Naamah

Alternative Names

Naomi Samson, Lady Naamah Samuel, Aphra Behn, Naamah Sammale

Early Life

Naamah is believed to have been born around 1250 BC as a member of the royal family of one of the Canaanite tribes that lived in the Fertile Crescent (present day Palestine Satrapy). The exact tribal group she belonged to is uncertain although some evidence (especially her red hair) points to one of the Midianite tribes. Little is known of her life in this era although some of her comments make it clear that her parents had severe difficulties in finding her a husband. The stumbling block appears to have been her eyes. Then, as now, Naamah’s eyes are a muddy slime-green, almost completely lifeless and so frightening as to be repulsive. This unfortunate characteristic appears to have scared off potential suitors who regarded her as being possessed. Also, during this period, she became a very skilled and capable herbalist. This knowledge was to become extremely important in her later life.

Around 1226 BC, Naamah’s parents finally found her a husband, Sammael of Shyt’tin

The Shyt’tin Era

Had records survived, it is quite probable that the relationship between Sammael and Naamah would be one of the great recorded romances of history, It appears that the two were truly devoted to each other and related on a variety of personal and professional levels. As Sammael’s Queen, Naamah was much more of an equal partner to her King than was accepted in those days. Part of this comes from Sammael’s character. Naamah was his second wife, his first having died in childbirth. That tragedy appears to have affected Sammael deeply and he appears to have held himself responsible for her death, That responsibility seems to have manifested itself as a particular care for the welfare of women in his Kingdom; in fact Sammael was probably the first recorded feminist.

A description of Naamah can be found in the Zohar Sitrei Torah. Although this was written long after her early life, it is apparently based on oral history from the Shyt’tin era. “her hair all arranged, red as a rose, her face white and red, six trinkets dangling from her ears, her bed covered with fabric from Egypt, on her neck all the jewels of the East, her mouth poised, a delicate opening, what lovely trappings! The tongue pointed like a sword, her words smooth like oil, her lips beautiful, red as a rose, sweet with all the sweeetness of the world. She is dressed in purple, adorned with forty adornments minus one.” This last comment is usually interpreted to be a very veiled reference to Naamah's eyes (the adornment minus one).

The key art of this description is “tongue pointed like a sword” for part of Naamah’s duties as Sammael’s Queen were to investigate crimes then find and punish the perpetrators. Some details of cases she handled were found in 2005 as part of the Potiphar Scrolls and it is apparent that she relied heavily on her incisive grasp of human nature and her ability to trip up suspects during questioning. Naamah also served as the high priestess of the Cult of Astarte during this period,

Sammael is believed to have died in 1180BC and was succeeded by his grandchildren. At that point, Naamah and her close friend Lillith biti-Anat suddenly left Shyt’tin in a manner that suggests they were running for their lives. Naamah’s explanation for this is that her grandchildren resented the fact that she looked younger than they did (an early reference to Naamah’s extended life) and that they were planning some singularly unpleasant deaths for her. However, there are some suggestions that she and Lillith tried a power grab to usurp authority from the grandchildren and that failed, forcing them to run. Whatever the truth of the matter, without the strong guiding hand and wisdom of Sammael and Naamah, the Kingdom of Shyt’tin collapsed, probably during the Sea People’s invasions between 1180 and 1150BC.

The Phoenician Era

Lillith and Naamah appear to have settled in Ras Shamra after their departure from Shyt’tin and remained there for a number of decades. It is believed that Naamah continued her career as a court princess, presumably identifying herself with a far-off part of the growing Phoenician trade empire. It is also likely, given their duration of stay in Ras Shamra, that she changed identities several times. Given the chronology, it is probable that it was during her stay at Ras Shamra that Namah perfected the art of disappearing and re-emerging under a new identity that was to become a staple of her existence. There was only a limited number of times this could be done in the closed environment of Ras Shamra and by about 1000 BC, the game was up.

