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Thread: [Hegemonia City-States Boeotian Story/AAR] When Thebes Ruled The World [Updated: 01/01/2014]

  1. #1
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Dec 2007
    The Crannog

    Default [Hegemonia City-States Boeotian Story/AAR] When Thebes Ruled The World [Updated: 01/01/2014]

    How Do You Solve a Problem like Plataea?, Part I

    Spring, 1st Year of the 67th Olympiad (512 BCE)

    “Blind who now has eyes, beggar who now is rich, he will grope his way toward a foreign soil, a stick tapping before him step by step.” - Tiresias, 517-519 , Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

    “Thebes had always been a city full of greed and of hatred of others, ever since the founding of this third greatest polis in Hellas ,” stylus scratched wax away and behind the hunched figure was a scribe scrawling on a sheet of papyrus, “she had everything that was needed to become the leading city in all of Greece; exceptional leaders, such as Phrynon of Thebai, leader of the oligarchic faction and the most influential of all the citizens therein, it also housed great wealth and a political network of other poleis which could be called upon to fight for them if they felt Boeotia was threatened. In our large and hollow basin we sat, lying between Attika and Megaris to the south, Lokris and Phokis to the north, and hemmed on the other two sides by the Euboean sea and Korinthian gulf. We Boeotians are also shut in in the south by Mounts Kithaeron and Parnes, in the west by Mount Helicon, in the north by the slopes of Mount Parnassus and the Opuntian mountains, and in the west by mountains, a continuation of the Opuntian range, which extend along the Euripus under the names of Ptoum and Messapium as far as the mouth of the Asopus.”

    “You are getting all of this, yes?”

    “Yes, master. Please go on.”

    “It is said that in the past our lands were inhabited by barbarian tribes - Aones, Ectenes, Temrnices, and Hyantes – known today by the name of Pelasgians. Yet with the arrival of the Kadmeans and Kadmeones, the present-day inhabitants of Thebai and Orchomenos, things changed and these poleis drove out the savages. It is said that Orchomenos was the more powerful of the two cities, reigning over a league in one part of Boeotia while Thebai ruled another, however it was not long before they too were forced to bow down to the power of the Kadmeans of Thebai.”

    For just a moment the stylus paused, hovering over the warmed wax which would be cooled later and copied, a blue-veined and liver-spotted hand reaching out for another tablet and dragging it in the general direction of the cloaked speaker. The bitter months of winter were upon Boeotia, and only fools or those in their youth were mindless enough to parade about without protection against the elements.

    “Once we were looked upon as dullards, our Attike neighbours, with all their intellectual debates and philosophies mocking us constantly, and it is true that the fertile soil of Boeotia furnished us readily with vast quantities of food where other regions did not. This, and some say the thickness of the atmosphere, whatever that means, are said by our ridiculer’s to be the very reason why we are strong in the body and of less than reasonable understanding in the head. Well I say this is ridiculous...Thebai would never have gotten as far as it has without some intelligence!”

    A deep intake of breath sent a freezing shock of air into the figures lungs, his entire body aching all over and his still-handsome face visibly wincing with internal pain. Sitting at a small writing table to his rear, his trained Thrakian scribe made to help, only to be waved back to his seat with an impatient gesture.

    “It remains vivid in my memories, that day that the Thebans first came to my homeland of Thespiae, all puffed up and wearing their finest armour. I had been praying at the shrine of Eros, returning home through the agora where I bought some rough bread and cuts of pork for my families evening meal, living with my two younger brothers and my mother. Sometimes I forgot that my father had even died, run through by a Phokian spear in a useless skirmish to the north. His armour and weapons now stood silently on a wooden stand, that bronze helmet glaring at me every time I entered our home and his spear glinting temptingly.”

    Memories flooded back to the speaker, his hands rising to rub temples that throbbed. He needed more wine, yes, that would do it. My how parched his throat was.

    “There were two of them there, moving toward the chamber of our council, flanked on either side by watchful horsemen and escorted by our own Boeotarch, as well as a handful of followers of Aphrodite Melainis. These last were clothed completely in black, from their cloaks to the faces of their aspides, silent hoplitai who spent most of their time in prayer at the temple of the 'black' goddess. Phrynon of Thebai was there, as well as Attaginos, his pupil and designated successor, and our own Boeotarch old Diadromos. There was a man who was nearly in his fiftieth year, all white hair and brawny muscle, his back as straight as a pillar and his neck as thick as a man's chest.

    For my own part I was nothing, nothing to these great men, just another young boy making his way home. I had been told I was handsome, and even beautiful by a friend of my own, a boy I had known for many years and who I now studied alongside. These things I could not see myself, being just a scrawny youth with tousled brown hair and eyes of an exchangeable colour. Deep they were, and at that time gleamed with the inner light of youth, oh how times change a man and his appearance.”

    With a grunt the scribbler commanded more wine, not waiting for his slave to return but speaking aloud as he went on, his eyes following his hand or gazing out the window before him and up to the whitened peaks of the mountains.

    “What interest politics held to a boy like me even I do not know, but when I heard raised voices I could not help but listen. They were arguing on the steps of the council chamber, Phrynon accusing Diadromos of cowardice and reminding him of his obligation to the Boeotian League. A retort was made that Thespiae saw to her own affairs and would not be dragged into a way with Athenai and her allies.

    Let me just say here that Plataea had always been a problem for Thebai, a constant thorn in their side that they scratched and itched at constantly. Since before my father had died that small polis on the slopes of Mount Kithaeron had handed themselves into the protection of the Athenians, finding that they were better suited to live under their regime of democracy than the oligarchic fist of the Thebans.

