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Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire
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07-13/20 - GHOST ON THE THRONE > WE ARE OPEN - SPOTLIGHTED BOOK - GHOST ON THE THRONE - Week Nine - September 7th, 2020 - September 13th, 2020 - 9. Duels to the Death (pages 228 - 256) - No Spoilers, please

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message 1: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
This is the Week Nine non-spoiler thread for the book The Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire by James Romm

Ghost on the Throne The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire by James Romm by James Romm (no photo)

Hello Everyone,

For the week of September 7th - September 13th, we are reading Chapter 9. Duels to the Death of Ghost On the Throne by James Romm.

The ninth week's reading assignment is:

WEEK NINE - September 7th - September 13th -> 9. Duels to the Death (228 - 256)

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book was kicked off July 13th.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Vicki Cline will be moderating this selection.

Welcome,

~ Bentley

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Ghost on the Throne The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire by James Romm by James Romm (no photo)

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS - ON EACH WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREAD - WE ONLY DISCUSS THE PAGES ASSIGNED OR THE PAGES WHICH WERE COVERED IN PREVIOUS WEEKS. IF YOU GO AHEAD OR WANT TO ENGAGE IN MORE EXPANSIVE DISCUSSION - POST THOSE COMMENTS IN ONE OF THE SPOILER THREADS. THESE CHAPTERS HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION SO WHEN IN DOUBT CHECK WITH THE CHAPTER OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY TO RECALL WHETHER YOUR COMMENTS ARE ASSIGNMENT SPECIFIC. EXAMPLES OF SPOILER THREADS ARE THE GLOSSARY, THE BIBLIOGRAPHY, THE INTRODUCTION AND THE BOOK AS A WHOLE THREADS.

Notes:


It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

Citations

If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however.

Here is the link to the thread titled Mechanics of the Board which will help you with the citations and how to do them.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Also, the citation thread:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Introduction Thread

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Table of Contents and Syllabus

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Glossary

Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.

Here is the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Bibliography

There is a Bibliography where books cited in the text are posted with proper citations and reviews. We also post the books that the author may have used in his research or in her notes. Please also feel free to add to the Bibliography thread any related books, etc with proper citations or other books either non fiction or historical fiction that relate to the subject matter of the book itself. No self promotion, please.

Here is the link:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Book as a Whole and Final Thoughts - Spoiler Thread

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Link:

Ghost on the Throne The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire by James Romm by James Romm (no photo)


message 2: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
Everyone, for the week of September 7th - September 13th, we are reading Chapter 9.

The ninth week's reading assignment is:

WEEK NINE - September 7th - September 13th -> 9. Duels to the Death (228 – 256)

Chapter Overview and Summary

Chapter 9


The Macedonian monarchy was split in two, with Olympias and 5 year old Alexander remaining allied with Polyperchon, while Adea and Philip declared allegiance to Cassander. The two sides met in battle in the hill country between Epirus and Macedonia, each army being led by their queen, Polyperchon and Cassander being engaged elsewhere. Unfortunately for Adea, her forces deserted her to join Alexander the Great’s mother. Olympias captured Philip and Adea had them both killed.

Meanwhile, Eumenes in Cappadocia, on the side of Polyperchon and Olympias, used some of the royal treasury to recruit more mercenaries. Polyperchon’s fleet at the Hellespont was destroyed by Antigonus’ fleet. Eumenes went east to get more troops, followed by Antigonus. They met at the battle of Paraitakene, with both sides using war elephants. At the end, neither side could claim victory, although Antigonus lost more men.


message 3: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
Chapter Nine


A painting by Andre Castaigne depicting the phalanx attacking the centre at Hydaspes - 1898 - 1899 - Wikipedia - (public domain)

Discussion Topics and Questions:

1. Do you think Adea’s troops would not have deserted if they had been led by a non-disabled Philip?

2. What do you think of a battle which includes elephants on both sides? How could you keep things organized?

3. Where did Eumenes’ military skills come from? He seems quite strategic. Is there something to the idea that Greeks were especially crafty?


message 4: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new) - added it

Jerome | 4303 comments Mod
Vicki wrote: "Chapter Nine


A painting by Andre Castaigne depicting the phalanx attacking the centre at Hydaspes - 1898 - 1899 - Wikipedia - (public domain)

Discussion Topics and Questions:

1. Do you think Ad..."


Question 2 is hard to resist.

I imagine having two opposing armies with elephants would have been terrifying for soldiers on both sides. I wonder if they were even able to tell which beast was on which side.

Also, in general, elephant probably made battles pretty chaotic, since they probably panicked horses (by their smell) and terrified the troops (on both sides) They were probably easy targets, though. And if an elephant panicked and tried to flee the battle, they'd almost certainly run over troops in their own army.


message 5: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
Jerome wrote: "I imagine having two opposing armies with elephants would have been terrifying for soldiers on both sides..."