It appears that the "demonization" of the couple took place during this time with the Habiru (also known as Apiru or Hebrew) taking oral histories of the two women and distorting them to suit their political aims. For example, the "demonized" Naamah is referred to as having the eyes "that could stare into somebody's heart", a clear reference to her unusual eyes and to her role as a judge and inquisitor in Sammael's Kingdom. This demonized image of Lillith and Naamah eventually brought about the end of their stay in Ras Shamra; they were identified as the two women mentioned in the legends and were the target of a riot, allegedly started by Habiru residents of Ras Shamra. Once again, Lillith and Naamah had to leave, probably in something of a hurry with an angry mob at their heels.

The Delphi Era

Ras Shamra was probably the pivotal lesson of her existence. It was now painfully apparent that any admission of an extended lifespan was extremely dangerous and that a lynch mob would gather quickly if hints of their secret got out. Also, one person could not change identity convincingly enough to keep a deception going through a period of decades. Another solution was needed. The couple wandered for a while before hitting on a solution. They came across the Oracle of Delphi and this offered them a refuge.

The Oracle was run by a priestess, the Pythia. The priestess sat down for a cup of tea with her visitors, developed a sickness and died, a victim of Naamah’s herbalist skills. Lillith and Naamah took over the role of Pythia, alternating it between them in order to shake off suspicion. They became a famous institution and settled in the location for almost six hundred years. During this period, they adopted a young man, Phaeton Phoebus Apollo who had been badly burned in a forest fire. It turned out that this young man shared their extended life and he became a part of the “Oracle Act” writing mysterious word-puzzles that both amused and instructed the patrons. The Delphi Oracle was a wealth-making proposition, especially since it was "known" to be protected by the Gods, and was a secure haven for two unattached women who would otherwise have been very vulnerable to abuse.

The Delphi era lasted until 330 BC when everything changed.

The Babylon Era

The immunity offered by the Delphi Oracle was declining by the time the Third Century BC arrived. The Oracle’s treasures had been stolen by the Phokaeans and recovered by Phillip’s armies. King Phillip II visited the Oracle personally and was received by Naamah in her persona as the Pythia. At that time, Naamah met one of Phillip's most competent and capable generals, General Parmenio was already famous for his great victory over the Illyrians and was widely (if quietly) regarded as the real brains behind Phillip IIs military achievements. This was the first known meeting between the two. A few years later Alexander The Great visited Delphi - by that time the role of Pythia had been taken over by Lillith - and behaved in a high-handed and abusive manner. This convinced Naamah that the immunity offered by the Oracle was running out and it was time to move on.

This impression was confirmed when she and Parmenio met for the third time. After the conquest of Drangiana, Alexander was informed that Philotas, son of Parmenio, was involved in a conspiracy against his life. Philotas was condemned by the army and put to death. Alexander, thinking it dangerous to allow the father to live, sent orders to Media for the assassination of Parmenio. There was no proof that Parmenio was in any way implicated in the conspiracy, but he was not even afforded the opportunity of defending himself. However, Alexander forgot that Parmenio was a master strategist who was almost always two if not three jumps ahead of the game. He had anticipated that an assassination attempt would come from Alexander eventually and prepared his defenses. He escaped, although severely wounded, and was on the run. By this time Parmenio was seventy years old but looked (and had the health of) a man in his early forties. He remembered the Oracle, its occupants and headed there.

After a slightly fraught initial meeting, Naamah realized that Parmenio also had the gift of extended life shared by herself, Lillith and Apollo. From her point of view, having another man, especially a mature adult, around would be a major increase in the safety of the group as a whole. She and Lillith were no longer unattached and unprotected women but were part of a family group. Parmenio began to use his strategic talents to detaching the group from the Oracle and heading for Babylon. As he remarked to Naamah, he had business to settle there.

During this process, leadership of the small group began to slide away from Naamah towards Parmenio. This was largely inevitable of course, the standards of the day would hardly allow anything else. However, Naamah established a close relationship with Parmenio that substituted for her long-lost love Sammael. After handing over the Oracle to a peasant woman who had been "chosen by the gods" the group set off for Babylon where Parmenio planned to assassinate Alexander.

This was carried out with the team forming roles that they would carry on as standard for centuries. Naamah was the Court Princess, the face of the group in the corridors of power; Lillith the record keeper and administrator, Parmenio the strategist and Apollo the general duties and other roles as needed.

