Macedon: The Sons of Achilles
Location, Macedon. Circa 270 BC.
The Hellenic world is where the power lies in the world. Alexander the Great died just a mere fifty three years ago, his empire fractured, he left his generals in charge of the empire. The Diadochi. Ptolemy in Egypt, Seleucus in Asia, Antigonos in Macedon, and as fate would have it the generals turned upon each other. Alexander's empire, now turned upon itself, was given to war, assassination, schemes and political machinations. With great men among his generals, such as Ptolemy and Seleucus, it was an inevitability. Each desired more power and fame than the other, each desired the glory and fame of Alexander. Macedon was not unaffected. Antigonos I Monophthalmus was a worthy heir to the homeland of Alexander the Great. Fighting against the Cappadocians, the armies of Pontus, and notably, Seleucus, he kept Macedon safe until when in battle with Seleucus he was slain. That was nearly forty years ago. A mere ten years ago, Pyrrhus of Epirus was embattled in Italy. His Pyrrhic War would eventually end in failure. In 280 BC he fought the Romans in the battle of Heraclea. A year later in 279 BC he fought at the battle of Asculum. It was in this battle that Pyrrhus won his most bitter victory. Thus the Hellenes lost their colonies in Magna Graecia. Only two years ago Pyrrhus died in battle, a civic squabble in Argos. An old Argead woman threw a roofing tile at his head which stunned him, allowing a warrior of Argos to behead him. And so Pyrrhus died. Leaving a legacy of ambition, cunning, and brilliant generalship. However, the fates were unkind to this second Jason, and thus he died an ignoble death, in a small town, for a petty cause. And thus the Greek world lost one of it's brightest stars, for since Alexander, no man had accomplished as much as he, until Pyrrhus. With his death it had become clear, the power of the Republic of Rome was considerable. A conflict with the Hellenic world would be imminent. And though the power had been with the Hellenes for these fifty three years of chaos, there were new stars rising into the heavens. Rome, the Greeks, and Carthage were the kings of the world. But when rivals are so near in strength, so admirable and worthy, it can not be long but that these rivals should seek to compare their might. So it happened with the Diadochi, so it would be with these rising stars.
Macedon 270 BC
"Kleomenes of Sparta is our main threat. Already he has dispatched watches, sentries, sent spies into our settlement at Corinth, he has made clear his intent. He intends to make war on us my lords." Damasos handed his father Antigonos a scroll containing his official report. "He may be greatly respected by our neighbors the Greeks, but his bloodlust makes him untrustworthy. Surely he hopes to add the prosperous city of Corinth to his alliance of city-states. Not to mention to sate his thirst for glory and prestige!" Damasos stood illuminated by the brazier of fire, his long shadow adorning the otherwise bare campaign tent.
Antigonos read his son's report solemnly. "You are correct my son, Kleomenes is a man without fear. He would have to be to lead the Spartans. He is an honorable man though, Kleomenes. And Carpus of Pylos tells me his son has accepted our terms of trade and friendship at Thermon. I do agree though, that he can not be trusted, for truly, you are right. He sees himself as the defender of an independent Greece, but fails to see that we are not so different. He supposes I am a tyrant. I am no more than he, but let us prove that with our actions. You say he has made forays into our lands?" Antigonos hardly looked up from the scroll of Kleomenes' offenses his son had composed.
Damasos pointed out a spot on the map, "Here, near this place have our men spotted Kleomenes and his army. Father, let me strike out at him, let me defeat him and thus keep Corinth safe from his grasp!"
Antigonos held up his hand, "No son. You may not fight Kleomenes. You must defend the garrison at Corinth. It is of vital importance son."
Damasos protested, "But father! I know Kleomenes well. I have learned much from watching the craven coward wander around our lands, let me show him that we are not afraid of him."
Antigonos smiled to himself, "I suppose you have gotten to know him pretty well. But I have known him for many years my son. I know his strategies, his peculiar quirks, and what's more is that he and I have faced each other many times in the past. I want to be the one to lead our army against him, I will bring my royal cavalry. We will show the world the might of Macedon. You, my son, must keep watch, keep us informed. And if he does attack Corinth, you will lead the defense against him. However, I hope to have brought my army to Corinth by that time." The old man stood in the assembly. "Well then, what other news is there my sons?"
"A most excellent plan father." Gyras pointed to the map. "It had been my hope that you would deploy my army in Larissa to aid my brother Damasos. It is much closer to Corinth after all."
"What a fortunate father I am, that my sons are so valiant. But I have determined, I will face Kleomenes." Antigonos moved the piece on the map that symbolized his fleet. "My army shall arrive by sea."
"What I wonder is, what can we expect of our old enemy in Thrace?" Asked Euenus. "And furthermore, what are the plans of Dacia? For truly, if war is waged with both Thrace and Dacia, we will be quite taxed on our northern border. As you may well know, Byzalora is a rather small settlement."
Antigonos pondered over his son's words patiently. "Wise Euenus. You pose a good question, but my answer is this. If Thrace or Dacia come to us with favorable terms, accept them. We can't risk war on too many fronts. If they come against Byzalora in arms however, you must defend the city."
Euenus bowed to his father, "My noble lord, it shall be as you request."
"There is yet another threat we have not discussed." Damasos stood up from his chair, "Rome."
"My son, there you have pointed out a most distressing problem." Antigonos looked weary at the mere mention of the city's name. "Yes, the Brutii seem to have their eyes set upon Greece, but what can we do but wait and see. That is why we must address this issue with Kleomenes immediately. If we can consolidate Greece under one banner, the flag of Macedon, then it will stand a better chance against the invaders. Not to mention, that it will show we are quite capable ourselves. This issue of Rome, I leave it to you Gyras. Monitor the situation, muster troops, increase the defenses at Larissa. If not for Rome, than for the Greeks at Thermon. For as surely as this night shall end, war is coming. Now to each your duties. My sons, be well. Macedon will prosper, as long as we are bold."
The assembly ended, and the the lords departed. Antigonos left for Thessalonica, his three sons left together. Gyras, Macedon's prince and heir apparent, led the company of brothers. "So my brothers, it looks like we shall soon be quite busy with the business of war."
"And about time too," said Damasos, "I was getting tired of seeing Kleomenes mocking face."
"Let us mock him then tonight in our revels." Gyras turned to Euenus, "Can I expect you to attend upon the gods of revelry with me tonight?"
Euenus smiled, "Of course, as long as you are paying, and you are paying aren't you?"
Gyras shook his head, "More than I can afford, like always."
Damasos grinned, "Euenus will go with you, but he won't drink. He'll sit in the corner and watch us all make fools of ourselves, and then he'll tell us how foolish we looked the next day."
"You forget the part where I make loud music to torment you with your headaches," added Euenus. "Besides, you know Damasos isn't much for drink either."
"I shall drink enough for both of you." Gyras laughed, "Well then, I'll bet you go to the revels to watch the dancers then don't you?"
"Well, let's not ponder and get ourselves to the revels then shall we?" Answered Damasos.
"I knew it!" said Gyras. "Well then, let's to the revels. I fear this may be the last time we can engage in such frivolity!"