Μηδίζω! The World of Achaemenid Hellas



At a distance of 1500 kroshah, seated on the Neck of Yona on the southern side, there lies the famed city of Khorinta, placed in an ideal location between Northern Yona and the lands of Lora. Khorinta is at the head of a pradesha of Yawana, to which it also gives its name, which in ancient times was the lands belonging to the kingdom of Khorinta, once ruled by King Shis. It is the second most important Yawana city after Theeba itself, with a population of two hundred thousand, and the main base of the western fleet of the Iweri Empire, and it has been such since the Manishiyan kings first brought Yawana under their protection. It is governed as a republic, though it is under the command of the Iweri raja, and it has a long history of kings famous across the Yawana lands. The city was originally named for the Korandaka flower that is found there. The inhabitants believe the city to be three thousand years old, and to have been founded by Surya as a place of truce, who is worshipped in Khorinta by the token of his horses, a device widely used on the coinage of this city and widely considered to be its symbol among the Yawani. There are large temples to Surya, Varuna, and Rati here, though that which is the house of Rati is the most famous among the Yawani. The temple to Surya sits upon the Rock of Khorinta, the great mount that lies at the heart of the city, and its through its grandeur and placement above the majority of the city that the exaltation and devotion to Surya is shown by the citizens here. The city is immensely wealthy, through the endowments and patronage of its temples but also through its commanding position controlling trade through the Neck of Yona and in the bays on either side. Indeed, the city has two ports on either side of the Neck, with the walls of Khorinta extending outwards to encompass the road to its western port in the same manner that Athina does with its own nearby harbours. In earlier times there were attempts by the kings of Khorinta to dig canals across the Neck, but this was not successful, and instead an enormous paved path is maintained which allows ships to be pushed by slaves overland from one side of the Neck to the other, allowing ships to bypass the entirety of the journey around Yona. There are two houses of bhikku in the city, though there were once four. These were created by the embassies of the invincible king Agnimitra, and the two which still exist are now supported by the Iweri raja. The Khorinti are also patrons of one of the great athletic festivals of the Yawana, and are in general among the most pious and well ordered among the Yawana, though somewhat given over to love of wealth and sensual pleasures. Khorinta was also the homeland of Bhoosmegar, son of Varuna, and founder of the great city of Bhoosan, and the homeland of Phella, guardian of the horses of Surya.



From the very start, Taras was both one of the greatest aids and obstacles to the formation of a lasting Italiote League. Their high martial reputation had already been established by this time, and they were already rivals to Dikaia, Lokris, Veii and Roma for sheer size. The League, combining the foremost Italian poleis and many of their less illustrious peers, could never hope to be assured of its integrity and strength against all comers if Taras did not consent to join the enterprise, and indeed Taras outside of the League might well have proven a viable threat in its own right. But the desire to include Taras in the League was ultimately about far more than just military concerns; the League was a sincere attempt to bring together the Hellenes of Italia into common purpose and harmony, to put aside the vicious wars between the various poleis. The arm of friendship and brotherhood was extended to all, with no churlishness about including the lesser Italian poleis, and the inclusion of Taras was therefore natural to achieve these more altruistic aims. The Italian project, conceived in Dikaia but adopted across the region, was one with high ambition.

There were several stumbling blocks to the assent of Taras into the more lasting Italiote League. They had been absolutely prepared to combine with the other Italians against foreign threats, first against the Iapogs alongside the Dikaians and then against the entirety of Italia against Karkhedor, but the Italiote League was a different level of commitment entirely. Firstly, the tyrant of the city, Aristotimos, was not predisposed to entirely trust the demokrats in Dikaia, Rhegion, or elsewhere, to not attempt an overthrow of the Tarentine form of constitution, particularly in the kind of intimate relationship the League seemed to presuppose. Secondly, the very power and wealth of the polis made its rulers willful and resistant to the idea of joining others in common policy where it might otherwise be able to act entirely self sufficiently and with concern only for themselves. And thirdly, perhaps crucially, it was exclusively up to Aristotimos to assent to this proposal, rather than appealing to a ruling council, assembly, or demokratic body the Italiotes had to convince a single man with entirely sovereign status.

However, among the Tarantinotes as a whole the prospect of a general settlement with the other Italiotes, let alone an active alliance, was extremely compelling and widely popular. The general sentiment was that Italia was much given over to conflict and that a general peace would be a welcome respite, along with a general admiration of how successful the joint adventures of the past decade had been. Pride was an emotion keenly felt by most Tarantinotes, but in the Italiote League was an opportunity for Taras to become yet greater still, as they saw it. Accordingly, by his suspicion of the other Italiotes, Aristotimos in fact guaranteed the result he feared, that of a general demokratic revolution, or at least this is how it was presented by the sources out of Dikaia written in contemporary times.
In actuality the events seem to have been more deeply ambiguous, with the initial aim being the removal of Aristotimos from power, not that of introducing a specific kind of new constitutional model. There were in fact two figures directly aiming to replace Aristotimos as tyrant during the overthrow, Mnesagoras the hipparkhos and Akesandros of Phoibea, who had both assembled retinues and mercenaries and competed to gain influence over the rest of the citizens. Events soon overtook and overwhelmed any notion of establishing a new monarch. A general and genuine call among the ordinary inhabitants of the city for a demokratic constitution began soon after Aristotimos sent in his mercenaries to put down the revolution by force. Mnesagoras and Akesandros, as well equipped and ambitious as they were, were now powerless against the tide of raw anger in Taras, and begrudgingly accepted the inevitable that had been unleashed. This, then, resulted in the creation of the Tarantine demokratic constitution after the exile of Aristotimos and his family, though the ambitions of Mnesagoras and Akesandros were in no way quelled.
The events of the revolution had passed so quickly that by the time the news had reached most of the Italiotes the new demokratic constitution had already been declared. It was difficult for the allies to disapprove of this result which guaranteed Tarantine entry into the Italiote League, and which removed one of the last tyrannies of Italia. But it made the continuation of Syrakousai participation in the League an open question, and reignited tensions in the city between its monarchy and those who wished to establish a demokratic regime. It must be said that the matter of constitution in Syrakousai had never been resolved, only delayed by common consent in order to resist the Karkhedonians. This was simply an opportunity for the tensions to break out once more. Many, however, directly pointed to Taras as having inspired the demokrats of Syrakousai, and there is certainly some truth in this. Without Taras’ revolution who knows how the century might have progressed for Syrakousai otherwise.