The Assassination of Alexander

The group initially presented themselves as wine merchants and established their presence in the city. Naamah used her skills as a herbalist to cure various sicknesses and injuries, soon becoming a respected member of the community. This was especially the case with Amexander's Army who suffered from the usual injuries from accidents and training plus the social diseases common to soldiers on garrison duty in a large city. Her cures were straightforward and practical, teas and poultices made from herbs rather than rate, exotic and unsual ingredients accompanied by prayers and incantations. She was particularly popular with the rank and file since her cures were cheap, effective and she didn't advise their officers of their illnesses. So, when Alexander was stricken, she was the first physician called to his aid.

At that time, Alexander was suffering from serious stomach bleeding ulcers that defied easy cure. Using new recruits to the group (a petty thief and part-time prostitute named Igrat and a charioteer named gusoyn) both of whom shared the gift of extended life, Naamah was able to engineer the preparation of a particularly heavily-spiced dish at a banquet. The dish itself, prepared by a third recruit to the group, Semiramis, once Queen of Assyria, was quite harmless, except to anybody with a bleeding ulcer, and was eaten by everybody at the banquet without ill-effects. Except for Alexander who collapsed in agony on the floor shortly afterwards. Surrounded by his troops, Naamah was the first name that they thought of and she was brought, none too gently, to the palace. She quickly diagnosed a severe stomach colic and explained that Alexander had to be made to vomit up the contents of his stomach. First, she would have to calm the colic and would administer a potion made of medicine dissolved in wine. This raised immediate suspicion and she was invited to drink the wine - which she did with every sign of enjoyment. Naamah then explained it had been a long, hot day and she would enjoy another cup of wine. She made up another potion, drank half of it and gave the rest to Alexander. The dosed wine calmed him somewhat and when his spasms ceased, Naamah pushed a feather down his throat to make him vomit up the contents of his stomach. The carefully-prepared dose of poison was on that feather. Alexander seemed calmed by her treatment and she left the palace, accepting only a few coins to cover her costs. Early next morning, Alexander suffered a relapse and died a few hours later.

The Civil War

Following the assassination of Alexander, the empire was put under the authority of a regent in the person of Perdiccas in 323 BC, and the territories were divided between Alexander's generals, who thereby became satraps, at the Partition of Babylon in 323 BC. Alexander's generals (the Diadochi) jostled for supremacy over parts of his empire, and Ptolemy, one of his generals and satrap of Egypt, was the first to challenge the new rule, leading to the demise of Perdiccas. His revolt led to a new partition of the empire with the Partition of Triparadisus in 320 BC. Seleucus, who had been "Commander-in-Chief of the camp" under Perdiccas since 323 BC but helped to assassinate the latter, received Babylonia, and from that point continued to expand his dominions ruthlessly. Seleucus established himself in Babylon in 312 BC, used as the foundation date of the Seleucid Empire. By this time, Naamah (having quietly dropped her pretext as a wine-merchant's wife and vanished to remerge as an Afghan Princess) was an accepted part of court life and Parmenio had allied with Seleucus. With Parmenio's strategic gifts driving his army, Seleucus quickly came to dominate a vast swath of the territory from Phrygia to the Indus.

The Seleucia Era

By 300BC, Naamah and her group (now numbering seven) were firmly established in Seleucia. In fact, Parmenio realized that the Army was over-extended and engineered an agreement with Chandragupta Maurya, in which Seleucus exchanged his eastern territories for a considerable force of 500 war elephants. These proved decisive in consolidating Seleucus' power and stabilized the Seleucid Empire.

From that point, Naamah and her group dropped out of active participation in state affairs. For the next 250 years the group lived quietly in Seleucia, using their increased numbers to shift identities when age became too obviously anachronistic. They took the identity of a minor but influential family with Royal connections, the new identities being explained by one member "retiring to the country" while another was "a relative sent by his family to live in the city. Naamah and Semiramis alternated as the court face of the group, each introducing the other as a niece or more distant relative when the need arose. Their primary role was to keep an eye on the developing situation and act as an early warning system of any change in the military or political situation facing the Empire. In such cases, Parmenio would be insinuated into the council of state and act as the strategic direction to remedy the situation.

