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The Great Outcast

1. The New Wolf Progeny

Continuation of the story...

translated by Natalia Kasparova

Feeling like a barbarian, the Philosopher was lighting the leaves of papyri from the lantern and was throwing the blazing flames into the sea. The wind would carry them away and some of them would even soar to the heights of the ship masts, but all of them would burn in the air and only ash would land into the water…

Don’t feel sorry” Thais Kilios condescended. “It will all come back. It is not the fruit of your intellect rather your vices that are ablaze.”

It is hard for me to understand it yet” Aris let slip. “And I can still feel violence done to me”.

When you open your own philosophical school… It will be later called Lyceum. The housing for this purpose is already ready near the Temple of Apollo Likeyskie… Remember, where he is in the guise of a wolf? Or have you forgotten in your travels? It will be referred to as the wolf school, but you should not listen to the rumours. Wolves are noble, because of their passion for freedom. And the feeling of violence will vanish in that hour never to come back. You will be surrounded by pupils as obedient to your word as wolf cubs. And there will come the time when you will be teaching and instructing future tsars, tyrants and hegemons. And then, many years later, the thoughts born by you now will seize the minds of the whole educated world. But his will come about later…”

Aris burnt his hand having forgotten to let go of the blazing papyrus.

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You know the future?..”

We will leave foretelling the future to the oracles. We will have the future happening today. We will sow a seed which will sprout in millennia.”

Listening to you, Ephor, I feel misled” admitted the Philosopher. “You forbid to mention even indirectly how the world is designed. You are saying that this is the secret of Iliad… Really now I don’t know where to apply the instrument that is my mind.”

No, I have not been mistaken in you!” the Superior became overjoyed and once again screeched with his sandals. “You have gotten rid of your vices and are clean as a white leaf of papyrus capable of surviving millennia…I envy you, Aristotle of Stagira! From that same instant when I read in your manuscript, which was committed to flames, about the holy trinity you noted of the barbarians. You anticipated my boldest thoughts! It is because of you, the new wolf prodigy, that I am so inspired.”

I don’t understand your joy” Aris said with exasperation. “It was only recently that you wanted to execute me! Instead you executed the Roman who adopted my works!”

And the harsh guardian of the Iliad’s secrets suddenly became amiable.

As a gesture of appreciation I will show you the way where you will channel your thought” he said. “Your future works will become a precursor to God. And you will anticipate his descent, telling the world how it is organized. You will prepare the consciousness of the Hellenes and the barbarians to accept one sole idol, who will reconcile the irreconcilable through his death. It is truly an enviable path – to pave the way for God, to build bridges for the God, who will incorporate the truths of the three corners of the world. And he will be one in three incarnations. The trinity you discovered is the essence of the future faith, Aristotle. And the reason for the existence of different peoples lies in the idea of one God.”

The Philosopher felt even more confused, his thoughts were unravelling like a damp papyrus.

If it were not for you, Ephor, I would have said this is impossible. I know Iliad and have travelled and lived amongst wild tribes enough. The Hellenes and barbarians are of an obstinate nature and are quite self-righteous. It is impossible to even imagine that they would have one God and will worship him equally. What should he be like to captivate and conquer the consciousness of an enlightened Hellene and a savage? I can’t imagine it….”

Ephor grinned imperiously; however, as a teacher he did not lose temper.

Having taken the barbarian relics away from them, we will acquire their knowledge. And they will soon forget their gods. But they will rapture in the faith in somebody who Hellenes will crucify so as to gain faith in him through this crime. You, as somebody who knows of the nature of thought, are aware of this path and will guide the whole of the Middle Earth towards it. And so we will change the customary way of things where there will be just two halves – light and darkness. And it will be those who know the truth and preach faith, who will rule the world.”

But the world will be engulfed by chaos! Great wars will break out!”

You are right, Philosopher… And they will be very different wars. They will point towards genuine aspirations in the world. You know what battles happen for; the greed for gold, lands, slaves and power. It has always been this way, because the world is abundant with gods. And when there are plenty of them, like wives in a harem, our seed goes to waste - our faith in essence. God in its trinity will transcend this and on the battle fields swords will ring in inspiration for the idea rather than for gold. A while ago I incited Phocians to seize the Apollo Temple in Delphi as well as the sacred lands, thinking to unify Iliad. But what did I see? Over the ten years of the holy war amphictyons only strengthened Phocis, none of them wanted to fight for the holy shrine to the bitter end. In plurality of gods there is no faith, Aristotle. And with one God all wars will be holy and then the whole world will rest at Iliad’s feet. And neither barbarians nor Rome will ever dare set foot within its bounds. On the contrary, it is through them that we will do the work of conquering and spreading faith to those, who have yet to submit and who remain in the disgrace of polytheism. And let them destroy and create in their own lands only to destroy again.”

The Philosopher stumbled unwittingly and nearly knocked down the lantern. The papyrus left in his hand caught fire.

Who are you, Thais Kilios?” he asked in a muffled voice as though there was a noose thrown around his neck again.

An Ephor, overseeing the secrets of Illiad.”

Why have I never heard about you? Plato or Bion never uttered your name either.”

And you will never say it, though you will always remember it.”

My mentors? Did they serve you?”

They served the idea. And I must say they carried out my will very diligently. Otherwise I would not have been talking to you now.”

I thought that my entire path was a sequence of odds, the play of fate and circumstances…And you already knew what would happen to me?”

The Ephor’s face froze in a stony smile.

How similar you all are…Really it gets boring…I even knew that you would write this” he jolted the parchment copies of the book. “In order to astonish the educated world with the secret of papyrus making…By the way, Plato had already written about it by the time he was your age, and just like you he vehemently swore never to use skin, replacing it with papyrus. His young heart was outraged and I remember the heated arguments infused with rhetoric. “

And he threw the manuscripts down to his feet.

The Philosopher’s mind refused to understand what his ears heard.

Plato knew the secret of papyrus making?”

It was known to Bion….And both of them sent their first immature tractates into the fire. And so should you.”

Aris bent down and picked up the books.

Is it really not possible to replace parchment with papyrus?” he asked hopelessly.

