Notable Mortals

The ancient Greek world is full of powerful and important mortals.

Philosophers and Scientists

Aristotle
A 14-year old student being taught philosophy in the Macedonian court. Already noted for his intelligence and well-versed in almost any subject, gossip and rumours of his potential have spread far from the Macedonian court. He lives with his father Nicomachus who is the personal doctor to King Amyntas III.
Plato
A middle-aged philosopher whose name means broad. An Athenian aristocrat and the most famous philosopher alive. Plato's philosophy says that knowledge is divine inspiration and does not come from observation or study. This is because the world we see is a shadow of what is real. His Academy, the first organised school, teaches philosophy and science to the youth of the political elite. This access to powerful families and his knowledge has made Plato a powerful figure and he speaks at public votes. Notably, Plato argues that Athenian democracy should be replaced by the philosopher-king - a man who accepts the power thrust upon him by the people wise enough to choose the best ruler.
Arete of Cyrene
A philosopher educated by her father, who was taught by Socrates himself. She has written many books, holding that happiness is the primary goal of moral action with virtue the secondary goal. Arete is one of the original hedonists believes that physical enjoyment is the supreme good in life. She lives in Cyrene with her young son Aristippus, who she teaches along with many other students.
Diogenes the Cynic
A middle-aged philosopher notorious for his cynicism. He regards society as an artificial growth that hinders the happiness and morality of being natural. His philosophy is that action has greater virtue than words and he lives an austere life of poverty as a satire on the society around him. It includes deliberate homelessness and defecating in theatres. This is done without shame for he has risen above shame. A citizen of Athens but he born in Sinope and exiled for defacing the currency. A barrel serves as his home and he fills his time by writing crude poetry and sabotaging Plato' lectures.
Hecataeus
Young historian and philosopher who moves amongst the cities around the Black Sea. As a sceptic philosopher, he believes that statements and ideas should be backed up with hard facts and rigorous arguments. Hecataeus writes books about the histories of Greece, its neighbouring countries and places even more distant. Never having visited these places, he relies on travellers for a lot of his information.

Kings and Rulers

Amyntas III of Macedon
The ageing Macedonian king and father of the unified Macedonian state. He came to the throne in 393BC ending ten years of political chaos following the death of King Achelaus. He was driven into exile when the city was invaded by Illyians the same year. With the help of Thessally he retook his throne and has ruled ever since. He established Macedon's alliance with the Olynthus and the Chalkidian League to protect himself from the Illyrian threat but he is becoming concerned by Olynthus growing wealth. Amyntas' marriage to Eurydice, a princess from the north of Macedon, cements the two halves of his country together. Eurydice is active in politics, holding as much sway as her husband and being dominant at court when he is not there.
Dionysius of Syracuse
The elderly tyrant of Syracuse. He was elected military leader in 406BC for his success against Carthage, but amassed a personal army of mercenaries and took total control of the city. This mercenary army keeps him in power and is always kept close. Under his rule Syracuse has fought a long war against Carthage, with mixed results, and founded colonies around the Adriatic. These cities have given him control of trade in that region, so he can pay his mercenary army. Whilst Syracuse is powerful it is a pariah amongst democratic Greek cities who are opposed to tyrants. Athens tried to depose him a few decades ago, but his extensive new walls stopped them. Dionysius is the worst kind of tyrant; cruel, paranoid and vindictive. A decade ago, he even sold the entire population of Rhegium, a Greek city, into slavery. He surrounds himself with learned men and is himself a capable engineer. Syracuse is defended by siege catapults and quinqueremes (five decked ships) of Dionysius' design. However, he is an atrocious poet.
Artaxerxes II of Persia
Aged King of Persia and the most powerful man in the world. He succeeded his father Darius, but had to defend his throne against his brother Cyrus, who invaded with a mixed army of Persians and Greek mercenaries. He is proud of this victory, even claiming he killed Cyrus himself, after executing the men who did. Since then, he has been busy trying and failing to supress revolts in Egypt and rebellious governors (satraps) across his bulky empire. This internal conflict has led to a pragmatic approach to the Greeks and he always works against whoever is the strongest poleis. He sponsored Corinth and Thebes in their liberation from Sparta, but then betrayed them and allied with Sparta once the other two cities became too powerful. Artaxerxes hopes this divide and weaken policy will prevent Greece becoming a threat.
Other than war, he spends his time on grand building projects, such as restoring the Royal Road. After many years, he still mourns for his first wife Stateira who was poisoned by his mother but has taken dozens of new wives and produced a large number of sons. The eldest is also named Artaxerxes and takes after his father.
Agesilaus II of Sparta
Elderly Spartan king and general. Born lame, his royal blood spared him death by exposure as a baby. Agesilaus became king when his elder brother's only son was declared illegitimate by the actions of General Lysander, Agesilaus' tutor. Though the two had shared a close personal relationship, Lysander's repeated attempts to manipulate Agesilaus into ceding power to Lysander ended the friendship. Agesilaus eventually asserted himself by sending Lysander far away to fight naval battles in the Aegean. Lysander respected him for the strength of the move and maintained a strong emotional bond with his king and former pupil. Lysander died attacking the walls of Thebes on the orders of his king.
Agesilaus has had a mixed rule, being a great general who failed to hold onto the Spartan Hegemony. He spent a great deal of time on campaign all over Greece and even in Anatolia, freeing colonies from Persian conquest. He also planned an attack on Artexerxes himself though that campaign never took place. It was these excursions that caused Artexerxes to sponsor Thebes and Corinth to rise against Sparta and destroy the hegemony. At the time of the Theban revolt, Agesilaus himself was in Anatolia and unable to defend Sparta.
Mago III of Carthage
The recently-crowned King of Carthage, taking over the war with Syracuse in Sicily from his father. An unknown to the Greeks, he is rumoured to a ruthless leader and relentless in pursuit of his goals.
Epaminondas
Elderly Theban general and statesman. He is the leading light in Thebes since he freed the city from the Spartans in 371BC. He then chased them back to Sparta to end their hegemony the following year. Thebes, under his leadership, is building its own hegemony. Regarded as above reproach by most Greeks since he disdains material wealth and appears to be incorruptible, he has many political enemies. They managed to bring him to trial after his victory over the Spartans for staying so long in the field that he exceeded the term of his elected office. He was acquitted as he good military reasons to do so. The man is regarded as the greatest Greek general alive who uses innovative tactics to defeat superior forces by applying pressure at one point of the enemy phalanx instead of pushing against its entire front.

