Bronze Age Sheep Straight From Caelius’s Estate Outside Londinium:

Caelius Antonius, the hero of the upcoming historical thriller by Dora Benley Caesar’s Lost Legions, might have had a sheep like this in ancient Britain. It is wandering around a Bronze Age burial mound from long before Caelius’s time in pre-Roman Britain. The breed is called Welsh Badger Faced, and this is a ram. Such atmosphere!

Caesar Augustus has sent Caelius Antonius to the Roman province of Germania in 9 AD to draw a map of wonders that will lead the legions to a promised land as far East as the River Elbe. There are reports of a a sea port that would serve as a highway to lands as yet unnamed.

Augustus ward, Arminius, a model German turned Roman, has volunteered to lead the legions of Varus there. Caelius awakens one night to find a symbol of Thor’s hammer engraved in the tree bark outside his tent. He senses a spy from some disaffected tribe watching him. He reports the spy to Varus who defers to Arminius. Arminius says that all the Germans are of course watching, delighted that the Romans have come to civilize their benighted country.

Evidence builds of a conspiracy. Caelius reports it to Augustus back in Rome personally. But Augustus refuses to listen. Arminius was his ward who had lived in his house in Rome, and Caesar had never had a son of his own. Arminius was his blind spot.

As a warning to Caelius, Caelius’s wife is kidnapped. No matter what Caelius must defend his maps to the death. They hold the key to Rome’s future. He hopes that neither he nor his wife must die to realize it.

Join Caelius in his adventures on the far frontiers of the Roman Empire in Germany. They echo the adventures his latter day descendant Edward Ware will someday face in his own map plots against the latter-day Germans.

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Cato Looms Like A Giant Over The Novel:

Cato the Elder was Roman who almost singlehandledly commanded the Third Punic War. He brought it about with his perpetual speeches “Carthage must be destroyed” in the Roman Senate House and showing off crops and goods that supposedly came from that city along the coast of North Africa to warn the Romans how close by it was located.

He owned a vast latifundia in the countryside outside Rome. He experimented with various crops such as grapes, olives, and livestock and wrote a Latin prose work On Farming, influencing Latin literature. He also wrote Latin prose works that have not survived such as the first history of Rome that we know about called Origines. He also composed an encyclopedia and a book of maxims, neither of which survive except in fragments. He might have been a Pliny the Elder two centuries earlier in Roman history.

He is certainly the one historical character whose personality looms largest over the Dora Benley historical thriller Carthage Must Be Destroyed. It will soon be published by Cheops Books LLC.

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Carthage Must Be Destroyed Book Cover:

Carthage Must Be Destroyed is the latest in a series of historical thriller novels by Dora Benley about the long ago ancestors of Colonel Sir Edward Ware, or General Lord Edward Ware, of the Edward Ware Thrillers at War Series about World War 1 and World War 2. Colonel Ware lives outside Salisbury, England, of recent notoriety with the Russian chemical attacks. He lives at his estate called Ware Hall which has been inhabited by his family since Roman times when his ancestor Lucius Antonius fled to Britain after Julius Caesar was assassinated.

Cato the Elder ended every speech in the Roman Senate with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed.” He was a survivor of the Second Punic War fifty years before. Hannibal won the Battle of Cannae and almost marched on Rome itself. He reminded the Romans that Carthage had finished paying its reparations and was now refurbishing its navy. It could sail against them again just as Hannibal himself had crossed the Alps a generation before.

The son of another senator, Gaius Antonius, is picked by Cato to follow him to Carthage to assess the situation. Gaius Antonius sketches the harbor. His eyes light on a ship that is being built. It looks like the finest of its fleet.

When Cato orders the Carthaginians to send one hundred hostages picked from the youth of the noble families of Carthage to Rome to be kept at his latifundia estate, the Princess Tanit arrives. She tries to charm everyone —- for awhile. But soon she and the sketches and maps that Gaius Antonius drew suddenly disappear along with all the hostages.

This sets off a multi-nation chase to get the drawings and maps back again. Cato wants to show the drawing of the fine naval vessel and the threats it represents to the Roman Senate. They are on the verge of declaring war, and Cato and Gaius Antonius want to push them over the edge. Will they make it in time, or will the Carthaginians gain an advantage? Will Princess Tanit and her cohorts escape, or will they get their just deserts?

