Re: Torsten's novel

From: george knysh
Message: 66328
Date: 2010-07-15

--- On Wed, 7/14/10, Torsten <tgpedersen@...> wrote:

> GK: Actually, the key statement in your ramblings is this:
> "But I'm OK with being an improper historian and archaeologist."
> (later below).
> There is thus no particular point in discussing historical or
> archaeological issues with you is there?

I think we have differnt ideas of what constitutes propriety.
> You have your novelistic
> scenario or scenarios, where Olthacus=Ariovistus=Odin, and has all
> sorts of dealings with Caesar, Crassus, etc. etc. and leaves all
> sorts of traces here and there, which are completely unknown to
> reputable scientists (since they are fantasies). Your presence on
> this list seems to be a misunderstanding in this particular context.

It would be improper to make up non-existent traces, as well as accusing others of doing so without mentioning what these alleged invented traces are. There are several mysteries, seemingly irrational decisions by Romans at the time which could be explained by my proposed scenario: the mysterious export of gold from Puteoli, the fact that Afranius was busy with something going on in the Eastern Alps which necessitated the presence of at least two legions and that Caesar seemingly was given by law five year imperium with that same task, which was quite unprecedented. I am using the same methods of text interpretation as everyone else, only perhaps I cast the net a little wider.

*****GK: I'm sorry, but no. You are not doing proper history but writing a novel, and imagining connections that no professional historian would accept, such as Olthacus=Ariovistus etc.*****

> > He needed to win over many additional allies even for your
> > version,
> He had already made his way through many 'Scythian' peoples, partly
> by persuasion, partly by force, according to Appian.

> GK: But not yet those he needed for waging a campaign west of
> Panticapeion. Also acording to Appian.

No, but we are discussing whether Mithridates would have seen feasible a campaign through potentially hostile (loose sense) 'Scythians'.

*****GK: We don't know from Appian whether Mithradates realized that his plan for dynastic alliances with the Scythians and Sarmatians of the steppes etc.. (along the Italian route of #102) had been sabotaged before he died. In any case, I would agree that until everything fell apart for him and he decided to call it a life, he was determined to push on with the plan.  Appian #110 suggests that one after another, all of Mithradates' army contingents wound up supporting Pharnaces' rebellion. We know of no unit which opposed this.******

> No one has written of any problems, so there aren't any? Word of
> advice: don't apply for a job in the spy business; that kind of
> carelessness in risk assessment can cause disasters.
> GK: You mean in the novel writing business. I'm not planning
> to. The fact remains that in real history the "plan to invade Italy"
> hinged on Mithradates. With his demise there was no one to carry on.
> (Of course a novelist can "remedy" that easily (:=)).

If you revert to dogmatically stating that the Pontic state was undivided and whole because you say so, I can argue against that, of course.

*****GK: There is nothing dogmatic about accepting the common consensus of all those who have studied the nature and history of the Bosporan State. (We're talking about the Bosporan kingdom BTW not about the "Pontic state"). It was a unified system, made up of Greek city states and non-Greek territorial units ruled by kings and chiefs (with the King of Bosporus as "king of kings" for these "barbarian" units since ca.438 if not earlier).*****

> > > > > The expedition was to start from
> > > > > Panticapeion (today's Kertch in the Crimean Ukraine).
> > > >
> > > > I can't find your source for that?
> > > >
> > > > GK: It's in Appian #107. Mithradates made Panticapeion his
> > > > center of operations. He was there in Appian #108, when he was
> > > > drafting "his own army" (prior to his unsuccessful appeal to
> > > > the steppe nomads) and there is no record of his leaving it.
> > >
> > > Right.
> > >
> > > > > *Mithridates VI gives Olthaces the task of invading Italy.
> > > >
> > > > > GK: Acc. to Appian, the King himself was to lead the army
> > > >
> > > > Where does he say that?
> > > >
> > > > > (there is no hint of any delegation in the text).
> > > >
> > > > I'll make an emendation: Olthaces was to be the leader of the
> > > > allied Dandarian/Scythian army / expeditionary force.
> > > >
> > > > GK: We don't know that.
> > >
> > > There might have been several such 'Scythian' (in the loose
> > > sense) armies, and Olthaces might have commanded only his own
> > > Dandarian army, but with financially powerful backers, who knows
> > > how many others could be enticed to join.
> > >
> > > GK: Certainly. But the plan centered on Mithradates. The
> > > Dandarians were subjects of the Bosporan Kingdom. They had no
> > > independent policy.
> When central power breaks down, ethnic groups thought defunct
> suddenly come to life under new leadership. You would be in an
> excellent position to testity to the truth of that.
> GK: When did "central power" break down in the Bosporan
> Kingdom?