Heroic Types

Euryleonis
A young spartan princess and recent victor in all three Olympic chariot races. A capable fighter and athlete, she owns and trains a large stable of horses for use by her and her retinue.
Troilus of Elis
Notorious equestrian athlete. Although he is a capable chariot driver, his only victories have been races where he was the referee. His laurels are still his but being a referee in ones own race has since been banned.
Xenophon of Athens
Older Athenian mercenary soldier turned philosopher. In 401BC he was recruited by the Persian prince Cyrus the Younger to kill his brother King Artexrxes II. When the army was stranded in Persian territory by the death of Cyrus, Xenophon was elected general to lead the army to safety. In this he succeeded, installing a new king in Thrace along the way to pay for the final leg of the journey home. He then attempted to enter Athenian politics but his previous mercenary work for Sparta got him exiled. He now lives near Olympus, writing his account of the expedition and his philosophy.

Artistic Types

Apelles
A painter living in Sicyon, regarded as one of the best in Greece. He has ambition is to travel to Macedon and become the court painter there because of the strength of the royal family and the court's reputation as a place of intellect. Apelles is a rather competitive man, who takes pains to display the high quality of his work. In one incident, he went to Rhodes to meet fellow artist Protogenes who he admired. When he arrived, Protogenes was out so Apelles announced himself by painting a single fine line in colour, then leaving. When Protogenes found this, he realised that only Apelles could do such fine work and then painted a finer line above it. Apelles returned, again when Protogenes was absent, and realised he had been outdone. Instead of admitting defeat, he drew a third even finer line between the two, so there was no room left to outdo him again. When Protogenes returned he admitted that Apelles was the greater artist and the two became friends.
Parrhasius and Zeuxis
Rival painters in Athens. They hate each other, and their rivalry is so strong that it is said neither can live without the other. Parrhasius comes from Ephesus, whilst Zeuxis comes from Heraclea Lucania, a Greek colony in Italy. Their skills are on a par with each other, with Parrhasius a master of outlines and Zeuxis an expert on colours. Once Zeuxis had painted a bunch of grapes so perfectly that a flock of birds tried to eat them and Zeuxis gloated at length at how he could fool the birds. In response, Parrhasius invited Zeuxis to his studio where he asked him to draw aside the curtain and witness his own masterpiece. Zeuxis attempted to pull the curtain aside and then realised that is was a painting of a curtain. Completely fooled, acknowledged himself to be surpassed for while Zeuxis had deceived the birds, Parrhasius had deceived Zeuxis. Word has it, though, that Zeuxis is working on his revenge.
Lysippus
A sculptor who heads a school of sculpture in Argos. Working in bronze, he achieves incredible detail which is remarkable as he is self taught. Before settling down to teach, he worked all over Greece making hundreds of statues for wealthy clients. Now he is being eclipsed by his star pupil Chares who is building a colossal statue of Helios in Rhodes.
Praxiteles
An Athenian sculptor in his middle years. Renowned for his skill in marble, his greatest work is also a source of controversy. When the polis of Kos commissioned a statue of Aphrodite, he sculpted one clothed and one nude, the first sculptor to dare to do so. Shocked by the nudity, Kos kept only the clothed one while the more liberal people of Knidos bought the nude and it has pride of place in their temple to Aphrodite.

