Artemisia & the Man of Tarentum
58 pages

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This book is about Lysias. A Greek boy who refused to learn geometry, but became a doctor and had many adventures. He worked for Pyrrhus who fought against the Roman Republic and had many Pyrrhic victories. After Lysias is seduced early in life by the mysterious, alluring Artemisia, their fates are intertwined off-and-on for the rest of their lives, interrupted by Lysiai's involvement in ferocious battles alongside, Pyrrhus. After many adventures, Lysias and Artemisia travelled to Egypt, to the colourful world of the Ptolemys.



Publié par
Date de parution 30 septembre 2018
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781925706253
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0350€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Copyright © 2018 Ian S. Collins
Published by:
PO Box 1852 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 AUSTRALIA Email:
ETT Imprint PO Box R1906 Royal Exchange NSW 1225 AUSTRALIA
ISBN 9781925706215 (paper) ISBN 9781925706253 (ebook)
All rights reserved worldwide. No part of the book may be copied or changed in any format, sold, or used in any way other than what is outlined in this book, under any circumstances, without the prior written permission of the copyright-holder.


The Roman Ambassador
Medical School
The Approaching Conflict
The Great Battle

The King’s Men
A Roman Family
The Vestal Virgin
The Senate Meeting
The Battle of Asculum
The Treacherous Doctor
Aftermath of Asculum

Cineas’s illness
Triumph and Disappointment
Revisit to Enna
Return to Tarentum
Pyrrhus’s Last Campaign in Italy

Pirate City
Escape from Pirate City
Interview with Ptolemy
The Anatomy School
What happened to Pyrrhus?
Life in Alexandria



To my darling Mary, a wife of infinite charm and patience,
who has been prepared to put up with the competition from Artemisia.

