Adonis Diaries

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Babylon: where all start and end.

 

In order to relieve the pressure on the Northern and Easter bases within the periphery of the Empire Artax decided to open a third front westward.  Many of the navy pirates had defected to Artax for higher returns but the Persian navy was still intact.  Consequently, Artax avoided any maritime confrontation and his ships dispersed in the Indian Ocean met in Adan in Southern Yemen.  The ships navigated around the Arab Peninsula and landed in the fishing town of Akaba in southern Jordan. 

Instead of taking the long regular route to Babylon, the troops headed by Artax crossed a difficult desert to Basra.  A mutiny in the inner circle of the Imperial guards assassinated “Khosro the Magnificent”.  It was not that the Magnificent was more inept than his army commanders but the reaction of the guards was a traditional exit means to vent frustration on the leading scapegoat.  The next day, the mutineers realized that they put an end to the only symbol that held the Empire still united.  Chaos reigned in the Empire.

Artax army resumed its fast advance toward Babylon. The Persian Empire was as ripe as a rotten apple and the gates of Souze needed a light kick to disintegrate. The way to regaining the throne was open to Artax and post-war plans for reconciliation, reform, and reconstruction were being readied in Babylon.

Killing the Gold Goose

 

            Now that the High Priests had firm proofs that Artax is very much intent on politics and had crossed the red line in military incursions and harassment tactics, then it was time to play hard balls.  Two Persian army contingents were dispatched toward Balkh and Kandahar.  The High Priests figured that more profit could be made if they monopolized the trade business; as if a well oiled machine would continue to lay Gold Eggs if tampered with.  Afghanistan was turned into a battle field and military kind of curfew ordered in all that Estate.  Caravans stopped going into the Persian Empire, from land and from seas.

            Special spices, rare kinds of incense, and silk got scarce.  It was not unusual for properties to be sold not in gold coins but in exchange of these most precious products.  Girls’ dowries were bartered in these precious products.

            The upper strata of the Persian society could no longer suffer the humiliation to their palate, sensible noses, and fashionable attires.  They pressed upon “Khosro the Magnificent” to win the war very soon and thus more mistakes and errors in planning and logistics bogged down the progress of the war.  Consequently, the malaise within the upper and medium upper strata of society turned into serious horror of the future state of affairs.

With central authority engaged far up east then the Western Estates in Turkey and Syria were disintegrating into smaller kingdoms of warlords, loosely linked to the central authority and supplying nominal recruits who made it a point of honor to desert along the long trail.  Caravans heading west were loath taking that route because the taxes on their goods increased at each warlord principality and prices attained unprecedented height in the western Estates.

 

Tales of the riches of India gave wings to the adventurous spirits, the marginalized nobles, little merchants, and whoever could join caravans going east.  It was a period of mass exodus from Persia that emptied the Empire from its youngest and most promising elements in education and commerce. Since that period, Persia or present Iran turned eastward toward India for commerce, culture, civilization, philosophy, and religious alternatives.  The commerce with the western Estates of Turkey and Syria and their civilizations were forgotten for many centuries.

The demise of an army

 

The Southern Army had no choice but to avoid the shores and crossed their worst nightmare for 60 days toward the small fishing village of Bandar Abbass. What was to be an army was no longer; it was decimated by thirst and anyone who reached Bandar Abbass was in a state of coma and total dehydration.  There are no chronicles left on that adventure; the Greek would have done a thorough Iliad.

In order for the plan to evacuate the Southern Army to succeed it was necessary to lure the fleet of his enemy that his real intention was to land in Egypt from the Red Sea.  Actually, one of the primary strategies of Artax was to recapture Egypt and press on to Babylon and thus cut trade route supplies to the usurping Monarch; but that plan was studied for future activities and the decoy plan came much too late.

As is the case in general, military defeats are turned into victory by appropriate propaganda.  Since the small and insignificant navy of Artax was no match to the navy of the Persian Empire, and since Artax could not entice the neighboring States to join him on naval expeditions against the “legitimate” Persian Empire on account of ratified trade agreements and written documents, then Artax devised an ingenious promotion victory.  The best way was to give the illusion that his intention is to discover the African continent by touring its coast and establishing commercial colonies. As part of Artax fleet advanced around the African seashore, tales of his glorious adventures to circumnavigate the African Continent spread like wild fire amid the Persian people who were getting depressed of an authority wielded by the nobility and the cast of strict priesthood. 

Khosro the Magnificent reacts

 

The Persian Empire was pleased that Artax took to business and exported products at reasonable prices.  Trade and traffic to and from Afghanistan were heavy and very lucrative.  The fat Persian merchants, at the sold of their respective High Priests, nobles, governors, and warlords were getting fatter in return for small favors to Artax.