It might be supposed that the hand of Aphrodite does not reach out to those stern warriors who are considered the most fierce and incorruptible, but the love between Ares and Aphrodite has ever been rich and fulfilling. Among their children are Harmonia, Eros, and Anteros, and they are the progenitors of all guardians of love. Though many common soldiers are the most base kind of lover, selfish and cruel and eager to gratify themselves, sometimes the very best lovers are those whose craft is war, and whose theatre is the battlefield. In fact, I would pronounce myself agreeable to the professional regiment rather than the practice of the temporary phalanx, for the quality of suitors that this produces. There are none that stand out in this manner more than the brothers of the Gorgades. Now, I am of course a Korinthian, as these fine men are in the service of my homeland it would be considered an obvious choice, but I am talking beyond my love of my motherland, deep and eternal as that love is. The Gorgades are as any body of men, their virtues are not all shared, their qualities not always equal. Nevertheless, among them are an above average number men of surpassing beauty, nobility, and wisdom, who any woman would be honoured in taking as a lover. Those who are frightened of their fearsome armour need not worry, for these men are eager to do away with their panoply, they are eager to cast aside their shell. They are often in want of tenderness and affection, all the more for their responsibility as the most feared marines of the Great Sea. Flattery will serve well but bawdiness will only serve to attract the lesser among them. Interest, affection, and above all patience will attract the finer among the Gorgades, and the rewards for all of this hard work will be more than worth it. Neither should you make a public fuss about your affection, as some men desire, for the Gorgades are already the focus of much attention, and have no need for such ostentatious displays of what they have won on the field of love.



Ya, Kypros, the Copper Isle, is famed across the Great Sea for the quantity and quality of its copper above all, but also for its silver, its timber, and its wine. Its beaches are exceedingly pleasant, its ships proud and sturdy. It is a place of ancient piety, and has played host to many grand rulers and mighty Empires. It has never managed to manifest control over its own destiny, however, having been pulled between greater masters of loftier ambition and resources, ever since the foundation of Paphos by the Hellene Kinyras. The isle was first settled by those termed Eteokypriot by the Hellenes, who did not dwell in cities, then by the men of Phoinikia, and then by the Hellenes. This has left it with an unusual mixture of these various peoples, and was also the first occasion by which Hellenes became civilized by their contact with more developed Asian peoples. To the Hellenes this is the birthplace of Aphrodite, and the Temple of Aphrodite at Paphos is one of the most important sanctuaries of all the Hellenic regions. The island is also highly venerated by the Phoinikians, who lay claim to its foundation as the people from whom the line of Kinyras descended. As well as a centre of great piety the island is chiefly important for its naval utility for whichever great power is currently asserting control over the Great Sea, and for this reason the island has at times been a possession of the ancient empires of Assyria, Aigyptos, Parsa, Amavadata, and the Imerians. The island was divided between eight smaller kingdoms until the time of the Amavadatids, when this number was reduced to six, and it is currently now divided between three kingdoms, all of whom are loyal to the Imerian King. Merchants of Kypros are a frequent sight across the Great Sea, with a reputation of having a fine eye for glassware and metalwork. The source of many abandoned buildings of times past are Ya’s frequent, devastating tremors, held by the island’s people to be the movement of a giant serpent under the earth, or the work of the Hellenic god Poteidan. The Hellenes term this orogenia, a land where mountains are born, and this also causes them to hold the island as sacred. The snakes of this island are also held to be sacred, and frequently used by Phoinikians and Hellenes alike to invoke the healing powers of the Gods.


We can never truly reckon the number of Athenians who left their city after the disaster at Salamis. Attempts to come to some total by assuming a minimum number necessary to found a city (Dikaia) are unsound, particularly when we know of contributions from other citizen bodies, and this yet remains the most sensible method used by scholars to solve this problem. What we can gleam is something of the makeup of this body of refugees from a few known facts. We know that men, women, and children departed, rather than soldiers and sailors alone. In some cases entire extended family units left, leaving entirely vacant lands with no familial heirs back home in Athens, most famously demonstrated in Against Porphanos where ownership of one of these abandoned plots had to be determined. We know that most of the Athenians who departed were not particularly rich nor considered socially influential, as the majority of the Athenian aristocracy remained behind, and also because such a large portion of the Athenian navy absconded. Let us not forget that, though they were free men, the citizen rowers of Athens were from the lowest classes of that society. We know that some of the resident foreigners in Athens departed alongside the citizens. Some clearly shared in the fears of their fellow residents as they departed before it was clear what would happen to Athens, others departed after it was clear that Dikaia was a firmly established enterprise that they might share in as equals.

This is the general shape of what would become the citizen body of Dikaia, although this was obviously augmented by the Sybaritai and the other contributors to the new foundation. This highly particular segment of the Athenian population was obviously not going to behave the same as the complete citizen body had previously, nor could its community simply become a second Athens. This was a reality that was not apparent at first. From the start aspects of Dikaian law, ritual life, and public behaviour sought to transplant key elements of Athens. There was a Dionysia, there were arkhontes, there were jury panels, there was even allegedly a perfect copy of the statue of Athena found in the Parthenon. The lettered men of this first generation, and many of their children, continued to talk in terms of Athenian classes and tribes. But the bedrock upon which this society was built was not the hoplite, or the clan patriarch, or the cavalryman. It was the oarsman. Without the desire of so many rowers to take exile rather than enter the service of the Persian King, could such a mass exodos ever have proven possible? These strong, trained men now also dominated the demographics of the polis. Their importance to the body as a whole, forming the first and really only viable line of defence against the Persians, was paramount. The question, as with any occasion where a specific demographic suddenly gains influence over the body as a whole, was whether the Dikaians as a whole would resist or accept this new state of affairs.

The answer, at first, was a qualified acceptance. The Dikaian navy, across the 5th century BCE, continued to expand, and this coincided with a growth in demokratic institutions and rights which cannot be considered unrelated. The quality and functionality of the Dikaian navy was vital, whether for combat against powerful foreign foes such as the Tinians and Karkhedonians, deterring incursions from Persia, or demonstrating Dikaian strength to the other Italiotes in the League of Kaulonia. Put simply, the Dikaians could not afford to alienate their rowers. Neither were the rowers passive in asserting their entitlement to greater status, pulling up their fellows in the lower classes alongside them. But this period, the era of the First Italiote League, is still one where the visual and literary icon of Dikaia and Italia in general is the hoplite, generally fighting some kind of Hesperian barbarian, at the very least in the defence of the Italiote world. The oarsmen were still in the background of the high culture of the citizen body they acted on behalf of. Their achievements were only celebrated on occasion, and even then much of the iconography of naval combat in that era focused on the marines, who notably sat entirely still on their ships unless they engaged in a boarding action.

