Parmenio

Alternative Names

Parmenion, Arminius, Stewart Parmenio, Philip Stuyvesant, Phillip Stuyvesant, Paul Stuyvesant.

Early Life

Parmenio was born at Amphipopolis in 400BC, the son of a Northern Macedonian nobleman named Philotas. The initial stages of his career saw him serving under King Philip II (360-336) where his military talents saw him rise swiftly through the ranks to become one of Philip's leading generals. In 356, Parmenio defeated the Illyrians in a great battle (remembered because Philip received the news on the birthday of his first-born son, Alexander). Ten years later, Parmenio destroyed Halos, a strategic town in southern Thessaly. During this period, Parmenio visited the Oracle of Delphi for the first time, with Philip II. This is an interesting demonstration of trust Philip placed in Parmenio, the King is said to have remarked that during his reign, he had found only one trustworthy general, Parmenio. It is quietly acknowedged that Parmenio was the strategic brains behind Philip II rise to power in Greece.

In 336, Philip sent Parmenio and an army of 10,000 men to Asia, as the vanguard of a larger army that was to liberate the Greek towns on the western shore of what is now Turkey. This operation was useful to unite the Greek towns that Philip had subjected in 338. The moment of the invasion was well-chosen: the news had arrived that the Persian king Artaxerxes IV Arses had been murdered by his courtier Bagoas and was succeeded by his relative Darius III Codomannus. At first, the expeditionary force did very well. The Greek towns in Asia revolted during the spring, but there was a major setback during the autumn. News arrived that Philip II had been murdered. The Macedonians were demoralized and suffered a humiliating defeat at Magnesia. The commander of the Persian Army, Menmon of Rhodes, was able to push back Parmenio and his demoralized troops. However, Parmenio managed to hold his army together and outmanoeuver Menmon, allowing the Macedonian Army to remain in Asia.

Service with Alexander

Alexander was recognized as king in Macedonia in October 336, he was not the only candidate. One of his enemies was a man named Attalus, who was in the army of Parmenio. However, the Parmenio put him to death. This was remarkable, because Parmenio was related to the victim. Over the next few years, we find many relatives of Parmenio in key positions in the Macedonian army. His youngest son Nicanor became commander of the infantry regiment that was known as the Shield bearers, his son-in-law Coenus commanded a phalanx battalion, and another Nicanor was admiral of the navy of the Greek allies. Parmenio's friend Amyntas and his brother Asander received other honorable positions. Parmenio himself became Alexander's second in command, retaining the position he already had under Philip. The most important appointment, however, was that of his oldest son Philotas: he was the commander of the Companion cavalry, a unit of eight squadrons (of 225 horsemen each) that was Macedonia's most effective weapon in any battle

In May 334, Alexander joined Parmenion with reinforcements. The campaign against Persia, which had had a bad start, could now really begin. During three great battles, Parmenio commanded the left wing (12,000 heavily armed Macedonians, 7,000 allies, and 5,000 mercenaries), while Alexander himself commanded the right wing, where Philotas was his right-hand man. Meanwhile, the Persian satraps of Cilicia, Lydia, Hellespontine Phrygia and other territories had assembled at Zelea, near Dascylium. Alexander and Parmenio moved in their direction. In June, the two armies met near the river Granicus (the modern Biga Çay). The Persians had occupied strong defensive positions on one of the banks, which forced Alexander to attack from a difficult angle. Parmenio advised Alexander not to attack and but Alexander ignored the advice and attempted to attack at once. Parmenio had to move fast to rectify the situation and won the battle Alexander's impetuosity had nearly lost.

After the battle, Parmenio captured the Persian stronghold Dascylium, the capital of Hellespontine Phrygia after a hard fight. Later, he seized Magnesia and Tralleis. Asander, a brother of Parmenion, became satrap of Lydia. Meanwhile, Alexander conquered the Greek towns in Asia: Sardes, Ephesus, Miletus, Halicarnassus. During the winter, the king moved through Lycia. At the same time, Parmenion invaded Central Turkey from the west, drove out the remaining Persian troops and occupied the region. The two forces met each other in April 333 at Gordium, the capital of Phrygia, eighty kilometers west of modern Ankara.