The festivities having taken their regular course according to customs of the inauguration, Khosro the Magnificent had to act and show the illusion of serious activities beside perpetual fun loving behaviors.  The Magnificent Khosro wanted to play the warrior and marched to the southern desert, just the ideal place to relax and be far away from the boring multitudes.  As “Khosro the Magnificent” proceeded leisurely toward the Southern Desert his army intelligence killed his appetite: there was confirmed news that renegade soldiers of the defunct Emperor Artax were infesting the desert and that ambushes are to be expected along the way.  No problems; the Magnificent ordered his naval forces stationed in Basra and Bahrain to get moving.  The Magnificent decided to have a view of the battles from a comfortable seat on a comfortable and luxury ship.  What was simply a desert diversion for the Magnificent turned a serious hardship for the Southern Army of Artax that never contemplated any frontal assault.  Worse, the navy of the Magnificent had pirate blood and they were excited for real actions.  The pirates never wasted an occasion to land and sack and loot.

Wild Goose Chase into the Old World: Persia 4th century BC

Preface 

Ever since I have read the life story of the so-called Alexander the Great I have been restless. I keep considering alternative circumstances of how this mad and impossible incursion into the Old Eastern World could have been stopped.

I felt that writing a historical fiction novel about this period would do me good. It should be historical because people are shying away from current news: They don’t listen to news, they don’t read newspapers, they have no ideas what is happening around them and yet, they feel superior to all politicians and far more capable.

It has to be a fiction because the so-called facts are bitter pills and not so reliable:

They are the facts of the victors and petty facts after all.

I needed to delve and know more about the ancient world.  I need to imagine that a few of its leaders and scholars could have foreseen how political systems and technologies would have developed.

How they would dare change the world according to their new visions. Whether they would have been better equipped, spiritually and morally to improve their world, people and environment, at their own snail pace

Alexander’s upbringing

Alexander was brainwashed since childhood.  He was made insidiously to believe by his mother Olympia that he was the descended of the God Hercules. His mother kept telling him that the Highest Priest of Egypt was convinced that he is the expected World King for the end of the Aries period (The Belier or two horned mammal).

Alexander was actually a bastard.

His father Phillip, King of Macedonia, strongly suspected that his wife Olympia has given birth to an illegitimate son. At the time, the kingdom of Persia extended from the borders of India to Turkey to Libya in Africa.  It included the current countries of Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Libya and the coast of North Africa.

Background on the motives of Alexander

Alexander’s goal was to conquer Egypt and receive from its High Priest the crown reserved for the expected son of God so that he can secure legitimacy.

As one of Alexander mentors explained it to him “If you want wealth you steal it by force and if you want legitimacy then you have to snatch it by the sword”.

As the story of history goes, while in Egypt, Alexander received a letter from the King of Persia. The King was proposing to Alexander to accept the coastal land of Turkey to settle their disputes.

It seems that the King of Persia was in a chatting mood and he added a threat that if his proposal is turned down then he will keep retreating before Alexander’s troops, to the confines of his vast Empire until Alexander gives up the chase. The letter warned Alexander that this task would be impossible to carry through.

The King of Persia had just handed Alexander a sweet excuse and a new purpose.

So much for making sense to a hot headed and crazy young adversary! Alexander barely visited any city twice and intended to advance further east to China.

What old “history books” told us

For thirteen years, Alexander barely backtracked in his wild push forward. His military travel took him beyond the Persian Empire to the Southern parts of Russia, Kashmir, Pakistan and parts of India.   As matter of fact, Alexander could not have advanced that far if not for the fresh recruits coming from Greece to replace the losses.

The new recruits adored him and wanted to have a share of the glory. Alexander crossed deserts in summers, the highest mountains in winters and most of his soldiers died of hunger, thirst and diseases rather than from wars.  Alexander died in Babylon at the age of 30 something and his fiefdoms were divided among his officers after many years of a long civil war.

Lesser known stories

The officers of Alexander, battle worn, sick with disease and confused as to the purpose of this incomprehensible campaign, finally expressed bluntly their unwillingness to go any further and confronted him.  Alexander had to stop his advance and convinced his officers to navigate the Indus River and then reach Egypt by sea.

To punish his officers for foiling his dream of reaching the confines of the ancient world, Alexander made his army to cross the southern desert of Persia for 60 days where thousands of soldiers died of thirst.