It would be tempting to ascribe the collapse of Dikaia’s first hegemony, and the First Italiote League, to this half-hearted embrace of the oarsman and his vital service, but I must confess myself unconvinced by this line of thought. If one were to point to popular roots for the subjugation of Italia, then surely it must be with the increasingly proactive methods used by the Persian aristocracy to gain favour with their Hellenic subjects, the sheer size of the domains awarded to Taras over the course of multiple campaigns against the Iapyges, the economic strength of Syrakouse, and the lack of prestigious opportunities for the Keltoi in their own homelands. One cannot reasonably place the social position of the oarsman in Dikaia on an equal level to these truths, and indeed the Dikaian navy continued to act with skill and dignity through this period. But we can certainly point to the oarsman as bringing this low ebb for Dikaia to an end, nor the rowers of Dikaia alone.

With the collapse of Amavadatid control in Italia, generally dated to 296 BCE, there were many paths to take for Dikaia, and the Italiotes as a whole. On the one hand, revolt against the control of Syrakouse and Kapua was inevitable, as shown by the revolts in Dikaia, Rhegion, Laus, Sankle and Lokris that began in 294 BCE. But on the other hand, this did not necessarily mean a reestablishment of the Italiote League. Taras had for some time enjoyed a reasonably independent existence under the Amavadatid aigis and were now poised to become a powerful independent nation once again. The Dikaians might plausibly have hoped for something similar as they reunited their former territories. There are always temptations to forsake the more difficult path of co-operation for the more immediate gratification of hegemonia, and the Dikaians were no exception to that temptation. The moment of truth came when Syrakouse launched an expedition against Taras, who called for help from all of the former members of the Italiote League. Syrakouse seemed to have given up on recapturing Dikaia, and some accounts suggest that there had even been diplomatic negotiations between the two poleis. The Dikaians could plausibly have chosen not to interfere, and to instead expand their territory in Italia, perhaps even aligning themselves with Syrakouse. The oarsmen of Dikaia were having none of that.

The moment that news of the expedition became widely known, several Dikaian squadrons departed for Taras in order to aid their former allies, before the Boule had come to a decision or given any orders. The nauarkh who headed this ‘expedition’, Nausias, was firmly convinced of the need for unity against Syrakouse, and provided its leadership. But it was the universal belief in the rebirth of the Italiote League among his crews that enabled him to take this drastic decision. The Dikaians, having been presented with a fait accompli, ordered more ships to head to Taras, and were now committed. All they could do was wait.
The next fateful moment came when Nausias’ fleet arrived within sight of Taras, for there had been no time to send advance warning to the Tarantinotes that they were coming. The presence of a large Dikaian fleet, unannounced, was not automatically a cause for celebration, and the ships of Taras were ordered to prepare to defend the city. However, once it became clear that it was a Dikaian fleet that was approaching, the rowers of the Tarantine fleet began to cheer and celebrate, breaking up any move to intercept the new arrivals. Their faith was rewarded when the Dikaian squadrons came about and took up a defensive formation, leaving the Tarantine ships their old position on the left as had been normal in the fleets of the Italiote League. This gesture was universally understood among the Tarantinotes, and told them definitively that the Dikaians were once again taking up the cause of Italia.

The Dikaians, after all had been said and done, retroactively sanctioned all of Nausias’ actions, and could not avoid the fact that their sailors had jumped at the chance to reform the grand alliance between the Italiotes. These circumstances placed the oarsmen of Dikaia and Taras at the very heart of the Second Italiote League. Special naval coinage was issued to mark the occasion in all of the poleis party to the new League’s formation, and from this point onwards maritime imagery became a focal point of Dikian state iconography. Neither was this sentiment unique to Dikaia and its citizens; it is not coincidental that the bull-headed fish was used as a symbol of the Italiote League alongside the official federal symbol of the man-headed bull. The Italiote rebirth also marked more shifts in the structure of the Dikaian state, still recovering after its period of foreign domination (though it must be said that Syrakouse, as a fellow demokratic state, had not repressed any of Dikaia’s institutions, simply curtailing their independence and powers). The demokratic inclinations of the city became even stronger because the strength of the navy, and the lower classes it represented, was now unassailable. Members of the Ekklesia were compensated for attending its meetings, jury pay was increased, the class restrictions for becoming a member of the Boule were abolished (though candidates still had to be approved by their deme). This is the Dikaia that commentators in Hellas referred to derisively as an example of ‘radical’ demokratia, but Dikaia also captured the enthusiasm of its citizen body. Dikaia had begun as a bold enterprise, a new beginning for a body of exiled Athenians and those who chose to align with them. The polis had lost something of this lustre in its nearly two centuries of existence. The increased incentives to participate in its government changed the character of participation, and this would not have been possible without the influence of the oarsmen. The movers and shakers of that citizen body were now those who rowed their great warships, and those capable of speaking to their interests. This then is the birth of the naval demokratia of Dikaia.
However, once it became clear that it was a Dikaian fleet that was approaching, the rowers of the Tarantine fleet began to cheer and celebrate, breaking up any move to intercept the new arrivals. Their faith was rewarded when the Dikaian squadrons came about and took up a defensive formation, leaving the Tarantine ships their old position on the left as had been normal in the fleets of the Italiote League. This gesture was universally understood among the Tarantinotes, and told them definitively that the Dikaians were once again taking up the cause of Italia.
Thar was oddly touching!
I have a question though, at some poitn you referred to Amavatid control of Italia, and I don't remember that. When did it happened? Or is it new information?
Thar was oddly touching!
I have a question though, at some poitn you referred to Amavatid control of Italia, and I don't remember that. When did it happened? Or is it new information?

It's been relatively casually mentioned before, this is the first update that's taken a look at the consequences. There was a period of several decades where Syracuse and the Amavadatids effectively divided Italia between them, with the Amavadatids using Capua and Rome as client states further north. This is important for the history of the Amavadatids because this is where Amavadata declared independence from the Achaemenids so to speak, by way of his interventions in Italia in the first place.

Pardon me, but may I ask how far this TL will be running? I have been having a blast reading your TL and I simply don't want it to stop.

