Over the Wine-Dark Sea H. N. Turteltaub A TOM DOHERTY ASSOCIATES BOOK New York www.ebookyes.com This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this novel are either fictitious or are used fictitiously. OVER THE WINE-DARK SEA Copyright 2001 by H. N. Turteltaub All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. Edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden Map by Mark Stein Studios A Forge Book Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC 175 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10010 www.tor.com Forge is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC. ISBN 0-312-70193-4 First Edition: July 2001 By H. N. Turteltaub from Tom Doherty Associates Justinian Over the Wine-Dark Sea This book is for Professor Stanley Burstein of California State University, Los Angeles, and for Noreen Doyle, with many thanks for their friendship and for their help with my research.
A NOTE ON WEIGHTS, MEASURES, AND MONEY I have, as best I could, used in this novel the weights, measures, and coinages my characters would have used and encountered in their journey. Here are some approximate equivalents (precise values would have varied from city to city, further complicating things): 1 digit = 3/4 inch
4 digits = 1 palm
6 palms = 1 cubit
1 cubit = 1 1/2 feet
1 plethron = 100 feet
1 stadion = 600 feet 12 khalkoi = 1 obolos
6 oboloi = 1 drakhma
100 drakhmai = 1 mina
(about 1 pound of silver)
60 minai = 1 talent As noted, these are all approximate. As a measure of how widely they could vary, the talent in Athens was about 57 pounds, while that of Aigina, less than thirty miles away, was about 83 pounds.
1 Menedemos and his cousin Sostratos walked down toward the Aphrodite in the main harbor of Rhodes. Both young men wore thigh-length wool chitons. Sostratos had a wool chlamys on over his tunic. He didn't really need the cloak, though; it was still late in the month of Anthesterion, before the vernal equinox, but the sun shone warm out of a clear blue sky. Like any men who often went to sea, the two cousins went barefoot even on dry land. A mild breeze blew down from the north. Tasting it, Menedemos dipped his head in anticipation. "Good sailing weather coming soon," he said. He was little and lithe and very handsome, his face clean-shaven in the style Alexander the Great had made popular twenty years before. "Sure enough," Sostratos agreed. He'd spent enough years studying in Athens to have a sharper accent than the Doric drawl usual in Rhodes. Careless of fashion, he'd let his beard grow out. He towered more than half a head above his cousin. "Some traders have already put to sea, I hear." "I've heard the same, but Father says it's too early," Menedemos answered. "He's probably right." Sostratos, as far as Menedemos was concerned, showed altogether too much self-restraint for someone only a few months older than he was. "I want to be out there," Menedemos said. "I want to be doing things. Whenever we sit idle over the winter, I feel like a hare caught in a net." "Plenty to do during the winter," Sostratos said. "It's what you do then that lets you succeed when you can sail." "Yes, Grandfather," Menedemos said. "No wonder I command the Aphrodite and you keep track of what goes aboard her." Sostratos shrugged. "The gods give one man one thing, another man another. You're always ready to seize the moment. You always have been, as long as I can remember. As for me . . ." He shrugged again. Even though slightly the older and much the larger of the two of them, he'd had to get used to living in Menedemos' shadow. "As you said, I keep track of things. I'm good at it." "Well, nobody can quarrel with you there," Menedemos said generously. He raised his …