, even to expunge ourselves of the Trojan War Saga, in order to render entirely novel mythography. For the abduction of Helen brought her into another civilization that was mutual to the High Kingdom of Troias and the imperial Great Kingdom of Hatti and Hittite Anatolia. It is our conviction that Helen was exposed at fullest immersion within the latter from 1239 to 1229, after which she became the ill-fated Queen Consort to High King Alexander over Wilusas for just short of three years. This is also to say, with strictest emphasis, that Helen and Alexander/Paris lived within the fortress ramparts of Ilion, a foremost kingdom of Troias, from the winter recess of the 8th campaign year to the fall of Troy, whose date we adhere to at 1225. It almost could be said that she barely was able to know the famous heritage site of the Iliad.

         Why we’re so disheartened  – myself in particular at authoring this venturesome posting – is because of scholars such as Ruby Blondell, the author of the pictured book just above. The Professor begins her 2012 tome about Helen with one of several assertions that shape her Helen in gender, agency and ethics, all such roles appurtenant to the Trojan War as catalytic to the hostilities. By first assertion Helen is an object of patriarchal control. Blondell says, “I should therefore make it clear from the outset that this book is not about the`real’ Helen…..Or about the real Helen, whom I take to be in her essence unreal.” Accordingly, she further asserts, and I paraphrase, anything real and prehistorical about Helen is uninteresting dreck and of no account by comparison to the constant regurgitation of literary insights into Helen’s myriad and wholly fictional characterizations awhile the evolution of Western Literature as a world literature.

Why We Differ from Eggheads by the Tortuous Humanities:

Of course, needless to say but said anyway, I’m beggared to conceive of Helen as a totally fictional personage throughout the millennia of so much said about her. That kind of dreck, the real stuff, is exactly what the Bardot Group is never about. We’re full of our own stuff and nonsense, perhaps. Howsoever it may seem, we render famous fictional characterizations more robustly, by presupposing them based upon the actual persons who actually were brilliantly captured via the Great Oral Tradition’s recitations, dating from 1525 to 1200 BC, whereby the robust historicity behind their lifetimes. Our quest is always for the real core history of the Late Aegean Bronze Age in amalgamation. That realized opera comes from oldest writ ever, by syllabaries that existed before their expressed content had achieved their alphabetic compositions. In gist, we’re about component periods and timelines. We’ve become confidant to say, and elucidate, a brief apogee of several contemporaneous, very great civilizations at a congruence of their zeniths by the mid-century of the 13th century BC.

Having ended about Helen as a Greek Heroine, we concluded with Bardot Blog No 161 about what might have been the reckoning of Helen as soon as she began her first year as a Anatolian Helen, the stolen wife who would become the queen consort to a high king, by whom over twenty-years of another unwanted preeminence that she would obtain from the greatest royalties of the Hatti Imperial Age and New Kingdom.

 

Some Introductory Mythography

So then to begin, allow that Helen has been stolen away and a reckoning must now begin about how Alexander the Abductor got away clean with the utterly delicious carnal delight he would have with the most beautiful woman in the world. I draw a somewhat lengthy passage from our book Embassy Outbound : The Trojan War Advent I, 2008, Bardot Books, Limited Edition Release, New York. All below is casted within quotes and goes as follows as declamation in italics by Helen’s husband Menelaos………….

Later, our important business done for that day, our pent up curiosity over the Trojan Delegation became so keen that Odysseus urged Menelaos to tell us about Alexander. Upon the mere suggestion, Nestor almost commanded that he do so; I [Mentör son-of-Alkimos], too, urged his recital, since I’d heard too many conflicting versions, none of which compelled full credence given the thinness of their facts.

Menelaos raised his hands and, as he so often did while conjuring, he rubbed his beard vigorously and scratched away at his jaw for some sort of inspiration about just where to start. Finally he shrugged, squared his shoulders, and sat ready to begin.