Find out. Read Carthage Must Be Destroyed coming soon from Cheops Books LLC. This is a sketch of the cover drawn by artist Daniel Teran.

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Trump Listened To Only Half Of Crassus’s Advice:

Marcus Licinius Crassus was friends with the greatest military general of all times, Gaius Julius Caesar. So he ought to know what he was talking about when he gave advice to Donald Trump in the White House. What were they talking about? Syria, of course, and how to respond to the recent chemical attack.

Crassus has been living at the White House in the Lincoln bedroom since early 2017 when he moved in for the first time in 2000 years. He liked Trump and wished him well. He was after all, another mogul, another businessman, who wanted to get involved in politics just like Crassus in the first century B.C. when the Republic was busting up and turning into the Empire.
Crassus reportedly told Trump to do something sneaky. How Trump got bogged down in having international organizations certify that the Syrian President was responsible for the chemical attack on civilians, no one can guess. Crassus had not doubt told him that such a technique would be good if he were trying to hide what he was really doing a la Julius Caesar style.

Caesar once pretended that he was withdrawing his troops from Alexandria. He had certain ships load up supplies and pretend to be sailing back to Rome. Instead of attacking the palace where Cleopatra’s brother was holed up, he decided to feast and make merry in the harbor, dining before all his troops. Cleopatra’s brother decided that Caesar was a coward and ordered a banquet in celebration. After all the Egyptian troops got drunk, then Caesar attacked the Palace and took it with hardly a Roman casualty.

How could Trump emulate that? Well, after he called an international body into Syria and everybody thought he was too cowardly to attack by himself, he should order an air strike in Iran because they are helping to support the corrupt Syrian regime. Or perhaps he should even try to use a smart bomb to get Putin himself in his marble palace hidden away from view. That would be a biggie!

But if Trump has misinterpreted all his good advice from Crassus, it is very sad. But then American Presidents never were Roman generals, now were they?

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Syrians Are The Modern Phoenicians:

Russia is to blame. Either they gave chemical weapons to the Syrians or they financed it which is the same thing. I don’t think you can call whatever is going on in Syria a “civil war”. Several of these “countries” were created in the wake of WW1, some of them by Churchill and Lawrence at the Cairo Conference in 1921.

They are not real countries and never have been since perhaps ancient times when they were city states and not countries, mostly Phoenician at that. Have you ever heard of Tyre? That was in “ancient Lebanon”. That was the chief state of the Phoenicians, the ones who founded Carthage in North Africa and New Carthage in southern Spain now called Cartegena. That is the heritage of these people who before Mohammed worshipped the blood-thirsty gods of Baal and Tanit.

These were the peoples that Rome fought in the Punic Wars and defeated in Third Punic War from 149 to 146 BC. Rome destroyed what was left of their Phoenician civilization and took the remainder of the 50,000 surviving inhabitants as slaves.

Certainly the Syrians, Phoenicians, etc when they carry on their modern religious wars against each other as different sects of Islam or when they get messed up with the Russians and the Iranians don’t remind me of any modern nation state.

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Ancient vs. Modern Violence: Julia: A Romance:

Two Cheops Books LLC editors, Gary Bennet and Kay Bognar will debate the issue of the modern versus ancient violence on Monday at 2PM on the Cheops Books Facebook Page. Gary will present the modern point of view. Kay will argue for the ancient point of view found in the novel Julia: A Romance which is being published on Amazon Kindle on April 9. You are all invited to join the group with prizes available for winners.

Here are the five questions under discussion. The novel concerns the time period of Sulla in the first century B.C., but the discussion will be a little more far ranging than that to prove a point:

1)Compare/Contrast the Battle of the Somme in WW1 with the Battle of Cannae in the Second Punic War. Which was more violent? Which had more lasting implications?
2)Compare/Contrast Sulla’s victory over Athens to Hitler’s move into the Sudetenland.
3)Compare/Contrast Sulla’s victory over Athens to Hitler’s move into Poland in 1939 that precipitated Britain’s declaration of war. Which was more lasting and permanent?
4)Compare/Contrast Titus’s expulsion of the Jews from ancient Israel to the solutions in the current problems in the Middle East. Who acted more serious?
5)What do you think causes this big difference in violence and philosophy of warfare in ancient Rome versus nowadays?

