Thursday, May 17, 2007

Character Profile: Artabanus

While writing the Owl & The Eagle I've tried to present both sides of the Greco-Persian conflict in an equal manner. This is sometimes hard to do since the Ancient Persians did not leave a whole lot of writing behind, unlike the Ancient Greeks (most of our information on the Greco-Persian conflicts comes from the latter). Still, I've come to realize that the Persian prince Artabanus (the uncle of King Xerxes and according to Herodotus one of his trusted advisors) is by far one of my favorite characters on either side of the conflict in The O&E.

Unlike most of the figures in Herodotus, Artabanus is not driven by ambition or alternative motives. When Xerxes announces that he plans to personally lead his army against Greece, it is Artabanus alone who begs him not to. He tells the king he has a bad feeling about the invasion, and that it is too problematic of a campaign anyway. Xerxes ignores this advice, and sends Artabanus to Susa to watch the capital while he's away. In the end Artabanus ends up being right, and Xerxes is defeated in Greece.

In my mind's eye, Artabanus looks very much like the Persian noble in the picture above. He's tall, well-built, and is both dignified and regal. He is fair of skin, with dark coiffed hair and large dark eyes that shine with intelligence. He grew up loving even the most arcane knowledge and is somewhat of a "bookworm." He is also a good listener and of a mild temperment, and this makes him a good arbitrator when conflict arises.

Artabanus loves his family dearly, especially his two grandchildren who are all that remain to him of his favorite son Darius (who was lost at sea during the first Greco-Persian war). He is quick to smile, yet his large dark eyes are always sad, for he holds in his heart a terrible secret, a secret that if ever revealed could jepordize his entire family, including the Great King himself...

**Note: If you're interested, check out the September/October section of my archives and read the story from the POV of Artabanus.

1 comment:

Carla said...

He sounds a very attractive character.