    Now Phrynon lead the entire mass, senior citizens following with haste, into the interior of the council chambers whence the doors were hurriedly shut and barred behind them. It was not until hours had passed that they emerged, no-one outside the walls of that building really knowing what had been said but in one grim expression it was clear that all had gone the way that Thebai expected.

    We would go to war on the side of Thebes, and Plataea would return to us. They would return to their rightful Boeotian rulers or they would be annihilated.”

  2. #2
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    The Crannog

    Default Re: [Hegemonia City-States Boeotian Story/AAR] When Thebes Ruled The World [Updated: 26/12/2013]

    How Do You Solve a Problem like Plataea?, Part I.V.

    Summer, 1st Year of the 67th Olympiad (512 BCE)

    “For no man ever proves himself a good man in war, unless he can endure to face the blood and the slaughter, go close against the enemy and fight with his hands.” - Tyrtaeus of Sparta on Courage

    Summer is a season of contrasts in Hellas; it is a time of harvest and sowing further seeds, of gathering grapes and olives from there vines, of working hard so that come the winter there shall be enough to eat. Enough to survive. Yet, as was to be made clear to me through a succession of events, it was no doubt also a perfect time to wage harsh and brutal war on others.

    Since the visit of the Thebans to Thespiaí there had been movements in the direction of this last summer task. Throughout the spring our warriors had been dancing the pyrrhichios, an entire force of some thousand grown men and growing boys sheathed in bronze and bearing their arms in strong hands and on strong shoulders. Truly they were a pleasure to watch as they ducked and leapt, spun and thrust, each man moving in unison with the man to his right in a display of masculine prowess turned from a simple dance into a tool of war. We were not Lakedaimonians, that was true, we had no standing force of warriors save for the black-shields and we trained only when it was required, nonetheless we were Boeotians and strong of body if not exceptional in mind.

    It was toward the end of the summer month that Diadromos announced publicly that we, and our brethren of the Boeotian League, were now at war with Athenai and what allies of their own that they may have had. Certainly this was because of Thebai, of that there could be no doubt, and as it had always been it was required that each city give a portion of its warriors to be lead into battle under the banner of the Kadmeans. This is how I became embroiled in a war that was not our own, being the eldest son of my mother and just old enough to join a taxis, five hundred Thespian hoplitai and men of Orkhomenos joining at least one-thousand from Thebai, as well as five-hundred from the smaller poleis such as Koroneia and Tanagra on the border near Attike. Theban cavalry and akontistai moved swiftly on the flanks of this dread force as it gathered, the question was why was it gathering at all?

    Nearly four-thousand Boeotians had been bought together under arms for one reason alone, and that was because an act of aggression had been committed against Thebai. Justified as it was - an expected assault on Plataea planned by the Thebans to be launched from my homeland – the attack on Thebai herself by one brave or simply mad Athenian strategos was an undoubted act of war which those that followed the Thebans, no matter how loosely, could not just ignore. Not if they valued their own lives.

    No one knows to this day how the Athenians caught scent of what was happening in Boeotia, that Thebai and her power-hungry oligarchs were planning to snatch Plataea from the tight-fisted grip of the Attike menace, that they were assembling in Thespian lands ahead of the expected invasion, but all that is known is that they did. Who this Kleisthenes, an Athenian of advanced years, being nearly sixty yet cunning as they come, believed he was they did not know and even Phrynon was taken aback by the blatant display of hubris.

    Did he truly believe that Thebai could be taken by the handful of warriors he had marched from Attike to do?

    The answer, it transpired, was no.

    When Phrynon finally moved out to meet him, engaging his two-thousand or so men some miles from Thebai, Kleisthenes retreated from the field in good order. They say that he sacrificed five-hundred of his men to make good his escape, intent on avenging them when the time came. That time would be at Plataea, the very place where even then further Athenian forces had moved into the polis, to be joined later by wily Kleisthenes and his surviving warriors.

    Phrynon had been tricked, and he knew it. When he returned to Thespiaí in a fury and rage, roaring at his subordinates and demanding wine be bought to him in his tent, he issued a decree that the eldest citizen of each family in the polis should be armed and prepared for a march on Plataea as soon as the weather permitted.

    My family and I had just finished deipnon, the evening meal, when there was a strong hammering at the door of our simple homestead. With all the grace and dignity that she had always had, her raven black hair flowing behind her as she swept from the room, my mother opened the doorway and there were hushed whispers before three hoplitai entered. Their lochagos swept his gaze to me, ignoring my siblings, a finger raising itself and gesturing for me to follow them. It was a week since the declaration and all knew that I must go, or shame my family and my father who dwelt below, such was my excitement and imaginings of a young boy that all had been prepared for me days before.

    Clutching my fathers aspis in one hand, and his spear in the other, I let his crested helmet rest easily on my forehead and went without so much as a goodbye. I would return, I had already promised them as much, and when I did it would be with armour and a sword taken from a dead Athenian. As wise as she was my mother had reminded me that this was not our war but that of our 'masters' who dwelt in the Kadmeia.

    At that moment she could have told me anything and I would not have heard it, for the stench and glory battle was in my blood, and I was going to war.

  3. #3
    Evalation's Avatar Centenarius
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    Mar 2012
    U.S. South Carolina

    Default Re: [Hegemonia City-States Boeotian Story/AAR] When Thebes Ruled The World [Updated: 01/01/2014]

    Damn dude, you have been busy lately with these AAR's. Doing my best to keep up, but I have limited time during the day to read alot. Ill try and post something on them when I finish reading a certain part of it.

    Good mod choice btw, I havent fired up HCS in ages.
    "I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion." - Alexander the Great

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