My thoughts exactly, Jerome. Each side had dozens of elephants, and they're huge. Just taking care of them before any battles would be daunting. Imagine all the food they needed (and tangible results of consuming it). What did they do with all the droppings?

I assume each elephant came with its own mahout, but I wonder if there were spares, in case of some men getting killed. Lots of details involved with war elephants.


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Michael Kotsarinis (exlibrismichael) | 78 comments 1. Do you think Adea’s troops would not have deserted if they had been led by a non-disabled Philip?

Interesting question! It is questionable of course, provided Philip wasn't disabled, if events would have taken such a course. But for the sake of the question, let's assume they would.
I believe that there would be a battle or exactly the opposite result. I can't see how in ancient times fighting men would choose a woman over a man and of top of that a more legitimate claimant to the throne than Olympias and her ally.


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Michael Kotsarinis (exlibrismichael) | 78 comments 2. What do you think of a battle which includes elephants on both sides? How could you keep things organized?

It would be difficult of course and the logistics should have been a nightmare. On the other hand I think both men and beasts would have time enough to acquaint themselves with elephants. Of course dealing with elephants in battle would still be difficult but battles are usually difficult, chaotic affairs. Besides, when both sides have elephants the rest of the troops are more confident since on side has a unique advantage.


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Michael Kotsarinis (exlibrismichael) | 78 comments 3. Where did Eumenes’ military skills come from? He seems quite strategic. Is there something to the idea that Greeks were especially crafty?

Greeks were indeed inclined to be crafty, living (as we still are) in a poor, mountainous land (even the islands are mostly just rock outcrops) with few resources surrounded by sea and wealthy, powerful neighbours like the Persians.
That said, I can't say there is a universal trait to craftiness. There is a proverb that has survived from around 500BC to this day, "Ανάγκα και θεοί πείθονται", "Necessity convinces even the gods".
In order for Eumenes to simply survive had to become at least as good as the other generals.
Also, let's not forget that Eumenes as we perceive him from his story so far must have been a very intelligent and shrewd person with an obvious talent for management. I think that his intelligence and systematic approach to tasks, made the best disciple of Alexander, literally studying the king's tactics and way of fighting. Eumenes may not have been as good a fighter individually (although no Greek at that time was helpless with a sword or spear either) but that has nothing to do with leading and commanding an army, especially a professional one. Let's not forget that most of this way of fighting with huge armies (with their own demands and problems) was virtually unknown to his antagonists too.


message 9: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
1. Do you think Adea’s troops would not have deserted if they had been led by a non-disabled Philip?

My thought is that there wouldn't even have been a battle if Philip/Arrhidaeus had not been disabled mentally. He would probably have been the natural successor to Alexander, with the baby being in second place. I imagine everyone would have agreed and there wouldn't have been the wars of succession.


message 10: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill | 45 comments Vicki wrote: "1. Do you think Adea’s troops would not have deserted if they had been led by a non-disabled Philip?

My thought is that there wouldn't even have been a battle if Philip/Arrhidaeus had not been di..."


I agree 100%. If Philip III had been mentally competent and fully engaged, everything would have been different. Of course, if he had been mentally competent, Alexander might not have loved him so much and might have eliminated him early on.


message 11: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill | 45 comments 2. It’s not like the elephants know what side they’re on and are going to fight each other. If you know how to fight elephants (like Damis did), I think you’d be better off just fighting the elephants and leaving yours at home.

3. The Greeks did value rhetoric and debate and Eumenes used this to his advantage several times. He is a strategic planner but I’m not sure he’s demonstrated ability to adjust his plans based on what’s happening on the field. Also, his craftiness may have been a trait emphasized by ancient historians because he was Greek.


message 12: by Marc (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marc Towersap (marct22) | 201 comments Totally agree with Michael. Eumenes was quite intelligent. Now, just because someone is smart doesn't mean they will be great generals, but it does help! He had the advantage of being around great generals, and was observant enough to pick up the tactics from the planning and execution of those plans. He was then able to successfully learn via training wheels when Alexander converted him to a military leader via a cavalry command (minor then full), as described way back on page 20


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Marc Towersap (marct22) | 201 comments Leaving the 3 questions behind, I was a bit disappointed with the Phoenicians, how they left Eumenes in a lurch. Oh, that navy looks a bit stronger than us, we want to switch sides! Ugh...


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Bill | 45 comments Marc wrote: "Leaving the 3 questions behind, I was a bit disappointed with the Phoenicians, how they left Eumenes in a lurch. Oh, that navy looks a bit stronger than us, we want to switch sides! Ugh..."

Agree. Sounds like they didn’t even need to be asked or bribed. Getting people to abandon their side does seem to be accepted strategy.


message 15: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
Bill wrote: "Of course, if he had been mentally competent, Alexander might not have loved him so much and might have eliminated him early on...."

Oh dear, I'd hate to think Alexander was that ruthless. Do we know if he eliminated any other potential rivals?


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Bill | 45 comments Vicki wrote: "Bill wrote: "Of course, if he had been mentally competent, Alexander might not have loved him so much and might have eliminated him early on...."

