The cover of the first book depicts Cephalos’ mother Herse a few years after her marriage to Deion of Dauleis. Born in Attica during the last five of twelve years that her brother Pandion ruled unified Attica as High Chieftain, she became formally a prominent princess for the Attican House of Erechtheus as daughter of Kekrops, and by upbringing of her mother Metiadusa. Nevertheless, she retained high priestesshood by hereditary sacral majesty of neighboring Eleusis, and lived within its Sanctuary precincts until her graced accession to Diomeda after living there for ten years.
The Ancient Greeks had very little knowledge of, and have proved mostly incredible at saying anything about, the boyhood years of Cephalos during the 1390s BC decade of their Late Helladic Period. He was a subject of considerable revisionism as new epoch arrived and a peaceful era matured. They finally expunged him in order to render Theseus the superhero of the Atticans’ mostly disappointing century from 1360 to 1250 BC.
And yet the previous decade, just after 1394 BC’s equinox precisely, proofs are ample to have rendered amazing consequences to the Late Aegean Bronze Age and to Attica in particular. That year, Pterelaus of Taphia and Lord over the Teleboeans managed an armada of dugout longboats to navigate down from the Echinades Isles, hazarding early spring storms by full gamut of the Ionian Sea. His force passed through the Strait of the Messenes and rounded Cape Malea of Lakonia of the South Sea, at last to strike down upon the Bay of Argos. There he managed under superb covertness to land his overly manned vessels upon the debouch of the Inachus River. It sopped seepage off soaken marshlands of the Great Argive Plain. In the course of an entire morning Pterelaus struck northward to wipe out the Elektryonids and their father the Great Wanax and dynast over the Argives. Freed of troops by various other landfalls, the longboats’ crews entire struck all late winter retreats where Argive vessels of all kinds were lalagagling at preparations for a new fair voyaging season, both merchant or naval warrior fleets idled. Whether to destroy them them where parked, or to haul them off their landfalls as commandeered carriers for forthcoming spoils gains, so and such was realized in a single day. Those ships of conveyance came to a very large number of capacious holds, which the returning raiders inland would manage homeward by sweep oars carried aboard in many hundreds.
We’ll have much to say about that single great event and the transformation of all southland Greece before it became the Peloponnesus. But only after our several Bardot Blogs have reviewed Cephalos’ lifetime and naval genius unto a mid-century transformation wholly otherwise as naval as realized in 1365 and 1362 BC.
Cephalos the Small Boy
The usurpation of his uncle Pandion began various threats and incursions arriving from the north along the Eleutherais Woodlands, from Kadmeis to the northwest, from fallen Lokris above Abantis/Euboea Island, and the Upper Midlands of Later Phthiotis and Magnesia. These were displaced people, thus inferior foes, which Deion found easy to repulse or bring to treaty immigration by every trials of arms presented to the petty chieftainates along the Saronic Gulf Rim Powers. He was made Chief of Wardens for all of them, even the vile Metionids who sought his protection of Attica, even as their mismanagement and imposed impression lay hear upon the people of his brother-in-law. That brought up wife Herse’s ire, because she sought to humiliate those usurpers’ sovereign regimes. He also had to be away from home upon the threatened border marches.
Cephalos, however, was doted upon by grandmother, mother and father. Little boys don’t appreciate closeting company or closed socieities opf priestly enclaves and various orders of high sisterhood by Eleusis Sanctuary. He toddled along the Isthmus and Eleusis Sound as he early found the agility and stamina to follow his father’s curiosity for all matters maritime. Being with his father was always welcome change from well-meaning Metiadusa and Herse once they discovered he was going to be a prodigy of many talents by his age six. Deion exposed him to the commoner minions, rustic damoi and hamlet laoi, who inhabited the setbacks from seashores at long and short walks from the steep path that led him up and down daily from his mother’s suite of the Sanctuary. Deion was particularly indulgent upon a seafaring caste and class of shipwrights and constructors who abounded water’s edge of all chained landfalls of maritime commerce. They were as close to an upper middle class populace as the Greek Bronze Age afforded. Staged shipwork projects were going on every day, and Deion attended upon as many of them as best he could. Cephalos sparked those denizens of the name Lelegans, by a famous ethnicity who were actually Hyperboreans of oldest anmcestory, but become Lelegans or Leleges. They were most famous for itinerant migrations from Baltic to the the upper Adriatic Sea, wherefrom many settlements down to the Maw or outlet of the Great Gulf of Korinth and Amyklai (of Lakonia and Andania), where beganthe many staggered out-migrations that made their artisan caste leading coastal protectors and boat builders upon Crete Island, wiothin the Mid Sea Isles (the Cyclopes), the Archipelago and Karia of Anatolia. They were eventually going to adopt Cephalos as their preferred taskmaster, the ideal middleman for the many enterprise opportunities that he’d strike up for them from the most ennobled and royal, petty ilk or not.