It’s quite possible and not just with papyrus. For example, you can chisel eternal truths in stone, cast them in bronze, or inscribe them on golden plates as you suggested. Or, similar to barbarians, you could write in gold and runes. But would those materials survive eternity? Would not anyone want to break stone slabs to build a dwelling, to forge bronze into swords, to mint coins out of gold?...Besides those dead materials are capable of destroying, distorting the truth. It will instantly lose its sacred, magical meaning, which can only be born on skin. The meaning which can summon benevolence and faith only to augment it in proportion to the passing centuries and millennia. Sacred is the very human shroud and you were a witness to it…But this is the secret of the substances I have no right to disclose…”

But the barbarians can descend upon us again!..”

You will stop them.”


And what did Bion teach you to see for? You have completed the lessons of maturity, haven’t you?”

And acting like a barbarian now, the Philosopher ruffled the leaves of the book and put them to fire. Cheap sheepskin parchment, impregnated with oil and hence thirsty for fire, flared up emitting stench.

Aris remembered the sweet, dizzying smell coming from the burial fire on the mount of Olbia…

Twelve years ago the Macedonian tsar gave birth to an offspring” the Ephor said looking at the fire. “By his wife Myrtale, whom he now calls Olympia. His name is Alexander. The nature of the youth is divine, or at least that is what the rumours say…It is known positively that he was born by a Skopets* in some mysterious way. Your father, Nikomakh, was a witness to it. After all he still serves Philipp as a court physician, doesn’t he?”

*Skopets – a eunuch.

Yes, Superior” Aris awakened, yet again expecting something sinister. “My father serves the Macedonian Lion…”

And you will serve him too” Thais Kilios handed a scroll. “The Tsar is sending you a letter or, as the barbarians say, makes obeisance to you. And they ask you, Philosopher, to suckle his heir by instructing him in the nature of thought. The Prince is temperamental and inapproachable as he is at the mercy of nature and completely compliant with the barbarian customs and his mother’s will. He worships her so much that he is prone to incest. And it would have been admissible to instil majesty through consanguinity. I would have long ago encouraged him into his mother’s arms…But the intercourse would tie them even closer and they are already bound by the invisible umbilical cord. You will have to cut it and guide Alexander away from the grips of this passion. It will be enough if he kills his father…However to extort this passion towards his mother is not necessary. You will have to transform it into a warrior spirit. You have succeeded in the art of transforming qualities, have you not? So go to Philipp’s court and raise the youth to obey your will…”

Please, let me not do this, Ephor!” Aris pleaded. “This Tsar destroyed and set my native Stagira on fire!”

He will restore the city.”

I am a Philosopher and not an educator of youths! The intensity of the court intrigue and other untoward matters are distant to me. I am a thinker!”

Thais Kilios looked so fiercely that the fire trembled and played as though from a gush of wind.

Do you remember what Bion taught; state matters should be governed by philosophers?”

I remember that…”

Your hour has come!”

Aris was embarrassed and lost.

I’ve never had to interfere into the matters of royal families…I am not an obstetrician to cut umbilical cords…”

I will teach you” this time Ephor spoke quite graciously. “Come to my ship… In order to sever the youth from his mother, you will seduce him with your wife Pythia. She is experienced and artful in seduction. Let the youth taste the sweetness of her charms and body. And you will be philosophical about it…”

On shaking legs, the astonished Aris boarded the tiera and only then did he come to his senses.

But I am not married! I am single, Superior! I have a bride, her name is Gergilia. And I don’t know a Pythia!”

The logic of his thoughts was unpredictable.

Are you familiar with Tyrant of Atarneus, Hermias?” the Ephor asked, walking up on to the ship. “You used to be friends with him in Athens…”

The Philosopher studied with Hermias from Mizia Atarneus at the Plato Academy and indeed was friends with him in his youth. Possessed with the commitment to science and the nature of thought, he emasculated himself so that he could not squander his spiritual power on things earthly, and he was trying to talk Aris into joining the Skopets* cohorts.

Yes, Superior”he confirmed, lost in guesswork. “But our paths went different ways…”

Ephor was privy to all the details of their relationship and therefore didn’t make much effort to listen to his confused babble.

And this will help you to take away the charming Pythia away from the tyrant. Indeed, what does the Skopets need the hetaerae for – especially the one, who having all the beauty, also possesses a philosophical mind?...She will make a worthy wife for you. And Gods know; there is no other maiden surpassing her in the art of seduction…”

The end of the first Chapter

Перенос столицы из одного города в другой в истории Российского государства происходил не единожды. Для чего это делается? Как этот процесс влияет на развитие государства? Актуален ли вопрос переноса столицы для современной России? Очередная серия "Скитских писем" посвящена ответу на вопрос: "Будет ли перенос столицы России на Урал и как скоро он произойдет?"

The Great Outcast

1. The New Wolf Progeny

Continuation of the story...

translated by Natalia Kasparova

And in the face of the lethal threat, it was inconceivable to die without uncovering the mystery! The scholar thought about it while the storm was ripping the tackle and breaking the oars; he felt sorry to tears that he would not have the time to learn the unknown, when the pirates attacked the helpless ship and he was nearly tossed into the deep with a rock on his neck for just one open and bold look; and how he grieved and cried when he was taken, pigeonholed, to the slave market through the sands under the insufferable and scalding sun.

And his teacher was not there – his adversary, who could be asked for an answer in his last moment…

He was not there in the heavenly seclusion either and therefore Aris confided his observations, feelings and thoughts to writing, aware from the time when he was a pupil, that they would take the flesh of a scholarly form and thus move him to solve as of yet inextricable problems. And so it happened – one day his thoughts, which had been entrusted to papyrus, led him to the idea that the uniting essence of the barbarian sanctities resided in the knowledge of how to obtain Time! They clearly concealed instructions on what to do and how, if the God-given calendar, or Chu, as barbarians called the Time, irretrievably dried up. Possibly this lore was accessible only to the oracles, who had been specially initiated, because even barbarian tsars did not have insight into the sacrosanct mysteries of these rites. At the same time, their wise men, referring to themselves as prophets, regardless of which part of the world they lived in, were consumed with one sole passion – to obtain a new calendar, a new term of Chu to allow for the existence of their lands and people. Their fire rites were inexplicable and savage; when their dwellings were burnt down, they would rejoice, sing and dance. Their incredibly persistent labours undertaken to erect new ones as well as new identical towns seemed senseless, even insane!

