Tanit Haunts Gaius All The Way Back To Rome:

Tanit haunted Gaius on the return trip to Rome. She was never more than a few feet away. She was always at his elbow. She was frequently playing an instrument that resembled a lyre, holding it to her cheek and singing in the Carthaginian language which seemed mysterious to him and which he could not understand. But her lilting melodies haunted him throughout the day and even the night.
Cato was deaf and dumb to such things and went about his business on the deck commanding the ship’s officers and the captain all the way back to Italy.

In the meantime Gaius was afraid that they had taken aboard some pagan goddess, the one named Tanit herself, the Moon Goddess. He was wondering what the Carthaginians had sent to Rome. Could it be more powerful than Hannibal and all his elephants?

When Tanit put away her lyre she was even more remarkable and enchanting. She conversed in both Greek and Latin fluently at the captain’s dinner table aboard the ship. Though a girl, apparently great care had been lavished on her education. She was well-grounded in all the classics and could carry on a Platonic dialogue with great skill.

“In Rome,” Cato growled, “we would never educate a young lady like that.” He stuffed his face with a stew made from octapus and squid. “Who are you anyway?”

Gaius Antonius had been dying to find that out. But he had not had the courage to ask himself.
She smiled radiantly. “I am the only daughter of Hamilcar II, the ruler of Carthage. In fact, I am his only child. He lavished on me all the attention he would have loved to lavish on his heir.” She spoke with astonishing frankness.

“Why were you of all people sent as a hostage to Rome?” Cato shot another question at her. “You would think that someone else would have gone in your place.”

She laughed. Her laugh was like pearls bubbling out of her mouth and popping. “I volunteered,” she explained.

Cato traded looks with Gaius. “And why would you volunteer for such a mission?”

Tanit shrugged in a casual fashion. “Simply because I always wanted to travel to Rome. I didn’t see it happening in any other way. Soon I would be married off. Then I certainly would not get to go.”
“Why would you want to visit Rome so much?” Gaius finally got over being flustered and managed to get the words out of his mouth. He was playing with his food and had a hard time concentrating on eating it.

“Better art, better books,” she said. “For instance, I have heard that you are writing a book on Roman agriculture,” she addressed Cato. “No one has ever done that before. Certainly not in Carthage.”

“The Greek poet Hesoid wrote Works and Days,” Cato informed her.

“Yes, but he was a poet, not a prose writer,” she objected. “You are supposed to be developing Latin prose as you go along.” She acted very well informed about what was happening beyond the borders of her homeland.

But Gaius assumed that Cato’s fame was spread far and wide in the region.
Gaius had never heard a woman discourse like her before, certainly not Lavinia who was quiet and minded her own business.

He was beginning to think that the ship returning to Rome was like a floating enchanted isle controlled by a Circe-like creature. But he wished it would never end.

“Do you think the Carthaginians sent her because she is a kind of ambassador for their city?” Gaius asked Cato on the day before they were to land in Ostia.

“Let’s hope so,” he said cynically. “Let’s hope it is not some trick we cannot yet guess at.”

Gaius was later to remember those all too fateful words. But for now the only alarm he felt was when they started to disembark. Tanit had taken his arm. Lavinia was standing there on the shore waiting for him, smiling at him, and not suspecting anything.

Reconstruction of Carthage by L. Aucler.

Leave a reply

Gaius and Cato Lead Hostages Out Of Africa:

The Carthaginians had come back into the room. They agreed to send the youths back to Rome with Cato, Gaius Antonius, and the Romans who had traveled to Carthage. They only asked for a day to choose the youths and assemble them. Cato and Gaius would return to the leader’s house tomorrow at the same time to receive the youths who would travel from Africa back to Rome with them.

Cato returned the next day at the exact same hour. Gaius had taken advantage of the twenty-four hours to sketch as many buildings and landscapes as he could find outside the doors of the grand mansion where they were staying by the sea. He had sat outside on the verandah and made sure to get all the harbor works including as many of the Carthaginian ships and naval vessels as possible. Cato had examined what he had done and had nodded approvingly.