“My understanding of what happened is simple enough. We’d  had a few wonderful days of audiences and outings with the Trojan delegation. I’d liked every member; I’d trusted them all, although Alexander had flirted openly with Helen. He’d cast fond, sometimes fiendish gazes her way; he’d even made a deliberate ass of himself with his improprieties. Nothing unusual in that. Helen, because of her own effusion of frivolous compliments, fools all men who first meet her. She’s always open in her frank pleasure in our guests, and commented constantly on the youth and grace of that particular delegation. While this was hardly true of Alexander, who’s in his late thirties, he liked to hear her speak her silky praises. I must admit, too, that even to a man’s eye the Trojans made a handsome entourage. During their stay they’d become popular spectacle among the people of Amyklai and Therapnë.

“Otherwise, Alexander comported himself well. I never thought him capable of a successful seduction, nor that Helen could ever be single-minded in her attentions upon him. There wasn’t the slightest lapse in our routines of either morning or evening. We alternated at our sovereign duties to include our honored guests. I’m not even sure now that a seduction is really what happened. A mesmerization seems the more likely possibility.

“The rest, to speak truthfully, is greatly confusing to me in all its particulars. I’m of the conviction that she was drugged by a potion, perhaps even overwhelmed by some means short of actual force. I’m not a believer in spells, but I can concede that the gifts of the Goddess must take many forms. I hate to say that Alexander was somehow empowered with those gifts. I make no excuses for Helen, nor do I challenge any man here who insists she eloped. Yet I cannot believe she wasn’t stunned in some fashion. For even her crone maid Aithra says as much.”

“Why should you have suspected anything, Menelaos?” remarked Ikarios in commiseration. “My own mpressions were exactly the same as yours where Prince Alexander was concerned, although I knew him not as intimately as I did Prince Aeneas.”

To which Menelaos responded, “I might have suspected something, from what I’ve heard from the harbor scribe of Läas. We sleuthed out a lot of what must have happened. He made clear the one and only explanation of the Trojans’ motives. Only my Helen could fitly avenge the loss of their stolen princess Hesionë —”

“All that from a scribe?” interrupted Odysseus, somewhat stunned.

“Because he was made instrumental to Alexander’s plan, Odysseus! A plan for him alone, a native, to become sole witness — because most able to make bruit of her capture abroad our wide seas. Nobody else could do so well!”

“That I can scarcely believe,” intoned Odysseus.

Menelaos shrugged off that remark, and continued, “Helen never left me any word whatsoever, perhaps for my own sake. But given her opportunity to do so, I must reckon as well upon the many possessions of our matrimony that were stolen away with her —”

“So she was stolen!” Odysseus interrupted again, most irritatingly. “Your Lakonians still believe her abducted. Why don’t you!?! For had she truly eloped, she would have said something about her determination to that folly, if no more than to offer the nurse Aithra and her tiny daughter Hermione the meager consolation of an explanation for her deliberate desertion of them both!”

Menelaos waved his hand in negation. “Whether there was a plot to strike, and if so where and whom, is still in question. Likely Helen decided his final resolve, to make our innocent Lakonia suffer for the misdeeds of an Argive Confederacy when my father ruled here through his puppet Hippoköon. Back then his liege kings raided and ruptured the peace of too many lands far abroad. Once Alexander resolved to possess Helen, all that was left was to await the next moment of my inattention. Then he could work his bewitching charms.

“I was not entirely deluded throughout: There was a wolf in his eye. Nonetheless, I had not the least indication that he’d aroused Helen to recklessness. As I’ve said, her own impulses appear to have been so sudden that I have to suspect wicked agencies.”

Menelaos paused then, his expression showing the enduring struggle of any man to understand behaviors too odd, by attendant events too blurred, in their passage. As if concluding that no one explanation could ever suffice, he resumed:

“The word of Grandfather Katreos’ death was not surprising. There was already a vigil amassed and underway at Gortyna, the birthplace of his mother and the place where he’d chosen to die. Anaxabaia my sister had already traveled south to offer her honors at the vigil. I’d been in readiness for some time to hear of his passing. I left Helen quickly upon that news, the faster to bring off my return from Crete.