Grand plan of Artax

 

            The ultimate goal of Artax was to weaken the religious clergy and liberate the mind of the people of centuries old misgivings of total reliance on the good wisdom and knowledge of the clergy since they monopolized learning and writing.  The medium-term strategy was to establish strong presence in the peripheries of the Empire and then fan in from many sides to the heart of the Empire.  The short-term strategy was to secure his rear bases and re-organize his army and project the impression that his forces are the armies of the people, from the people (obviously), and to the benefit of the people.  Deep in his guts, Artax knew that he had to fulfill a vow to making a sort of “pilgrimage” to China, a huge Empire, the center of all the mysterious tales and outlandish stories spread by travelers and merchants.

 

Short-term planning

 

            The short-term strategy took off by establishing sort of a cartel in the trade business.  The Silk Road was in its infancy and it was the cartel that played the catalyst into its future boom. The “Mogul” caravans used to bring silk, spices, fur, firework, and delicate Chinese products.  A specialized division of Artax army endeavored to barter its products of incense, wheat, woodwork, utensils, jewelry and any consumer goods manufactured in India and Pakistan in mid way at the town of Kashgar. The difference in prices was paid in gold coins.  On the return trip, the Artax caravans halted in Azarabad and from there caravans bifurcated in many directions. After satisfying the local needs and demands caravans crossed the Khyber Pass to serve the Persian Empire.  Other caravans headed by land eastward; the remaining merchandize were shipped on the Indus River or roads alongside the river to the port of Deb, on the estuary. (It is recounted that four centuries later, St. Thomas, the twin brother of Jesus, founded the first Christian community in Deb and that the Kushan princes were very favorable).  Commercial ships were loaded; some ships served the coast of Persia and the northern shores of the Arabia Peninsula for the ultimate port of Basra.  Other ships served the port of Adan in Yemen, the southern shores of the Arabia Peninsula for their last destination in Akaba.  Other ships crossed the Red Sea to serve the Egyptian market and the eastern colonies in Africa.

            Pirate ships were hired for the dual job of protecting the commercial ships, such as confronting other pirates or other navies long enough to permit the commercial ships to escaping, and the other job was to confiscate the cartel products of the other commercial ships or charge them steep taxes.  It goes without saying that representatives of the cartel boarded the pirate ships and they had the last words on the procedures.  The cartel trade machine became well oiled and the details for accurate accounting were ironed out after many pitfalls, misunderstanding and conscious pilferage.

The fat merchants, maharajas, and the Iskandaranian mafias had the right for representation in every sector of the trade from being affected to caravans, in pirate ships, and at headquarter in Azarabad where decisions were made on a bi-weekly basis.  Profit was split according to investment.   The major portion of expenses was paying the special Artax division, an excellent source for retaining and maintaining an army. Other divisions were specialized in escorting caravans on demands, on land, river, or in seas.

In the heart of the Persian Empire

 

            The newly installed “Eldest-Son of God Incarnate, “Khosro the Magnificent” was continuing to throw lavish parties and festivities in the vicinities of the two Capitals of Souze (the summer Capital) and Persepolis (the winter Capital).  The tradition observed a whole year of lavish and generous gesture toward the population as excellent omen and good augur of the emplacement of the constellations as concurred by the Highest Priest.

Artax was forgotten as an impotent Monarch who did not behave as Monarchs should; Artax was expected to direct his troops immediately for a major, all out frontal battle. Since Artax failed to follow the customs of the time then he was considered unfit for the throne.

 

The army is trained for new jobs

 

The Monarch Artax wanted to rely first on his army to disseminate the new political philosophy: at that stage Artax had no other disciplined manpower to rely on in the first place. Consequently, an intensive re-orientation of the educated ranks and files was programmed.  The army had to study, analyze and discuss new concepts and ideas that should secure a more solid structure for the society to grow and prosper for years to come.   His officers and soldiers will have to learn new concepts; they had the task to indoctrinate and spread his new philosophy to the common people. 

How his armies should go about different jobs that they were not trained for?  Tasks of proselytizing the new Constitution and Bill of Rights, how to win over the minds and hearts of the new generation, boys and girls, how to secure the acceptance of the older generations, how to infiltrate towns and cities and spread the new rights and responsibilities, and how to help the peasants in their fields and to keep the economy growing were not accessible if the only structure remaining intact was not involved on a wide scale.  Well, the trained army proselytizers had to memorize whole paragraphs suited for specific situations and then deliver the speech correctly and with no hesitation: projecting the impression of total conviction and mastery of the new philosophy was the crux of the endeavor.

A difficult process for the ratification of the constitution

 

Artax political acumen had improved with experience and hardship.  The draft for a Constitution went too far in reform and the number of articles was far too many to digest but that was a calculated risk to blunt reflection on matters too new and very complicated to ponder at on short notice. The main objective was to weaken the overwhelming power and authority of the religious hierarchy on the mind of the population which robbed this intelligent and hard working people from serious individual reflections that would use the rational mind into resolving fundamental problems of centuries old.  “Khosro the Magnificent” was selected and appointed by the religious structure to circumvent any reforms no matter how insignificant it might be.