When Deion had to be away, Metiadusa preoccupied Cephalos as a little boy as her errand boy for all sorts of duties of stewardship over the Thriasian Plain of the Eleusis’ agronomic apportionments from the inland fertile MesoGaia of the Saronic Rim Powers. These were capped in late springs and rainy season autumns as vast garnerings of winter crop-harvests and orchard pickings, which the Thriasian Plain’s special temperate climate was allowed to lead, even concert for all the family members of the House of Erechtheus. No matter the internecine strife between them since the Metionid usurpation of Pandion: All families by all generations arising were greeted jovially by Cephalos as a junior steward to arranged long holidays of residence for the dynastic clan of Erechtheids, many as they were by their branch royal houses for both those most pleasant times of every year. While Cephalos was the youngest of his own royal dynastic generation, so his four first cousins by the branch royal Kekropids were as though uncles married to his aunts. And yet the most prolific uncle Pallas and his many wives offered him many sired second cousins who happily doted upon Cephalos, as much their uncle as he was first cousin to their father by the pecking orders within the entire House of Erechtheus, howsoever scattered.
While lucky in many male cousins, their wives soon marked him out fro his wonderfully outgoing ways and accomodations of themselves. Very early they came to a consensus about him, which forever stuck as the Homeric sobriquet went: Cephalos was the handsomest adolescent and became the handsomest man of his generation, thus automatically of paramount importance throughout the matriarchal governance by vast manorial plantations laid out beneath the MesoGaia as it carried its fertile tilth and pasturage from East Bay Attica all the way westward, fully across, and then down the Isthmus to Sikyon eastward and below the intensive agriculture around the high city AcroKorinth of later Corinth. He was fortunate in his bright and highly experienced grandmother otherwise, by allowing him escape from a deviant enclave of priests who composed a teaching order from boys and girls under tutelages of his mother Herse. Deion and Cephalos helped her discover how pedophilic Eleusis had proved cyclically in the past when resurgence of sneaky queering of naive boys slightly older than Cephalos. Not only did Herse put and end to such sneaky regime, but she gave perfect excuse of Cephalos to absenting and busying himself with the maritime communities along the long rim shoreline of Saronic Gulf. For Deion’s generosity at training seafarers by drill-at-arms was reciprocated by Lelegans who were happy for Cephalos’ company all by himself as he grew to learn the routines, skills and material needs of shipwrights/constructors as an growing boy. He never failed his presence upon most special stages and phases of project buildouts, at which the Lelegans proved exemplars and teachers such as he’d never have found anywhere else than the density of highest skill practitioners along “The Rim.”
Deion nonetheless had much to preoccupy him as Herse and him grew estranged at their marriage. Their passion did not abate, but the decade of their marriage compelled them to immersions in pursuits whom they could not share with each other. Deion proved a perfect chief warden of the all borders, but he had nobody else, neither Pandion or his oldest first cousin Aigeus, to serve him adjunctly and bear his burdens as vital surrogates. Herse had no capacities to become a greatest land warrior’s wife, and yet she astonished her husband for how perfectly she managed feudatory relations of most rim powers to the imperial Minos of Crete. She kept the burden of such a feudal superior and his paramountcy light and easy to carry on adroitly. Deion could not get a word in edgewise about his unique intelligence otherwise about what Imperial Minoa was boding to become soon, and then intransigently. For the long reigning and most popular Minos Lykastos had greatly aged by the 1390s BC and was becoming mired in his dotage accordingly. While, by stark contrast, his heir apparent, the then Prince Minotaur, was becoming advanced of middle age as a rude bully over all his father’s feudatories, such as they were hither and thither throughout the Archipelago, the Mid Sea cycladic isles, the South Sea and the far west Ionian Sea and Gulf. Fractured relations were boding to prove most grievous overseas and embarrassing as between all deep sea commercial relationships. Attica and Eleusis solely except, whom he blithely ignored and not worth his while, the Prince Minotaur was condoning piracy on unwanted mercantile rivals and ambitiously innovative merchandisers. Worst of all, both his father’s subordinate sea lords and occupational governors, once become subordinate to the miscreant Minotaur, were assessed as lazy, incompetent, highly apt to cheat at trade exchange compacts and abuse treaty obligations by goods confiscation or purloining. Such affairs, of course, were often highly involving and complex, the way the Minos Lykastos had to make them over a long lifetime of building Crete’s sea dynasty back from the calamitous losses to the Volcano Thera since 1505 BC.