Or was it the Pontic kingdom?

****GK: The Kingdom of Pontus was distinct from the Kingdom of the Bosporus. Mithridates was King of both units (from 110 BCE). He occasionally delegated Bosporus to sons.****

> Mithradates handed it over to Machares, and then took it away from
> him, and then lost it to Pharnaces. The only "activity" of the
> constituent parts was that of moving from one king to another. There
> is no record of any irredentism in any of the Maeotian tribes. So
> your ad hominems are irrelevant I'm afraid.*****
'They had their own kings, or dúnastai'
'The Dandaridae of Tacitus are subjects, apparently not very loyal, of another Mithridates of Bosporus'

****GK: This "other Mithradates" was a rival candidate for the Bosporan Kingdom as a whole.****

That's the the usual thing with you: whenever you pronunce something to be Scientific Truth, to which any opposition is sacrilege and its spokesman someone something should be done about, it turns out by a little digging to be just one man's opinion.

****GK: Well, here it turns out (as is frequently the case) that you have misunderstood what you have read. You are the specialist as to "one man's opinion" against established scientific consensus.*****

> > The Bosporan Kingdom was under Pontic kings 108 - 16 BCE
> >
> > Olthacus was a prince of the Dandarii, and the Bosporan kingdom
> > was in civil war, so of course they would have their own policy at
> > that time.
> >
> > GK: The only "policy" they would have was that of choosing
> > which of the pretenders to the Bosporan throne they were ready to
> > support. They weren't independent states as to foreign policy.
> Ahem.
> GK: What does this have to do with the Bosporan Kingdom? There
> is no evidence that its peoples behaved as Soviet republics.

There was no reason to believe from the outside that the Soviet republics were anything but Soviet republics until they actually got the chance. If it hadn't been for a meeting of three men, there would have been no Ukraine. And if this guy hadn't existed
nor would my country today.

*****GK: The U.S.S.R. is not analogous to the Bosporan Kingdom, which has been studied ad nauseam. Read the literature instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.*****

> > > > In any case this, "Mithradates' own army", which he organized
> > > > from Panticapeion, was to be assisted by the steppe nomads,
> > > > and (hopefully) Burebista (since Mithradates wished to reach
> > > > Italy via Thrace and Pannonia). But they never got started.
> > >
> > > Not on that path, which any contemporary historian would have
> > > noted. But would they have noted a 'Scythian' army/armies moving
> > > into Przeworsk? This is the time of the suddenly appearing
> > > 'upper layer' there.
> > >
> > > GK: The plan to invade Italy died with Mithradates.
> >
> > You don't know that.
> >
> > GK: It was his plan. There is no record of anyone else having
> > such a plan. And the Dandarii, subjects of Bosporus, did not have
> > an independent foreign policy. There is no evidence that the
> > Romans or anyone else wished to dismember the Bosporan Kingdom at
> > any time.

Or was it the Pontic kingdom?

*****GK: No.****

There was no evidence anybody wanted to dismember the Soviet union, when it suddenly happened. And absence of evidence... etc. Why the fanatical repetition of this mantra?

*****GK: I see you know even less about the constitution and history of the U.S.S.R. than you do about the Bosporan Kingdom.*****

> > And the Dandarians, Sinds etc.. were its subjects both before and
> > after the Pontus connection.
> I remember when I was in New York in 1979 I came across buildings
> used and marked by Belarussian and Ukrainian organizations claiming
> to have sole legitimate power in those (very) former countries. And
> I thought: 'God, won't they learn! What a lost cause' beause I am
> rather smart and knew that nationalism was on the way out etc etc.

> GK: Again, this is totally irrelevant to the situation in the
> Bosporan Kingdom under Mithradates. Or indeed under his predecessors
> and successors. Speaking of the Dandarians, have a look at the
> events which occurred in 49 CE, more than a hundred years after
> Mithradates (as described by Tacitus in his Annals): their "choice"
> was (then, again) between one or another of the pretenders to the
> Bosporan throne. Independence wasn't an option.

Independence is never an option. Except some people get it anyway, depending on luck and on their diligence.