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That is unless one knew that they were extracting Time by doing so! They were filling empty vessels and pools with it in their towns; just in the same way drought afflicted countries do with water in the rainfalls.

The teacher of maturity, Bion was close to unravelling this mystery. All his life he was stealing up on it like a hunter on a wild bird, he even built a tower rotunda in the image and likeness of a barbarian town, trying to grasp the mystery of their mentality, to perceive the nature of their irrepressible endurance.

In the Middle Earth people would call out to Gods to receive their benevolence and to win their daily bread. For instance they would sweat over growing a grape vine or an olive tree and they would break a hard stone to build a beautiful palace and dig deep burrows to extract silver and gold; they would venture out on dangerous journeys to sell their goods and, in doing so, to obtain the benefits associated with their life on earth. Whereas the barbarians leading a meagre existence were not burdened with any of that, instead they were obsessed with constructing their cities, seemingly devoid of any logic! When they erected very tall inaccessible walls, they knew in advance, that no one was going to attack them. And they would live enclosed within those walls so that half a century later they could torch the emptied vessels with their own hands together with the towers, foundries, stock and barrel, and then build new ones!

Aris kept all those thoughts about barbarian life in order in his head and wrote down just some fundamentals about the life of savage, obscure tribes and peoples that were, unknown even to Herodotus. He treated his own work like a ship builder - just laying down a boat in the dockyard, but his present master Lucretius Iriy, having suddenly landed on the island, read his work and admired it so much that he would not hear any reasoning from his captive. The oligarch, being far from capable of true philosophical science, thought that any description of a previously unknown phenomenon was genius, as it paved the way to far-off lands and helped to start lucrative trade there. That is why he ordered the immediate binding of the leaves into a book, put his name down on it and set off to Rome right away.

Short-lived was his grief, as Aris felt inspired again since he was overflown with the ideas and he had a generous stock of plain papyrus and ink available to him. He was used to thinking on his feet and, while taking strolls on the island as if on a peculiar round-the- world trip, would muse and arrange his thoughts in a scientific manner and then would sit at the table and write them down on papyrus. And this time he decided to outsmart his master and composed two manuscripts simultaneously – one under his master’s name and the other, which he kept secret even from the servants – under his own. It was audacious and entailed the risk of being found out for breaking the agreement, but at the same time it filled the scholar’s heart with the youthfully unrestrained joy of creation, because once again he could openly look into the eye of his great mentor – his adversary - and mentally prevail over him.

Thus a year had passed in this ambivalent existence and the tractate of his master was finished. However he had yet to turn up or send his people over.

Aris rejoiced in this circumstance and wholeheartedly pursued his covert work, sometimes jubilant with delight and joy. He conceived to complete it and, without putting his name on the frontispiece, sent it with the fishermen to Athens, to his teacher Plato. And he would have done so if it were not for the ship with the double cross on its sails – the secret symbol of the Collegiate of Ephors - that berthed at the pier of the island…

He sat by the sea under the scorching, scalding sun until the very evening, pouring his memories from one hand into the other like a handful of white-hot sand. From afar he was watching how short-sighted Thais Kilios was reading his works encircled by servants with fans. And the longer he was leaning over the yet unbound leaves of papyri, the further death was receding. The Ephor would go over some parts of his work twice and then, reclining on the back of his chair, would muse for a long while about something and the allusive hope of mercy would appear at least for the time sufficient to complete the work. When it became dark, the Superior ordered three lamps put near his chair and continued to read in the strained, quivering light! And in doing so he was substantiating the belief that his life would continue even beyond the term necessary to finish his work! He would have to, as he would have been compelled to stumble over the fact that the manuscript stopped short in mid-sentence and, already taken by and engaged in the story about the barbarian sanctities, demand continuation!

And this, the continuation, Aris could have been writing endlessly, strewing his thoughts from fist into palm and back…

It was twice already that he had been sentenced to and escaped death. This verdict was the third and the last, if one should go by the barbarian perception of the trinity of the world.

And if this does happen, he may go down in posterity…

The sand beneath Aris cooled down slowly and then became cold and gave him shivers. And only at dawn, when it started to become warmer and the lamps were put out, the Ephor turned away from the manuscripts and called upon the condemned. And from the first words uttered by Thais Kilios it became clear that the Philosopher was deluding himself, because in his yearning for life he could not imagine, that this Superior over the secrets of Iliad would find the motives in his works further aggregating his guilt.

“I consider both works finished” he concluded as though lifting a sword over a bowed neck.

Aris felt how his whole being gathered into one heated lump and shrivelled into his solar plexus as though he was watching all over again how the relentless barbarians were casting down the students of the philosophical school from the seventh tier of the tower.

“You know that Iliad is doomed” Thais Kilios concluded. “And all my efforts to talk any sense into them through the barbarian Macedonia and its Tsar Philipp were in vain…. Never before did the Greeks experience such shame and humiliation! Not even from the Persians!”

“I am aware of it and I was writing my works, suffering and being saddened by it.….”

Ephor shook the manuscript and threw it on the sand with contempt.

“You tried to speak of the sanctities of the world of barbarians” he continued after a pause, “To instil in them even greater pride and to divorce the noble nations from other countries of the world forever, to sow eternal antagonism, the seeds of endless wars, horrific invasions and the downfall of the enlightened Middle Earth. Without any doubt you deserve death, as do your writings. I can’t give you a minute to complete your work.”

“I didn’t intend it, Superior” uttered the fated Philosopher “Quite the opposite, I thought to reconcile parts of the world…”

“In which way?”

“To find the Barbarian sanctities, study them and through analytics to compare the mentality of the enlightened mind and that of a Barbarian, to converge them if there turns out to be an abyss separating them. Or at least to build a bridge…”

Thais Kilios smiled coldly.

“You talk like a pontiff!”

“I see the essence of the philosophy in it” Aris retorted proudly. “To build bridges, to reconcile the irreconcilable.”

The Superior was unabashed.

“Wandering amongst the savage people, you became as simple-minded as them……Would your mentor Plato approve of your ambitions?”

“No” the captive admitted. “And I would not wish to resemble my teacher in my writings.”

“You are still very young and think like a youth, trying to be defiant. I feel sorry for you. So much time and effort. And all for nothing…”

“Did you not, Superior, find anything new and useful in my works?”


