Monday, February 12, 2007

Cimon's POV (O&E)

Here's another tidbit from The Owl & The Eagle. It involves Cimon's youth faction talking about Themistocles and Persia. It's told (obviously)from Cimon's PoV. Enjoy!

Athens, 481 BC(E)

“...Themistocles learned haggling, bargaining swindling, cajoling, begging and cheating from his merchant father. He’s the type that could judge the ware of a man’s cloak and sandles and charge him accordingly for a horse,” said Callias. “He is smart.”

Cimon was tired of the endless praise for Themistocles son of Neocles. “The merchant’s son is a fool,” he told them all. “Every time he kicks a relation of the Alcmaeonidae out of Athens it isolates him from the rest of the land-owners. They run to me now.” He took a sip of wine. He refused to drink the swill known as kykeon, or the rancid Rhodian wine so popular among the upstarts. He always preferred the rare vintages from Syracuse. And they will only get rarer if Gelon can’t hold out against Carthage. That was not his biggest concern though. “I have uncles in Thrace who claim Egyptian traders are bringing more than papyrus to them. There is word their sailors are being called east. Something is happening in Persia.”

“Something is always happening in Persia,” Aminias said dismissively. He was a dark, slender youth, dripping with jewels he claimed once belonged to Croesus and sold to him by a Lydian merchant in Phalerum. “No doubt another rebellion in Caria. Or Assyria. It has nothing to do with us.” Cimon favored him with a patient smile. “Perhaps you are right, but we should prepare just the same. If there is one thing the Board of Generals is right about it is a Persian invasion. Darius’ son is not like to forget Sardis or the insult to his father.” Cimon knew the taste of that draught all too well himself. My father counted on his fellow soldiers to help him and instead they spat on him and turned their backs.

Again Aminias inturrputed. "We should align ourselves with Sparta. You should have seen them when they came up after Marathon. I saw them looking down on Athens when my family took refuge in the countryside. They were terrifying. My cousin says the Persians were defeated at Marathon but not all of them. The rest ran when they saw the Spartans.” The claim was as dubious as the man's jewelry, yet Aminias had a point. Marathon men complained about the Spartan’s tardiness, yet Laconian armies had defeated and enslaved a polis twice their size with twice the men, rid themselves of Argos for years to come and brought Tegea to heel. Rumor has it their Agiad king is undefeated in battle; a lion of war. Could he convince the Attican elders to send an embassy to Sparta? That was something to consider.