The Underworld

In the Underworld there are many famous Greeks to encounter amongst the dead.

Hector of Troy
The Trojan prince and general who led the defence of Troy against the Greeks resides on the Isles of the Blessed. A great man with a good heart and the Judges of the Dead were impressed by the purity of his motivations as he fought to defend his city and people.
Iolaus
Crewmember of the Argo and nephew of Herakles. During his life, he assisted his uncle in his fight with the Hydra, where he cauterised the severed necks so no more heads could grow. In later life, he became one of Jason's crew on the Argo and one of the few men to survive the expedition. After dying of old age his soul was admitted onto the Isles of the Blessed.
Bellerophon
A hero of the distant past brought low by his hubris. Possessing divine blood as the son of Poseidon, a young Bellerophon became famous for his courage and notorious for his crimes. Seeking forgiveness for having murdered his brother, Bellerophon sought the aid of wise King Proteus of Tiryns who cleansed him of his sin. The Queen of Tiryns took a fancy to Bellerephon but he rejected her advances and in fury at being rejected, accused him of attempting to ravish her. King Proteus couldn't kill Bellerophon as he was a guest and to kill a demigod was to invite divine wrath. The solution was to send Bellerophon on a suicidal mission to kill a chimera. With Athena's assistance, Bellerophon killed the chimera by driving a lead tipped spear down its throat. Frustrated by Bellerophon's survival, King Proteus sent him on missions of increasing danger but each time Bellerophon succeeded. In the end, Bellerophon became so convinced of his own glory he attempted to fly on Pegasus to Mount Olympus and claim his place. Little angers the gods more than hubris and Zeus sent a gadfly to unseat Bellerophon from Pegasus, plunging the hero to his death. The Judges of the Dead found Bellerophon to be an unpleasant arrogant fool but was saved from Tartarus when Persephone spoke up on behalf of his heroic acts. Bellerophon now lurks in the darkness of Erebus, plotting his revenge on the gods.
Socrates
Famous and recently executed Athenian philosopher, teacher of Plato. He developed the dialectic method of philosophy in which a problem is broken into many smaller questions, the answers to which lead the thinker towards the answer they seek. Socrates made his living by teaching the aristocratic children of noble Athenians and by serving as an elected member of the Athenian government. He stayed out of the deeper politics, preferring instead to serve with the army and to use his rhetorical skills to criticise and cajole the leading politicians into action he thought needed taking. He went too far and his vocal opposition to a war with Sparta resulted in a charge of treason. Refusing to run as this would invalidate the social contract between himself and his city, he was killed by a drink of hemlock. For his bravery and wisdom, the Judges of the Dead sent him to the Isles of the Blessed.

Champions of the Gods

Arete
A native of Olynthus and the daughter of a potter whose beautiful singing voice attracted Persephone's attention when Arete began to sing delicate and moving songs at funerals. The Queen of the Dead saw that a distant ancestor of Arete had been a child of Apollo and his gift of music had arisen in the girl. Persephone chose Arete to as a champion sending her to travel the world, bringing comfort to those grieving for lost souls. Arete can be found at battles and disasters where there is large scale loss of life. She sings and works to ensure that the mortals know Persephone is sympathetic to their loss.
Eidothee
An elderly woman who has served as an itinerant priest for Hestia for so long that her birth place is forgotten. Eidothee works tirelessly to resolve disputes, ministers to believers and is exceptionally good at tending to sacrificial fires. Hestia's choice of a champion surprises some people. Yet the wise point out how this frail old woman travels alone through the most dangerous parts of Greece and its cities.
Gelon
The work of most champions takes them all over Greece and beyond but Gelon has never left the Athenian polis since assuming his role. Athena, his patron goddess, has commanded him to stay and defend the city. Prior to this Gelon became a skilled hoplite by constantly volunteering for patrol duty. His experience fighting bandits and protecting villages from monsters has made him a skilled leader of defensive actions. Athena has used his cunning and intelligence in defence of her patron city and Gelon has already uncovered several plots by agents of the titans.
Krokinos
Nicknamed the chain breaker, Krokinos was once just a simple sailor until his capture by pirates. He was sold into slavery but could not cope with the captivity and prayed nightly to Dionysus for freedom. When Dionysus sobered up enough to hear the pleas, he approached Krokinos and made a deal. Krokinos would be grant the power to free himself only if he uses it to free others. The mortal accepted and freed three ship's companies worth of slaves as he made his escape. Krokinos' slave freeing activities have made him unpopular across much of Greece and he has become adept at avoiding notice.

Discussion

Mark Foster, 2012/09/28 18:27

get some dead people in the list

Mark Foster, 2012/09/28 18:27

old heroes

Mark Foster, 2012/10/05 18:29

split out the dead people

James Foster, 2013/11/16 10:42

need to correct the conflicting descriptions of Macedon.

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open/settings/6d6hellenic/notable_mortals.txt · Last modified: 2016/01/20 16:44 by darth_tigger
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