A good example of this was Parmenio's master-minding of Antiochus's campaign through the eastern parts of his empire restoring rebellious vassals like Parthia and Greco-Bactria to at least nominal obedience, and even emulating Alexander with an expedition into India where he met with king Sophagasenus. When he returned to the west in 205 BC, Antiochus and Philip V of Macedon then made a compact to divide the Ptolemaic possessions outside of Egypt, and in the Fifth Syrian War, the Seleucids ousted Ptolemy V from control of Coele-Syria. The Battle of Panium (198 BC) definitively transferred these holdings from the Ptolemies to the Seleucids. Antiochus appeared, at the least, to have restored the Seleucid Kingdom to glory although it was Naamah's political intrigue and Parmenio's strategic skills that had really won the day. In the event, the situation did not survive Parmenio's withdrawal from active participation and, despite his and Naamah's advice, Antiochus invaded Greece - only to go down in defeat. About the only lasting consequence of that adventure was that Naamah met Hannibal, realized that he shared her heritage and managed to engineer his disappearance

This lasted until the decay within the Seleucid Empire became too serious to be remedied. The Eastern areas remained nearly uncontrollable, as Parthians began to take over the Persian lands; and Antiochus' aggressive Hellenizing (or de-Judaizing) activities led to armed rebellion in Judaea — the Maccabee revolt. Efforts to deal with both the Parthians and the Jews proved fruitless, and Antiochus himself died during an expedition against the Parthians in 164 BC. Frequent civil wars made central authority tenuous at best. By 143 BC, the Jews in form of the Maccabees had fully established their independence. Parthian expansion continued as well. In 139 BC, Demetrius II was defeated in battle by the Parthians and was captured. By this time, the entire Iranian Plateau had been lost to Parthian control. Demetrius Nicator's brother, Antiochus VII, was ultimately able to restore a fleeting unity and vigour to the Seleucid domains, but he too proved unequal to the Parthian threat: he was killed in battle with the Parthians in 129 BC. The sudden strategic skill of the Parthians was no freak of fate, Parmenio, Naamah and her group had changed sides.

The Parthia Era

By 139 BC, Naamah had established her group in the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon and Parmenio had allied with the Parthian king Mithridates I. By 129 BC, the Parthians were in control of all the lands right to the Tigris, and established their winter encampment on its banks at Ctesiphon. Ctesiphon was then a small suburb directly across the river from Seleucia on the Tigris, the most Hellenistic city of western Asia. Because of their need of the wealth and trade provided by Seleucia, the Parthian armies limited their incursions to harassment, allowing the city to preserve its independence. In the heat of the Mesopotamian summer, the Parthian army would withdraw to the ancient Persian capitals of Susa and Ecbatana. Aware of the problems that had faced the highly-centralized Seleucid Empire, the group used its influence with Mithridates to bring about a highly decentralized empire that accommodated several languages, many people, and a number of different economic systems. The loose ties between the separate parts of the empire were a key to its survival. In the 2nd century CE, the most important capital, Ctesiphon, was captured no less than three times by the Romans (in 116, 165 and 198), but, as Parmenio had envisaged, the empire survived because there were other centers of power.

Local potentates played important roles, and the king had to respect their privileges. Several noble families had votes in the Royal council; the House of Suren had the right to crown the Parthian king, and every aristocrat was allowed and expected to retain an army of his own. This system suited Naamah down to the ground, effectively it returned her to her preferred role as a semi-queen with virtual independence. In fact, the loose, decentralized Parthian empire was so ammenable to Naamah and her group of long-lived that they remained there for almost 400 years.