“I didn’t like my grandfather, the late Minos. My mother did, however, despite the fact that he made her suffer the worst humiliation — a denouncement — and that for a time he knowingly forced her into a desperation unto wantonness. He disinherited my Aunt Phratsia, and her most wrongfully. He openly accused both of them of fornicating with lowly man-servants. Then he sent them away with Nauplius the Pirate with instructions to sell them into slavery. Fortunate that his son, the Black Commodore Nauplius Son of the Wrecker, saw beyond the Minos’ reckless myopia. He took Aunt Phratsia for his own bride and married off my mother to a good, although aged man — Pleisthenes — from whom she was soon widowed.

“Still, I must grant him, Grandfather Katreos relented later. He lavished generosity upon both his daughters. He saw my mother through the worst years of her marriage to my father. He’d become a cruel, wicked man by then, especially where her own beliefs and traditions were concerned, and was so utterly incapable of love as to be unworthy of affection from anyone. Grandfather Katreos had to threaten him with dire consequences if there was any further mistreatment of my mother. He had that power, too, for all that he was determined to avoid its use end to support the amity of wedlock between the Houses of Minos and Pelops. He also befriended Uncle Thyestes, when most men at the time would not, solely because of my late mother’s abiding love and many times of happiness by him. Because of Thyestes and what my cruel father did to abet my mother’s death, Crete never made pledge to, or participated in, the War for Ephyrëa — or as I’m brought up to know it, the War of the Holy and Unholy.

“Yes, for her sake alone I owed Grandfather a formal farewell and a gift offering of the House for his funeral games. But I was determined to be damned brief about it.”

Our company listened patiently to the Wanax’ lengthy, painful excuses for leaving Helen so alone. In silence we sympathized with his inward need to justify actions that had since released such a tumult of calamitous events. Soon he managed to resume his plain tale:

“I’d  barely arrived and settled into Amnisos Harbor when word of Helen’s abduction came south. There also came word that great thefts from the House had been made. I was astounded, but hardly slow to react. Useless news, howsoever quickly sent: The winds that had raced it to us now raged upon Amnisos as steady arrays of frothing combers. Ëtesian Winds, they howled their strong protest directly against my homeward return. I could neither tack nor row into that steady blast. Prince Idomeneos, being a close cousin, launched his fastest ships, took me aboard, and decided our best recourse lay upon the easier bearings along Alexander’s possible flight. We headed east across the Karpathan Sea, rowing against the constant leeway as well as we could, spread abreast for our best vigilance over that main. We hoped thereby to cut off Alexander’s retreat toward Anatolia by anticipating his choice of the fastest winds. They held constantly and directly eastward, ever away and strong along the Levantine Corridor.

“That wind had an evil genius. Its strength allowed too many quarters of flight to the east and south, even if none whatsoever to the north towards Troias. At sea, I would discover, all opportunity falls to the thief in full flight. Rarely is any chance offered to his pursuer. So it has proved for me.

“As we were to know much later from the Cretan sea lords amain, Alexander’s fleet could not bear up to our chasing wind once it had passed by Kythera. Idomeneos and I had overestimated the Trojan’s seamanship relative to my own embassy’s. Alexander had to abandon his chosen headings. Forced to bear directly before the rolling swells, he tried to make landfall upon the Kydonian Chersonese. This was ill luck for us. The wind had become too strong, or the commander of his ships feared too greatly for the safety of his passengers, and so the wind and the high swells drove him west of Crete altogether. Beyond, we’ve come to believe, the Ëtesians forced his ships all the way down to some lee within the Nile Delta. Where exactly nobody’s guess has been worth hazarding, nor has anyone likely guessed any other place correctly since. Yet Cretan merchants are convinced of that landfall, by various reports to them of Helen’s sighting. A rumor persists that Helen has earned herself status as a protegee of the Pharaoh himself, whereby the Trojans were altogether graced as his suppliants.”

“There, too, Menelaos, you have another instance of her complicity,” Nestor said.

The Wanax shrugged the interruption off, continued: “Alexander, the Cretans believe, waited out the adverse wind for quite some time. Once he embarked again, he traveled short daytime legs eastward from the Nile until he’d skirted around the Rim of the Levant. We suspect he found port somewhere upon the Kilician coast from which to travel overland into Karia, and from there across Old Maeonia. Thence he would have arranged for a protected homecoming via the Tröad Outback.”