May I ask whether or not you have plans for the Sassanids and Late Antiquity in general?

Yours truly, Aviennca's Pupil

So, I do have a definite end goal, and I think the timeline is more than halfway to that point now. But that's because the thread is always, ultimately, focused on Achaemenid Greece and its consequences, which is why I've usually kept the updates focused on this era, consequences of it, and the reception of it by later societies (with some obvious exceptions). That doesn't mean I haven't strongly considered a thread focused on later eras in the same timeline.

The nearest equivalent to the Sassanids are probably the Middle Iranian Empire that's been mentioned in a few updates. I have deliberately avoided giving away much about them, or their actual dynastic title, mostly because they firmly belong to the 'postclassical' era of the World of Achaemenid Hellas. But they and a general idea of Late Antiquity's equivalent powers and cultures (though obviously this is a nebulous concept without a Roman Empire) are definitely something I've spent time on.
Huh. Is Rome a member of the Italian League?

It's not, they were a client state of the Amavadatids for a period, but with the Amavadatid withdrawal from Italia they started to suffer inroads from the Etruscans, who had solidified their hold over northern Italy by this time. I don't know if I'm going to get into the details of Rome's conquest by the Etruscans but I've no doubt reading about it would be a bit cathartic to a few folks on the board. Of the two Amavadatid clients, Capua was closer in geography and alignment to the Italiotes, but the rise of the Etruscans/Tinians in Central Italy and the rebirth of the Italiote League upset all of that.
The Achaemenid Navy



It was at that moment that King Congonnos declared his full intentions.

“The great kings of Old Parsha, gathering such great domains in their ordered state, were not content to let the world simply exist as unknowns. They had their great fleets, to carry their victorious arms over the seas, to protect their people from pirates and raiders, to bring to Babulon wealth unimaginable. They had their four great admirals, Sculax, Artamisha, Idobal, and Darios. They pushed the state of knowledge into the farthest seas, into the heart of India, into the depths of Scuthia, into the distantmost corners of Idon. It was only then that that they truly knew what threats lay outside their border, what impieties were visited upon other peoples, what disorder there yet remained to overcome. We shall not allow ourselves to be poorer than our forebears in this respect, now that we are come into our might and dignity. Our nation shall come to possess great fleets. Our kingdom shall have its own great admirals. Our knowledge and dominion shall extend into Africa, Brutania, the Amber Sea, and as far as the great ice that lies to the far north. Our peace shall reach all nations. So it shall be.”

All of his friends and great servants were amazed at the ambition that was being displayed, far beyond the aims of any king who had ruled among the Galetoi before, or those mighty kings that had forged the Carnuti into the paramount force of Iuropa. Those foreign ambassadors and petitioners who happened to be in attendance were astounded and fearful, having expected to find a crude barbarian. Instead, they found a ruler with the vision of the greatest conquerors that had existed to that point.

King Congonnos was already in possession of fine vessels under the command of Massala, Burdigal, and Darioriton, but these were insufficient for his goals. Most of these squadrons were tasked to protecting commerce from the rapaciousness of Sarmatic, Wangon, and Sardic pirates, and could not easily be spared for long voyages. Neither were all of these vessels suitable for the storm ravaged open sea. To achieve this goal Wentic, Tartic, and Hellenic shipbuilders were sent out to lesser ports and shipyards across the provinces. Great hosts of lumbermen were sent out to gather the timbers for these vessels, entire villages tasked to make the sailcloth, whole cities depleted of their smiths for the metal parts. The entirety of the Empire was at work on this great project, and it was three years before it was fully completed. When at last the fleet had been completed, however, it formed the greatest naval force the world had yet seen. Greater than Carthag, greater than Parsha, greater than the Hellenes at the very height of their own powers. And Congonnos looked upon this fleet, from a high window at Burgidal, and he was pleased.

“Now, at last, we may begin.”


Now it must be said that, on the whole, the Akhaimenidai were not given over to intensive organisation of their naval affairs, being principally concerned with the governance of their existence territories in Asia proper, territories which could only be governed by vast armies, and also being in possession of districts home to well established maritime peoples who were more than capable of furnishing warships. Indeed, the Hellenes were the only foe in the west in the history of that imperial titan which necessitated the assembly of a truly potent armada, such was the plurality of islands and naval forces among the Hellenes, and though the Hellenes were for a time accorded a weak naval reputation due to their loss against the Persian fleet the many errors and inefficiencies of the Persian maritime doctrines suggests that the Hellenes had a clear chance of victory at Salamis.

The Akhaimenidai had no standing, royal war fleet of any kind. They were always reliant on the naval forces of their subjects, clients, and foreign allies in the event of a great need for naval activity, whether this was the poleis of the Phoinekes, the Egyptians, the Hellenes, the Araboi, or whomever else could be counted upon to provide battle-ready fleets at short notice. The Persian contribution to such activities was almost exclusively in the form of admirals and marines, and even a great number of their admirals were taken from their subjects, for example the famous Skylax or Artemisia, and this was necessary because lacking experience in military shipboard operations there would have been little point in appointing Persians to captain vessels.

This might seem strange given how many other of the important states of that time relied upon their navies to the point of practically doting upon them, but as we are all aware a properly constructed and maintained warship is worth a considerable amount of treasure, between the paint, the pitch, the flux, the wood, the canvas, the rope, not to mention the crew and military equipment. One would assume the annual cost of a warship of serviceable size and quality to be a talent per hull. If we take the size of Xerxes’ fleet at Salamis, a thousand warships all told, then we are to assume that the annual maintenance of a fleet of this size would have been equal to the entirety of Babylonia’s contribution to the treasuries of the Akhaimenidai. Then we must also take into consideration that a fleet based in the Great Sea could not also participate in activities and warfare in the Indian Sea, so that another thousand ships would have had to have been provided for by the royal treasury. The riches of the Empire might well have been able to accomodate all of this, but one can recognise an eminently grounded logic and practical mindset in deciding not to pay for the maintenance of permanent fleets in the eventuality of warfare with a nation that possessed a substantial fleet and who could not simply have been overcome with pitched battle and siege.