The Sassanid Era

As Parmenio had foreseen, the Parthian kings were forced to concede ever greater powers to the nobility, and the vassal kings began to waver in their allegiance. Further military defeats hastened the decline of the Kingdom and this time Parmenio wasn't available to stem the rot. In 224, the Persian vassal king Ardašir revolted. In a remarkably well-organized and strategically astute campaign, he took Ctesiphon, and this time it meant the end of Parthia, replaced by a third Persian Empire, ruled by the Sassanid dynasty. Once again, Lillith found herself the manager of a comfortable and appealing environment that was to remain their homes for a further 400 years. The long-term policy of the group was, by now, well-established. They became a minor aristocratic family that kept itself to itself and did not participate, much, in the affairs of the nation. Only when an apparent disaster threatened to affect their comfortable lifestyle would they get involved and then that involvement was limited to removing the threat to themselves. Once again, Naamah became teh public face of the group, acting as a court princess although she rotated the role with Semiranis. By 600AD, Parmenio was convinced that the Sassanid Empire was doomed. The problem that worried him was, where would the group move to? The nearest large empire, the Byzantine Empire, seemed to be in almost as much a terminal decline as the Sassanids and, at best, offered only a temporary solution. In the end, the problem was solved for him; the collapse of the Sassanid Empire at the hands of Islamic invaders was much faster than he had anticipated and a move to Byzantium was made inevitable by the course of events. They had barely completed the move when the Sassanid Empire collapsed.

The Byzantine Era

In 632, the group was established in Constantinople. Parmenio was ill-at-ease with this situation but the truth was, he saw no realistic alternatives at that time. He was beginning to feel that his group had run out of luck at last. This grim assessment lead him to believe that if no new home was immediately obvious, he would have to go out and find one. It is perhaps ironic that this pessimistic view of the viability of the Byzantine Empire as a home for the long-lived would end up with them staying there for the longest period to date. In retrospect, the move to Constaninople also changed the orientation of the group quite profoundly. Up to this point they had been representative of the Hellenic-Persian cultural tradition that ultimately traced its ancestry back to Alexander's Empire. With the shift to Constantinople, that tradition was left behind and the group became more closely associated with the western, Roman-derived tradition of Europe and that woudl affect both their beliefs and their actions.

In 862AD a massive dispute between Lillith and Apollo caused a major row within the group. Apollo, ever fascinated with puzzles and crypic statements, became involved in the developing mystical Christian revelations. Lillith tried to persuade him to find something else to study, Apollo refused and left to follow his own path. Lillith was deeply insulted and felt betrayed that her advice had been ignored. The truth was she still saw Apollo as being a little boy, a replacement for her lost children. When Apollo left, Lillith flipped into what Naamah calls her "vengeful harpy" mode and started a major inter-family feud. Disgusted by the events, parmenio left, taking Igrat and Achillea with him while the rest of the family split up according to who's side they took in that dispute. Naamah was disgusted by Lillith's behavior and made her disagreement with her old friend very plain. For the first time since they met, there was a notable coldness between the two women with Naamah barely acknowledging Lillith's existance. The truth was that Naamah found the intrigues and plotting of the Byzantine court entirely to her taste and her activities as a court princess there took up most of her attention. However, that focus stood to the group's benefit because Naamah was well aware of the slow decline of the Empire. Nefertiti had also become aware that the Byzantine Empire was falling and was trying to do something about it but lacked Parmenio's planning ability. When Parmenio reappeared, his first priority (after trying to heal the rifts that still existed in the group) was to find a new home. Parmenio eventually settled on Florence in Italy.

The Florentine Era

The Florentine Republic had been governed from 1115 by an autonomous commune. During the period when Parmenio was planning the move to Florence, the city was plunged into internal strife by a struggle between the Ghibellines, supporters of the German emperor, and the pro-Papal Guelphs, who after their victory split in turn into feuding "White" and "Black" factions led respectively by Vieri de' Cerchi and Corso Donati. These struggles eventually led to the exile of the White Guelphs, one of whom was Dante Alighieri. This political conflict did not, however, prevent the city's rise to become one of the most powerful and prosperous in Europe, assisted by her own strong gold currency, the florin introduced in 1252, was the first European gold coin struck in sufficient quantities to play a significant commercial role since the seventh century. As many Florentine banks were international operations with branches across Europe, the florin quickly became the dominant trade coin of Western Europe for large scale transactions, replacing silver bars in multiples of the mark), the eclipse of her formerly powerful rival Pisa (defeated by Genoa in 1284 and subjugated by Florence in 1406). Power was largely exercised by the guilds and the mercantile elite. In this environment, Naamah found a new application for her time-honored role as Court Princess. Now, she was the representative of a major commercial group and this required her to work closely with Lillith. Of necessity, this brought about a final reconciliation between teh two women. Between the two of them, they created a situation where their group's position in Florence quickly became one of great relative wealth. Nethertheless, by the start of the 1600s, Parmenio began to sense that Florence's star was waning. The Medici family had become Grand Dukes of Tuscany (and would remain so until the 1750s when the line became extinct). By that time, Parmenio and the rest of the extended life group had moved to Avebury in England.

