Friday, February 16, 2007

So you like gladiator movies?

TBogg again...

Victor Davis Erectus Dysfunctionus Hanson is hard at work on a novel and he bestows upon us mortals a sneak peek:
Then Melon for the first time noticed that the old sophist Alkidamas of all people, the wine-soaked has-been of the symposia, not the Boiotarchs or once again Pelopidas, was approaching the bema. He was already raising both arms to calm the crowd as if he owned it.

“I take this thunder as a voice vote that we are to march under your General Epaminondas in the morning. Pelopidas as his habit will be in charge of the muster. Look out in the plain below—the army is nearly ready and only awaits our nod. Let the Boiotarchs sort out the details. Though the five who had doubts have already ceded their command over to our two leaders. We have no need of the yes-and-no folk, and those who wear the double-pointed shoes. I have nothing to add to the promises of Epaminondas—other than this.”

And here windy Alkidamas himself also grew quiet—not quite sure what he would say next. But speak he did, possessed as he was by some other voice he would say later, out of the mouth of Pythagoras himself. He turned to the loud hoplites in the crowd. And now he shook his finger at them as his voice went into a near whisper and oddly calm.

“No man born knows who is by nature a slave, this curse that so often makes the strong and wise unfree and the weak and dull their master. Beware of those who say the Messenians know nothing of letters as if they were man-footed beasts of dim wits and animal grunts. They are unfree because they live next to the Spartans, as we the Boiotians, and Kallistratos and his fancy Athenians might well have been as well—had our borders butted such a race of granite as those who wear the red capes. Oh yes, the Messenians will be free. But their rebirth will be thanks only to the black spears of the Boiotians. In the year to come, they will have their free city of MessenĂª—for nature has made no man a slave.”

With that final reminder to the hoplites, the strong arms of the phalanx, Alkidamas stepped down and abandoned the politics of Boiotia for good, for this man of action now had business himself in the Peloponnese.
This is just a few damn dirty apes and an oiled-up Charlton Heston away from a three picture deal.