The consortship and former good interplay of husband and wife was lost by 1382, just as Aiakos offered exclusive opportunity to Deion to lead his vanguard forces into full repulses against the occupational Minyans over the Low Midlands and Lake Midlands just above them (both later parts of Boeotia the region and nomos of Ancient Greece). Cephalos at nine was unable to understand how fraught his parents had become because neither of them stinted him in any way. He’d been allowed unusual liberties to strike out for himself, as soon I shall review. He also had no means to help his parents reconcile, and no way to reason any that would work. Deion was never to remarry on account of Herse. She, without an heiress whom she greatly wanted conceived, never could find a mate who charged her carnal vitalities by other men who would approach her in courtship. Metiadusa was nearly dead when she limply must concede that her daughter’s happiest youth that should have been became defunct.
I retreat, therefore, into circumstances rapidly arising abroad of Attica that charged both of Cephalos’ parents with paramount roles apart for their son.
The Ascendancy of Aiakos son-of-Aegina:
Aiakos was eight years older than Cephalos, and upon that celebrated birthday he assembled his liege martial-at-arms, including Deion, to begin the reconquests throughout the north mainland that virtually reinstated the great matriarchate of Aegina lost to the Minyans at five years before the High King Labdalos over the Kadmeians died. That death was most meaningful to Deion, who could honorably eschew allegiances to the High Kingdom and refuse Laios who newly ruled from the Kadmeia, and take up command full force instead of all vanguard Light Foot. He gained that capacity from Aiakos instead, and proved illustrious to the rapid overruns and repulses of occupational Minyans over five years. He first regained the Asopos River Valley. the seat of mother Aegina’s matriarchate. Enlistments of powerful allegiances enabled a second campaign, late started on account of the gathering the necessary logistical wherewithals of a most supportive Aiakos. Deion then enabled the reconquests of the Upper Midlands, liberating conquered Aeolians to build Heavy Foot and Horse to consolidate all reconquests from the Minyans that lay below Lake Boebe of the High Plains. That effectively overlapped the third and fourth campaign years as full reconstitution of the High Kingdom of Aeoleis, whose matriarchate of the Tyroides still remained expunged of its most prominent manorial plantation governesses. The fifth year campaign was suppose to reconquer the High Plains by the enormous riverine Basin named for Peneios River as a system of outstanding watershed off the Pindus Mountains’ Lower Range.
Aiakos had accelerated his ascendancy as an outstanding administrator of rearguard in support of four Strategoi of Generals over heavy force movements, including chariotry that variously aligned behind Deion’s vanguard advances and humiliations of the Minyan might consolidated as high as the north rim enclosure of the Magnesian Mountain Range. Knowing themselves beaten, fully throttled, they prayed peace of Aiakos as an unconditional surrender of all force except the one condition that they remain settlers upon a new high kingdom of Minya. Aiakos accepted but only because his mother exacted from the governing interim of armistice a full restoration of all conquered Tyroides of matron First Estate. Willing on unwilling, such women as had survived the original Minyan conquests throughout the Fifteenth century BC married Aiakos most prominent men, creating thereby a hybrid Aiakid Dynasty which held the sacral majesties of the restored women as co-regent with their arranged husbands by Force Aiakos. Aegina began a great healing after many decades of deepest hurts, but she did not live to attest any great mled in peace of Aeolians and Minyans by the reckoning of final reconquests. Aiakos married Endeis, a woman of greatest prominence upon the Isthmus of Ephyrea. She had thought she was going to marry a poor boy by his mother Aegina’s flight from her landed matrimony at birth, A most lovely and modest woman, she was dleighted to marry a man who she long had loved as her betrothed, while laughing off and away any haughty pride she might reasonably could feel once she became the Euryanassa, or Great Queen, of Aeoleis and Minya, the two constituent high kingdoms.
