Adonis Diaries

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Incursion into the Old World. Persia 4th century BC (Ch. 1)

The novel is about a King of Persia at the time of Alexander The Great.  This King is I.

The actual king was not strictly a legitimate descendent to the throne of Persia. He acceded to the power through the treachery of the castrated Grand Vizier who also had assassinated his master King Artaxasta III by poison.  The Vizier wanted to govern through his appointed protégé, one of the descendent of the monarch family, but the newly appointed King poisoned this Vizier the same night of his coronation.

The intelligence sources of Alexander informed him that the Kingdom of Persia is going through a difficult transition period of uncertainties and probable chaos.  It would have been a wiser policy to wait and see the outcome of the transition and study the character of the definitive new Monarch, but the impulsive and impatient Alexander just needed an excuse to be on the move. 

Alexander had just totally destroyed the crown city of Thebe in Greece, the oldest, the most learned and most courageous city among the cities, simply because he defeated its uprising against his rule.

Alexander shipped out with his thirty thousand soldiers when he was twenty. His army was battle tried and mostly illiterate. The former Kings of Persia knew about the intentions of Phillip and of the recent preparations of Alexander years before the invasion occurred.

The new King of Persia is young, about twenty six years old. He is a good looking giant for his time, with large dark eyes. He has new concepts of waging wars. At this age, waging wars are more attractive and exciting endeavors than anything else.

The real name of the king is Artaxasta IV but we will call him (Artax) for short; we will also call Alexander (Alex) since the two heroes will become our buddies in this story.

 Artax had advance intelligence of Alexander planning and the location and timing of his landing on the Turkish shores. The myths and feats of Alexander have crossed the Aegis Sea for some time; although Alexander was dabbed as “Iskandar The Mad Wild Dog” (IMWD) in the Persian court many speculations on Alexander motives and determination were the main topics in the court of the king and in most of the courts of governors in the annexed countries to Persia. 

Artax himself was most excited to have personal correspondence with Alex; he desired to sit down with Alexander and negotiate an honorable deal but his position of power was still very fragile and shaky among the hundreds of governors in the provinces and the military older hierarchy.   Obviously, Alexander generated enthusiasms in the Old Persian World.  This world enjoyed stable political and social systems, especially the utmost boredoms that daily exacting routines have been vexing the new Persian King into lethargy.


Artax had two reasons to allowing Alex to wander for a time in his kingdom. Besides the personal reasons, Artax already planned to launch a counter offensive, conquer Greece and discover the wild young western world.  Artax agreed with his most experienced general, a Greek mercenary, that the best tactic would be to retreat before Alexander army leaving a scorched land before the Greek/Macedonian advancing troops. Unfortunately, most of the traditional generals of the Persian feudal system would not swallow this infamy: Persia was by far the most powerful and richest kingdom in the entire world and the retreat strategy before a ragtag army was impossible to swallow.

Artax had to temporary bend to his generals but had already decided that he will allow Alexander a partial victory on their first major encounter to get to know better his charismatic opponent.  King Artax honored the rebellious generals to lead the battle against Alexander; the only condition was that the opposing armies should be of equal size: the Greek had to learn first hand to respect the determination, fearlessness, and chivalric high moral standing of the Persian civilization.


Invasion of the Old World


At the battleground of Issus Artax did not order a retreat but simply withdrew from the battle field, a decision which carried the consequence of a major sizeable section of personal guards to follow the Monarch by due form.  The Persian army was defeated and had to disperse haphazardly.  Artax failed to take into account that the Macedonian army was principally in for the loot.  The priority for Alexander to please his army was to move ahead quickly and loot the Persian war treasury stored in Damascus.  The wealth that the King of Persia carried in his trunks, at his first encounter with Alexander, was a thousand times greater than all the wealth and credit that Alexander could manage to secure in Greece before he started his interminable campaign of invasion and devastation.

This bounty opened the way to Egypt.  Artax had plenty of power and reserves to stop the advance of Alexander but he needed some time to reorganize his belligerent army and get hold of real power and strengthen his legitimacy.  Artax then withdrew to Babylon in present Iraq and patiently followed the gathered intelligence on Alexander’s inroads and victories.




June 2023

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