Gaius had returned to the house of the leading man of Carthage packed and ready to depart. The Roman ship was in the harbor fully armed and waiting for them to join the sailors for the trip back to Rome. Cato was even more ready than he was. He had brought some of the sailors with him and was dictating orders to the captain even as he waited. He always liked to take a no-nonsense approach to matters at hand.

The youths —- both girls and young men —- paraded in front of them and stood in a row in the banquet hall on the other side of the fireplace facing the Romans. They were dressed in such a fashion as if to impress them. They wore Greek clothes and outfits such as robes and chitons and outfits fashionable in both Alexandria and Tyre at the time as well as Carthage.

It did not take much time for Gaius to notice that one of the young ladies was staring straight at him. At first Gaius thought that it was only his imagination. But he kept on feeling her gaze burning through him and kept on repeatedly but reluctantly looking back at her.

Her long hair was black and midnight. So were her eyes with the long, spider-like lashes. Her skin was of a shade more olive-skinned than what Gaius was used to back in Italy. Lavinia for instance had milk white fair skin. The Roman nobility prided themselves on their fair skin. They thought only slaves and Greeks had olive skin —- Greeks and their Semitic cousins such as the population of places like Tyre and Carthage.

She seemed to be aware of Gaius’s discomfiture. She raised her hand to her lips and grinned. He could even imagine that he heard the girl laughing at him and his simpleton-like behavior.

“Where will these youths be housed?” the Carthaginian leader asked Cato. “Since they are our sons and daughters, the pride of Carthage, we have a right to ask.” He faced Cato down.

“I will take full responsibility to house your young people in a fashion to which they are accustomed. They will be safe with us as long as you keep your agreement and make peace with your neighbors in Africa,” Cato directed. “In one year’s time we will send a delegation to Carthage to check on the results of what has been established. If the situation here checks out, I will sail to Carthage and escort your youths and maidens back to you.”

“However,” he looked at the leader of Carthage with thunder in his eyes which was all too typical of Cato’s brusque manner of dealing with everyone, Carthingians and Romans alike, “if you do not make peace and you do not assure us that there will be no more of this nonsense in Africa, then your children —- the milk of your youth —- will be sold into slavery and will never be returned to you again.” Cato threatened them.

Gaius tried to maintain a stern demeanor as suited the circumstances, but inwardly he could not help but cringe. In effect they had sailed here on a Roman war ship and it was in the harbor, but that was about half a mile away. If the leaders got angry at the provocations Cato threw out at them, they could be dead men before the Roman soldiers from the ship could rescue them.

The leaders again retreated into a side room to discuss the matter among themselves. They returned to nod at Cato. But the looks they cast them showed what they were really thinking.

Cato rose and motioned for Gaius as well as his attendants and the youths to follow him. They began their procession out of the room and out of the building towards the docks, soon to be out of Africa all together. But they had not gotten very far before Gaius felt a hand as light as a feather on his arm. He turned to see that same girl with the moon-like eyes next to him.

“My name is Tanit,” she said in perfect Latin.

Gaius was startled. Cato had given him a lecture on the ship here about the customs of the Carthaginians. Tanit was their Moon Goddess. In Roman no girl would name herself after a Goddess. No one was called Juno or Minerva. But here despite the presumption so it was.

Leave a reply

Cato Demands Carthaginian Hostages At The Banquet:

Gaius Antonius landed in Carthage a week later and came ashore with Lavinia’s Uncle Cato. The colorful buildings were crowded together in the harbor touching side to side with hardly a space in between. Around them flourished small gardens. He could pick out brightly colored red hisbiscus and flaming pink bougainvillea.

They were taken to one of the most opulent houses. The head of the city received their all Roman delegation in high style. Servants raced around them to serve them an impromptu banquet.