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Julia: A Romance To Be Published April 9:

Julia: A Romance by Dora Benley is to be published on April 9 by Cheops Books LLC. Time to pre-order on Amazon Kindle for only $5.99.

Julia has every reason to wish that she had not been born the daughter of a Roman senator during the Roman Civil Wars of Marius and Sulla. Her father, Rufus, is trying to escape the proscriptions lists and save his life by betrothing his only daughter in marriage to Marcus Sisenna. Marcus Sisenna is the right hand man of Marcus Sulla, one of the leading men of Rome of the day. Rufus needs his armies and the protection both Sulla and Sisenna can provide.

But Julia does not want to marry a man who has already had five wives and who is just marrying her for her father’s money and estates. She does not want to be added to his collection of trophies. Julia wants personal happiness despite the time period into which she has been born. Her father thinks only of keeping his wealth and estates together. Her divorced mother is interested only in her own lovers. To whom shall Julia turn for assistance? The answer may surprise you. For it is obviously just the opposite of what the desperate Julia might expect.

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Roman Army More Destructive Than Atomic Bomb:

We read about Scipio Aemilianus, head of the Roman army, weeping at the end of the Third Punic War as he stood by the historian, Polybius, and supervised the systemic burning and destruction of Carthage. The last 50,000 citizens presented an olive branch to the Roman army and marched out of the doomed city to a life of slavery. Aemilianus quoted Homer about Troy. But Oppenheimer on July 16, 1945 when he watched the first nuclear explosion quoted Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds”. The atomic bomb is supposed to be the ultimate weapon destroying more than anything else. But really the Roman army at Carthage after the Third Punic War destroyed more —- and they didn’t even have guns or explosives at all!

Rome  and the Roman army took apart a whole civilization and obliterated all traces of it. Nothing survived for very long, not even the art or culture after the last ruler of Carthage committed suicide and his wife threw her children into the flames and then leaped into the flames herself. But after World War 1 and World War 2 the defeated parties not only survived but prospered and in very short order, too. The United States and Britain didn’t burn all the German cities to the ground and enslave whole populations. Germany and Japan came right back after the war and became economic engines again. Rome and the Roman army would never have permitted this with Carthage.

We are commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War 1. Europe cannot get over the Battle of the Somme and other similar battles losing thousands of men. But Rome and the Roman army suffered more during the Second Punic War, especially during the Battle of Cannae, and got over it very quickly. Nor did it make Rome hate war and want to avoid it at all costs.

This attitude that somehow the past was more peaceful and the present more violent needs to be re-examined. It doesn’t fit the facts. The Punic Wars seem more horrible than either World War 1 or World War 2.

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Scipio Aemilianus Chosen To Lead Expedition:

The next weeks were spent in such a hustle and bustle that Gaius hardly remembered either his old name or his new. He and Lavinia were married almost right away with the full Senate in attendance. But instead of bringing her home to his real father’s and mother’s house, they stayed in the house where she had grown up as Cato’s ward, Cato’s house. Scipio Aemilianus was picked to lead the expedition to Carthage. He was the adopted heir of Scipio Africanus, the hero of the Second Punic War. Gaius was given the rank of a tribune under Scipio.

Soldiers were taking on supplies. The Roman navy was repairing its vessels and buffing them up to make the journey across the Mediterranean Sea. Gaius Antonius and his fellow officers were taking the new and raw recruits out of town into the surrounding countryside to practice basic military maneuvers and exercises every day.

That morning before he left Cato’s house in town (they had not gone out to the latifundia lately because of all the military activity and meetings of the Senate) Cato summoned him into his office. He said, “The Roman army should plan to set sail for Carthage in about a week’s time. We don’t want to allow them too much time to take on supplies and build up their navy.”

“I am sure that sounds like the wisest course of action,” Gaius said to his new father.

They had held a big dinner for all the senators and their families only a few days ago right before the wedding. At the dinner Cato had declared that Gaius Antonius would be his new son and would carry his name and inherit his fortune and his lands. He would also take his place in the Senate when the time came, though everyone knew that no one could really do that. Certain papers and documents had been signed and witnessed. They had been handed over to the Vestal Virgins to keep in the House of the Vestal Virgins.

