Read about the 1800 year old letter from a solider to home.
Having been there, this makes me really want to go back…
Ah… so many places to travel, so little time.
At the sound of his name, Leonidas jumped guiltiy and turned around to face his older brother.
Dorieus was beautiful. In fact, he seemed to embody manly beauty in the abstract, as if he were a direct throwback to Herakles himself. He was tall for his age. His shoulders were as broad as a grown man's. His arms and legs were a melody of entwined muscle. his belly wa flat and hard as if it were made of bronze. He was now an awesome 18 years of age, and so Leonidas had to stand with his hands at his sides and his eyes at his feet and call him "sir." "Yes, sir," he said dutifully.
Dorieus came to stand directly before him. His head was shaved too, of course, but he was wearing training armor, carried a shield slung on his back, and a real sword hung from his baldric -- something Leonidas couldn't even dream about for another ten years.
"Is it true what I hear? That you were not elected herd leader?" Dorieus had been herd leader of his unit ever since he had enrolled in the agoge. He had won the contest of Artemis Orthia at 16. He had innumerable prizes for running, wrestling, javelin and discus. Dorieus was quite simply the most splendid of all the young men in the agoge -- not excepting even those youths in the age-cohorts ahead of him.
"Yes, sir," Leonidas answered the question.
"And why not?"
"Ask the others, sir. They were the ones who voted." Even as he answered, Leonidas stiffened his stomach muscles and braced for the blow Brotus would have given him for such an impudent retort.
Dorieus was made of different stuff. "That was a very facile answer, bloy, and you know it. Try again."
"Ephorus is faster and stronger than I am, sir."
"They why aren't you in the gymnasium improving your strength rather than loitering around the agora looking for handouts like a mongrel dog?"
Everyone in the whole agora (it seemed like the whole city to Leonidas) was listening to them.
"Because, sir, if I get that meat pasty over there, I will have far more strength than if I try to exercise in the gym when I'm half starved to death."
The pastry vendor laughed outright, but Dorieus was unimpressed. "You are either a fool or you are trying to provoke me. The leanest dogs run fastest, and the hungriest lion makes the kill."
"How do you know that the hungriest lion makes the kill, sir? Have you talked to one?"
"Now I know you are just trying to provoke me, little brother, but I won't play your silly game. You disgrace our house and our mother, just as Brotus told me you did." Dorieus turned on his heel and dparted, everyone in the agora making way for him as if for a reigning king. Leonidas stood in his wake, feeling very small, silly and worthless.
Someone jostled his arm. He looked over alarmed, but it was only the pastry vendor. "Here you go, lad." He offered him one of the good pasties -- not the one picked at by the birds. "Eat up and enjoy it. Don't let that pompous ass get you down."
I am a writer of historical fiction/fantasy with Eagles and Dragons Publishing, trained as an historian and archaeologist.
For as long as I can remember I have loved the past, stories of ancient peoples and places. Places are portals to the past and so I like nothing more than walking the ground of an ancient site, taking in the details and facts and then letting my imagination take over.
One day I came to the realization that it would be a great thing to combine two of my favourite things, history and creative writing, to make the past accessible, thought provoking and above all, entertaining. I have studied ancient and medieval history and archaeology, and creative writing since 1991 and obtained an Honours B.A. from the University of Toronto, and a Masters from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. My studies have focussed on ancient and medieval warfare with a very special interest in Arthurian studies.
I'm always interested in connecting with other history lovers, readers, writers and anyone who loves to create art.
So, drop me a comment or stop by my blog to connect around the virtual hearth fire.
- St. Andrews University, ScotlandM.Litt. Dark Age Studies, 1999 - 2001
- University of TorontoHonours B.A. Medieval History and Celtic Studies, 1994 - 1998