As they were seated at a banquet he heard strange music and the sound of mourning people. Cato gave him the eye as they watched the citizens parade in a group towards a religious temple not far away. It rose over the harbor. He had been tutoring Gaius before they set out in the customs of the Carthaginian people and their history.

He had informed Gaius that they practiced a horrible, primitive religion that demanded sacrifices of baby infants to the God Cronus. Cato had showed Gaius ugly images of this repulsive God with his hands extended palms up and sloping towards the ground. The children were placed in those arms. They fell into a gaping, fiery pit. Then they were buried in a special cemetery devoted to that purpose.

If Gaius had any qualms about coming down hard on the Carthaginians he lost it after experiencing this horror. These people were not worthy to survive. Their customs, their religion, their culture seemed blackened because of this crime.

The leader of the Carthaginians pleaded as they progressed with the banquet, “I don’t understand what the problem is.” And he addressed Cato in good Latin, abandoning the Phoenician language out of deference, for the Carthaginians had always been a seafaring people. “Our neighbors attacked us. I assume we have the right to defend ourselves.”

Cato slapped down a copy of the treaty that had ended the last war against Carthage. It had almost ended with the destruction of Rome except for the generalship of Scipio Africanus.

“You agreed not to move your armies outside your city state without our express permission,” Cato pointed to the exact provision.

Everyone at the banquet cast him alarmed expressions.

“Very good, sir,” the leader of the Carthaginians tried to wax diplomatic as he wrung his hands. “But we thought that meant major wars of aggression. We did not think it had to do with raiding and more minor infractions of our neighbors. Rome is too far away to consult about matters of the moment like that.”

“The provision is literal,” Cato glowered at him worse than he glowered at senators in the Senate House. Gaius could see all the men in the room cringing. “We must consent to every act of aggression no matter how small or insignificant. How else can we protect ourselves? We don’t know what you might try next.”

The leader threw up his arms. “From now on we will try to obey your wishes in the matter. But you must excuse us this time. If we had not acted, we would not now have a fishing fleet. Then we would starve.”

Cato shook his head. “I must demand more. As a surety of your good behavior over the next year, we want as hostages one hundred of your noble youths to take with us back to Rome.”

Silence descended upon the banquet hall as the Carthaginian leaders exchanged haunted looks. They retired from the banquet into an adjoining chamber to discuss the matter of the hostages in detail and in privacy.

Cato nodded at Gaius. He took advantage of the opportunity to sketch the meeting place in detail just as he had already sketched the harbor works, the houses grouped together, and the flowering plants placed just so. It was a way to relieve the tension of waiting.

Cato did not look tense. He did not think the Carthaginians had any choice but to placate Rome with hostages. And he intended to exploit his position for everything that it was worth.

There was a commotion and a stir in the banquet room. Whisperings could be heard. Suddenly the leaders of the community burst through doors in the back of the room. Gaius gazed into their eyes the way Cato had taught him. The answer concerning the hostages was on their lips.

Leave a reply

Gaius Visits Lavinia Before He Goes To Carthage:

During the next few weeks in Rome Gaius spent nearly all his waking hours at Cato’s house on the Palatine keeping company with Lavinia. He did everything except sleep there. Lavinia, Cato’s niece, was always present. Gaius learned that she was his ward. He was responsible for her education and her upbringing.

Cato would lecture to Gaius and give him assignments to do sketching this building and that on the property and around Rome itself. He would study each sketch and comment on it critically, making suggestions for details to include in the future. Above all he wanted buildings arranged in such a way in the sketch that they could later easily be mapped by the army.

Lavinia was his constant companion. He found himself sketching to please her even more than Cato. She would admire the drawings and ooh and aah over them. She kissed him on the cheek when she was especially pleased. The kissing behind closed doors soon led to other things. He found himself making love to her shamelessly in one of the bedrooms in the big house.

She came to the Senate House and stood outside it where she might be able to hear the proceedings when her uncle was to speak. Everybody in Rome was there who was anybody at all. But they had to remember the prohibition about women in the Senate House.