After a short stay, the united army moved to the east, to Cilicia. While Alexander was in Cilicia, Parmenion and a small army were ordered to occupy the Assyrian gates. This was the pass between the coastal plain of Cilicia and the plain of the river Orontes in Syria; the main road from the Persian heartland to Cilicia went through this pass. He must have been puzzled by the fact that the enemy did not show up, but was not alarmed until he received word that Darius' huge army was at Sochi, only two days away. A courier was sent to Alexander's army, which covered 120 kilometers in forty-eight hours and joined the Parmenio's army near Myriandrus. The two commanders were planning to attack Darius in Sochi, when they discovered that the Persian army was no longer there and was, in fact, facing into their rear. With his enormous army, the Persian king had crossed the Amanus pass, had captured Issus, and cut off the only Macedonian line of supply. Darius had trapped Alexander. Not much later, battle was joined south of Issus. Although the Macedonians had been outmaneuvered by an army that was superior in numbers, they were victorious, primarily because Parmenio had been able to counter the Persian attack. This gave Alexander a chance to launch a counter-attack.

The most impressive action of Parmenio's career took place after the battle: he rushed to Damascus (350 kilometers through enemy territory) and seized Darius' treasure. The surprised Persian garrison gave him almost 55 ton gold, a great quantity of silver, 329 female musicians, 306 cooks, 13 pastry chefs, 70 wine waiters, 40 scent makers, and the women who had lived at Darius' court. Small surprise that Parmenio needed 7,000 pack animals to bring the booty to Alexander. During the next year, 332, the Macedonians pacified Syria and Palestine. Again, Parmenio had important commands, while his king went to the south to add Egypt to his empire. In the summer, the Macedonian army returned to Syria and invaded Mesopotamia and Assyria. On 1 October 331, the decisive battle took place at Gaugamela. Again, the Persians outnumbered the Macedonians. The commander of the Persian right wing, Mazaeus, attacked Parmenion and the Macedonian left. In fact, the cavalry on the Persian extreme right outflanked the Macedonians. However, Parmenio was able to keep the fighting spirit of his men high, so that they stood their ground. This enabled Alexander to lead the decisive charge.

After the battle of Gaugamela, Babylonia surrendered and Alexander moved to the east, to Susa and hence to Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenid empire. The heartland of Darius' kingdom was surrounded by the Zagros mountains, and Alexander and a small force captured a narrow pass, the Persian gate. Meanwhile, Parmenio was sent out with the main force, entering the plain of Persepolis from the south. The conquest of Ecbatana, another capital of the Achaemenid empire, was left to Parmenion. The veteran general, almost seventy years old, was also responsible for reinforcements and the pacification of the mountain country of the Cadusians. He was therefore, not with Alexander when Darius was hunted down and murdered, and he was not present during the advance to Aria and Drangiana. Consequently, he was unaware of the fact that his son Philotas had been accused of treason and was executed (December 330).

After Alexander had killed Philotas, his attempt to murder Parmenio was inevitable. In Ecbatana, he controlled the road from the Mediterranean to the East, possessed large sums of money and commanded many troops. An angry Parmenio was too powerful to remain alive. Therefore, Alexander accused him of treason and sent an express messenger to Ecbatana, whose duty it was to be there before the news of the death of Philotas reached his father. The courier gave letters to the commanders of the reinforcements to kill the old general, who supposedly would never know why. Two things conspired to foil the plan. One was that Parmenio was the finest strategist of that or probably any other age. He had known that, one day, Alexander would send assassins to kill him. He wasn't expecting tis particular attack but he was expecting an attack and had his defenses in place. The other was that, while his official age was nearly 70, he had the physique and appearance of a man thirty years younger. When the assassins attacked, there was a wild brawl, they were killed and Parmenio was seriously wounded. Alexander's courier guessed that Parmenio had escaped but, fearing Alexander's anger, reported that the assassination attempt had been successful. In a way it had, Parmenio's powerbase in Ecbatana was no longer available to him.