“You know a world,”  Nestor commented, “that few can name so well.”

Menelaos shrugged again. “Our last returned heralds have reported that Priam is well informed of Alexander’s guest transgressions against myself. Before this, he was honestly ignorant of the particulars. He continues to deny any ken of Alexander’s whereabouts. My heralds are convinced that he speaks the truth in that denial. They corroborate Talthybios, my brother’s herald.

“He’ll make his denials until someday he says instead to our heralds, ‘Why should I heed your threats when my own complaints for my sister’s abduction have always been rebuffed?’

“Yes, when he says those words, or something like them, you’ll know he’s no longer ignorant of where Alexander is, or of what he’s done himself to sanction the abduction.”

So for a strong lesson from the Bardot Group and me — Bardot Books’ author in pseudonyn — at modest contribution to the legacy scholarship that relates to our fictional Helen of the Highlanders. She was, however, real and vivid enough their  Queen Holy Matriarch. She’s in that way whom we take to have been the real Helen of prehistory, and not ever a “Helen of Sparta,” as a princess so-called by much later Ancient Greeks of the 1st millennium BC.

Whither Helen Away? Whence the Progression of her Captivity?

Helen left behind her the beginning of the Trojan War. It took four years to finally bring off an invasion of Ilion by landings upon the kingdom’s Scamander Plain. That was precede by an embassy of ransom for restoration in the autumn of 1262, and ending as soon as the new naval year of 1261. The even called First Aulis aborted with the reckless and premature invasion of Anatolia by Agamemnon and the Argives, whereupon they became trapped for failure of Palamedes to find the correct point of landing. That error led to a blockade of the transport ships so that they could not retreat. The Argive reinforcements, mostly horse troops under High Prince Diomedes, could not break the blockade and had to divert themselves to Lesbos Island. Odysseus brought off a retreat, and used the opportunity to create a land blockade around Ilion through a systematic invasion of Highlanders under Menelaos and his chief adjutant Mentör. There followed Second Aulis and the long delay of the First Campaign Year. But the armada of invasion was upon the North Rim Sea of the Aegean by the last of summer of 1261. By then Menelaos’ blockade was successful all the way from the Adrymittion Strait around Lesbos to Kyzikos upon the Sea of Marmara.

Second Aulis affirmed the Martial Order of Helen. Barely begun than Agamemnon sought to preempt everybody else of his host at command by invading anew below the Kingdom of Ilion for a war of conquest and spoils throughout the Tröadic Kingdoms’ Outback via coastal Dardania, a first attempt to reach the interior of Wilusas where Helen and Alexander were supposed at repose. The Great Wanax of the Argives proving himself once again inept at supreme command, the First War Anniversary brought only two rewards: (1) a sweep of all naval opposition from coastal Anatolia; and (2) a fully reinforced blockade of the Highlanders by the Minyan Expeditionary forces under Great Prince Achilles over the Minyans.

We shall proceed no further into the ensuing hostilities and their campaign years. Our fictional declamation of Menelaos, quoted above, may be incorrect in one respect, but only upon a very recent reconsideration. The Bardot group was originally of the conclusion that Alexander took Helen away under sufferance of a sea storm. That surge caused leeway drift as far south as the delta of the Nile River. We now think that the landfall achieved, a finally affected refuge from stormy seas, was either at Ashkelon or at Sidon of the Levant. Both of them along the Levantine Main that runs north to south, Alexander could readily assert himself the High Prince of Wilusa and of Troias. Rendering to his hosting landfall’s royal governor the temporary obeisance of a suppliant unto firm ally of the Hatti Great Kingdom, there was then the long concordat in effect through the Pharaoh Rameses II and the Tlabarnas Tudhaliyas IV. His credentials were likely vetted during the brief period under grant of suppliance, until Alexander was deemed what he said he was, a High Prince of the House of Laomedon bringing home his bride of alliance to the united high kingdoms of Troias and Wilusas. Alexander’s host offered him rights of safe passage as far as Aleppo, where he could await the arriving campaigners from the imperial center of Anatolia. Alexander dealt with mostly friendly Levantines along the way. We mostly know them as Canaanites from the Bible, but they were actually the Kinawöün people of the broad littoral coastal plain that runs along the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.  We’re now, therefore, within another imperial age and its vastness, under the once mostly unknown foreign imperium of the Hatti, or else under Egyptian governance by the greatest dynasty ever, the 19th of the New Kingdom.