Most of the articles in the proposed Constitution were subject to alterations and modifications to suit the majority of the power base but Artax insisted on the first two articles that would educate the population on their legitimate rights as citizens.  Anyway, democratic elections for municipalities were agreed upon and carried through undemocratically.  The fat wholesale merchants and mafias have rigged the voting process.  One good thing resulted from this election process: the fat merchants realized that they needed from now on to drop their blunt cockiness and resort to under the table deals, to invest time listening to the people demands and to invest some of their surplus profit for maintaining a few infrastructures and a lot for propaganda.  Some kind of muted dialogue and communication were taking the shape of undercurrent popular energy. 

Reforms in Azarabad

 

A significant climate of law and order took hold in the City-State of Azarabad.  Many neighboring City-States got jealous and they requested city-twining programs to transfer the know-how of restoring calm and tranquility among their populations.

 After lengthy consultations with the notable of Azarabad and meetings with the different active syndicates Artax ventured to propose a draft for social and political reforms.  The Son-God Incarnate transcended his century old beliefs into revising the books on government rules and idioms.  He decided on a small set of simple and rudimentary articles. They might sound familiar now but the original articles are centuries old and the scrolls have been dug out, almost intact, from a cave in Afghanistan. The articles are stated in a haphazard order. Artax instigated Seleucus to publish the artcles for a Constitution, as emanating from the mafia syndicate, which Seleucus used to be familiar with back in Greece but never adhered to their spirit. For example:

Article one: All citizens are born equal in the eyes of the Law, regardless of sex, color of the skin, ethnic origins or hierarchical levels in the society.

Article two: All tax paying citizens are entitled to representation in their community and toward the State Government.  All adult citizens above the age of 18 are eligible to vote, including the female citizens whether married or still single.

Article three: All children, boys and girls, between the ages of 6 to 13 are entitled to learn to read and write in the Persian language. Learning their own dialect is also encouraged but at their parents and community expense.

Article Four: All able bodies, boys and girls, between the ages of 15 to 17 have to serve in the armed forces for 2 years. In the first six months of training, recruits will be trained 4 days as soldiers and work 2 days for their living expenses. The next 6 months, recruits will be trained 3 days and work 3 days. Their last year in the service will see that they get trained only 2 days in the techniques of killing enemies and the remaining 4 days of the week to learn the survival skills in a cruel world and acquire a practical  profession.

Article five: There is separation between religion and State administrations. Every citizen has the right to choose between a religious wedding and a public one.  Regardless of the choice, State Laws are to be applied for matters of marriage rights, heritage, and responsibilities.

Article six: Females are entitled to the same proportion in the division of heritage as males. If the elder son is still entitled to the land, he has the duty to distribute the profits from the land to all the legitimate heirs for the next five years.

Article seven: Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution. Citizens can form political parties and gather in syndications after they register in due forms with the Ministry of the Interior, and their ideologies and by-law publicly declared in prints and disseminated in at least three public gatherings with 3 days notice for each assembly.

Article eight: All religious sects are entitled to be represented in the Parliament. The number of these religious members should not exceed the fifth of the total membership in the Parliament.

Article nine: Elections to the Parliament are calculated on a proportion basis, but on a majority basis for municipalities.

First baby step back home

 

The war techniques of the Maharajas’ armies and their war machines were somehow different from the Persian ones; not in purpose or outcome but in efficiency such as minimizing casualties and playing politics and posturing.  When the Maharajas’ troops engaged they were ruthless and indomitable to the last man.  What mattered was safeguarding the honor of the House since the soul was not perishable; the soul of the courageous would transfer to another generation of fiercer combatants.

Artax would have taken more time for negotiation and dialogue with the Iskandarans mafia if he knew about the ferocious onslaught of the Maharajas’ army spirit.  He sincerely needed the cooperation of these mafias when crossing back the borders to his Empire.  He needed every help he could get in manpower and in intelligence gathering.  Fortunately, the mafias stood their grounds for three months.  Artax was very reasonable with the fat merchants’ positions of discontinuing the financial aid.  The maharajas had no purpose any more to resume fighting without financial support.

The mafias have been weakened, the fat merchants got better deals, the reduction in commodity prices satisfied the little people, and Artax got along with the mafias for serious intelligence gathering tasks and propaganda dissemination in the Old World of Persia.  The Persian army in Pakistan could now travel into Afghanistan for reconnoitering missions.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

August 2020
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