Adonis Diaries

Rainbow over the Levant (continue 4)

Posted on: September 24, 2008

Chapter 3: Contraband episode (1364-1371)

So far, Antonios Luca Fares was just exercising an innate right of accumulating information and freely expressing his thoughts. He did not realize that communicating his ideas was a purely political action and that it might have the power to be considered very dangerous to the stability of the status quo and could be a major incentive to diligently apprehending the perpetrator.  The local feudal lord transmitted to his superior the gathered information on Antoun’s discussions, with a noticeable twist, that implicated the superior directly. As tradition required, Youssef, instead of Antoun, was summoned to the local lord because his son was still unmarried and living with his parents and was duly reprobated for his son’s innuendos. The father was taken aback by these developments and promised to have a serious conversation with his son.  Antoun was extremely upset that his father was reprimanded publicly and ordered to get involved in matters that were personal in nature.  A respectful conversation between father and son took place the same evening but Antoun showed a new determination for independence and accepted full responsibility for the unfortunate consequences.  The father had to let go of his son and offered him a little sum of money in order to disappear for some time until the storm died down.

Antoun descended to Beirut, a quaint little sea port with gardens and red brick roofs that was not within the Emir’s province.  The first day, he saw more horses than his entire life and that pleased him.  He saw more carriages and a few exquisite ones that he could imagine existed.  He saw more people in the bazaar that his tiny town contained and such a variety of attires and races. A few days later he strolled toward the seashore and questioned many mariners on their jobs and listened to the exotic stories of the sea and foreign ports and different civilization and felt enchanted with this change in view and way of living. This constant visits to the sea and ports made it possible for the exiled mountain youth to meet Gregorios Bahri who was one of the port’s popular traders.

Gregorios was in his fifties but looked to be in the mid seventies because of the horrors and hard times he had spent on the sea as a Venetian merchant Captain in the service of the Dojo.  The Mediterranean Sea was much safer in that century, unlike two centuries later after the Ottoman Empire had captured Constantinople and vast maritime wars spread across the sea for domination of the merchant traffic.

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September 2008

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