Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Great Xerxes the Great Sequel


  When last we met...I discovered a morning brew to keep the eunuchs jumping (I mean, it ain’t like they have anything to clang against their gym shorts).

  No, wait, that’s not right.

  Hang on...suspicious bottled water?  No.  Memorial Day?  Uh, uh.  A picture of me in my tightey-whiteys?  Oh, dear Lord in heaven, never again.

  Ooh, I think I have it.  I never finished my tale of Xerxes the Great from the A-Z Challenge, did I?
"I'm sexy and I know it.
But, seriously, all these piercings hurt like hell."
  Let’s begin again.

  When last we met, Darius the Great named his son, Xerxes, as his successor.  This was mostly because Xerxes was the son of the daughter of Cyrus the Great.  And because he threw paper when his older brother, Artobazan, threw rock. 

Apparently, size mattered.
Even in the ancient world.
  Then, having finished construction of his tomb at Naqsh-e-Rostam, Darius made ready to invade Egypt.  As if the revolting Egyptians (go ahead, feel free, make a joke here) weren’t bad enough, he was totally hacked off because their pyramids were much bigger than his ziggurats.

"Yeah, but you think I could get my deposit back?
Last time I ever use expedia.com."
  But, wouldn’t you know it, Darius died before the Susa AAA Office could finalize his Trip-Tiks and his reservation for a non-smoking room at the Saqqara Days Inn could be confirmed.

  Good thing he had that tomb built.

  Almost immediately (by “almost immediately,” I mean “a year”), Xerxes the Great (“the Great” being passed down to him in the will) put down the revolts in Egypt.  And, for good measure, he decided to jump ugly with the Babylonians.  If only because he didn’t really trust the Husseins of Tikrit.

"I don't shed, chew slippers, or piss on the carpet.
Yet, I'm the one they frikkin' melt down??"
  In 484 B.C. (i.e., “Before Cable”), he outraged the Babylonians when he violently confiscated and melted down (yep, I think the word “violent” just about does it) the statue of “Marduk” (luckily the statue of “Marmaduke” was spared).  Either that or he farted on it.  The Greek historian, Herodotus, is unclear on this matter.  He may have been drunk.

  Outraged by this sacrilege, the people revolted again in 484 B.C. and again in 482 B.C., when they remembered they were still pissed off.

  Because of this, Xerxes rejected his father’s title, King of Babylon.  Instead, he named himself “King of Persia,” “Great King,” “King of Kings,” “Sky King,” “King Creole,” “King Kong,” “Don King,” “Chicken a la King,” and “King of Nations.”

  The little dude was really full of himself, huh?

Battle of Marathon
"Next...time...use the...Kenyans."
  Meanwhile, as if there wasn’t enough on his plate, Xerxes took on the task started by his father:  punishing the Greeks for their interference with the Ionian Revolt (I don’t feel like looking it up), the burning of Sardis, their victory at Marathon (yep, that’s where the long ass race came from), and for effing up his order of baklava.  Well, that and putting in a spare bedroom at the palace.

  From 483 B.C. onward, Xerxes prepared his expedition.  A channel was dug through the isthmus (NOTE: fancy word for “small strip of land between two bodies of water.”  Rhymes with “Christmas.”) of the peninsula of Mt. Athos, provisions (including granola, paraffin-coated matches, and sewing kits) were stored in the stations on the road through Thrace, and two pontoon bridges (known as “Xerxes Pontoon Bridges,” totally pissing off their designer, Leonard the Meek) were built across the Hellespont (which I sincerely hope was water).

"Whatever you do, keep an eye on those Egyptians.
And don't fall for that 'it's a dry heat, you'll love it here,
we could use a little help for the weekend
moving some stones' crap again, either."
  Soldiers of many nationalities made up the Persian army: Assyrians (getting their “freak” on), Phoenicians (who brought the alphabet and potato salad), Babylonians (who finally forgave Xerxes for that farting thing), Egyptians (who were so bored they started mummifying cats), and Jews (legal counsel to the King of Kings in all matters pertaining to invasion).

  Crap!  I almost put myself to sleep.  I can only imagine what you’re going through as I soar past 600 words.  We’ll just have to pick this up again next time.  I promise we’ll find out what happens to Xerxes.  It’s nothing like the movie, 300.

  Well, okay, he did massacre 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.  But, I don’t think he pranced about in his underwear or that the Greek king had a Scottish accent.

Next:  The Great Sequel to the Xerxes the Great Sequel!  The Peloponnesian War, death of Xerxes, and a bare-chested Gerard Butler!      

37 comments:

  1. What I want to know is whether those square beards were real. If the Persians invented false whiskers, it's about time they got credit for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the people back then actually had fake beards (when they were unable to grow a real one-like me). Even Egyptian queens who became pharaoh (like Cleopatra) wore a fake beard. When they weren't banging their brothers, that is.

      Delete
  2. This stuff is almost like a soap opera Al, it's challenging to keep up with at times but hilariously rewarding, great post as usual buddy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. History doesn't have to be boring. Well, except the whole gilded age and Industrial Revolution things. They bore the snot out of me. And free-flowing snot doesn't make for great dinner conversations.

