He lived in the shadow of kings. One trusted him with his empire; the other feared his every move. Memnon of Rhodes (375-333 BC) walked in the footsteps of giants. As a soldier, sailor, statesman and general, he was, in the words of Diodorus of Sicily, "outstanding in courage and strategic grasp." A contemporary of Demosthenes and Aristotle, ...
He lived in the shadow of kings. One trusted him with his empire; the other feared his every move. Memnon of Rhodes (375-333 BC) walked in the footsteps of giants. As a soldier, sailor, statesman and general, he was, in the words of Diodorus of Sicily, "outstanding in courage and strategic grasp." A contemporary of Demosthenes and Aristotle, Memnon rose from humble origins to command the whole of western Asia in a time of strife and slaughter. To his own people, he was a traitor, to his rivals, a mercenary. But, to the King of Kings, his majesty Darius III of Persia, Memnon was the one man capable of defending Asia Minor from the rising power of the barbaric Macedonians. In a war pitting Greek against Greek, Memnon proved his quality beyond measure. His enemies fought for glory and gold; Memnon fought for something more: for loyalty, for honour, and for duty. He fought for the love of Barsine, a woman of remarkable beauty and grace, but most of all, he fought for the promise of peace. Through the deathbed recollections of a mysterious woman, the life of Memnon unfolds with brilliant clarity. It is a record of his triumphs and tragedies, his loves and losses, and of the determination that drove him to stand against the most renowned figure of the ancient world - an ambitious and brilliant young conqueror called Alexander the Great.
Publishers Weekly, 2006-05-22 Oden (Men of Bronze) follows his critically acclaimed debut with an eloquent and captivating historical thriller that chronicles the life of Memnon of Rhodes, a Greek mercenary in the service of Persia. A contemporary of Aristotle and Alexander the Great, Memnon flees his home on the Greek island of Rhodes after his father is beheaded during an uprising. Hoping to fulfill his dream of becoming "a living Achilles," he signs on as a lieutenant to a Persian provincial governor and discovers his talent as a leader and tactician more an Odysseus than an Achilles. (He even has his own Penelope, a Persian princess named Barsine, who fulfills her role in the requisite tragic love subplot.) When Alexander invades Asia Minor, the Persian King Darius III retains Memnon, the foreign mercenary "with the powers of a Persian general... to repel the Macedonians." It's a spectacular battle that has dire consequences for Memnon. Historians have paid scant attention to Memnon of Rhodes, but Oden, who admits to "have taken spectacular liberties" with the incomplete historical record, brings the man and his times to life with a combination of vivid conjecture, deft plotting and graceful prose. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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