In addition, we can say that the Persians of the time possessed so much raw power that they had little need for the expense and time of organising fleets on a permanent basis. Yet we may say that they never felt able to extend their dominion to Karkhedon, or Italia, principally because of the strength of the navies of their potential opponents in these areas, despite the far smaller populations and resources of Sikelia, or Africa, or Italia, compared to the assembled might of Asia. Thus there were certainly limitations to what a haphazard naval strategy could achieve, particularly when we take into consideration how difficult it was for the Persian forces in Hellas to prevent piracy because of how many poleis tacitly supported such actions and because of how few attempts there were to police these waters effectively. The ineffectiveness of the satraps of Hellas to deal with this over time was certainly a factor in the rise of Amavadatos, who campaigned vigorously against Hellenic and Illyrian pirates that targeted shipping in the waters around Hellas. It is for these reasons that no grand Empire in possession of Asia, or with ambitions of controlling the Great Sea, has ever replicated such a light-handed strategy since those times, for although the expenses of maintaining well trained crews and top of the line warships are considerable their value is so important that they cannot be neglected in such a fashion.

The one notable exception to the general Persian pattern of naval profligacy was in their territories on the mighty Indos river. In the history of Akhaimenidai adventures into India, particularly those of Prince Bagadatos the son of King Kyros III, support of these expeditions by sea proved to be vital in any attempts to breach the frontier of the Indos. In addition to the standing royal fleet of the Indian Sea, the Indos was also the only significant river that formed a frontier of the imperial domains, so that a royal river fleet of some size and sophistication was maintained here, ensuring a swift movement of troops to respond to any Indian attempts to dislodge the Persians from the east bank of the river, and the ability to block any attempts at crossing the river from some sudden expedition of Indians. This proved an effective barrier to Indian incursions on the royal frontiers in this region, and this was only overcome with the overwhelming force of Agnimitre and his unparalleled cunning. The last admiral of this Persian fleet, Datemitra, is said to have travelled across the entirety of the Empire, from Samarkhand to Sardis, in order to serve King Amavadatos, and in turn helped to create the Istros fleet of King Vivana, though it is not truly known when Datemitra lived or, indeed, when he passed on.


The great host of King Annimitta was therefore drawn into three armies of his mighty warriors to affect the final crossing of the Sindhu, champion of torrents, against his enemies in Aparadesa, the milekkha peoples who sought to bring disharmony and barbarism to Jambudipa. The Army of Vata, led by King Vamaka of Sagala, was to grapple with the fierce men of the Balikas and Kandara, with their terrible lances. The Army of Ambha, led by King Rukkha of Soratt, was sent forth to challenge the unruly and wicked Kambojas and their horsemen. The Army of Bhumi was led by King Annimitta himself, arrayed for battle so finely that he was mistaken for a god, unwavering and noble, and they were to go against the mighty men of Parsa, under the King Koresh and his host of battle-tested warriors. To accomplish the crossing, the Armies of Ambha and Vata were to push across the fords of Salatura and Attak, whereas the Army of Ambha would first take the city of Patala, home to a thousand merchants, still occupied by the Parsa warriors of Koresh.

The walls of Patala were as tall as hills and as thick as palaces, built by the labour of the citizens over many years to withstand the depredations of Koresh, now turned against their countrymen by the machinations of the Parsa King. It was thought by the Parsa warriors under the apple banner that the city was invincible against any attempts to conquer it save treachery, and knew that they had prevented any such occurrence by the strength of their arms and the reputation of their might. Thus they were not troubled or disheartened by the approach of the army of Annimitta, both by account of the strength of their position but also the staunch bravery in their hearts. The siege was concluded within a single day. Tall ladders of strong wood had been carefully prepared by the artisans of Annimitta in advance of the assault against the great walls of Patala, and they were thus sent against the ramparts of Patala to bring regiments of the finely coated soldiers of dhrama against the foe. Then, as the walls were frought with battle between the many warriors assembled on the field, and with his own mighty blows, Annimitta smashed open the gates that were held fast against him with thick arjun timber, and no man could stand against this man wreathed in righteous glory, his crown shining like Jambu river gold. The city of Patala, with its magnificent ports, was at length overcome, and the crossings of the Sindhu won. Thereupon he and his armies came to the river fleet of Koresh, an assembly of tall masts and sharp bows. This had been intended to halt any crossing of the Sindhu, striking out from its thought-invincible harbour at Patala, but now it was overcome, and under the command of Annimitta.

Good health to the King, my lord, from Nanna-Gugal. I am well.
As to what you wrote:
In what state is the construction of the ships I ordered to be laid down?
The labourers have been working well, under the supervision of the managers, and ten fine oceangoing ships have been completed. However, the wood shipment from Kislimu was late, which I am sure the King has heard from the foreman who received the shipment, and the last shipment of timber was not received at all. I have written to Dimashqa to see what has happened to the timber, and I am assured that the timber departed from the city at the appointed time. If the timber cannot be located, should I send for more from Dimashqa, or will it come from another location more swiftly?
As to what you wrote:
Will these new ships be completed before the end of Shabatu?
If the missing timber is replaced, the ships will still be completed by this date, the supplies of canvas, bitumen, nails, and other necessary elements are all correct and sufficient for the completion of the task. If the timber is not replaced swiftly, then the ships cannot be completed for this date.

The king’s word to Adad-Ibni: I am in good health, you may be glad.
What has happened to the logs that were to be sent to Nanna-Gugal for the construction of thirty new ships? Nanna-Gugal has said to me that the Kislimu shipment was tardy, and that he has still not received the next shipment. Did these logs leave Dimashqa speedily?
Say this from Adad-Ibni at Dimashqa to the King Artakshartha. To the king, my lord, may Ahura Mazda and all the other gods keep you and Parsa in good health.
As to what you said:
What has happened to the logs that were to be sent to Nanna-Gugal
As I said to Nanna-Gugal previously, my lord, the logs were gathered and then sent on time, my own man and the King’s man were both there to witness the departure on the correct day. Perhaps Nanna-Gugal is just lazy and wishes to give excuses to my lord as to why the work has not completed. Or perhaps there has been some delay in another province involving the transportation of these logs, but I have not had anything reported to me about such things.
With this letter comes frankincense and Egyptian linen.

The king’s word to Phratarka: I am in good health, you may be glad.
Logs used for the construction of the Arabian Sea fleet have been delayed in reaching Nanna-Gugal and his labourers, have the logs been passing correctly through the lands you govern? If they have, have they been passing through speedily? Send your reply with this messenger!