> > > There is no evidence to the contrary.
> >
> > There's no literary evidence to any activity north of the Bosporan
> > Kingdom at the time.
> >
> > > BTW you still haven't provided anything concrete about the
> > > inventory of the 'upper layer' Przeworsk inhumations of that
> > > period. This is crucial if you wish to establish a "Dandarian"
> > > or other "Scythian" connection.
> But as you see, I don't. Haha.
> GK: More evasion, incoherence, and self-contradiction.
> Above you stated:
> "I'll make an emendation: Olthaces was to be the leader of the
> allied Dandarian/Scythian army / expeditionary force."
> And then:
> "There might have been several such 'Scythian' (in the loose sense)
> armies, and Olthaces might have commanded only his own Dandarian
> army,"
> And again:
> "But would they have noted a 'Scythian' army/armies moving into
> Przeworsk? This is the time of the suddenly appearing 'upper
> layer' there."

> So instead of "Haha" you should probably say "Heehaw" (closer to the
> appropriate braying) (:=)))

Obviously what I was talking about is an army Scythian (in the loose sense) by etnicity, Roman by eqipment, like the one at the 'golden cemetery' or a Bosporan army 'by our model'. What is the problem?

****GK: There is neither historical nor archaeological evidence for such an "army". That is the problem.*****

> > > I've told you this many times. Otherwise we must fall
> > > back on "Celtic" or other local explanations.
> I'll check it up. I am still waiting, since January, to get the >
> 'golden cemetery' book from the library.
> > The stuff they have is Roman. That's the interesting thing.
> >
> > GK: Where is a description of the whole inventory? Surely you
> > don't mean that the entirety of these graves' contents is "Roman"?
> No, only the 'male part' of it. Pottery etc is local.
> > In the princely graves from later centuries, also the one at
> > Mus^ov, you find battered heirlooms from the 1st century BCE along
> > with contemporary Roman stuff, but nothing from the period in
> > between. This is what we would expect if Crassus had financed and
> > equipped the army which seems to have overrun Przeworsk at the
> > time.
> >
> > GK: That is as good a nonsequitur as any of your previous ones.
> > Are you suggesting that all Germanic graves "from later centuries"
> > containing "battered heirlooms from the 1rst c. BCE" are evidence
> > of Crassus' financierings?
> Yes.
> > That is unacceptable as such
> As whuch?
> > (without further evidence) to proper historians or archaeologists
> > (but quite all right with novelists)!
> But I'm OK with being an improper historian and archaeologist.
> GK: Good to know this. I commend you on the admission.

Alright. A less flippant answer: what is it in the idea that Crassus' money had bought the equipment found in Germanic graves that is unacceptable to 'proper historians or archaeologists'?

*****GK: Give me a proper description of these graves' inventory (as well as accurate dates) and then we'll see. Perhaps "Crassus' Money" could be disentangled from the unacceptable identification of Olthacus and Ariovistus, and from the unacceptable notion of some "Scytho/Dardanian" army invading Przeworsk (which is simply your reheated Odinist claptrap).*****

> > There are many other ways in which such "heirlooms" might have
> > reached their final resting place. In any case what is required is
> > a better description of the mid-1rst c. BC Przeworsk inhumations.
> > Do you have this?
> As I said, I'll go check. Actually you are in a better position to
> judge, since Polish and Ukrainian literature is accessible to you.
> GK: What do you think my rejection of your fantasies as history
> derives from? Precisely that literature. Of course, there is also
> some novelistic stuff (like Attila the Slav) which I wouldn't be
> caught dead citing on a serious list.
> > > > > *Olthaces as leader (*wod-in-) of an army (*wod-)
> > > > > *invades Przeworsk by 'Schlieffen plan'
> > > > > *going around Burebista's Dacia
> > > > >
> > > > > GK: The Mithridatian army gathered near Panticapeion, but the
> > > > > expedition never got under way. There is no mention of any
> > > > > out-movement by anyone.
> > > >
> > > > Movements in Scythian lands would be beyond the Roman horizon of
> > > > interest.
> > > >
> > > > GK: Appian was certainly interested enough to point out that no
> > > > such movement occurred in the steppes (#109)
> > >
> > > I can't find that in §109?
> > >
> > > GK: The steppe nomads weren't drawn into the plan.
> >
> > As a group, yes. But what happened with various contingents after
> >
> Mithridates' suicide, we don't know.
> >
> > > Appian is clear on this.
> >
> > No, he isn't.
> >
> > GK: You're consciously distorting my statement. What I said is
> > that Appian is clear on the fact that the steppe nomads weren't
> > drawn into the plan. As to your words : "what happened with
> > various contingents after Mithridates' suicide, we don't know", we
> > can only draw (unless we are novelists when anything goes) the
> > obvious conclusion all other scholars have: that Mithridates'
> > Italian invasion plan died with him. "The various contingents"
> > were a part and parcel of that plan. When he died, the princes of
> > the Bosporan kingdom recognized Pharnaces. End of story.