He promised Cato that he would do his best to stick on schedule. He was never more surprised than when in the middle of his military exercises his new wife, Lavinia, appeared on horseback. He excused himself and rushed over to her.

She hurried up to him with an expression of consternation on her face. “Gaius, Cato has been murdered!” she shouted.

He could hardly credit what she was saying. “What on earth are you talking about?” he asked his wife. “I just got done talking to him about leaving for Carthage within a week’s time!”

She gripped his military vest. “I went into his office to talk to him after luncheon. He was lying slumped on his writing desk. At first I thought he was asleep. But then I saw the arrow in his shoulder.”

Gaius could not take it all in. But he knew he had to act right away. He returned to his unit briefly to make his excuses that family matters had to be attended to. He was not going to repeat what his wife had said until he saw what was going on with his own two eyes. He saddled his own horse and followed her back into town to Cato’s house.

He hurried into his new father’s study. Things were just as she had told him. Only a frightened slave had hurriedly been appointed to watch things and make sure nothing was disturbed until they got back. He hurried up to Lavinia and practically hung on her for reassurance while Gaius dashed right up to Cato.

He took Cato by the shoulders and shook him, calling upon his name, “Cato, Cato, speak to me!” In life that was the most important thing he always did —- speak. His eyes were staring as lifeless as Lavinia had told him. But unlike Lavinia his eyes caught sight of a notepad next to Cato’s hand which was still holding his pen, very fitting to the last. On a piece of papyrus he had managed to scrawl, “The Carthaginians have killed me —- shot me through the window. Carthago delenda est.”

Indeed when Gaius turned the window in question was still open. He went to look and horrifyingly enough he could still detect the presence of human feet in the dust. They had left their incriminating shoe prints behind. Not that he would ever doubt what his father said, but this was all too accurate to be borne.

Gaius could not ask Cato what to do now. Cato was no more. He was now Cato. People would look to him to act as his father would have.

Keeping his wits about him he summoned Scipio Aemilianus to his house right away. Scipio rushed away from the military field and came right away. When he saw what tragedy had occurred he immediately decided, “We must sail even sooner than one week against Carthage.”

Gaius nodded. “I would whole heartedly agree. That is what Cato would have said.”

The next day they arranged for Cato’s funeral in the Forum in front of all Rome because this was a decisive event in the history of the Roman Republic. Many would always remember this day and tell their children and children’s children about it.

Gaius made a speech as the funeral pyre was lighted and Cato joined his noble ancestors. “On this day Rome resolves to do whatever it takes to defeat our mortal enemy, Carthage.”

Everybody cheered.

“We should not have allowed them to pay reparations for the past fifty years. Then this horrible tragedy would not have occurred,” he said.

Again the mob cheered.

“Now we must complete what we started in the time of our grandfathers. And in the words of my father, the great man that all Rome depended upon to see the right course for it to follow, the very last words that the dying man wrote on this piece of papyrus for us all to see after he had been struck by an arrow —- Carthago delenda est. Carthage must be destroyed.”

Gaius waved Cato’s last paper in the air over his head. The mob errupted into vengeful cheers that seemed to raise the roofs of the surrounding buildings. They did not stop shouting until Cato’s funeral was over and he was buried in a family mausoleum along the Appian Way.

The entire city state was mobilized as never before. They were all resolved to avenge Cato’s death by destroying Carthage. They had determined to leave Rome in five days’ time.

But the very next night his wife, Lavinia, awoke him. They had retired for one night to the latifundia to enlist the slaves who would go with them to war and not be left behind along with the small tenant farmers surrounding Cato’s estate. She complained that she was having a strange dream that made her restless and would not let her sleep. She kept on thinking that something or somebody was outside the window.

That was only natural considering what had just happened to her Uncle Cato. She urged her husband to look. Then she pointed leaning out the window herself. “Look down there at the sea! Look at that ship!”

Gaius followed Lavinia’s pointed finger. She indeed had a keen eye. He recognized the ship immediately under a bright moon. It was the very ship that he had drawn on the map for Cato, the one with the big sails. And he did not think he was imagining it when he thought he recognized the woman’s figure on the prow of the ship as it passed underneath the headland at the edge of the latifundia. Why, that was Tanit! She had returned to Rome to murder Cato.