“What about the barbarian sanctities?... No one amongst the living philosophers knows about them! Well neither did the ancient ones. There are only speculations in existence…”

“The philosophers don’t know it’s true… And they shouldn’t find out. And I am telling you this as an Ephor overseeing the secrets of Iliad.”

“But do you know? Have you come to know the essence of the Barbarians sanctities?”

Thais Kilios became still, looking at the sunrise and its scarlet glow turned him into a statue.

“The Collegiate would not have appointed me to oversee the secrets otherwise…”

“So you came to know the sacred Barbarian scriptures?!...”

“I ruined my vision sitting in the light of fatty lanterns in a dark cave. That is why I can’t see clearly even the rising sun….”

Aristotle suddenly felt fear upon looking at the bronze Ephor. But this, this fear transformed into a kind of respect.

“I am prepared to bend my knee, Superior” he uttered. “ I could only dream about it…”

To top it all off, Thais Kilios was humble and partial to finding the truth.

“Unfortunately I failed to see the primeval relics. In my hands I only had the copies of the sacred books made by doxographers from the memories of those who had ever had any contact with them. You, Philosopher, must understand it is not the same. How much would I have loved to see the true barbarian relics, written in golden ink!”

And this once again lit a flicker of hope of salvation.

“I was so close to my goal” Aris said guardedly. “There was only a thousand stages left to the Vesta repository. Or even less… But I did not make it, since I was declared plagued.”

“You would not have made it even if you had not ended up in a chum.”

“But why not?”

“It has to do with the barbarian spells…But you shouldn’t know anything about that. As it is I have said more than I should. Perhaps it is good spirits that your work inspired in me.”

He turned away from the sun and transformed into the grey immovable marble. This turn must have been well-known as the guards, that stood in the distance before, suddenly came up to Aris and with the agility of fakirs threw two ropes – one around his clutched hands and the other around his neck. Whereupon they put him on his knees and one of them dug his foot into Aris’ back and tightened up the noose.

All his hopes came crashing down in that instant and the heated sand breathed off a chill. The Philosopher tried his best to remain dignified and fiercely bit his tongue so as not to beg for mercy. The wind drew in from the sea and ruffled the leaves of papyrus on the sand, and the Ephor pressed them down with his foot in a cork sandal in the same way one would crush something as repulsive as a snake or a ship rat, for instance.

“However, there is a way to avoid penance” he suddenly said hardly audibly, but he was heard. “Would you be prepared to secretly serve me and the Collegiate of Ephors?”

Aris took another look at the foot that trampled his work into the sand and uttered hoarsely pushing against the rope with his Adam’s apple:

“Slave labour in abominable to me. Execute me if you have delivered your verdict.”

“What if this is going to be an unbound service? One of a free Philosopher of Iliad? One of a freeman and a noble citizen? One who is not burdened with a humiliating pardon?”

“But what about your verdict?” His voice did not obey him as though it was a frayed, perforated by the wind sail. “I violated the oath by disclosing the secret of the parchment.”

The Ephor took his first manuscripts from the chest:

“The titles don’t have your name under them. But there is another one there.”

“This person adopted my works.”

“Adopting the death sentence at the same time. Your admission is not proof of your guilt. On the contrary, it speaks of your honour. Or do I act unfairly?”

To Aris’ surprise two guards led tied-up Lucretius Iriy out on to the ship deck! The Ephor showed the parchment books to him.

“Are these your manuscripts, Roman?”

He straightened his shoulders and jerked up his head as haughtily as the ropes would allow.

“Yes, Superior! And my glory will survive beyond my death!”

“Strangle him” Thais Kilios ordered calmly.

A powerful executioner threw a noose over his neck and, bending slightly, lifted Lucretius onto his back as though he was a bag of grain. The unfortunate man twitched his legs, his face became flushed with blood and soon it turned blue together with his tongue that fell out of his mouth.

It seemed as though the bag broke, bursting open so the grain came splashing out onto the deck with a steady splatter….

“Watch out!” came Bion’s voice as though in reality.

And the Ephor echoed in unison with it:

“This is the mask of death. Of your death, Aristotle. Thus your vanity, which has been driving your thoughts up to now, has died in you.”

Meanwhile the executioner threw his load on to the deck and left.

“The author of these manuscripts was executed” the Ephor finalized. “along with one of your vices….But what of these? What other vices should be punished with their help?”

He lifted his foot from the manuscripts on the sand. The wind ruffled their leaves.

Aris was silent and Thais Kilios, seeing the pity the Philosopher was looking at his trampled works with, was suddenly inspired

“Pride and subservience! This is what I will sacrifice! Perhaps, these above anything else can stand in the way of perceiving reality.”

And as though on an intangible order, the executioner carried out a flaring light and set it near Ephor as if night had set in and he needed the light again to finish reading the manuscripts.

“Take the ropes off him” he ordered.

The guards immediately took the ties off and helped Aris up. The judge beckoned him with a sign and took his foot off the papyri.

“Pick them up and burn them. For it was your pride and subservience that were guiding your hand.”

“Yes, Ephor, I agree” his voice sounded stronger after the ropes had been removed “The pride did exist as I wrote the unfinished work in secret from my master…But I did not feel subservient! And in essence I was free…”

“Then why does the title bear the name of your master? Admit it, you were asserting your right to live in doing so? What would have become of you if you had not agreed to write for the oligarch?...Burn what you created as a slave and you will become free.”

He leaned down to pick up the manuscripts and only then did he understand that he had bowed at the Ephor’s feet…

To be continued

The Great Outcast

1. The New Wolf Progeny

As a captive he finally experienced all the joys of life and thrived on the island for two years on end knowing no hardships or grief. There was an abundance of everything – time, exquisite food, tender concubines and above all excellent papyrus, ink and audacious thoughts. While a slave he thought of himself as a master and it seemed that this state would last forever, although this bliss evoked an uneasy realisation of the world’s fragility. And on Aris’ orders it was forbidden to shout loudly, to beat drums and to toll a bell to mark midday and bedtime on the island.
Throughout all those auspicious days even the sea was not agitated at the time of the autumn storms and instead was quietly splashing in the harbour like a baby in a bathtub.
And so it went on until one day a foreign ship moored at the island flaunting a mysterious marking on its sails–a twin black cross. Thinking that it was his master or his envoy paying visit, the helot Philosopher arrived at the pier. However it was a man of a respectable age and of quite imperious appearance, wrapped in a judicial robe that came down from the lofty tiera. Two servants carried out and planted on the pier a wooden chair, which was rather reminiscent of a throne with its high backrest. Two others brought a pyramid- shaped wooden chest on legs, decorated with the same black badges and crowned with a golden globe. The Philosopher duly bent on one knee and cast down his gaze. The stranger in the robe could be anyone – his master’s confidant, a newly- appointed satrap of the island or a new master altogether, but he, however, called himself merely by the name of Thais Kilios, without identifying his status or rank.