The Avebury Era

Parmenio arrived in England late in 1666. The first act of the group was to purchase the title to the Manor of Avebury, a semi-derelict manor that had fallen into decay during the Cromwellian era. That made Parmenio Lord of the Manor of Avebury, positioning the group on the bottom rung of the aristocratc system (it should be noted that a 'Lord of the Manor' is not a lord or indeed any form of ennoblement). The group spent freely restoring the Manor House to its former glory and reviving the local farming and other activities. This put a severe dent in their financial reserves which was only slowly being replenished by the group's trade interests.

Once again, Naamah took on the role of Court Princess but this time in a different guise. She invented the identity of Aphra Behn, Shortly after she arrived in England in 1664, Naamah married Johan Behn, who was a merchant of German or Dutch extraction. Johan Behn died shortly afterwards of a somewhat mysterious disease. It is likely that Naamah made the marriage simply to gain the status of a widow, which was more beneficial for what she was trying to achieve. By 1666, Naamah had become attached to the Court, and possibly was recruited as a political spy to Antwerp by Charles II. The Second Anglo-Dutch War had broken out between England and the Netherlands in 1665. She became the lover to a prominent and powerful royal, and from him she obtained political secrets to be used to the English advantage. The lover, as one might expect, died of a mysterious illness after his usefullness was over. Naamah's exploits were not profitable, however, as Charles was slow in paying (if he paid at all) for either her services or her expenses whilst abroad. Unable to contact Parmenio who was in process of moving from Florence to Avebury, , she had to borrow money to return to London, where a year's petitioning of Charles for payment went unheard, and she ended up in a debtor's prison. As soon as Parmenio heard of her plight, he paid her debts, and she was released from prison, starting from this point to become one of the first professional women writers. She cultivated the friendship of various playwrights, and starting in 1670 she produced many plays and novels, as well as poems and pamphlets.

Throughout this period, Naamah was living a double life, as Aphra Behn in the London Court and as Naamah Samuel (wife of an absent naval officer) in Avebury. One the one occasion this was detected, she explained her Avebury identity as a cover for her spying activities in Antwerp. Also, while at Court she detected another person with the extended life gift, the actress and courtesan Nell Gwynne. The two became fast friends, Naamah having blighted the hopes of one of Nell's rivals, Moll Davies, by feeding the unfortunate Moll a large dose of laxatives and diuretics just before her tryst with King Charles II. Later, after the death of Charles II, Naamah engineered the "death" of Nell Gwynne and her absorption into the group living at Avebury

Naamah's early money troubles in England proved to be prophetic. In 1710, Parmenio had arranged with Sir John Hawkwood for the transport of a large proportion of the group's financial assets (gold coin and other tangible valuables) by sea. The ship was wrecked off Ushant and the cargo was lost, apparently permanently. The disaster was a severe blow to the group's liquidity and, for the first time in centuries, the extended-life community was short of money. The loss could have been accommodated had it not been for the expenditure at Avebury and vice versa but the two together created a crisis. To remedy the situation, Lillith came up with a classic pump-and-dump stock fraud, carried out centuries before the term became commonplace. It takes but a modicum of cunning to realize that people wildly throwing their money away are easy targets and Lillith had far more than a modicum of cunning. The group boughta major interest ina number of stock-financed ventures, pumped up the value by judicious release of bogus information then sold out all their interests and essentially cashed out of the market. As a result, the bottom fell out of the market, nobody wanted to buy stocks. With no buyers, those who still held stock they had bought for thousands of pounds could only unload it for a fraction of the price they had paid. Of course, those who had anticipated this made out like bandits. the group's financial reserves were adequately replenished (though not to the point of opulance the group had enjoyed in Florence).