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Cato Wants To Adopt Gaius Antonius As His Son And Heir:

After the Senate declared war on Carthage, Cato summoned Gaius Antonius back to his house on Palatine Hill. As his niece and social hostess, Lavinia met Gaius at the door and threw her arms around him in welcome. She hugged him to her and kissed both his cheeks. She whispered into his ear, “We are to be married very soon.”

Is that what Cato was going to tell him? Gaius was very surprised. But he would reserve his judgement to see what the elder senator brought up. He proceeded directly through the atrium into the garden where Cato was awaiting him at a table set up with refreshments. He could see Lavinia still behind him hanging around a Doric pillar watching everything he did with intense interest.

“I suspect we must choose a general and be off,” Cato waved his arms about. “But before you set off as all the young men must do all with new military ranks, I want to adopt you, Gaius Antonius, as my son and heir.”

Gaius Antonius’s mouth fell open in surprise. He had certainly not expected anything like this to happen! To be adopted by the leading man of his time, the most famous of all living Romans, the author of the first prose work in Latin to boot! It was a Roman custom and was not all that rare to adopt as a son and heir a young man who had just grown up and was the right age even when his own father was still living. But Gaius had certainly never thought it would be happening to him of all people.

Cato held up his hand. “We can deal with all the surprise reactions later, but for me this is serious. I am now old enough to be practically the only man serving in the Senate who actually fought in the Second Punic War. I am no general and I am too old to fight again. After all, I am now in my late seventies and almost eighty! I have no wife and no son of my own, and considering the part I have played in the early stages of this war already . . . “

Gaius Antonius broke out in exclamation, “Of course you have practically guided and directed it more than even a general could. If it had not been for you, the Carthaginians would be building ships behind our noses and who knows what would happen!” he said. “By the time anybody else besides you detected what the problem was it might be too late. The Carthaginians might be at Ostia with their fleet. They might find another Hannibal to bring more elephants across the Alps Mountains into Italy and start attacking all our allies and all our fellow city states. And this time we might actually get defeated because of our own stupidity.”

Cato again held up his hand. “Many besides me have whispered to themselves about this festering problem with the Carthaginians. But only I have had the oratorical skills and the position in the state to bring about where we are now.”

“That is what I have said, no more no less!” Gaius broke out.

“I think it is fitting you go into battle representing me because of the way you have assisted me so far in preparing for this war and because of the way you just risked your life going to New Carthage and rescuing that map that you drew yourself,” Cato spoke. “So you can represent not only your own real father but me as well. That is why I want to adopt you.”

Lavinia sneaked into the room uninvited and waited only a few steps away for Gaius Antonius’s response. She had her hands tightly clutched together in suspense.
Cato and Lavinia traded looks. After all, Lavinia was his niece.

Gaius became aware that they were both waiting for his response. “Of course I accept!” he managed to stammer out. “I would be crazy to refuse such an offer.” He knew that his own real father who was only a minor senator would be very pleased if Gaius took on Cato’s name.

Cato nodded as if he had expected as much. “Of course we will have to hold the ceremony amidst all the bustle of war preparation.” He looked towards his niece. “And I think we will hold a wedding as well.”

Lavinia flew at Gaius Antonius and threw herself into his arms as he stood up to embrace her.

“We will invite all the senators and their relatives and use the banquet as another means of war preparation,” Gaius could see the great man’s brain turning and making plans with every happening and every turn of fate.

Gaius went home that evening and announced the amazing piece of good luck to his real mother and father. They were so overjoyed to hear that Cato wanted to adopt their son that they could hardly contain themselves. Now his father would be recognized as one of Cato’s chief friends and allies and would take precedence at all banquets and be seated next to the great man. Best of all, he could move his seat in the Senate House next to Cato’s. Everyone would envy his piece of good luck to have bred and raised a son like Gaius Antonius to make the Antonii clan famous. It would now be mentioned prominently in all the historical records of Rome and by historians long after his time.

Gaius took Lavinia with him for the first time to meet her new in laws. They were wowed by her education and graces and hosted her as a guest overnight, the woman who was soon to become their daughter-in-law.

That night as Gaius retired to be he thought of his habit of sketching everything and drawing and what had come of it. He thought of the map he had made of Carthage and of the Carthaginian ship. It was obviously the most important thing he had ever done in his life. And if he had two lifetimes, it was the most important thing in both. He would have to think of what to do next to honor his new name, Cato.

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