Oh dear, I'd hate to think Alexander was that ruth..."


From Wikipedia: “ Amyntas was not judged dangerous enough to be a menace to Philip, who even gave him his daughter Cynane in marriage. The succession of Amyntas’ cousin Alexander in 336 BC changed things — Alexander immediately had Amyntas executed.”

Amyntas was Philip’s nephew and Alexander’s cousin and brother-in-law. Alexander wanted to conquer and rule the world. He and everyone else with that goal was ruthless.


message 17: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill | 45 comments I would add that eliminating rivals, even though ruthless, did provide stability for the country and helped avoid civil wars.


message 18: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
Bill, I am duly enlightened. Thanks for the history lesson.


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Michael Kotsarinis (exlibrismichael) | 78 comments Great Bill, very well demonstrated!


message 20: by Marc (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marc Towersap (marct22) | 201 comments although eliminating rivals (aka brothers (and lesser extent sisters), uncles/aunts, nephews/nieces, etc.) also introduces ugliness should you not be able to have successors... Just thinking of the ugliness the English had to deal with with Henry the VIII. how many wives he had, one legitimate male son, several daughters, so many executed wives, and when he passed, his son took over, but died before he could have a child, daughters took over (neglecting Jane Grey), neither had surviving children, and poof, the end of House of Tudor... that's a more famous example. Let alone issues if you happen to be an incompetent (or disabled) king! Thinking of Charles the VI of France, poor guy, he suffered from mental illness, at times not aware he was even king, and he 'ruled' France for over 40 years.


message 21: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
Makes you glad you're not part of a royal family.


message 22: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
I discovered 2 new words in this chapter.

p. 229 - "By the strange peripeties of the civil war..." It's apparently a French word meaning adventures, although it's supposed to have accents over the first 2 e's.

p. 244 - "His anabasis now brought him into contact..." A march from a coast into the interior.

There were probably some in the earlier chapters that I just didn't notice.


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Michael Kotsarinis (exlibrismichael) | 78 comments pepripeties or περιπέτειες in Greek means adventures.

anabasis or ανάβασις in Greek means to ascend, ascension, to go up essentially. It is word made Xenophon's great work Anabasis of Cyrus.


message 24: by Bill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bill | 45 comments Thanks, Vicki and Michael. I noticed both words and just read on. I don’t think they were used before. Why do authors do that? Why not just say “adventures”?


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Michael Kotsarinis (exlibrismichael) | 78 comments Maybe he is just showing off, lol (just joking).
I think Anabasis is quite known to scholars so he probably got carried away and maybe the same goes for peripeties but I am not sure.


message 26: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
I should have guessed about peripeties because peripatetic means traveling from place to place, and is very similar to the "new" word.


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Michael Kotsarinis (exlibrismichael) | 78 comments Yes I can see how one can easily confuse the two. The peri- part is a quite common preposition in Greek. περι-πατητικός (peri-patetic) is a derivative of περ(ι)-πατώ (per-pato) meaning "walk". The verb πατώ by itself mean "to step".
Peripetia - περιπέτεια on the other hand is a derivative of περι-πετής, the second part this time coming from the verb "πίπτω" which means "to fall". So peripetia means "to fall upon" "to happen upon" which is how most adventures start.


message 28: by Savannah (new)

Savannah Jordan | 94 comments 1. I think that they would have been much less likely to desert if Philip was not disabled. I can't imagine any soldiers feeling comfortable going into battle being lead by a female teenager and a disabled man, particularly if the other side has the majestic mother of Alexander.

2. If the elephants of one side were dressed in one specific color then I think it would have been easy to distinguish them. Just like football teams have colors to distinguish each team.

3. I think he was extremely intelligent and watched Alexander's strategy and realized the logic of Alexander's moves. He then took that logic and applied it to his own army. I wouldn't use the term crafty but perhaps on average the Greeks particularly the Athenians were on average more intelligent than most other nations.


message 29: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
Savannah wrote: "2. If the elephants of one side were dressed in one specific color then I think it would have been easy to distinguish them. Just like football teams have colors to distinguish each team...."

Interesting idea, Savannah. I wonder if they did that. I'll have to track down books about this subject and see what they say.


message 30: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Yes I can see how one can easily confuse the two. The peri- part is a quite common preposition in Greek. περι-πατητικός (peri-patetic) is a derivative of περ(ι)-πατώ (per-pato) meaning "walk". The ..."

How lucky we are to have a Greek speaker here. Word origins are fascinating.


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Yes, very fortunate indeed - thank you Michael


message 32: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new) - rated it 3 stars

Vicki Cline | 3823 comments Mod
All, when you complete reading and posting up through page 256 and comment about anything you want to discuss about Chapter 9. Duels to the Death, please go to the Week Ten thread.

Here is the link to the Week Ten thread:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


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Michael Kotsarinis (exlibrismichael) | 78 comments You are most welcome Vicki and Bentley, it is a pleasure sharing knowledge.


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