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But what startled the helot the most was the fact that he addressed him by his real name!

  • Rise, Aristotle Stagirite!” – He ordered as he sat in the chair.

The sound of his name was reminiscent of the enticing chant of a sea siren. The Philosopher stood up but couldn’t shake off the feeling of intense anticipation and it was not so much the appearance of this man that worried him, but rather that chest carried by the servants and more precisely its crowning golden globe, which signified the supreme power of the Ephors’ Collegiate.
The visitor cast the top of the pyramid open and extracted a book from it:

  • Look and answer: who does this work belong to?”

The Philosopher had only to look once to recognize his own work on the journey to Great Scythia, created over a year ago and poached by his master. Only this was a copy, rewritten by the hand of a doxographer on cheap, coarse parchment and, judging by the greasy frontispiece had known a few readers.

  • It has the name of Lucretius Iriy on it”, - the slave said cautiously. – “I have no reason to question the authorship…..”

The man in the judicial robe retrieved unperturbed another manuscript from the chest, also rather worn:

  • And who created this work?”

Aris’ hands flinched; in front of him was a copy of his own tractate on the invasion of the barbarians, their customs and on the ruination of the Olbia Library. This was the very manuscript that made him famous, but the frontispiece displayed the name of the same fame-hungry oligarch as well!
Waiting for an answer, the visitor was looking at the slave with the impervious face of a sphinx and it was impossible to guess what he was after. And then the Philosopher grabbed his own hand as though he was a thief caught reaching into his own pocket; even his brief life in captivity imperceptibly filled him with the trepidation of fear, hence to him the world appeared evanescent. He remembered his teacher Bion and, tossing up his head, gazed straight into Ephor’s face.

  • The authorship of these works belongs to me”, – Aris said proudly, feeling the chilly breath of danger, - “But who are you, stranger, to ask me about it?”

The blue judicial robe, the globe on the chest, badges in the shape of a twin cross and the gaze of his eyes all formed a logical chain and could only mean that in front of him was a representative of the supreme retributive court of Ephors of Gerusia. In that same moment the fate of the original version of the first manuscript came to mind – it was publicly torched, and a chilling premonition gripped his parched throat.

  • Thais Kilios”, – the visitor simply introduced himself.

  • The name doesn’t ring a bell…” - the captive started to say and went silent for the look of the judge reminded him more of the lash of a whip.

  • Why, then, is there a different name on the frontispiece?”, – he asked dispassionately, – “Did you conceal the authorship deliberately?”

The Philosopher expelled the icy shiver gripping his heart and briefly spoke of his vain master, who had brought him on the shores of Persia, about the conditions of life on the island and his present status as a slave. The man listened to it all as though he already knew everything that had happened to Aris.

  • So you state that Lucretius Iriy appropriated your works?” – he clarified.

  • He did it with my consent” – admitted the Philosopher frankly.

Thais Kilios went on testing him without ever giving out his real feelings and intentions.

  • Are you prepared to put your name back on these titles?”

  • I am.”

  • This would be tantamount to a death sentence.”

The image of Bion appeared in his mind’s eye momentarily and an imperative phrase rang in his ears:

  • Watch out!”

  • If in Iliad they don’t heed the words of philosophers and execute them for their work, then there is no reason for existence”, - Aris said with dignity, feeling a new surge of energy”, - “And death prevails over any thought.”

Thais Kilios returned the manuscripts to the chest and leaned back against the backrest of the chair, staring at the harbour effervescent with the flecks of the sun rays. He recalled something and his face lit up slightly.

  • Did you see the barbarians come out of the water?”

  • Yes, Ephor. And what an incredible sight it was…”

  • And you claim that they can breathe under water like fish?”

  • No, Ephor, I don’t.”

He mused on something for a while and now it was clear what it was – he was recalling the manuscript, which launched Aris into fame and, possibly, was weighing the extent of his guilt. The Philosopher continued to stand in front of him and was his own judge and jury, rummaging in his memory through everything that his inquisitive, and at the same time youthfully rebellious and indignant mind nudged him into doing several years ago.

  • In your tractate you unravelled the mystery of the preparation of papyrus.” – the Ephor concluded, – “According to the law of the Collegiate you must be sentenced to death. And then when you are dead your skin will be flayed…”

He was twice spared by the barbarians, because he saw their tears and then he felt affinity with their mentality; whereas now mercy was not to be expected, because for the first time he stared straight in the eye of peril, embodied in Thais Kilios and he did not spot any sympathy, nor did he see the slightest hope of salvation. That is why he tried to appeal to his grace with his words.

  • But I was never a member of the College of Artisans”, – he reminded him. – “I never swore an oath, I never made a vow. I cannot be condemned by their internal laws….”

  • I am vested to decide whether you can or you cannot!”, – he was interrupted by the Ephor. - “You became a member when a young artisan initiated you into the secrets of the craft. And it is this that is considered to be an act of initiation and thus of an entry into the College. Was it not you who wrote about it in your works?”

  • Yes, superior, I did….”

  • Prepare to die!”

His heart was protesting, but his mind at that moment failed to find any arguments to defend himself and that is why he flippantly asked what then escaped lips:

  • And who are you to judge me and condemn me to death? Since when did Ephors start to hand out death penalties to philosophers?”

  • I am an Ephor, and I oversee the mysteries in all poleis in Iliad”, - he said with cold dignity, - “Including the secrets of the Colleges. And I am empowered to determine your fate.”

