Ancient World Now: A Silk Road Tale

Hello Everyone! I am glad to be back after a long hiatus working on my book projects and taking those amazing ancient world night classes at Stanford. And what better way to celebrate my return than by announcing the publication of a book I worked on with author/illustrator Peter Linenthal!

My new podcast will be out soon.
The topic: Caesar’s Gallic War!


Jaya’s Golden Necklace

by Peter Linenthal

Little Jaya lives along the Silk Road in the first century CE and uses the powers of Greek, Persian, and Indian gods to gain courage to deliver a statue of the Buddha to the Kushan King Kanishka. Through the beauty of ancient coins, this spirited Gandaran tale highlights the spread of religious and artistic ideas in Central Asia.

I worked on this book with Peter, a long-time friend and children’s book author/illustrator. We’ve worked together over many years, attending conferences and workshops together as this book was developing. Jaya truly is fearless and her interesting historical setting deserves its place beside the other great empires of the ancient world.

Check out Peter’s beautiful new book!

 

 

 

 

Ancient World Now: Alexander the Great, Part III

Click here for direct link to audio podcast Episode #54.

Click here for link to previous audio podcasts.

According to Plutarch, King Porus at the Battle of Hydaspes rode atop an enormous war elephant, who: “gave many singular proofs of sagacity and of particular care of the king, whom as long as he was strong and in a condition to fight, he defended with great courage, repelling those who set upon him; and as soon as he perceived him overpowered with his numerous wounds and the multitude of darts that were thrown at him, to prevent his falling off, he softly knelt down and began to draw out the darts with his proboscis (trunk).”

Enjoy our last episode on Alexander the Great from Plutarch’s Lives for Boys & Girls, retold by W.H. Weston, and illustrated by W. Rainey, published in London & Edinburgh in the early 1900′s.

Ancient World Now: Alexander the Great, Part II

Click here for direct link to audio podcast Episode #53.

Click here for previous audio episodes.

The burning of the palace at Persepolis by Alexander the Great and his entourage is one of the world’s great losses. Many would give their eye-tooth for a mere glimpse of this ancient wonder. A woman named Thais is said to have started the inferno. I’ve heard it said by a Stanford professor that the streets ran with the molten gold from the palace. Was this revenge for the Persian destruction of Athens?

Listen to this week’s podcast for details on Alexander’s march across Asia from Plutarch’s Lives for Boys & Girls, retold by W.H. Weston, and illustrated by W. Rainey, published in London & Edinburgh in the early 1900′s.

Ancient World Now: Alexander the Great, Part I

Click here for direct link to audio podcast Episode #52.

Click here for previous episodes.

Congratulations to Ken Perkins from Belmont for being the first to send me a shout out about our 50th episode! I’ll be signing and sending Ken a real old-fashioned (not PDF) version of my Scholastic book Read Aloud Plays: The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid. Thanks for listening, Ken!

Aaahhh, yes. I took us all the way back to the dawn of time to understand the path that led to the unforgettable people and events in Mediterranean Europe and Asia Minor. And chief of those unforgettable people, of course, is Alexander the Great. Brilliant, courageous, literary, and gosh-darned handsome, his is one of those few extraordinary life stories that never cease to instruct and amaze. He declared himself the son of a god, defeated the Persian King Darius and his empire, marched his faithful army to Egypt through Persia and into India, and married the Bactrian princess, Roxanna. When Alexander died, his empire was divided amongst his top generals. His body was to be entombed in Macedonia, but in transit the funeral bier was commandeered by Ptolemy (another superb leader) and taken to Egypt. There, Alexander’s body was lain in a royal tomb at Alexandria and became a place of pilgrimage up through the 4th century CE, when it was lost to history. Perhaps one child in our midst will succeed in locating the famed tomb and sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. Fingers crossed!

One of my favorite stories is of the junior-high aged Alexander astonishing his father and some courtiers by taking control of the wild and spirited Bucephalus. This great horse, whose name means “ox-headed,” in reference to its enormous head, conquered half the known world with his master. Covering thousands of miles and riding into battle on a regular basis, Bucephalus was truly the original “War Horse.” He reportedly died at 30 years old after suffering wounds in the Battle of Hydaspes in June of 326 BCE. Alexander was stricken with grief and honored his old friend by naming a city after him, Bucephala.

To honor this lovely book, here is a statue of Alexander and Bucephalus in Edinburgh itself. How did I miss this statue when I was there? I hope I lead you to investigate this most famous of historical personages. Enjoy the first in this series of readings from Plutarch’s Lives for Boys & Girls, retold by W.H. Weston, and illustrated by W. Rainey, published in London & Edinburgh in the early 1900′s.

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