To the lord my king, from Phratarka. May all the Gods under heaven be watchful of your health and your majesty, I am well.
Regarding what you wrote to me:
Have the logs been passing correctly through the lands you govern?
I can also confirm the logs from Dimashqa have been passing along the roads here, there has been no trouble reported, no logs missing, nor have the attendants and their guards been lazy, their progress was swift and efficient. No whips were required. I did receive a request from Databazana at Tarqa for troops, however, because of some kind of disturbance. The troops have still not returned, but it was only a single detachment of local levies. What has transpired I do not know, but if there has been a problem that is where the route has been cut.
With this letter and messenger comes ten escaped prisoners from Uruk.

The king’s word to Databazana: What is occuring in your district? Phratarka has said that you have requested troops to deal with a disturbance, what disturbance is ongoing and why have you not informed me? Shipments of Dimashqa logs needed for the Arab fleet have been delayed passing through your lands, what has happened to them? Do you require assistance? Must I command the Gods to smite all of the men at Tarqa until somebody tells Artakshartha what is going on? Reply at once!

To the king of kings, my lord, who I am not worthy to trouble with my voice, may all the gods watch over your line eternally.
I regret to inform you, my king, that Databazana has but yesterday died, it may be that the swift messengers of the king have already informed you of this unfortunate event. I am Dagan-Bel-Ibli, the overseer of Tarqa, and it has fallen upon me to maintain the king’s order here until someone can be sent to take the governorship.
As to what the king my lord has said: “What is occurring in your district, what disturbance is ongoing?
Starting in Kislimu, Arabs have been raiding the area for slaves, food, and good things, swiftly riding in to take these things and then making off. The governor Databazana attempted to bring these raids to a halt by paying off the Arabs, but he did so deceitfully, using counterfeited coins in order to affect the payment. The Arabs grew wise to the deception, and at the start of this month came back in large numbers. They have fought several times with the garrison and local forces here, and it was three days ago that they were repelled in battle, in which battle Databazana was fatally wounded.
As for what the king, my lord, has asked about the Dimashqa logs, these were seized by the Arabs during their plunder, but they did not take all of them, for soldiers of the king surprised them as they attempted to haul away the heavy logs. What they could not make off with we have kept in our stronghold, even though it is not the full shipment should I proceed to send it back en route now that the area has been pacified again?

From the King’s Eye, Datapharna, to the king, my lord. I am well.
There has been attacks against the area by Arabs, those ruled by Ashila, worsened by the foolishness of Databazana. Few messages could be sent because of Arabs intercepting messengers, but they have now been defeated in battle, Databazana redeeming his foolishness by dying to protect the king’s lands. Dagan-Bel-Ibli has taken command in his absence, and has been effective in securing the King’s Peace. Before he took command he was able to save a number of my lord’s shipments from total capture by the Arabs. The situation is now likely remedied but the Arabs will likely need punishing to prevent a recurrence, particularly with such incompetent displays.

From the King to Dagan-Bel-Ibli say this: I am well, you may be glad.
As to what you asked me: “Should I proceed to send it back en route”.
Yes, send the remaining Dimashqa wood as quickly as you are able, so that the works for which they are destined is not delayed.
I will command the districts of Sirhi and Apadana and Shalbatu to send troops to your district. Take them, collect the necessary supplies from the quartermaster, and march against the Arabs so that they will not repeat a similar incident in the future. If they instead attempt to pay tribute or attempt to return things which they have stolen from the king, then message me without delay. When you have completed your expedition, message me immediately. Ensure that no further delays impact any shipments passing through your district.

Last edited:
Always a joy to see this pop up in my watched threads tab. Wonder if these Arab incursions are building up to anything, or if it was just an isolated event.

Aren't Arabs by this point very Persified in a sense? They're even Persian in terms of religion given that we're talking about a version of Buddhism that in turn is very Persian or at least has been altered to fit predominantly Persianate cultures.

It'll be interesting to see an event similar to the Arab conquests in this time line. Could we see greater assimilation of Arabs to Persian culture than OTL? Given the very Arab-centric administration of the early Caliphates we may not see that given the lack of both a religious and cultural motivation to do so (Southern Arab states often had little to no contact with the Persian culture up until the Arab conquests). Furthermore how would the very Persified Hellene-originated states react to such a power. Would they see themselves as inheritors and preservers of Persian culture and refuse to recognize an Arab "barbarian" Shahanshah?
So: Persians, Indians, *Georgians, whoever the Gimiri are...but always Asia?

This continues to be a most fascinating TL. Is the most quotable Congnommos a *Gaul, or am I being fooled by the "Galetoi" part? (Galatians of Anatolia?)
So: Persians, Indians, *Georgians, whoever the Gimiri are...but always Asia?

This continues to be a most fascinating TL. Is the most quotable Congnommos a *Gaul, or am I being fooled by the "Galetoi" part? (Galatians of Anatolia?)
Well, the work is called the Karnutikon, and his ships are based in Massalia and Burdigala... So he probably is king of this Carnute Empire we have been teased about recently. I cannot wait to learn more about this! Why would a king of Gallia needs so much ships?
I particularly enjoyed the letters between Artaxerxes and his subordinates. They give a real insight into the day-to-day running of the empire, and the limits of the king's power. They also sound authentic, the structure and forms match up with the Akkadian and Sumerian letters I've read. I suspect Dagan-Bel-Ibli, should he succeed in his expedition against the Arabs, may have a promising career in royal service. He's clearly competent.
Chapter 7 Epilogue


The interview begins now.
An interview? I think not, strange one, meaning no particular disrespect. I will talk as long as I wish, and you may choose to listen to what Artemisia says, that is the relationship that we shall enjoy. I have already suffered too many demanding my words to no good use. I suppose I have endured that rather less than many others of my sex, it must be said. Shall I speak of justice, then, since I suppose that is our purpose here today? On the one hand, I am at the feet of justice. How can one not speak of justice when a woman is recognised the equal of a man as warrior, counsellor, monarch. To be sure, the King of Kings was always above me, but so he towered peerless above all of the kings in his domains, and how many of them were sat at his right hand? Yet, I ended many lives, strange one. I cannot and will not say that all of those sent to the underworld at my command met just ends, or that all men who died in my service did so for higher purpose. Nor can I deny that good people and upright nations suffered so that I might taste glory and place my star at its highest point. My ascent had costs, and I gladly used the bodies of others to pay my arrears. Such it is to be a king. Such it is be to be the King of Kings.