That, alas, removed Deion from Cephalos’ boyhood and lad stripling years, until he was needed to support his son at the trials-of-bridal for the Princesss of Magnesia that came afterwards Aeoleis & Minya had been reordered. Our next Bardot Blog shall say of their reunion, and of the brilliant tutelage-at-arms that the father affected his son with as nigh a champion-at-arms graduating from man-at-arms under the Cretan Far Fleets that he briefly served.
The Death of High King Laios and Remarriage of the Euryanassa of High Kingdom of Kadmeis.
Labdakos dead just as Aiakos’ reconquests were initiating their momentum northward the north mainland, the Atticans and all other Saronic Gulf Rim Powers were breathing high releif from the bellicose regime that the Kadmeia’s High Kings were so intent upon formenting. Peace settled upon the broad low country whose lands of rich tilth aligned above the Eleutherais Woodlands. They still stood as buffering forested expanse above the Saronic Rim, but north to south roadways and back could have other meanings, that towards Deion’s great hope as once a chief of wardens, that an overland great caravan commerce could build from the many veterans who had served him all his life as most willing adjutants and foremost men-at-arms. Deion had also helped settle many displaced populace from that incursions of the Minyans, and he left to Herse and other rural matron governesses of First Estate whom had been liberating under Aiakos to see them gainfully progressing well.
Occludes from much if any notice was the tormenting internal affairs of the High Kingdom of Kadmeis. At the end of the 1380s BC, no date well ascertained, Laios was murdered upon his travels over the several passes of the Treton Mountains that led down and through the Isthumus of Ephyrea by was of dispersing access variously to high roads on the other side of the land bridge between two mainland divisions. One such high road was called the March that led up from small ports upon the Great Gulf ( of Korinth) to the final High Road which achieved the High City Kadmeia. Laios, the only man mounted of his protective entourage of men-at-arms, was moving covertly for no apparent reason after leaving piedmont Great Argos via coastal Sikyon. What then was witnessed was Laios at being accosted and commanded to halt by a young noble, an adopted prince of Sikyon who was charged with clearing the passes over the Treton Mountains of brigands and other theifs upon the wayfares of high countryside.
The young man of clearly most fit youth and most promising manhood was Oedipus, the adopted son and prince therefore of Sikyon. He had accosted Laios with best manners and high dignity, but was esp[ied to be soemwhat halt of foot movement as he approached near to the covert High King. Laios’ reaction had been violent and openly hostile, by contrast and moved to barge past Oedipus as an unwanted assailant. Worse that that, he took sword in hand to smite the young noble, but without any summons of his henchmen to assist his forced passage of the road ahead. Oedipus had parried, at which defense he provoked the entourage to react aggressively in defense of their liege. Laios’ violence had gotten in their way immediately, as he thrashed his sword to slay the young man. He smote his short spear into Laios’ groin while hastily blocking his horse against the steed’s chest for an instance. While unbalanced thereby, he gained the other side of the horse for readiness to take on next challengers. They rushed him haphazardly and lost their lives to Oedipus deftness at wield of the a dirk,until he could arm himself better by filching weapons off his every adversary slain. Laios was already toppled and bleeding out to death in the dust arising from the mayhem. Seven men-at-arms were supposed killed, or such was the report of Oedipus as he fled away and down to Sikyon to state his version of events. Unknown at the time, and not until much later time, a seventh protector bore a deathly wound from which he only barely recovered as he hid shamefully in the brush around the killing site. He could not admit that he’s failed to protect his liege sovereign.
All else of the incident makes a flimsy beginning to a heavy and hard tale to tell about Oedipus at innocence by duels in self-defense. Much more importance lay in another beginning of a mythic saga about him and that tale as it was brought to a greatest drama by adaptation to many other circumstances wrought upon the stage by Sophocles to the play Oedipus Tyrannos.