It should be noted that the whole pump-and-dump scheme was, at the time it was committed, perfectly legal. In Parliament, Lord Molesworth decided that while no law existed to punish this company, they ought to make one in a hurry. A few directors and Parliament members were subjects of fairly uneventful inquiries, save for Earl Stanhope. He managed to whip himself into a frenzy after brunting some accusations, and passed out in the House of Commons. Shortly afterwards, he hinted that he knew who was responsible for his plight and gave every indication he would implicate the group at Avebury. In order to cure his illness, his physician recommended that he be bled, at that time a sovereign cure for all ailments. However, the fatal result of this treatment was not anticipated except by his physician, Naamah, thus proving that knowing too much can be a fatal affliction when she is around.

Having been the first out of the scheme, the group down at Avebury were well clear of all the tumult and watched the proceedings in London with a certain degree of amusement. By 1730 the memory of the "South Sea Bubble" was fading and it appeared to be a thing of the past, a highly successful looting operation which, Parmenio said, put him in mind of the good old days when a soldier could make his fortune from looting a captured city. However, by the mid-1740s, people were beginning to look at the South Sea Bubble with cooler heads and analyse what had happened in greater detail. Within a few years, the parts played by previously-unknown parties were becoming more obvious. Naamah, still safely situated in court, warned Parmenio that it was time to leave before the emerging trail lead the investigators back to Avebury. After a careful analysis of destinations, Parmenio picked the colonies in North America and, in particular, the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Jamestown Era

By 1765, Parmenio and the group had moved to Jamestown, Virginia where they bought a large estate (which still remains in the hands of the group as communal property). Individual members of the group purchased houses in and around Jamestown. The group set themselves up as traders and shipping owners, making substantial sums out of the import of goods that were in short supply. Shortly after they arrived, the agitation that was to end in the American revolution started. Parmenio thought about the situation in depth and came to the conclusion that the British were going to lose. Accordingly, when the revolution actually started, he sided with the colonial against the British - although he took great case not to let his group (now numbering more than a hundred) get too deeply involved. Mostly, they supported the revolution by importing much-needed supplies and selling them at a large profit. Naamah's efforts in this area are unclear but it is reputed that several outbreaks of debilitating sickness amongst key British officers had Naamah's hand behind them. As a result, he and his "family" were in good repute when the war ended. Parmenio was also very careful not to get involved in the war of 1812.

Essentially, Naamah lived quietly as part of a prosperous and successful trader until 1860. By then it had become apparent that a civil war was brewing between the slaveholding South and the Free North. Parmenio thought about this impending war in great detail and came to the conclusion that the North both should win and would win. Parmenio had no objections to slavery per se, given his background that is hardly surprising, but saw that the sort of society desired by the Confederacy could not survive in the modern world. The North had to win, or America would not survive.

When war broke out, Parmenio raised a regiment and took it out west where he was attached to the command of General Ulysses S Grant. Naamah went with him, accompanied by Igrat and Achillea. Naamah's major claim to fame was the assassination of the Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston in April 1862. As the Confederate forces overran the Union camps, Johnston seemed to be everywhere, personally leading and rallying troops up and down the line. At about 2:30 p.m., while leading one of those charges, he was wounded, taking a bullet behind his right knee. Within a few minutes Johnston was observed by his staff to be nearly fainting off of his horse, and asked him if he was wounded, to which he replied "Yes, and I fear seriously." He was taken to a forward aid station where Naamah was working (actually to gain tactical information,a repeat of her work for Charles II). She recognized Johnston and realized the importance of him not recovering from the wound he had suffered. She bandaged the wound but coated the bandage with a salve that prevented coagulation. As a result, Johnston continued to bleed out. Although he went back to the front, his boot was filling up with blood and shortly afterwards, he collapsed. Johnston was taken to a small ravine, where he bled to death in minutes.

