Blog

Still around

It has been a while since my last blog post, September to be exact. I can’t actually believe it’s been that long. It was not my intent to be away for so many months, the hiatus came about from focussing on my writing. This is where a lot of my time has gone into, that and my day job teaching, and that has consumed a great deal of my mental and physical energy. Finding the capacity to write out of school hours and also spending time with family and friends hasn’t been the easiest part of my life to balance.

To the victor go the spoils

‘Well behaved women rarely make history.’

Eleanor Roosevelt

Imagine yourself sitting in a magnificent citadel and outside you can hear the roar of men as they charge at each other. The ringing of swords as the warriors’ clash. The thunder of hooves as horse drawn chariots race across the plains of Troy. The whistling of arrows jettisoned into the air. The cries of men as they are stabbed, slashed, pierced and hacked. The ground covered with dead bodies. The stench of blood, urine and loosened bladders suffocates and billows into the air. Ten long years, you have listened and watched the decimation of human life. What could you have done? What should have you done?

It was a Heraklean feat

Herakles was a flawed character and it began with his birth, or rather when Zeus impersonated Amphitryon, who happened to betrothed to Herakles’ mother, Alcmene. Zeus, ever with the wandering eye, happen to see Alcmene and was instantly smitten and wanted her. While Amphitryon was away on a mission, being a prince and a warrior, avenging the death of Alcmene’s brothers, Zeus disguises himself as her beloved and nine months later, Herakles was born. What happens next, makes for a great story, as all Greek myths do.

Heracles and the Nemean Lion. Side B from an black-figure Attic amphora, ca. 540 BCE
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Book Launch – Against all odds by Jacqui Murray

I am very pleased to announce Jacqui Murray’s newest publication in the Crossroads series. I have read most of Ms. Murray’s books, and still to read Book 2 in this series. You can read my review of her first book, Survival of the Fittest on Amazon.

Tagline
Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.

First mints in Ancient Greece

They were the first men whom we know who coined and used gold and silver currency; and they were the first to sell by retail.

Herodotos, The Histories, [Book1, section 94] Perseus website

The first coins minted were on an island in Greece–Aegina–in the 6th Century BCE. The island is south of Athens in the Saronic Gulf, and was one of ancient Greece’s earliest maritime powers. The transition from weights and measures as a standard exchange for goods across Greece saw the development of coins. How or why and who was the driving force behind the creation of the coin is still yet to be discovered, though ancient Greece and Aegina are considered the front runners in minting coins.

Uncertain King of Lydia. Early 6th century BCE. Made from electrum. Obverse: Head of roaring lion right, the sun with multiple rays on the forehead. Reverse: Double incuse punch
Inc, C. N. G. (2017, June 26). Lydia Electrum Stater. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/image/6770/

Monetising the system

Long before coins became a commodity and determining value for an item, people traded goods. This system allowed early and savvy civilisations to interact with new cultures, exchange foreign and exotic goods as well as get rich. Places such as Egypt and Mesopotamia grew wealthy from trading goods. A pottery maker and seller may need milk for his family trade one of his pots to a goat farmer in exchange for milk. The issue with this approach was bartering for an item that was of greater value for a lesser object, especially if the latter trader was slick in their sales pitch. The Mesopotamian’s and Egyptians developed a system to counter this issue and introduced silver rings, but this too, wasn’t fail safe.

Incised tokens from Tello, ancient Girsu, present day Iraq, circa 3300 BCE. Viewing the top row from right to left, the tokens represented: one length of textile, one jar of oil, uncertain, one measure of wheat. Continuing along the bottom row from left to right: one sheep, one length of rope, one ingot of metal, one garment.
(Image provided courtesy of Denise Schmandt-Besserat and Musée du Louvre, Département des Antiquités Orientales, Paris.)

Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), “Mathematical Treasure: Mesopotamian Accounting Tokens,” Convergence (September 2012), DOI:10.4169/loci003901

Novella series and blog articles tie in

My novella series is different to the trilogy I’ve written, except for one little similarity: ancient Greek history. I couldn’t help myself, I had to add some ancient history to my story, after all, that is what I love to write about. Book 1 of The Coin of Time Series is The Guardian’s Legacy, though I am open to suggestions. It is a contemporary thriller/fantasy story. That’s the best description I have at the moment. To give some context, I had written a short story for Australian children’s author, Sally Odgers, which was later published along with other authors’ short stories. The story was titled Herodotos’ Coin. I enjoyed writing the story and knew the narrative could be further explored; and that’s how the novella series was born.

Seeking beta readers

I thought it was time to try something a little different and ask for beta readers for my novella series. I had a dear writer friend read it for me years ago and I put it aside to focus on my Servant of the Gods series. I’ve since finished the draft for the third book in the series and decided to review the novella. Suffice to say, my writing style has changed over the last number of years and I’ve rewritten scenes.

Reader Interest survey results

A month ago, I posted a survey as I wanted to gauge reader interests and buying preferences platforms. I like to run a survey every few years just to learn whether trends in the book publishing market affect the way readers purchase books and what they like to read. Here are the results, some of which are not surprising, and others have got the ‘ole grey matter’ working.

Book Review

Venus & Aphrodite: history of a goddess by Bettany Hughes

Blurb

Through ancient art, evocative myth, exciting archaeological revelations and philosophical explorations Bettany Hughes shows why this immortal goddess endures through to the twenty-first century, and what her journey through time reveals about what matters to us as humans.

Charting Venus’s origins in powerful ancient deities, Bettany demonstrates that Venus is far more complex than first meets the eye. Beginning in Cyprus, the goddess’s mythical birthplace, Bettany decodes Venus’s relationship to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and, in turn, Aphrodite’s mixed-up origins both as a Cypriot spirit of fertility and procreation – but also, as a descendant of the prehistoric war goddesses of the Near and Middle East, Ishtar, Inanna and Astarte. On a voyage of discovery to reveal the truth behind Venus, Hughes reveals how this mythological figure is so much more than nudity, romance and sex. It is the both the remarkable story of one of antiquity’s most potent forces, and the story of human desire – how it transforms who we are and how we behave.