And here be forewarned that his dramatic adaptation proves consistent with most everything brought to adaptations or versions of myths by the Ancient Greeks. The saga that became that masterpiece of Classical Greek Drama (and mythography) I’ve rendered in two parts, by the First Book of Cephalos Ward of Eleusis and a transitional book which narrates its conclusion. Here, therefore, I only address the first part of forthcoming Saga of Oedipus & Iokaste. For it relates to all matters and formalities attendant to the widowed Euryanassa Iokaste, whereupon immediately conflict of my version with Sophocles contrived plotting of Laios’ manslaughter by his son by his siring of Oedipus. Here, too, I greatly simplify my own books version drawn from the contemporary man-of-writ Mentor son-of-Alkimos at a telling an entire century later than the actual incident.
First, after the honest telling of his slaying brigands upon the high road pass of the Tretons to his parents Olybos and Periboea of Sikyon, they honestly investigated the truths of the manslaughter and found from the Kadmeians duly that the main principal in the killing was High King Laios of Kadmeis. Astonished and greatly chagrined, we can suppose, the Regent and queen of Sikyon must confess their adoption of Oedipus from his mother, a priestess of the small sanctuary that located at Sikyon. By his father’s arrangement of trysts for young prince Laios, for motives solely his own as a royal sire, the priestess had willingly bedded the prince. She had thought to fulfill her wants of maternity as most young women in holy orders might do or did. She wanted to know a man discretely and Labdakos had provided the requisite arrangement. Anonymous, she’d been fruitfull of child as she wanted. But she was also forbidden to reveal any child of the assignation and she had to avoid any publicity of the lovely baby conceived. Laios would have nothing to do with her, even to finding her abhorrent and his trysting of her to his shameful disgust. The younf father also told her that he was fated to a death my hand of his own son. He’d then wrenched the foot of the baby boy such as to render him maimed. He remarked that the maiming would disclose his fated slayer as soon as seen, as indeed Oedipus limp and halted approach had verified upon the heights of the Treton Mountains.
He’d then deserted her, but somehow was force reminded of his paternity of the unwanted baby by his father before he’d died. Polybos and Periboea ahd reported to him their adoption of the baby as joy in son and a prince to adore the parentally. After such sharing as confirmed Oedipus true mother and her forsaking of him, it seems that Laios would not have marital relations with his bride Iokaste, even to relegating her to a seraglio of servants and honor maidens of the High Court Kadmeia. That created an astonishing circumstance most peculiar to the Kadmeian royal successions that gave supreme place to brides royally native by the aboriginal Aionians and somewhat lesser royal place to indigenous Spartoi, who were hereditary of rights of courtship of such offered brides. Oedipus, in fact, was of royal right to court Iokaste in remarriage, and he discovered Laios’ bride to be only of young maiden age in her early twenties of age. Notwithstanding her youth and barest tenure as Laios’ bride, Iokaste was an entitled euryanassa, that can be translated as either empress or great queen. Future royal lineage was for her to establish by her husbands seeding of her loins, perhaps as drawn from a Spartos who sutied her as agreeable well-chosen.
Instead Laios had shunned her and relegated her to seclusion. Her brother, known as the son of Menoiteos, the new High King had entitled Kreon with rank of high priest over the nobe order of Spartoi by five families indigneous to far west Kadmeis and its borderland with Phokis. Accordingly, their order had considerable aversion to Oedipus as soon as he presented himself eliginle to court the widow of Laios for her supreme remarriage and upheld paramountcy by succession. Despite any such objections, Oedipus duly marriaed Iokaste who found in him the man of her true wants — and wantonness — for the comforts of marriage and highest sovereign sway. Two sons were conceived followed by two daughters who were assumed to assume the royal and sacral successions to their mother’s supremacy. All else of the Saga of Oedipus had to await nearly twenty-five years elapsed for yet other circumstances to the final facts still left unknown or unattested.
Polybos and Periboea had not divulged who the victim of Oedipus had been as accosted within the Treton Mountains. They had only told Labdakos that the issue of the arranged assignation with the priestess who had been open to conjugal relations with his son Laios had been rejected just as she had been, too. So left unsaid was that Oedipus had slain an unknown brigand of some important standing, at least as his adopted parents had heard him out. All else was kept in abeyance for fear of prying into dangerous unknowns.