All eyes turned to Cato as he again began to speak. Again Gaius sat beside his father. He took careful note as Cato turned to this senator and that, calling upon him by name to say if he thought there was any other way to proceed than by making Carthage the number one enemy of Rome. No one dared to contradict the statement, though in each case Cato carefully waited for a response.

Cato launched into a detailed history of the relationship between Rome and Carthage over the past century. Carthage used to be the great power in the Mediterranean. Now Rome had gained the advantage. Was it about to lose it once more? This time the gods might not be as sympathetic of the homeland of Romulus and Remus after they proved themselves to be so stupid.

Now was the time to crack down on Carthage before the worst happened again. Cato proposed sending a mission to Carthage. They would escort back one hundred select youths as hostages for Carthage’s good behavior with its neighbors in Africa.

All the senators voted aye and yeah for the measure. They called out for Cato to be the mission’s leader. Who else would be sterner and more suited?

“I propose taking Gaius Antonius with me as my aide and assistant,” Cato announced.

Gaius’s father beamed with pride.

All the senators indicated their approval. The date was set for sailing.

Gaius escaped into the hills surrounding Rome for the last time before his sailing. This was where he used to meet the Etruscan girl. She did not come to join him, though he imagined that he felt eyes on him in all directions watching him.

Instead Lavinia joined him.

“I will miss you in Africa!” she embraced him.

He kissed her back. “I am doing this for you and for our future together. What would it be if Carthage takes over the Mediterranean again? Our sons might not live to see adulthood.”
She nodded sadly, having been raised by her famous uncle.

Soon the date was set to depart with Cato for Africa. Lavinia came to Ostia. He waved. She blew kisses. He wondered what the future held as that fateful expedition set off from the Italian shore and what he would be thinking the next time he saw it again —- if the gods granted him such a boon.

Leave a reply

Cato Sends Gaius to Carthage To Make Drawings:

Gaius Antonius sat there in amazement as the senators crowded around Cato at the conclusion of the Senate session. They were all gossipping about the last war and all their family memories that Gaius did not share because he was too young to remember. His father directed attention to him by telling another senator that he had brought Gaius along just in case there was a declaration of war today and he could volunteer his son as a recruit.

Gaius hung back until he was all alone in the Forum. He took a new way home and instead of returning to his house on the Palatine Hill in Rome he saddled up and took off for his country house outside town near the port of Ostia.

He sat there sketching the scenery to quiet his mind. He was joined by the daughter of the local mayor whom he had befriended recently. She questioned him what brought him here today. He spilled out his troubles to her.

She seemed disturbed. “Rome won’t quit until there is no other power in the Mediterranean,” she lamented. “They want to wipe out the Carthaginians just like they wiped us out too a while back.”
The girl who was descended from a local Etruscan family. The Etruscans had preceded the Romans in this area of Italy. Now hardly anyone spoke the original language which had practically died out during the past several generations.

“The Romans want the Carthaginians to speak Latin,” she said.

“But I guess there is a certain danger letting the Carthaginians make war against a neighboring city state,” Gaius lamented.

She shook her head sadly and disappeared. “You are just a Roman like the rest of them. And here I thought you were different!”

Gaius tried to follow her. But a messenger arrived from his father. He directed Gaius to follow the messenger back to Rome. Cato wanted to speak to him.

Marcus Porcius Cato? That was enough to wipe the memory of the Etruscan girl from his mind. Feeling very nervous he followed the messenger back to Rome to the imposing house of Cato not far from his own on Palatine Hill.

He entered the great man’s study in trepidation. He was amazed that the great man had even paid attention to his lowly presence in the Senate Chamber. But then Cato had seemed to pay attention to everyone great and small. That was part of his genius as he put down his pen and stopped working on his history of Roman customs and the life of a Roman country gentleman, the first prose work anyone had ever attempted to write in Latin before.

Cato smiled at Gaius, which surprised him even more. Given his stern face with all the lines, he was surprised if the older man could smile at all. He seemed to scowl at everyone all the time.
“Do you know why I didn’t call for a vote for war today?” Cato asked.