  • If you studied the manuscript”, - Aris plucked up the courage to say, -“You must know that I did not disclose the secret of the craft, because it was known to anyone who ever used parchment for writing. Leather is first macerated in lime solution, then scoured, flattened with pumice and rubbed with chalk…”

  • The secret lies in the type of leather that is being used for currying!”, – Thais Kilios interrupted”, - “ And it was not the invasion of the barbarians, but rather your work that adversely affected the College of Papyrus Makers. And it wouldn’t have been so bad if only the craft suffered. You brought disgrace upon Iliad in front of the whole of the Middle Earth, humiliated Hellenic people likening them to barbarians”.

  • You wrought abomination upon the parchment manuscripts of philosophical works and tractates on natural history. You gave the Romans the right to judge the values of the Hellenic world. You deserve death”.

This was said in such a way that it left no doubt - this judge would have the verdict carried out and would not ask about his last request.
And then Aris remembered his unfinished essay and asked dispassionately:

  • Allow me, Superior, to complete my work. It will require a month or a little longer…”

Thais Kilios looked at him with a degree of disdain surely already picturing him beheaded and flayed.

  • You are irrepressible, Aristotle”, - he muttered. –“I delivered a verdict to you…..”

  • Delay the execution, Ephor.”

  • Are you really allured by fame after death? What would you like to say to our descendants? Would you once again stir their minds with similar creations?” – He looked at the chest. – “To exalt savages through the humiliation of Iliad as it suffers at their hands?”

  • I will tell the descendants what I saw during my life. And it will be up to them to judge whether I was right or wrong…”

  • So you would like a verdict of time?” – said the Ephor, seemingly bored. – “All right… Go with my guards and bring your work. And then I will decide whether it is to be completed or burnt.”

  • Shall I bring both copies or just the unfinished one?” – Aris asked, feeling how the cold grip of death slightly eased upon his throat.

  • Do you have two?”

  • Yes, Superior. I finished one under the name of my master. And the other one I was writing secretly….”

  • Bring both!”

Thais Kilios’ guards stood at his side and took him to the villa where the Philosopher worked. Those brief minutes of his life, while he went to fetch his works, seemed beautiful, because he once again came to feel the joys of existence. He was elated that the sun was shining, breeze was caressing his still alive, sensitive and grown onto his flesh skin under his thin tunic, the sea was swashing indulging his ear. He saw and felt anew everything that had already become customary. He had time to remember Herpyllis, to take comfort in the hope that she bore him a son and gave him the name of Nikomakh as she promised, and for some brief moment he rejoiced that he would die and leave his seed behind on this earth – an heir. He lamented that he wouldn’t be able to take him under his tutelage upon reaching his adolescence.
Whereas the Ephor accepted the papyri from the servants and started to read right there at the pier ordering that Aris be taken to the side and kept under guard. The Philosopher lied down upon the sand. He did not just while away the time; instead he enjoyed it, reminiscing how he ended upon these shores, wondering where he was going to wind up on his journey.
In the torched and plundered city of Stagira he had gifted his lover Herpyllis generously so yet again the Philosopher had not one Obol in his pocket. That is why, without any hesitation he hired himself out as a navigator on a merchant galley to steer the ship at night time, getting bearings from the stars. Aris had long been used to paying for his journeys with his labour and did not shy away from any work. Soon having lucratively sold his fast selling goods, the merchant hastened his departure from tumultuous Chalcis, therefore he set out to sail day and night, anxious of plunderers and never touching land. The vessel safely circumnavigated the cape with the shrine on the island of Scyros. It was less than half way to Athens, when suddenly the wind changed and strong Boreas stirred up a storm – the Gods were avenging the one who took silver by giving bread to the afflicted.
All attempts to enter a harbour or at least to approach refuge of the shallows came to the loss of oars, without which the helm was rendered useless and the sail suggested impending shipwreck, since the wind was sweeping away the galley into the high seas anyway. Endless spears of lightning were hailing from the low, black skies, and the gaping old deck was not holding up under the onslaught of the elements. Showers and swells were filling the galley with water like a generous sommelier would fill up a chalice, so that the oarsmen could not keep up to shift it.. The guide-less galley with its hewed mast would heave up to the clouds and forks of lightnings only to be tossed back into the abyss. People would cry out to the Gods, because no one else could save them, but the Philosopher, gazing at the swells, remained calm and was almost joyful. Even when a blow of a wave ripped off the remnants of his clothes, a thought suddenly dawned upon him about a wavelike world and everything in it. Clinging to the stump of the mast, Aris was lying on the deck and was sailing in his mind through the waves of his life; having experienced sensuous demise in Olbia, he rose again after coming in contact with the mysteries of the barbarians’ lives. And yet again being plunged into the chasm of his native Stagira ablaze, he soared back into the skies experiencing the bliss of love on the night sea shores and found hope again. Now he was once again plummeting down with the galley, but he knew and felt that there bound to be another rise!
For another week after the storm the vessel was carried adrift by the will of the elements. Parched people drank sea water, starved they ate fat ship rats and rotten grain having extracted it from the cracks in the hold and they felt disdain towards the precious silver which was plentiful. Just recently it miraculously rescued victims of the fire in Stagira, whereas here it could not save anyone. And so even such a category as the money, embodied in this metal, was subject to the law of the waves and to their fluctuating motion. Both man and Gods could deliver them from certain death by suddenly showing up amongst the endless waters and show up they did, in the guise of pirates.
And this time the Philosopher could not escape slavery, as all the oarsmen along with the ship owner and his mates were captured and taken to the slave market in Persia. A free and an affluent citizen, the merchant, who just recently could order his own slaves around, himself became a slave – and so the sinuous law of the world was at play here too! But this was salvation still, as even in slavery there was life!
And once again Bion’s admonition helped him, when tied with a single rope the captives were displayed at the market. Unlike other captives, Aris warded off the feelings of torment and looked into the eye of the merchants with openness and intent as though he was looking at his mentors. In his new journeys he had grown a beard, his face had become weather-beaten and all his clothes consisted of a mere loincloth – so the free-born and noble Hellene, resembled more a Barbarian from the wild forests of the Rhiphean mountains, although he had no hatred or spite in his eyes.
This was what attracted attention of one of the buyers – a resident of Rome judging by the way he looked and dressed, God knows how he had turned up on the shores of Persia; the Philosopher did not know yet that slaves had not been traded in Capeum cape for a long time, because after the invasion of barbarians not a single strategos of the Pontic poleis ventured to go sunward after loot let alone toward the midnight side. So now slaves were sent to Iliad mostly from Persia and from the shores of the Red Sea. It turned out that this Roman arranged and secretly took young Greek hoplites to Persia to serve Darius. The Persians, in return, allowed him for a small fee to select strong and healthy men from the slave markets to work in the marble stone pits. He did not value his gratuitous slaves and the captives would survive for about three years, and those unfit to work, sick but still alive, would simply be covered with rubble or have stone piled over them.
The Roman asked him about his age and abruptly, hearing the speech of the captive, livened up, because he recognized a Hellene in him. When the slave named himself, he could not believe at first that in front of him was this very Philosopher, the author of a well-known but prohibited tractate on the invasion of the barbarians, but Aris, at that date knowing his work by heart, proved his authorship in a minute.
In such a way he found out about his own fame, which had long spread through the Middle Earth and this circumstance made him believe in the lucky star of his publicly condemned work. However, the Roman Lucretius, having bought him from the Persians as a slave, did not want to part with his acquisition. And though he promised freedom, showing his lofty intentions, he conceived to reap the benefits as the merchant prevailed in his master. The Roman had it all – wealth, palaces, vessels, concubines and the respect of his own folk; what was missing was the fame of a Philosopher - of a seditious Philosopher, as the nature of oligarchs would have it, of one that challenged the whole world order! And it was the glory that dazzled him mostly letting him extend his earthy existence beyond death, compelling attention of many generations to his persona.
When already on the way to Lesbos, where Lucretius Iriy had an estate, he suggested that Aris should serve as a hired scientist; in other words he would settle him in a beautiful villa on one of the islands he owned and provide him with all the necessities in order to free him of any worries about the worldly existence, thus allowing him to throw himself into scholarly writings. In exchange he demanded that he should abandon his own name, of which Aris was deprived anyway since he had been reduced to captivity. However the master left him absolutely no choice; if he turned him down, no one would have known that one of the slaves in the stone pits, resembling so much a Scythian Barbarian, was a scholar and a student of Plato himself, who had caused so much controversy amongst the pundits of Iliad and those citizens of Rome that were engaged in trade in Peloponnesus.