The Babylon Era

Wounded and on the run, Parmenio had only one thought, surviving long enough to kill Alexander. However, he already knew that his life was unnaturally long and a man of his gifts must have suspected the ageing process had stopped. This put him in mind of his second visit to the Oracle of Delphi when Alexander The Great visited Delphi and behaved in a high-handed and abusive manner. He realized that the staff of the Oracle had been uncannily similar on both visits, simply changing roles, and that this fitted with his own experience. He therefore decided to head for the Oracle and link up with the occupants there. After a slightly fraught initial meeting, Naamah realized that Parmenio also had the gift of extended life shared by herself, Lillith and Apollo. It was a mutually useful engagement, Parmenio had somewhere to hide and a group he could rely on, for the women having another man, especially a mature adult, around would be a major increase in the safety of the group as a whole. Naamah 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. 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 guiding strategist and Apollo the general duties and other roles as needed.

The Assassination of Alexander

The problem was to gain access to Alexander and then to carry out the assassination while getting away. As an individual, Parmenio was prepared to go down as long as he had killed Alexander first but he could not adopt that approach now he was responsible for a group of people. So, a longer-term plan was needed and formulating this suited Parmenio's talents perfectly. 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 Alexander'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 commonly-available herbs that her patients could gather for themselves rather than rare, exotic and unsual ingredients accompanied by mysterious 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 any illnesses or injuries that would get them in trouble. As Parmenio predicted, she was soon very well-regarded and, most importantly trusted, by the Macedonian garrison. So, when Alexander was stricken, she was the first physician called to his aid.

Having manoeuvered Naamah into a position of trust, Patmenio sat back and let her do her part. After all, as Naamah had told him "nobody can stop a first-class poisoner". At that time, Alexander was suffering from serious stomach bleeding ulcers that defied easy cure. Using new recruits to the group (an innkeeper and former Queen of Assyria name Semiranic 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 Semiramis, was quite harmless, except to anybody with a bleeding ulcer. It 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, and Parmenio had allied with him. 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

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. 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 Parmenio met Hannibal and realized that he shared his heritage. Following a lost battle, a hapless peasant who looked a little like Hannibal was dressed in his armor and killed, thus engineering Hannibal's 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, Parmenio and his circle were established 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 west of the Tigris, and established their winter encampment on its banks at Ctesiphon. 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 Parmenio down to the ground, it meant that he could maintain his army as a card that allowed him to enter the command structure directly when he thought it necessary. His policy was to remain out of the centers of power as long as things went well, only when things went badly would he get involved and rescue the situation. For example, in 53 BCE, the Roman general Crassus invaded Parthia, but was defeated decisively at the Battle of Carrhae by a Parthian commander who was called Surena in the Greek and Latin sources. That general was, in fact, Parmenio. The Parthian armies included two types of cavalry, heavily-armed and armoured cataphracts and lightly armed but highly-mobile mounted archers. For the Romans, who relied on heavy infantry, the Parthians were difficult to defeat, as both types of cavalry were much faster and more mobile than foot soldiers. On the other hand, the Parthians found it difficult to occupy conquered areas as they were unskilled in siege warfare. Because of these weaknesses, neither the Romans nor the Parthians were able to completely defeat each other. Despite this continuous state of warfare, the loose, decentralized Parthian empire proved so ammenable to Parmenio that he remained there for almost 400 years.