Alexander could expect the important arrival of Trojan chariotry with numerous battle horses in train, both very strong compliments under his brother Hektor. For such was likely the tithe of annual contribution to his Great King, while also offering his own fealty to the new war campaign years as befit his father Priam’s pledged obligations to Tudhaliyas IV. Alexander would greet fondly, albeit with the fait accompli of his enormous misdeed in taking a stolen wife. I end this posting about the abduction still ongoing upon that expectation and point of resumption about how Helen herself was disposed to her new Fates.

[This is an excellent mapping of the many regional ethnicities, implicit to differing indigenous peoples and their belief systems. They shall allow our continuation of Helen as a vital mythic personage who had important biography within the historicity of the Imperial Hatti’s New Kingdom of the 13th century BC. The above mapping has a few incorrect toponyms and wrong spellings of the acceptable toponyms, such as Gasga Lands for Kaska Lands, Lycia for Lukka, Karia for Millawatna/Millawanda and Kizzuwatna for Kizzuwanda. These are quibbles, though. We shall repeat the map as appropriate to future contexts.]

A Last Aside: Stesichorus

We are also leaving the dominance of the Greek rhapsodists, upon whom most of the source early myth about the Trojan War Era relies. About Helen, their recitations greatly sullied, even pilloried. They laid intense disdain upon her for eloping with Alexander and heedlessly causing a protracted war that destroyed a great philhellenic power, High Kingdom Troias of the fifteen Tröadic Kingdoms. One such Ancient Greek to smear Helen heedlessly was named Stesichorus. Recent discoveries of his lyric poems off the wrappings of Egyptian corpses have us more greatly appreciating him as a Master of lyric poetry by way of bridging the transition of Homer’s hexameter epic verses to lyric epic poems that preceded the Lyric Age of Greece.

Stesichorus always has had notoriety otherwise, for having been stricken blind for castigating Helen much too vociferously. Loss of his sight made clear to him that Helen was truly the daughter of Zeus, and to blaspheme her, therefore, was sure to bear him divine retribution. He managed to propitiate Zeus by way of having his sight restored. He then composed a highly laudatory fiction of a “Helen at Troy” taking the form of her real person in the form of a living incubus, a phantom Helen. He premised the real Helen had been stolen away, and then landed upon the end of the Nile River. She was promptly taken into refuge and lived out the Trojan War Era as the happy guest of some king whose realm located the Nile Delta. Alexander was stymied from taking her as wife and eventually was compelled to return to Troias.

Stesichorus, the story continues, went blind again, and the cause attributed to this second loss of sight was his overly profuse lies woven about the phantom Helen by way of praise and exoneration of her real self as a glamorous supplicant to a royal court of lesser majesty within Nilotis. The Poet simply could not win at either calumny or effuse praise. This story, of course, was utter nonsense to most Ancient Greeks, but it became a Classical Myth by the dramatist Euripides.

We must seek Helen on a northern tract and way of her captivity by Alexander. She somehow managed to fall in love with him, or was caused to love him, awhile the bold adventure Alexander and Helen would undertake once their meeting with Hektor the war campaigner.  New places of deep refuge await them and speak more cogently for the truly impressive young woman of great majesty that she emerged to become from her abduction. For it is beyond any speculation that she became for the highest royalty under the imperial Hatti a queen and woman to daunt all for her beauty and obvious imperial stature.

The Complex Religiosity of the Imperial Hatti’s New Kingdom

Helen and Alexander have both unwittingly entered into 1229 and 1228 BC wherefrom a deep immersion in the imperial ecumenical movement that the Hatti Great Court at Huttusa(s) had been promulgating for decades. There were besides that consolidation of all faiths for harmony’s sake some five very mature belief systems that the Great Court sought assiduously to render into a coherent master religion that honored them all inclusively. This had been the wholly constructive intent of the royal couple, Hattushilish III and High Priestess Padükhepa, his inestimable queen consort.