  • What was your name when you were a disciple?” – he asked, having told him his plan.

  • My teacher used to call me Aris”, – the captive admitted. – “The lover of my youth, Herpyllis from Stagira, called me by this name as well.”

  • Then I will call you Aris”, - said the master. – “It sounds like the name of the God of War – Ares! Let this consonance be of some solace to you. From now on you must forget your real name.”

He was long used by then to seeing life from a barbarian point of view as a play of nature so he agreed to do so. Despite this there were pleasant moments too, when Lucretius Iriy treated his captive with understanding and respect. For example, when instead of Capeum parchment, which the scholar refused once and for all to write his works on or even touch, this Roman procured quite a bit of Egyptian brown papyri that was forbidden by the Persians to be taken beyond the borders of its Empire.
The Philosopher once again remembered his teacher and decided to take refuge in his fate. And so he ended up on a small heavenly island near Lesbos, where he indeed settled into his scholarly philosophical works, and for the first months of his life there he felt such an inspiration and bliss, that at times he would forget that he was a slave. On the contrary, beautiful maidservants and concubines were at his beck and call fulfilling his every wish with such abandon, that it seemed appropriate to think of himself as master. However the recollections of Bion the Pontic, who taught him to observe every phenomenon openly and draw lessons from it, would not let him do so. The work written after long travels had only indirect relationship to philosophy and was more like the notes and observations of a nomad, who had come in contact with the unknown world of barbarians. He had not had time to reflect upon, summarize and translate into academic form all that he had recently seen and heard, that is why, without further ado, he talked about his travels throughout Great Scythia and spoke of what he had learnt from the wise men of those lands and finally from their most prophetic sage.
Simple-minded and a little bit vain barbarians, thinking of themselves as wise men, took to the learned pilgrim and told him not just about the countless mingled peoples and immense expanses of land in their possession, but inadvertently, in their naivety, they told him their secret, which Bion had been trying to uncover all his life and of which Aris was not even aware. They unlocked the truth, the verity of what the power, the invisible unity and persistence of the whole world of barbarians comes down to, the truth of why they are irrepressible and unmanageable, why they wouldn’t let any of the enlightened laws of the noble peoples of the Middle Earth govern over them and are in constant state of opposition to them.
And the essence was in the fact that the wild and mixed tribes of the three corners of the world, which at first glance were not linked with one another in any way and often at war with one another, had some deeper inner connection enabling them to perpetuate their barbarian customs, traditions and ways. Each corner of their barbarian world had a sacred relic in the form of sacred books also seemingly unrelated to each other; in the East it was Avesta, in the Midnight corner – Vesta and in the Midday Corner – Veda. However all of those, just like these barbarian peoples, had a very mysterious trinity, which even the sages had very obscure knowledge of and were crudely and ineptly bluffing about, because they did not want to reveal everything to the foreign scholar. At that time no one amongst the learned men of the past or present had even heard of such sanctities of the barbarians let alone anyone having any knowledge about their world view, which was founded upon the unwavering and unknown trinity of all things and based on notions seemingly unconnected.
One could argue with the sages by asserting one’s own dualistic perception of the world, commonly accepted amongst the noble peoples of the Middle Earth, Aris, however, thought it unworthy to enter into a discourse with the uninitiated and he had a different purpose in mind for his travels altogether. Declared plagued by the Chud Scolots*, he lived for several months in a chum** far away from people but was still eliciting knowledge from them about the way of life of the barbarians; and the youth who fed him bread would accidentally reveal other secrets. But due to the indolence of their intellect they never delved into the nature of the philosophical laws of their peoples because they did not think it was their pursuit to understand the nature of things. And there was just one prophet that lifted the veil over the sanctity of their shrines and the reason why their trinity was formed. At the very least he explained how Midnight barbarians mine for Time, considering it the utmost blessing.

*Scolots - 'Scythians' was the name given by ancient Greek writers to a group of Indo-European nomadic tribes who occupied Central Europe and Asia in the 8th century BC. The name was used for the Scythians proper, or Scolots, who inhabited the area, called Scythia, north of the Black Sea, between the Carpathian Mountains and the Don River, in what is now Moldova, Ukraine, and eastern Russia, and for all the nomadic tribes who inhabited the steppes between what is now Hungary to the mountains of Turkestan.
**Chum – an makeshift tent.