Of course not. Kings have standing armies, and the Dandarians had kings.

*****GK: But these kings were not endowed with the right to conduct their own foreign policy. They were subject to the Bosporan King, even though they possessed much autonomy in their lands. This is axiomatic for any student of the Bosporan Kingdom.*****

They did in Mithridates Eupator's time and in the time of 'the other Mithridates, Tacittus Annals 12, 15-16:
'Meanwhile, Mithridates of Bosporus, a wanderer since the loss of his throne, learned that the Roman commander Didius had departed with the main body of his army, leaving the young and simple Cotys in his novel kingdom, with a few cohorts under the Roman knight, Julius Aquila. Scornful of both, he proceeded to raise the tribes and attract deserters: finally, mustering an army, he ejected the king of the Dandaridae, and seized his dominions. When this had become known and his invasion of Bosporus was expected from day to day, Aquila and Cotys — diffident of their own strength, as the Siracene prince Zorsines had resumed hostilities — followed his example, and sought outside support by sending envoys to the powerful Aorsian prince, Eunones. An alliance presented little difficulty, when they could exhibit the power of Rome ranged against the rebel Mithridates. It was arranged, therefore, that Eunones should be responsible for the cavalry fighting, the
Romans undertaking the siege of all towns.

They then advanced with combined forces, the front and rear held by the Aorsi, the centre by the cohorts and by Bosporan troops armed on our model. In this order they inflicted a reverse on the enemy and reached Soza, a town of Dandarica evacuated by Mithridates, which, in view of the doubtful sympathies of the population, it was thought advisable to secure by leaving a garrison. They next advanced on the Siraci, and, crossing the stream of the Panda, invested Uspe, a city built on a height and fortified with walls and moats — the drawback being that, as the walls were not of stone but of wickerwork hurdles with soil between, they were too weak to sustain an attack, while our siege towers, with their greater elevation, threw the garrison into disorder by discharges of firebrands and spears. In fact, if the struggle had not been interrupted by night, the beginning and end of the attack would have fallen within the limits of one day.'

No reason to believe some other 'subject peoples' didn't.

*****GK: Didn't what? Support one pretender against another?*****

'Bosporan troops armed on our model'?
Plin. qui DANDARIDAE Tac. Ann. l. 12. c. 15.
Circa Caucasum habitare videntur. regionem eorum Dandaricam vocat, Tacit. ibid.

BTW, who is is Brotier
'Brotier says that some vestiges of the nation, and its name, still exist at a place called Dandars.'

> 'After the death of Mithridates (63 BC), this Pharnaces (63 BC - 47
> BC) made his submission to Pompey, then tried to regain his dominion
> during the civil war, but was defeated by Caesar at Zela and later
> killed by a former governor of his.'

> GK: Note that his "dominion" refers to the Kingdom of Pontus
> and its Asia Minor dependencies, not the Bosporan Kingdom. Cf. e.g.

Yes I noticed. And everybody in his overseas province of he former kingdom of Bosporus was fine with that?

****GK: I don't understand your question. What "former kingdom of Bosporus"*****

> > > > and Ariovistus telling Caesar that his army had been without a
> > > > roof for fourteen years.
> > > >
> > > > GK: This is incoherent. Olthacus the Dardanian certainly had a
> > > > roof with Mithradates.
> > >
> > > Incoherent yourself. Whatever roof Olthacus had with Mithridates
> > > was made of canvas, M. was constantly at war. The third, to be
> > > exact, 75-63.
> > >
> > > GK: Well then the numbers would have been
> > 17 not 14 (:=)))
> >
> > Don't be an ass.
> > Olthaces - Lucullus episode 72 BCE
> > Arivistus - Caesar meeting 58 BCE
> > We discussed this many times.
> >
> > GK: It's you who pointed out that "to be exact" Mithridates
> > (and Olthacus) were "constantly at war" from 75, not just 72. So
> > who's the ass? (:=))).
> That must be the guy who claims Mithridates and Oltacus were at war
> in the same period? ;-)
> > And if Olthaces "had a roof" between 75 and 72, why couldn't he
> > have had "a roof" afterwards?
> I think he counted his campaign from the day in 74 BCE when he
> decided to switch sides to oppose the Romans.
> GK: That doesn't help you. 16 (at best) is not 14. (:=)))

Ooops! Back to the drawing board.