[Image: This Hatti Kings’ List uses the Late Dating Method for the reigns tabulated. Using the Latest Dating Method, Hattushilish III reigned as either co-regent to his nephew Urhi-Teshub (1267 to 1257) or solely as Great King from to 1257 to 1225 BC. His wife Queen Padukhepa reigned onward in sacral majesty along side Tudhaliyas IV, who was the Great King to bear the news of the fall of City Troy along with the collapse of the High Kingdom of Troias. He himself would preside over the demise of the New Kingdom, as owing to the iron age dominance of New Assyria, even though it would take until 1190 BC for the Hatti to lose all their Levantine possessions and southwestern desert feudatories.]  

Looking Back from Far Centuries Ahead

For most of the centuries since the variously commingled periods of national renaissances throughout Europe, the religion of the Hatti was supposed that of the Hittites out of the Bible. By that consensus, mostly syncretic belief system was supposed a Semitic pagan religion of coastal city-states, or marinas, or fortress harbor townships of the Levant. Certainly there was a copious Early Levantine Mythology, even if it did not survive from cuneiform writ to become emended as a fulsome Phoenician Mythological Tradition out of the 8th century BC renaissance of the Levant afterwards of four full centuries of Dark Age.

During the 1920s the Hittites were rediscovered to have been a vast Hatti equestrian culture out of Bronze Age regions that would become Armenia and Azerbaijan. They came into central Anatolia via migrations from northeast to northwest of the subcontinent. We range the dates of that from the 17th through the end of the 15th century BC. Those centuries of diffusion brought in an imperial age New Kingdom until Assyria, incipient by an Early Iron Age land of plains which were reticulated by many streams that formed headwaters to Mesopotamia. Anatolia, which the New Assyrian Empire substantially absorbed after 1190 BC, has left enormous archival materials, its cuneiform writ featuring largest amidst it. Such lore revealed a prolificacy of the Hatti’s deep concern for religious peace and cultural harmony between the core highest peerage settled within the Halys River Basin and its many satellite kingdoms and high kingdoms coastally surrounding the core imperium. The western river valley floors led around to the Levantine Corridor that achieved the far dry forests and well irrigated deserts of the subcontinent. That southern rim by the corridor made up the indigenous peoples who were the true and original Hittites, speakers of a language called Luwian/Luvvian. Many scholars insist that the Hittites should be called. Instead, the Arzawans/Arzuwans.

With all the legacy scholarship of the Hatti and the Hittites being less than a century’s duration long, we must learn about the religiosity of both consolidated peoples and their feudatory populaces, or just as Helen came to know some of them – most likely very well.

[This alternative mapping of Anatolia introduces the terminology for indigenous populaces throughout Late Bronze Age Anatolia. Their component religions had evolved to considerable maturities and strongly conditioned beliefs. Even so they commingled ecumenically under the enduring aegis of the hallowed Padukhepa, long time their queen and/or dowager as the widow of Hattushilish III. The maps flaw is typical, that its place names are those at very late within the Dark Age, or beyond the Bronze Age as far beyond the Early Iron Age. We’ll find that kind of fuzziness rather easy to deal with nonetheless.]

About all that can be criticized of the famous royal couple now introduced is the copiousness of the many deities and pantheons under their much wanted ecumenical constructions were based. For our purposes they can be greatly abbreviated for what Helen herself assimilated of those belief systems. Very likely she became greatly appreciated as an empathetic soul with the ecumenical movement that made last great deed by the New Kingdom. That will be our mission to essay by a next posting, in order to elaborate the acculturation of Helen upon the venerated fundamentals that she resynthesized, whereby to serve the best ends of Alexander as the acceded High King over his mother Hekabë’s ancestral realm. Wilusa(s) by the deep interior of the northwest Anatol would become an influential precursor to later Phrygia, even as considerably smaller as a core region that was once appurtenant to Troias.

for the Bardot Group