The Birth of the Games
About the Book
Yet often hope springs from the most unlikely sources. There is one amongst the Greeks who sees light where others only perceive darkness. One who sees that there is another way to settle conflict – with honor and courage. One who will set aflame a torch that will burn for thousands of years, down through the ages. In an epoch of chaos and strife, a new force for peace is born.
The Untold Story of the Founding of the Olympic Games…
My country has known many periods of great misfortune. One of these is now remembered as the Greek Dark Ages. After the fall of legendary Troy, Greek fought against Greek for hundreds of years. The carving on these stones around us was young then, and the sacred site of Olympia stood firm, but all else was in chaos. We had no central government, no unity, no shared national identity, and my ancestors had lost much — even the art of reading and writing had been forgotten. It was a time of great terror and rivers of blood, a time when few good men stood tall, and even patriots like the great poet Homer wandered blind and alone.”
Greek tour guide / narrator – Prologue
From this part of Greece, from Olympia herself, something extraordinary was born. Although the Greek cities around her were forever in combat - Elis and Pisa to the north, Sparta to the south - one young Greek who lived here chose not to go to war. He stood apart from it all. He stood against the conflict. He defied everyone: his father, the Spartans, even the foreigners who then pulled the strings of Sparta, the Phoenicians, rulers of the Mediterranean from their mighty city of Carthage in North Africa. He defied them, but not with violence. It was his idea of peace that triumphed. The name of this almost forgotten hero was Pelops…
Loping along the broken roadway, the relic of a more accomplished age, a youth of nineteen summers kept his breath even and his stride long as he raced towards Olympia, bearing a message for his father, the chief priest, Tantalus. As the sun beat down, leaving him in a sheen of sweat, Pelops sighted what appeared to be a large body of men approaching in the distance - the haze and dust rising from the road made their identity uncertain. With the gap closed, he spotted first the royal banner of Elis flying over a dusty, though regally-attired, figure on horseback in the vanguard, then some distance behind, a great number of foot soldiers, slick with sweat, grime, and what appeared to be the caked gore of a recent battle. ‘Another battle,’ Pelops cursed.
About the authors
John A. Martino is a disabled veteran, honourably discharged from the Australian Defence Force. He wrote his PhD in Classical History through Monash University and The University of Melbourne (with assistance from UNAM in Mexico City and ANU in Canberra) on martial violence in the Old World and the New. He has since sought ‘solutions’ to humanity’s endemic warlike ways; this novel is the culmination of that yearning. He is an avid archer, Alfa Romeo enthusiast, prolific reader, very keen international traveller, animal lover and enjoys getting Socratic – if not, at times, a touch Dionysiac – over a good bottle of red with friends. He has a very supportive peer group and family (of Italian and Greek heritage), to whom he owes much.
Foreword by Assoc. Prof. Alexis Lyras
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