The Second Restoration of the Kekropids, circa 1380 BC.
Even as Deion left Eleusis and the Saronic Gulf Rim Powers, the hated Metionid regimes that he’d had to protect continued on a wholly unpopular to the Atticans. Pandion, whom three brothers Metionid has usurped, had incented the deposed High Chief to secure himself as king maker for the House of Erechtheus. His brilliance to posture himself as the head of the branch royal Kekropids (“sons-of-Kekrops” even though the children of Pylia of Alkathoos and her wedlock to Pandion) had him a prime determinant of who would ultimately gain merited autocracy over Attica and principle protector of Eleusis, his mother Metiadusa’s hereditary realm as its Diomeda passed to Herse.
The brother so much older than the sister had never suffered sybling aggravations, despite they led mostly separate childhoods and lives since becoming adult. Pandion feared only one form of contention or dissension from Herse, that which might be begotten of a son born by her. Cephalos would have been much preferred as a daughter instead, to become the heiress to Eleusis by succession to title of Diomeda which Metiadusa had been at his birth. Pandion also had another small dilemma attendant his long marriage to Pylia of Alkathoos. First he’d had to adopt the son Aigeus by her first marriage, whose actual sire was an Isthmian named Skyrion a/o Skyros. Three sons were then off her lap outside of Attica, the paternal homeland by which they had no nativity; they were not of the royal blood or sacral earth born, which was likewise to say they were not, therefore, of autochthonous descent Atticans, a very important basis of succession as between rivals to lead the Attican House of Eerechtheus. Indeed, Aigeus had higher standing than his half brothers as a foreigner royal born by an alien royal matriarch such as Pylia, who even had here own distinguished matron dynasty that brought her sons another special exaltation.
All these small concerns bode to loom large for any claimant of succession, and Pandion did not want his beloved nephew to get in the way of his sons’ ascendancies. He must not prove claimant to rule Attica, howsoever his special merits to earn status as a petty chieftain or king. Attica bode to become an important kingdom once well knit as unified by its three parts, Akte, Aktika and Aktaia. So he brought herse to a concordat that she was willing to accept. Her son, while ward of Eleusis, stood high as a prince of the House of Erechtheus, but he must pledge fealty to any branch royal relative that rose to best claimant status to rule Attica. Cephalos was welcome to the royal court and to vie for all the important ministries of the future kingdom to earn highest administrative status. He might prove as great martial leader, or a navarch over a navy, or a minister of great portfolio, as we of modern times might deem a chancellor. But Pandion wanted Aigeus to have a direct track to becoming king, whereby to crush his rivals of other branch royal families of Erechtheids. And so it was done, Herse earning Cephalos preferment as the twain princess and priestess as she was by highest hereditary claims.
The actual civil war occurred as mostly an insurrection against the greatly unpopular Metionids and their new religious establishments through their created brotherhood of loathsome priests. Aigeus led all fray with the support of his able half-brothers, who won to themselves vice regencies. He as head of state permanently seated Pallas upon the Lower Peninsula, Aktika. Nisos, the second half brother, earned Gulf Attica or Akte, whereby an expansion of his appointed royal duties for his mother Pylia in capacities which we of modern times associate with seneschals. Lykos the youngest son, was appointed judiciary and leading religious offices, as a man of good religious calling to the practiced traditions most respected by highest and lowest denizens kingdom wide. Cephalos became at age eight a frequent squireof his father’s visits of ministry to the Metionids while they still ruled. He knew all the important ministers of the Attica’s royal court incidentaally, but also, most likely, better that Aigeus did as he wound up a successful civil removal of the Metionids and all challengers to his accession to king with a small “kappa.” Because the accession of Pandion to his father Kekrops at the time that father was deposed by the first Metion, his rule had been called the First Restoration of the Kekropids. Thus Aigeus accession, by support of his exiled father and as once revered mother Metiadusa became immediately a foremost Attican and Kekropid, and most welcome to a Second Restoration of the Kekropids as though his father Pandion had never been deposed.
That left Cephalos. a fifth Kekropid prince-of-House Erechtheus to find his own way upwards or laterally towards a most successful manhood in part supported by his revered mother Herse, who would prove herself a prnce-maker worthy of finest brides most everywhere abroad.