      Delete
  3. Xerxes was a huge badass, and it's a shame that the movie has given him such a bad rep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it made him out to be quite the psycho.

      Delete
  4. As a fellow lover of history, I'm pleased that a fellow historian has recognized the importance of farting. Quite a fun post. Better than any history lesson I got in college.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that. I'd actually like to teach history like this. I just hope my students would realize that Saqqara didn't really have a Days Inn. Best Western actually had the contract.

      Delete
  5. Mummfying cats is not nice haha, and wow he did have quite the ego, he must have had a name for every day of the year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Here, kitty, kitty. Oh, all that gauze and little hooks to pull your brain through your nose? Nothing to be all that concerned about."

      Delete
  6. Seems as though there is a mandatory two year waiting period on secondary revolts. Something about the DMV not being able to process all the new address changes in time! It amazes me on their steadfastness of grudge holding! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which is exactly why Visigoths aren't welcome in Rome.

      Delete
  7. I wonder what nicknames Xerxes had as a kid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bully was probably one of them

      Delete
    2. Young Xerxes...sounds like a good idea for a post.

      Delete
  8. Two things I learned here: 1) That they had rock/paper/scissors even back then (snort!) and 2) B.C. stands for Before Cable. Sheesh. So glad I didn't sit next to you in school 'cause if I would have cheated from your paper, I'd never made it out of the 6th grade! Of course, a good Catholic girl like me would NEVER cheat! Honest!

    But I AM looking forward to a bare-chested Gerard Butler!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Days Inn. And expedia.com. And Marmaduke. Wow. It's like you can't trust a thing I say.
      Yeah. That sounds about right.

      Delete
  9. I've never heard the term jump ugly. Thought maybe you meant bump uglies so I looked it up. They mean two entirely different things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just a Connecticut colloquialism, I guess. I've bumped ugly before. With Mrs. Penwasser #1.

      Delete
  10. Glad the Phoenicians brought the "alphabet and potato salad with them." You really should have a label warning, "Must read twice, as there are too many jokes to catch the first time around." Perhaps the sequel to the sequel will include the cast of Dallas, as some of the stars probably knew Xerxes. Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The cast of Dallas? I didn't know he broke a leg.
      The Phoenicians actually wanted to bring the cole slaw. But, cabbage gave Xerxes gas.

      Delete
  11. I tend to get a bit testy when folks mess up my baklava, too. :-)
    Some Dark Romantic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Especially when it gets runny.

      Delete
    2. Especially when it gets runny.

      Delete
    3. I really don't know what that means.

      Delete
  12. History would've been so much more fun if you were my teacher. Did Darius ever recover from his small ziggurat complex?

    xoRobyn

    ReplyDelete
  13. Gerard Butler screaming, "tonight, we dine in hell," played over and over in my head. It didn't help that you mentioned potato salad, baklava, and cats in your post. Some people eat cats. I am not saying I am one of those people. I am not saying I am not one of those people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can probably get them at restaurants whose second name is something like "Wok."
      Meow.

      Delete
  14. Great job with Part II of The Continuing Epic of Xerxes, King of Kings, Despite What That Prick Ozymandias Says. Back in high school, I did have a history teacher who was kind of like a stand-up comic, but you'd have given him a run for his money, in part because he sadly stuck to "the truth," and in part because if you gave him a run he would pay you so it didn't make sense not to give him a run. (That made much more sense in my head. (My head's a strange place.))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The truth can be very inconvenient sometimes.
      One of the things I liked to do was play a movie and then have my students play "fact or crap."
      I did it with "The Hunt For Red October," "The Alamo," (both versions), "Gladiator," etc.
      It was fun.
      And the popcorn wasn't crap.

      Delete
  15. 2nd time I've read about baklava today. May have to add it to my bucket list ;) Lovely history lesson, tee hee. I do love some 300 though, mmm Gerard Butler!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, seriously, can you ever have too much baklava?

      Delete
  16. If they taught history like this in school. There wouldn't be so many idiots running around today, who still don't know how to make change. Interesting and funny! That's all I wanted out of my teachers.
    GREAT POST!
    If I had a "post of the day" award to give away. You'd get it. Yes, it was long, but it was worth every second....

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks!
    I'm thinking of writing a "Flag Day" post for...uh...Flag Day. The only problem is that I'll need to put off "Xerxes-The Conclusion" for a few more days.
    But, the way I figure it, he's been dead over 2,000 years. It shouldn't really be that much of an imposition.

    ReplyDelete
  18. And because he threw paper when his older brother, Artobazan, threw rock.
    I have a feeling that back in ancient times paper was not as dangerous as it is today – what with all the paper cuts you can get...

    Plus you have to remember they were a much tougher people. When they say rock they don’t mean some undersized pebble that your great Aunt Edith could pick up (despite being dead for 10 years and not leaving you anything in her will...What a B*tch she turned out to be, I bet you regret thinking about visiting her in those last few bedridden years...but she wasn’t going to make an effort to see you so why should you reciprocate .....). Our predecessors were hefting rocks the size of large family car. Trying to get paper to wrap around those rocks was not easy – what with paper shortage and not forgetting the tendency for the rock to flatten you when it landed on what remained of your head....

    ReplyDelete
  19. Maybe I should have said 'papyrus'?

    ReplyDelete