To stretch out the hand and grasp so many nations, cities, people together without letting go skirts close to hybris. An Empire may be created in the service of justice, a vision of peace among all nations, but sooner or later it will be expanded by avarice and maintained by fear, such is the nature of dominion that will not suffer competition or abridgement of authority. And let us not be gentle or fleeting in our examination of the high kingdom. For all that strong men have their backs broken to the will of the King, how many more women are ground to dust utterly by the King, his servants, and their servants, and their servants. The states of the world are not kind to those who cannot seek uncontested power, or those who cannot borrow that of another to make their way in the world. I am not kind either.

I am proud of my warlike bearing, of my kingly nature, of my upright stance, of my indomitable will, of my skill at war. Yet, strange one, I am angry. I am furious that a woman with talent and skill must, it seems, be so overwhelmingly talented, so fiery as to be a flume for Hephaistos, so willing to be cruel, to ever gain recognition for her masteries and to gain a name among the folk at large. I envy Sappho some, word-famous, remembered for her song and wit and craft. And yet Sappho had to be the greatest of poets to be spoken of with reverence and with any comparison to her peers. I drank blood, my heart beat to the drums which beat the pattern of the oars, I gladly sought battle where it came into my path. This is simply who I am. But maybe I wish that I could have been a Sappho, that I could have chosen that path. Or that I could have been a wise and contemplative king, jolly in one moment and yet judicious in the next, creating laws for a nation that would stand for a thousand years, calm and yet utterly certain in all of my choices.

Am I ungrateful for still feeling chained to a mast, despite all that I have been given and all that I have been able to achieve? No, I am not. Perhaps I have been offered too much choice, leaving me unable to tolerate the bitter sting of limitations, but I have known few women who have felt differently. Xerxes would have understood the prison too, of being unable to escape the role you were born to if you wanted to survive of thrive, but even he had I think more choice if he had set his mind to it. He had many brothers who could have inherited the throne, become King of Kings, without becoming dispossessed and powerless himself. But had I not been who I am I would have most certainly lacked almost all powers I did come to possess, a name of some dignified respect among the subjects of my kingdom and a notary among the circles of the Empire, of sufficient pedigree to deign a conversation, perhaps even a favour or two. Perhaps I might have prevailed upon the satrap in Sardis, or Xerxes, to provide me with a splendid mansion with all that my family spent on fighting their wars.

Proud of my powers and yet hateful of needing them to get where I am. I really am voracious, aren't I. But that is what Justice became to me, rewards for my talents and my efforts for getting them. I don't know if Empire, or civil society, can exist in a state of true justice. If such a thing were to exist, could I even dwell in such a place, being who I am, doing what I have done? I suppose that depends on whether I must necessarily have become, and remain, Artemisia, Queen of Halikarnassos, or whether that is but one form I am able to exist in. I am so well fitted to my powers and abilities that I had rarely allowed myself the luxury of imagining being anything different, and yet I said that I wish I could have been different, didn't I. Perhaps, then, having tasted power, what I now truly desire is choice. I don't know what I must do to earn that privilege, having been denied it for my entire life. But I would like to try. If that is something that I can be granted, then I wish to seek it.

The interview is over.
I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who nominated the timeline for a Turtledove and who has voted for it. I'm glad that people still enjoy the timeline, coyness and all.
So the next chapter is... heavy. I've not shyed away from the more unpleasant consequences of various events but Chapter 8 is proving emotionally tough to write. As counterbalance to that, I found myself needing to write about something lighter, and so was born an interlude of sorts. I hope you all like it.

I'd also like to say that I'm happy to have gotten 2nd place in Best Ancient Timeline this year, as much as winning would have been great it's still a pretty neat thing to go 'people thought this one thread was the second best ancient alternate history currently running on the website'. Thank you.


The sugarhouse of Vel Callistratis is found in the city of Acrajha, in the Tula Zanu district, in the House of the Old Mazigha. This is within a hundred paces of the sacred Zanu precinct, and just off the main road towards the city’s ajhura, so it’s not too far off the beaten track, striking a balance between accessibility and discouraging truly enormous crowds. On the threshold of the House you will see a mural of the traditional Acrajhannac triad; Zan the Father, Artami the Protector, and Apellon the Redeemer. You will know your mark by the bag of sugar that Apellon holds and the fruits hanging from the neck of Artami. I highly suggest you take the invitation of the open door, and follow the Redeemer’s welcoming gesture. Do plan your visit in advance. One needs time and quiet to properly appreciate the artisanal wares on offer, and so one must be cautious because this is a popular establishment. Do not visit in the mid afternoon and especially not on market day, or you will never make it to the counter.

Callistratis, from the renown of his craft, is a very successful proprietor, blessed by Lujh. He trained his craft under Isclus of Atriburjh, confectioner to the Lautac Mec, and after several years of apprenticeship decided to create his own establishment rather than follow his mentor into direct patronage. Callistratis chose to set up his stall in his native Sicelia, a land not lacking in its sugar and confections but not perhaps renowned for them as Neapluz or Ziracusa would, let alone somewhere like Turaz to the east. His success, and that of his sugarhouse, has been earned by skill and hard work. The shop itself is relatively unprepossessing, well kept and tidy but without much of the froppery and finery associated with the great sugarhouses of Campania, or the old meclar confectioners of Ziracusa. This, I find, is reflective of the premises’ relatively humble origins belying an impeccable quality and work ethic. Do not be fooled by the absence of golden coconuts and sugar amfures and attendants in the finest Parzan silks, for this is certainly one of the best sugarhouses of the entire Great Sea.

Callistratis has brought together the delicacies of all Isferia, Illas, Parza, Vern, Gupita, and some from farther beyond. Reputedly his workers include Guptacs, Parzans, Mazijhas, Vernatacs, and even some Andojhac confectioners, so as to ensure the broadest possible knowledge of all pastries, ices, and jhelucs that are served at the establishment. It is not that Callistratis does not innovate and can only imitate, but mastery of the known forms is more important to him than constant experiments with new possibilities, and this dedication to the sweet things of all nations shows, not in the least in the prodigious variety of confections that are all made to the same exacting standards. There are also drinks to suit whichever of the wares one chooses to eat, rather than with many sugarhouses which only serve wine, or butter rum, or hot sweetroot. As it happens, there are some locals who avoid indulgence in confectionery who will still come to Callistratis’ shop to purchase his beverages, and should he ever decide to open a winery all of Isferia should tremble I should think.

