Thursday, March 19, 2009

Here We Go Again!

"Wretched ones why sit you here? Flee and begone to remotest Ends of earth..."
--Delphic Oracle to Athenians 480 BCE

So I've finally got Themistocles on the run (he's been implemented in a conspiracy and his enemies in Athens want to pass a death sentence on him), but the problem is I don't know how to write this part of Themistocles' saga. Ancient authors agreed Themistocles ran around in circles before ending up in Magnesia, but WHERE and HOW he got to his destination is a matter of dispute.

And there are little details that elude me. Like, did he take his family with him into ostracism? Or if he snuck them out of Athens while on the run how did they know where to meet him? What route is the most realistic if he goes first to Corcyra then Sicily then to Ionia? Is the story about running to the king of Molossi in Epirus true? And why run at all? Why not just go to Athens, make a speech and remind people that somebody who is dealing with the Persians would go to PERSIA, not Argos. Why not point out the Spartans merely hate him for stirring up democratic sympathies in their territory? Or was he afraid of meeting an assassin before he got the chance? It's not unheard of (see Hipparchus and Ephialtes).

It's an exciting and interesting part of Themistocles' history to write about and it's full of space for me to fill in, but it's got me banging my head against a wall because I don't know how to tackle it. Ugh.