During this period, he pulled off two operations that proved highly significant. In 33BC, the Egyptian Pharaoh, Cleopatra appealed to Parthia for help against the oncoming Roman attack against her country. The Parthian royal family was minded to provide that assistance but Parmenio argued against it, pointing out that Mark Antony was a military inbecile and could be relied upon to lose the war. He could point to his own experience in that matter, Antony had invaded the Parthian Empire in 36 BC with the Legion VI Ferrata and other units. Despite having heavy cavalry in support, Antony failed to make much headway against Parmenio's much smaller force and had withdrawn with heavy losses. However, Parmenio pointed out, Cleopatra and her children could make a useful card in future negotiations with the Romans. Accordingly, he planned a rescue for her when the inevitable military catastrophe occurred. In 31 BC Antony's forces faced the Romans in a naval action off the coast of Actium. Cleopatra was present with a fleet of her own. Following the Battle of Actium, Octavian invaded Egypt. As he approached Alexandria, Antony's armies deserted to Octavian on August 12, 30 BC. Cleopatra was captured and imprisoned in a small building at the end of a quay in Alexandria harbor, a position so suited to a rescue it is hard to believe that everything had not been pre-arranged to relieve Octavian of a serious problem. Parmenio headed a cutting-out raid that rescued Cleopatra, planted evidence to suggest she had been killed and took her back to Ctesiphon. The three "children" of Cleopatra and Antony (in reality almost certainly adopted) were spared and taken back to Rome where they were taken care of by Antony's wife, Octavia Minor, who was also Octavian's sister - another sign that Parmenio and Octavian had pre-arranged the whole thing.

Parmenio had become instantly aware that Cleopatra was another person who was gifted with extended life. By now the group in Ctesiphon had grown to more than two dozen long-lived and was actively seeking out more of their kind - and in the process discovering how rare they were. Cleopatra was one, and that was a prize in itself. However, when the rescue party returned to Ctesiphon, Naamah took one look at Cleopatra and dropped to her knees, touching her head to the floor, an obeisance that Parmenio had never seen her perform before. It had been 1,200 since they'd last met, but Naamah had recognized Pharaoh Nefertiti instantly. This lead to another transfer of power within the group with Nefertiti becoming the nominal leader.

The second major incident took place in 9 AD following a threatening build-up on the Roman/Parthian border. Parmenio argued that rather than fight the Romans directly, it would be better if the Romans had their attention distracted elsewhere. The frontier with Germany seemed a good prospect in this respect so Parmenio set out with a group of six members of the group, leaving the rest in Ctesiphon with Nefertiti. He appears to have taken Phaeton Phoebus Apollo, Lillith, Naamah, Igrat and and two others with him. He adopted the name of Arminius, posing as a son of a conveniently-dead Cheruscan war chief Segimerus who had been trained as a Roman military commander and attained Roman citizenship and the status of equestrian (petty noble) before returning to Germania to drive the Romans out. Parmenio manipulated a situation where a Roman incursion into Germania was subjected to concerted attack and, at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, the three Legiosn involved were completely wiped out, one of the worst military catastrophes ever inflicted on the Roman Army. Parmenio regards the battle as one of his greatest masterpieces. In the aftermath, he was offered the pick of the captured Roman women and, recognizing one who had been gifted with extended life, picked her. This woman was Inanna who quickly became one of his "inner circle"

The Teutoburg Forest was a spectacularly successful strategic diversion that meant that Rome had to shift legions from the frontier with Parthia to the Rhine. It bought over a century of peace for Parthia. War broke out again in 114AD and this time Parthians were severely beaten. The Romans conquered Armenia, and in the following year, Trajan marched to the south, where the Parthians were forced to evacuate their strongholds. In 116, Trajan captured Ctesiphon, and established new provinces in Assyria and Babylonia. Later that year, he took the Parthian capital, Susa, deposed the Parthian King Osroes I and put Parthamaspates as a puppet ruler on the throne. Parmenio re-entered the battles, and pulled off a major strategic diversion, bringing about a Jewish revolt that forced Trajan to send an army to suppress them. Trajan overcame these troubles, but his successor Hadrian gave up the Parthian territories.