In the same way as they extracted Time in the East, they did so in the Midday Corner over the river Ind.
And now soaring from wave on to wave in the raging sea as in that deciding instant when he stood in the observatory on the seventh tier of the scientific tower in Olbia and looked at the mourning and crying barbarians by the fire, Aris’ eye and mind instantly caught the concealed, strange and enigmatic nature of the phenomenon, the meaning of which was still impenetrable. However his senses already grasped the enticing direction, where the truth should be sought.

To be continued

Продолжаю отвечать на вопросы читателей и представляю свой новый роман, написанный в феврале этого года на Урале: https://youtu.be/c_cc4jcvNNM
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Я получаю много писем от читателей. Письма теплые, добрые, и, конечно, в них всегда много вопросов. Дорогие мои друзья, отвечать каждому в отдельности я не могу, ведь тогда просто не останется времени, чтобы писать книги. Но я понимаю, что обратная связь с моей стороны нужна, потому что есть вопросы важные, животрепещущие, многие из них повторяются. И на них мы решили давать ответы через наш видеоканал stragasevera на Youtube. В рамках проекта «Скитские письма» мы будем выкладывать небольшие видеоролики, в которых я буду отвечать на самые интересные и часто повторяющиеся ваши вопросы. Задать их можно через ЖЖ, на Youtube, на моих страницах в соцсетях и в обсуждениях в группе https://vk.com/topic-81366029_31749727. Первая «серия» наших писем посвящена самому популярному вопросу: «Будет ли продолжение «Волчьей хватки» и «Сокровищ Валькирии»? Так что смотрите, следите за новостями и участвуйте в проекте своими вопросами!
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Книги Сергея Алексеева

Друзья, для того, чтобы книги Сергея Алексеева были доступны читателям, интернет-магазин "Страга Севера" продолжит свою работу в 2015 году.
Новые условия доставки можно будет прочитать в рубрике "доставка" интернет-магазина в первые дни Нового Года.
С 2015 года самовывоз со склада в Москве станет возможен только по субботам.
Не забывайте, что в связи с новогодними праздниками, отправка заказов будет зависеть от режима работы Почты России в этот период.

С уважением, Страга Севера

15 дек, 2014

В древние времена не существовало на земле ни письменности, ни школ, ни университетов, однако люди не были темными глупцами. Напротив, отличались мудростью и такими знаниями о мире и мироздании, что мы до сей поры восхищаемся их просвещенностью. И все потому, что основным образовательным инструментом являлся язык, способный накапливать философскую, историческую, культурологическую информацию и очень легко отдавать ее, почему и был назван Даром Речи.
Подавить божественную природу в человеке возможно лишь единственным способом — отнять Дар Речи, превратить его в сигнальную информационную систему звуков, растворив магическую суть слова. Поэтому в угоду тем или иным идеологическим установкам реформации подлежал в первую очередь язык — главный носитель и хранитель традиционного мировоззрения.
«Сорок уроков русского» — это исследование всего сорока основополагающих, ключевых слов, которые возвращают языку образовательное начало, а человеку — национальное мышление.
То и дело к нам приходят письма, где звучат пожелания по улучшению работы Издательства «Страга Севера». В большинстве из них авторы уверены, что мы издаём книги ради зарабатывания денег и что присвоили себе права на произведения Сергея Алексеева только с целью собственного обогащения.
Наверное, если бы так и было, если бы хоть кто-то из нашего коллектива был профессиональным Главным Редактором, квалифицированным Менеджером, опытным Директором или дипломированным специалистом в области Маркетинга, мы, пожалуй, никогда бы не взялись за такое дело! Мы бы знали все тонкости и заведомо бы понимали отсутствие коммерческого успеха организации.

В нашей команде всего один профессионал в бизнесе — наша бухгалтер Юлия. Все остальные, включая самого автора, люди из творческого круга, как и большинство наших друзей-Коробейников. За два года работы мы почти научились делать качественно исполненные книги, разобрались в тонкостях вёрстки и оформления, нашли грамотных корректоров, надёжных художников. Всеми силами мы пытались сохранить обещанные с самого начала доступные цены, обеспечили всем партнёрам выгодные условия сотрудничества. Когда на деятельность и развитие Издательства снова не хватало денег, жертвовали зарплатами, добавляли в дело очередные собственные средства.

За время работы появилось осознание зависимости от тех или иных процессов, происходящих как в области книгоиздания, так и в мире вокруг нас. Упал курс национальной валюты — в разы выросла себестоимость книг, произведённых в Белоруссии, стали менее активны наши Коробейники, люди стали меньше покупать книги. Однако при этом цены Издательства остались неизменны!

Конечно, все мы привыкли выживать всегда и везде. Читать дальше...Свернуть )
Любопытные сведения о древних поселениях, которые существовали в Сибири и на Алтае ещё до массового прихода сюда русских людей, почему-то обделены вниманием историков, археологов и других специалистов. Сибирь – земля неисторическая?

Оценку Сибири как «земли неисторической» впервые дал один из создателей пресловутой «норманнской теории» немец на русской службе Герард Миллер. В «Истории Сибири» и «Описании Кузнецкого уезда Тобольской провинции в Сибири в нынешнем его состоянии, в сентябре 1734 г.» он лишь бегло упоминает о городах, которые существовали на этой территории до прихода русских людей. К примеру, отмечает, что в Малышевской слободе (которая почти два столетия относилась к алтайским горным заводам, сейчас – в Новосибирской области), «на устье речки Нижняя Сузунка, в 8 верстах выше слободы, и возле деревни Куликовой, в 12 верстах выше предыдущего места, на Оби – можно еще видеть следы старых городов, которые были построены здесь прежними жителями этих мест, вероятно, кыргызами. Они состоят из земляных валов и глубоких рвов с выкопанными тут и там ямами, над которыми, кажется, стояли дома».

В другом месте первый историк Сибири уточняет, что «непосредственно перед русским завоеванием этих мест ими… владели кыргызы, языческая татарская нация… То тут, то там еще находят следы старых городов и укреплений, в которых находились эти народы».

Читать дальше...Свернуть )

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