This book is about an interesting period in history, the rise of the Roman Republic, and their war with the famous warrior Pyrrhus.
My principal character is a young man called Lysias, who came from the Greek city of Tarentum, in the south of Italy. He was the disgrace of the family, because he would not do geometry. His father realized that he could never become a philosopher, so he sent him off to medical school to become a doctor. When he is quite young, he meets a young lady called Artemisia, with whom he has some interesting experiences. She turns up from time-to-time in the story, and their lives become closely linked.
His city of Tarentum had ambitions far exceeding its strength, and it became involved in a quarrel with Rome. The Tarentines realized their weakness, and sought help from Pyrrhus, King of Epirus on the Greek mainland – a famous warrior. Lysias joins Pyrrhus as a doctor on his staff, and as an assistant to Pyrrhus’s minister Cineas. In this capacity he is an eyewitness to many historical events.
Ultimately, he leaves Pyrrhus, and begins a new career as an academic at the Museum at Alexandria, under the enlightened monarch Ptolemy Philadelphus. Here he meets many famous men. The group to which he is attached is interested in human physiology and comes close to discovering the mystery of the circulation.
Lysias is fictional. I have portrayed him as a straightforward young man, who likes girls, (God bless him!), and this gets him into trouble sometimes, but who is honest and faithful and who is not stupid. I have never met anyone quite like Artemisia. The major characters, and the various military events, are historical. Pyrrhus was, I believe, hypomanic, always starting things and not completing them, and that was his downfall. I have described Cineas in accordance with the documented evidence, as a highly intelligent and diligent man, who served Pyrrhus faithfully. Cineas’s death allowed Pyrrhus to get out of control in the Sicilian campaign, after which his affairs went into decline.
I have described the characteristics of the Roman republic of the period, its patriotism and the qualities of gravitas and pietas, and also the cruelty, as shown by the dreadful fate of Vestal Virgins who went astray.
The description of the pirate city is based on the Dalmatian town of Omis. It was once a pirate city, but it is a beautiful place, well worth a visit. I have also portrayed the Greek world in the Hellenistic period, and in particular the colourful ceremonies of the court of Ptolemy Philadelphus.
I hope that you enjoy the book.
-Ian S. Collins
I was awakened from a deep sleep. Antanor had come into the room and was shaking me vigorously.
“Wake up, Lysias. Come down to the port and see the fun.” I put on a tunic quickly and joined him as we went through increasing crowds down to the harbour. The Roman ships had arrived, and the Ambassador and his attendants were ashore. We saw them proceeding to the Assembly House, through jeering crowds held back with difficulty by the city guards. We followed them, and we were able to squeeze into the building with masses of spectators to hear the ambassador as he addressed the Council in appalling Greek, interrupted by laughter and catcalls. The chairman did nothing to quieten the interruptions, but joined in them himself. At last the ambassador finished his presentation and stood still, expecting an answer. Not a word was spoken. As he stood, he was confronted by Philonides, the town drunkard, who turned around and lifted his tunic at the back, with the intention of showing disrespect by farting at the ambassador. But Philonides was suffering from a summer infection, and the ambassador’s white gown was covered with foul fluid.
The ambassador held up his disgusting, stinking gown to the councillors as they screamed with mirth; then fell silent as he addressed them.
“I have come to you as the ambassador of the Roman Republic, expecting to be treated with the respect and courtesy of civilised countries, and you have behaved in this way. Today you are laughing, but soon you will be weeping. This gown will be cleansed only with blood.”
There was general silence as he departed. It was that fart of Philonides that ushered in the war that made such a difference to our lives.
I look back with nostalgia on my early life in our city of Tarentum. My father Amyntas was one of the leading merchants of the city. He was descended from his namesake Amyntas who had founded Taras (now called Tarentum) as a colony of Sparta in the old days. We had kept some of the customs of Sparta, including communal dining by the citizens, but we were not particularly warlike although we were full of our own importance. Our main interests were in making money and in pleasure. Our good climate gave us opportunities for outdoor life, with games and sea bathing, and in the evenings, there was drinking and merriment. On occasions we had had trouble from the inland tribes, and being a non-martial people, we had obtained help from the mother country. But these occasions were few, and we had a carefree and untroubled life.
My father had ambitions for me in public life and took a great interest in my education. One important element was public speaking, and I had in fact been named after a famous orator. Like most Greeks, I liked talking and was good at it, but I could not do geometry. My father felt that any Greek boy who disliked geometry was the disgrace of his family. I could never become a philosopher, like him, and I would have difficulty in being successful in life. However, if I couldn’t do anything else, I could become a doctor. There was quite a good medical school in Tarentum, and that is where I was sent.
As I have mentioned, my father was a philosopher. He would worry about such fundamental questions regarding who we are, and what is the meaning of life. He didn’t believe in the gods, and he said that the stories about Zeus and the other Olympian Gods were myths and fables. He believed, as did Democritus, that the world was composed of tiny particles called atoms, which combined with each other to form the various substances on earth. The moon was a rock and the sun was a ball of fire, and he was uncertain whether the sun revolved around the earth or whether the earth revolved around the sun. So far as human behaviour was concerned, his views were similar to those of the new philosophy of the stoics. He believed that man should be the master of his passions, and that people who allowed their passions to master them were weak characters.
I came back from the town to tell him about the hilarious events at the assembly house, and I remember his response as if it were yesterday. He was sitting at a table in the garden outside the house, where he had been writing on tablets, presumably on philosophy. He liked to think and write in the early morning, when the house was quiet and his mind was clear. He did not laugh when I told him my news. He sat silently with his jaw fixed, and I could see that he was extremely displeased. I waited for his response, and at last he spoke.
“The fools, the stupid, useless idiots! These imbeciles on our council have brought disgrace to our country and will lead us into disaster! It is pointless for me to be angry with you, Lysias, because you have no understanding of these things. An ambassador, from any nation, is a sacred person; he should be protected and treated with courtesy, and I am deeply ashamed that the Roman ambassador was treated in this way. We have committed a crime against civilisation. The offenders should be punished, and an apology with an indemnity should be sent to Rome.”
“Do you think that the Romans would be satisfied with an apology and an indemnity?”
“No, I don’t think so. We shall be at war with them before long.”
“Why are the Romans so important to us? Aren’t they just another of these northern tribes?”
“They are far more important than that. They have finally conquered the Samnites and this has brought them close to our borders, and now they have started to interfere in the affairs of the Greek states in Southern Italy. That is the reason for their q

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