Gaius shook his head “no”.

“Because I wanted you to precede that vote. You must go to Carthage for us and make drawings of the buildings there in the harbor and around town so we know what we are confronting. We will find a pretext for you to leave Rome during our next session of the Senate.”

Gaius nodded nervously, not knowing how to say no to Cato.

“Perhaps we will ask them to send hostages as a show of good faith, that they are not making war against our interests,” Cato suggested to him.

He could not believe what was happening when Cato then invited him to lunch with him in his garden. Even more amazing, he introduced him to his granddaughter, who expressed a great interest in his drawings and examined them one by one very carefully.

“I like knowing you,” she smiled. “You seem like the man of the moment.” She gazed into his eyes.
Gaius was so overcome with her scintillating smile that at once he thought he would do anything to please her. He knew what his mission would be.

Leave a reply

Did Edward Ware’s Ancestor Fight In The Punic Wars?

Colonel Sir Edward Ware is known to have quite a pedigree, at least as long as the Queen’s. He can trace his ancestry back to ancient Rome. His ancestor, Lucius Antonius, fought with Julius Caesar in the Alexandrian War. He was the grandfather of Caelius Antonius, mapmaker for the Roman legions who were massacred by ancient Germans at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.

And Caelius Antonius was the grandfather of Caius Antonius, an assistant of the famous Latin encyclopedia writer, Pliny the Elder, who helped the famous essayist escape an attack of the Germans at the time of Vesuvius and Pompeii.

But before that farther back in the history of Rome did Colonel Sir Edward Ware have a Roman progenitor who fought against Hannibal in the Punic Wars? Believe it or not it may be so. Recently archaeological evidence indicates it. An early collection of documents yet to be completely translated has been found in a key location.

A Gaius Antonius —- same clan name as Edward —- was appointed by the Roman who later became the great victor, Scipio Africanus, to make drawings of what he saw in Carthage in the way of siege machines and weapons when visiting on the pretext of being an ambassador of sorts to Carthage. And where were these documents found? At the Punic Wall in the modern day Spanish city of Cartegena in southern Spain just across the straits from Africa and Carthage and not far from modern day Gibraltar.

The Punic Wall was what used to protect the ancient Carthagenian city in Spain. What story does this wall have to tell? These letters may tell us. Cheops Books LLC has just acquired the rights to translate them and reveal to the world their long hidden tale.

Leave a reply

New Road Secret From Cheops Books LLC

As Cheops Books LLC plans to be on the road again researching ideas for its fiction, it wants to share with you one of its newest, best travel tips: Airbnb. We have been looking to cut dollars off the high cost of travel that has more than doubled in recent years. It used to be that you had to plan to be in a different motel along the interstates every night. Now thanks to Airbnb you can book private residences as you go instead at a fraction of the cost.

Want a yard for your dog? A fenced in yard at that? Want a shower instead of a bath tub? Want a kitchen for a change to make your own meals and cut food expenses, too? Again look no farther than Airbnb.

This road secret applies to international travel as well as local and state to state travel. You are likely to find places to rent in London, Paris, and Rome as well as Cheyenne, Wyoming, but you will probably get a bigger selection in the more populous capitals. Airbnb seems to be everywhere to serve you.

Leave a reply

Latest Crazy Plot for Edward Ware Thrillers:

Try this plot on for size. Midsummer Dora and Edward leave the Desert Southwest, Cheops Books LLC Headquarters, and drive north through Wyoming to keep it cool. They might even stop at Yellowstone to let the coolness permeate everything before heading due east through Pittsburgh to visit Dora’s parents and onward to New York to board the ship. The ship takes them predictably to Southampton where they rent a car at the Southampton Airport for the next twenty-two days. The spies are onto them.