> > How do you know that he did not occasionally return to his
> > Dandaria between 75 and 63?
> I'll have to take his words for it. ;-) The kingdom of Colchis would
> have kept him busy.
> GK: Anything is possible in a novel (:=)))In real history, of
> course, we just don't know.

I know, and I never claimed otherwise.

> > The "fourteen years" of Caesar's Ariovistus just don't
> > fit. (Nothing else fits either). Except in your novel of course.
> Yeah, right. OK.
> > > > > And we have no evidence the Germanics were involved in
> > > > > Mithradates' Italian plans.
> > > >
> > > > By 60/59, Burebista
> > > >
> > > > conquers the Boii and Taurisci; in 65 he would already have
> > > > been a force to avoid, and Olthaces would have been in a
> > > > position to know that better than Mithridates.
> > > >
> > > > GK: Mithradates didn't seem to think so in Colchis. Cf. Appian
> > > > #101. ****GK: And also #102 in Panticapeion.****
> > >
> > > The mutiny you pointed out yourself took place because of his
> > > troops' very different assessment of that.
> > >
> > > GK: Not of Burebista, but of the fact that since the steppe
> > > nomads had not been drawn in, Mithradates' army wasn't even sure
> > > of safe passage out of the Crimea...
> >
> > > A more cautious general would have agreed.
> > >
> > > GK: And consequently would hardly have embarked on a hopeless
> > > raid with a small army such as you postlate for Olthacus and his
> > > Dandarians (assuming that the man was not the same as Pompey's
> > > captive).
> >
> > If the reason for that was apprehension about the attitude of the
> > nomadic peoples, the remedy would have been to obtain at least
> > safe passage from them.
> >
> > GK: Had Mithradates survived he might well have attempted this.
> > But with his death everything went back to "normal", since the new
> > King of Bosporus, Pharnaces, had a different policy, which his
> > subjects followed, incl. the Dandarians.

We don't know that.

****GK: There is no reason (or evidence) to assume otherwise.*****

> And where did you find that in the sources?
> GK: Well for instance in Appian #113: Pompey recognized
> Pharnaces as sovereign of all holdings of the Bosporan Kingdom
> except for the city of Phanagoria: Cf.
> " Pharnaces, for delivering Italy from much trouble, was inscribed
> as a friend and ally of the Romans, and was given Bosphorus as his
> kingdom, except Phanagoria, whose inhabitants were made free and
> independent because they were the first to resist Mithridates when
> he was recovering his strength, collecting ships, creating a new
> army and military posts, and because they led others to revolt and
> were the cause of his final collapse."

There would have been two camps when Mithridates still lived: one who thought like Pharnakes that taking an army to Rome was madness and one that thought it was feasible. What happened to the latter faction? And how reliable would Pharnakes be in his loyalty to Rome?

*****GK: Acc. to Appian there was no "latter faction" (as something effective) after the success of Pharnaces' rebellion. "The KIng is dead. Long live the King"*****

> > BTW if the three loci describe the same man, here's a scenario
> > which will satisfy that:
> >
> >
> > GK: Why not? Everything goes in a novel (:=))))). I could think
> > up even more interesting scenarios, but you're the author of the
> > novel, so you might as well stick with yours.
> I dare you. Most of the stuff below is traditionally recognized
> history.
> GK: I don't think your connections between Olthacus and
> Ariovistus, and your notions of contacts between
> Caesar/Crassus/Pharnaces and Olthacus/Ariovistus are "traditionally
> recognized history".

I said 'most of it'.

> If you want to pursue me into Italy, I advise you to get access to
>; many academic institutions have it.
> GK: I'm not interested in competing with you as a novelist. When
> you've read the "Golden Cemetary" work you will find more hard
> labour. But I'm sure your imagination will manage (:=)))

Thank you.