With the coming of peace, Naamah returned to her role as part of a trading and industrial family. Her tarditional role as Court Princess was obviously no longer appropriate but she transformed it into that of society hostess. In 1919, she suffered a personal tragedy when, in the Great Influenza, she contracted the illness, recovering only after a serious illness. Her close friends, Semiranis and Scheherazade both died of the disease.

In 1921, there was a great meeting of as many of the extended life community as could gather. By now the total community amounted to several thousand and was growing quickly as prosperity increased both population and life expectancy. There were three main proposals for the future. Suriyothai was in favor of a very activist policy, helping the short-lifers to rule. In support of that, she pointed to her own experience in having created a niche where she could steer national policy. Loki was in favor of the traditional hands-off non-intervention policy. Parmenio favored a third way, a discrete involvement in government that would not direct or control but simply limit the adverse effects of any bad decisions. No decision on this was reached and each of the three major groups continued to pursue their own agendas. Parmenio started the process of involving himself in government. He had purchased a shipyard, the Herreshof Yard as an investment and used his position as a shipbuilder to become one of the advisors on the American team negotiating the Washington Naval Treaty. With his involvement, the center of the group's activity moved from Jamestown to Washington, bringing the group into the modern era.

The Modern Era

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Parmenio used his position as an industrialist and investor to manoeuver his way into Government service by participating on advisory boards and liaison committees. Naamah continued her role as a society hostess, acting as the group's "ears" on the movements and opinions in society circles. In 1941 Parmenio was appointed to the Air Warfare Department with responsibility for analysing German industrial structures and planning the bombing attacks on same. With the outbreak of World War Two, this section became the Economic Intelligence and Warfare Committee and was placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Commission. Parmenio rapidly moved to become the chairman of that commission and, when he was read into the Manhattan District Engineering Project, he became chaiman of the Dropshot Committee planning the nuclear assault on Germany. He staffed the EIWC, USSBC and Dropshot with extended-lifers, partly as a result of his long-term plans but also because their incredibly long experience made them best suited for the job. Naamah was technically one of the secretaries in the group but also acted as the group's source of information on social and society opinions in Washington. Naamah's role as society hostess became significant when the groups headed by Parmenio quickly became notorious in Washington for the large number of women employed at their senior management levels. This originally was the cause of adverse comment and a whispering campaign started in Washington's notoriously machiavellian circles. The campaign faded away, partly because of the demonstrated efficiency of those groups and partly because some of the leading critics suddenly developed chronic illnesses that caused them to retire from Washington social circles.

Post-war, the EIWC/USSSBC/Dropshot became the core of the National Security Council with Parmenio holding the position of National Security Advisor. The NSC was a hybrid operation, a government department that was run under contract by private companies. The company responsible for the NSC (The Hudson River Institute) was paid an annual fee for running the NSC and HRI paid all the costs of operating the NSC. The contract was for ten years, renewable at the end of that period and not cancellable in between. The intention was to provide the US Government with strategic advice, intelligence and analysis. Initially at least, Naamah was not involved in running the NSC, her society hostess role being considered too important.

The system by which government departments were run in this way proved highly efficient and successful. More and more Departments and agencies adopted the principle until by the late 1980s, all US Government departments and agencies were operated by private companies under contract to the U.S. Government. The key appointment in all departments run in this fashion was that of "Executive Assistant". This postw as effectively the liaison between the elected officials who set policy and made the major decisions and the private contractors who executed that policy and carried out the decisions made. The Executive Assistants provided by the Contractors quickly gained a reputation for smooth administrative efficiency with their "principles" (the elected official for whom they worked) learning to expect what seemed to be minor miracles in terms of scheduling problems and business arrangements working smoothly. The secret was, of course, that the Executive Assistants could draw upon the range of talents and experience possessed by the group; in effect they were the public face of an organization with more than 6,000 members, all of whom simply had far more experience in making things happen than the average. Naamah was one of the earlier Executive Assistants, initially being appointed as the Executive Assistant to the Attorney General Ramsey Clark. That appointment did not last too long; her principal proved to be a disaster in office and eventually suffered a terrible fate at Naamah's hands. This event was unique, driven by a criticla mix of events, and represents the only occasion when an elected official was actually removed by the staff appointed by the contractors to serve him.


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