Callistratis serves gluka in three styles; Illenac, Italiac, and Guptac. The familiar Italiac is just how it ought to be, the right balance of lemon and orange, the crunch of almond, the notes of cinnamon, the crumbly smooth texture. The Illenac is more fragrant with the precise addition of cardamom and careful addition of honey, and manages to avoid the almost pungent state of many glukas of this kind along with oversweetness. The Guptac is an unusual treat, similarly flavoured to the others besides the addition of coconut but with a much firmer bite. I believe that marshmallow root has been used to achieve this result. All three are delicious treats but I must confess my unpatriotic attachment to the Guptac, which I would gorge on at the expense of my belt had I less self control.

The ices of Callistratis are all the more remarkable considering the climate of Sicelia, but they are a seasonal treat as a result; only possible when the mountains have their annual snows. If you time your visit right then you will be in for a display of incomparable delights, for these are all smooth and refreshing and delicious. There are the ices that one would expect from a confectioner selling Italiac and Illenac fare, strawberry, lemon, orange, coconut, apricot, saffron, fig. The mastic ice is a difficult art to perfect, which Callistratis succeeds brilliantly at here. Then there are the more obscure creations; basil, basil and orange, watermelon, plum with rose, anise, peach, peach and basil, prune, grains of paradise. Whilst I cannot profess all of these to be my taste they are perfectly formed, and I did enjoy many of the ices that I did not expect to. The basil was a particular surprise.

This neatly moves us to the subject of Callistratis’ cakes. The crown jewel among them, for myself, was the basil and strawberry kur, a tradition of Latiun I am led to believe. That rich red in golden crust is heavenly, and cannot be missed on a visit. Among the Illenac fare distinctly honorable mentions go to the yoghurt cakes (found in neat little tiled squares and flavoured with orange, lemon, fig, or strawberry), the custard and lemon layer cake, the apple pema (the walnuts are an excellent addition), and the rhubarb and lemon sponge cake (saved from ruin by the judicious application of sugar and jam). There are a number of Italiac pastries both familiar and regional which bear mentioning as well. I have rarely had pear tart of this high standard before, the Ziracusac blood orange pema is shown off marvellously combined together with mint, the ricotta wheel is generously spread with fine candied lemons, the anise cakes of my homeland are shown off with distinction (if I had never had cause to return to Jhanuva I would say they were even better that those back home). Callistratis is totally willing to use less prestigious ingredients in the interest of flavour. There are rosemary and orange wheels made with acorn flour, almond and orange loaves, and hazelnut cakes of many kinds. Let this be a warning to those who think of these flours as provender only for the rudest of peasants and the meanest of times.

There is also a fair representation of the best Varvari pastries as well. Callistratis’ mead and apricot tart takes this underrated pastry to an even higher level, his rice zurs are fragrant with lemon zest and extremely easy eating, the cheese pillow cakes are homely, the custard cakes are unctious (I particularly enjoyed the rhubarb), an otherwise normal fig and apple tart is turned into something more with the addition of cinnamon and a perfectly formed, crisp case. Anyone who has spent time in the north is aware of how skilled the Varvari are with baking, unless one is a rare snob, the kind who would consider a living Acaimenad insufficiently bred. Callistratis is bringing this cuisine poorly known outside of the north and the Alfine passes to the attention of the rest of the Great Sea, and I have no doubt that this will do great things for the reputation of Varvari cuisine south of the Vudin. The introduction of sweetcheese to Sicelia is almost solely Callistratis' doing, as he has introduced it through his establishment, and over the course of the past years has become wildly popular among the rest of the country.

We also cannot conclude this study of Callistratis’ establishment without discussing his peerless jheluc selection. Once the preserve of kings, mecs, and the staggeringly rich, Callistratis' jhelucs are not cheap but they are certainly a more affordable treat even for those without great riches and station in life. There are soft fruit jhelucs here in the Vernatac style, of a quality to make even the kitchen staff of the High Prince red from envy. All of the traditional collection is represented here; melon, strawberry, peach, plum, pear, fig, lemon, and orange. There is also the unusual Callistac lemon, which I found difficult at first because of how different they are to a normal sweet lemon but came to adore after repeated encounters. These jhelucs are mostly in their natural shapes, but there are a few that are moulded into the shape of dolphins, starfish, and fish, which as you might imagine are popular sacrificial purchases. The hard jhelucs steer back towards familiar territory for Isferia; perfume lemon, sweet lemon, strawberry, anise, camomile, juniper, rhubarb, and orange. Callistratis’ versions of these classics are almost like little pieces of marble, translucent and colourful. An honorable mention must go to the licquorice. I continue to take issue with this kind of confection, but the artistic merits of Callistratis’ licquorice jhelucs cannot be questioned, and form the basis of the examples given below. All in all, these jhelucs are fit for any palace but are within the ability of the ordinary to purchase in good times.

There are many other wares to be found at Callistratis’ establishment, and I have simply discussed that which is most remarkable. What is most important to learn from this master of the craft is that the quality of the work is the most important basis of a successful confectioner. It may once have been enough to present sugarwork that was elaborate without giving much thought to its eating but this is no longer sufficient. Elaboration and indeed variety both waver in the face of the quality of the work. It is no good having a thousand jhelucs if no-one wishes to eat most of them. There are many sugarhouses with more wares than Callistratis’ but where he becomes extraordinary is his consistency of quality, so that one feels armed with greater choice because there are so many delicious and well made options. He does not rely on a single magical item that all customers come seeking, neither does he barrage with an endless armament of barely differentiated products. This is where a confectioner must tread if one does not wish to have a patron. By making sure that these delights are of a more reasonable price, he has also ensured himself a genuine loyalty from the Acrajhannac citizen body that is rarely found associated with the high art of the confectionary. Many should be prepared to take this lesson to heart if they are to adapt the noble sugar profession to the modern age.
Hmm... has the New World not been discovered as of the writing of this piece? Or is chocolate not used in confectionery in this world? (Or, did I miss it under an unfamiliar name?) Either way, these all sound delicious...
As of the time of writing the existence of the Americas is sort of known to the Mediterranean world, but only through what rumour and stories have passed to them from locations with more sustained contact. You'll note the lack of any mention of vanilla, allspice, and any other American-native confections/ingredients. If you wanted to find Old World regions experimenting with chocolate, one would have to turn elsewhere.
The fact that we have what seems to be an Indian man writing a traveler's guide to Europe (and on such a specific topic) in the 17th century is quite fascinating; a much more interconnected world than ours. Plus, possibly higher rates of literacy, to make such a book more than just a personal endeavor? But those descriptions really made my mouth water.