They visit all the tourist sites in the south of England from Bath to Dover. They make themselves look like tourists when they are secretly meeting with operatives. They make sure to have tea with Winston Churchill at his estate at Chartwell in Kent. Then they deceive everybody and make themselves hard to follow when at the very end of August they board a ship in Southampton that takes them to Gibraltar. They seem to be playing with the apes. Really at night they are signalling spies on the African Coast not far away in Morocco.

They hope nobody notices as they stop briefly at Cartegena in Spain and Valencia in Spain to meet with operatives while other tourists tour around and see the sights. Finally they disembark in Rome as the plot thickens.

Great works of art have been the repository of the Lawrence maps before. This time they visit the Bargello Gallery and deposit them in a secret niche carved in Bernini’s statue, Apollo and Daphne.
Quickly they hurry out of Rome on a train to Milan. They take the train from Milan to Paris, meeting Winston at the Ritz just to confuse any possible spies or pursuers. They make their way back to Britain and then America.

Leave a reply

How About This For An Edward Ware Thrillers Plot?

Dora and Edward have traveled to some strange places in their career of hiding the Lawrence maps and keeping them away from Hitler’s spies. They even had a stint where they were hiding the maps in Hamlet’s Castle in Elsinore, Denmark. This travel plot should be right up their alley.

Start in Tucson, Arizona and drive east in an indirect fashion. Perhaps you travel north to Yellowstone first. Why not? Dora and Edward just had a Yellowstone plot, too, in Old Faithful Plot. Travel directly east on I-90 or I-80 which didn’t exist at that point. Perhaps use the Lincoln Highway instead, again featured in Old Faithful Plot. Go all the way through to New York, perhaps stopping in Dora’a hometown of Pittsburgh first.

Board the QM2 (in those days the original Queen Mary) and sail across the ocean blue to England to Southampton. There they could meet with Churchill in the Churchill Room on the ship where you can smoke cigars and figure out what to do next. From there they could stop in Hamburg and visit the nautical bookstore with which they have become familiar. Why? He is an operative, of course, in Nazi Germany just like Putlitz, ace of double spies.

From there it is onward to Elsinore in Denmark with Hamlet’s Castle facing you in the dock. No doubt here Edward and Dora want to take a shore excursion to deposit those valuable Lawrence maps in the basement where Danish troops used to be billeted in the Middle Ages during the time of Hamlet.

From there it is homeward bound. First they have to stop in Oslo, Norway of all places. Don’t you think by now they should have earned a Nobel Prize for all their efforts? After that they must return to Hamburg without the Lawrence maps, of course, since they are lunching with Hitler. In Southampton they meet with Churchill and toast with champagne for a job well done. Then they return to New York.

Leave a reply

Dora Benley Could Be Giving Away Silver Wolf Moon:

Would you like a free copy of Silver Wolf Moon? And this time it would be a paperback, too, not a Kindle edition. The first paperback copies of the young adult romantic thriller novel ever printed could be distributed in Denver at the Sheraton Downtown in mid July. Dora Benley could be there in person to autograph the books and give them away to the lucky recipients. Look for more details in future blog posts on this Edward Ware Thrillers website created by Cheops Books LLC.

Darcy Devon can’t take it anymore. Her millionaire parents won’t stop bugging her to date Randolph King, the son of an English client of theirs. She runs away to live in her grandparents’ house in the wilds of Montana. But no sooner does she unpack her suitcase than she notices that somebody who looks like an uncouth madman is following her. Nobody knows who he is. When she goes swimming, somebody is watching her. When she goes to bed, somebody is outside looking in. Wolves howl at midnight. She looks up at the sky and sees a black moon and shivers. What does this strange dude want with her? Is he escaped from an asylum, or is it something else?

The young adult romantic thriller Silver Wolf Moon was originally published in German by Cora Verlag, Harper Collins Germany, as Silver Wolf. If you liked Silver Wolf Moon you will enjoy other young adult thrillers by Dora Benley such as Rose Red, Murder in Jasper, Mary’s Gone, Latin Lessons, and Dark 3: Special Edition.

Leave a reply