The Bright Foundation of Liberty
a historical novel by John P. Nordin
VI Year of Marathon
VII Ostracism and Archons by lot
X The second, greater invasion starts
XII Artemisium & Thermopylae - the gathering
XV To Salamis
XVIII The winter and the enemy hovering
XIX To Plataea
XX Final victory at sea: Mycale
XXI Final victory on land: Plataea
XXII: The foundation laid
The battles between ancient Greece and Persia (500-479 BCE) form the background for this novel.
It examines how and why Greece won and what it meant.
Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis and inventing democracy: this story was once required learning for all who sought to be well rounded. Now it is largely ignored or reduced to cliché. But the crucial years when Athens and Sparta repulsed two invasions against staggering odds is a setting both for an exciting adventure story and a story of ideas about liberty and how a free society can defend itself.
Bright Foundation of Liberty
is told by a fictitious historian whose family history is entwined with
these events. Like Herodotus, he recounts a story he knows first hand,
but unlike Herodotus, this historian's sympathy lies with the ordinary
citizens and those of genius who served them. He recounts the exhausting
twenty-year struggle of battles won against all expectation, victories
that become losses, difficult coordinated amphibious military operations,
remarkable leaders and surprising cowardice. He writes of how his father
was killed in those battles and how that changed his own life.
This is also a novel of ideas. It uses the flowing and complex style of ancient Greek to analyze how these events advanced or delayed freedom, and how the Assembly, where all could speak, was shaping and contributing to victory. Not yet fully possessed of the word democracy, the concept emerges in ways both familiar and different (example: the Greeks did not think elections were very democratic, too prone to manipulation by the wealthy. Much better to choose leaders by lot).
|Last modified 2/7/11; posted 12/31/04; original content © 2011, 2004 John P. Nordin|