However, there was a serious problem emerging since Parthian weaknesses also contributed to the disaster. In the first century CE, the Parthian nobility had become more powerful due to concessions by the Parthian king granting them greater powers over the land and the peasantry. Their power now rivaled the king's, while at the same time internal divisions in the Arsacid family had rendered them vulnerable. Thinking through the inevitable consequences, Parmenio realized that Parthia's days were numbered. It was time to look for a new home.

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, Parmenio and his circle had found themselves in 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. This might mean an obnoxious or threatening person might suddenly get sick and die or perhaps Parmenio would use his position to take over the strategic situation and achieve an improved balance in the Sassanid's favor but that was all. Outside that narrow band, the group 'went with the flow' and made themselves as inconspicuous as possible. Indeed the only major impact the group had was when one of the long-lived women who joined it, Scheherazade later became the heroine of Sir Richard Burton's famous book.

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.

What had changed the situation was a period of radical transformation in the Byzantine Empire. The empire which had once stretched from Spain to Jerusalem was now reduced to Anatolia, Chersonesos, and some fragments of Italy and the Balkans. The territorial losses were accompanied by a cultural shift; urban civilization was massively disrupted, classical literary genres were abandoned in favor of theological treatises, and a new "radically abstract" style emerged in the visual arts. That the empire survived this period at all is somewhat surprising, especially given the total collapse of the Sassanid Empire in the face of the Arab expansion, but a remarkably coherent military reorganization helped to withstand the exterior pressures and laid the groundwork for the gains of the following dynasty.

It is no coincidence that the period that followed is known as the "Macedonian Renaissance" to historians. Parmenio masterminded the defeat of the Islamic armies in 718, and achieved a major victory at the expense of the Arabs in 740. He also addressed himself to the task of reorganizing and consolidating the themes in Asia Minor. Finally. on behalf f Emperor Constantine V, Parmenio won a series of noteworthy victories in northern Syria, and thoroughly undermined Bulgar strength. Militarily, the Empire was stabilized, the population rose, and production increased, stimulating new demand while also helping to encourage trade. Culturally, there was considerable growth in education and learning. Ancient texts were preserved and patiently re-copied. Byzantine art flourished, and brilliant mosaics graced the interiors of the many new churches. Though the empire was significantly smaller than during the reign of Justinian, it was also stronger, as the remaining territories were less geographically dispersed and more politically and culturally integrated. This is all the more impressive when it is consdiered that Parmenio's sole aim in masterminding this process was not to save an empire but simply to provide a safe refuge for the people he considered his family while he found somewhere more agreeable to live.

By 862AD Parmenio was ready to move and his departure was hastened by a major row within the group, set off by a massive dispute between Lillith and Apollo. Lillith went into what Naamah calls "vengeful harpy" mode and the family split up according to who's side they took in that dispute. Nefertiti and Parmenio managed to smooth things down but the dispute appears to have frustrated Parmenio to the point where he simply wanted out. Accordingly, he left for the Far East, accompanied only by two members of the group, an ex-Gladiator named Achillea and his adopted daughter Igrat. He would not return for almost 300 years.

The Far Eastern Interlude

It is hard to trace Parmenio's route after leaving Constantinople. It is most unlikely that he headed south through Moslem lands, a calculated guess would be that he and Achillea moved along the southern coast of the Black Sea, then down to the Indus where they crossed into India. It would then appear that they moved across northern India, into what is now Burma before heading North into southern China. At that point they made contact with the Nanchao, some 15 years after they had left Constantinople.

Nanchao was a kingdom that existed on the borders of China and was home to a wide range of different Thai peoples. The state was remarkable for being both matriarchal and had a very liberal approach to sexual relations, which perplexed the very straight-laced Han Chinese majority. Nanchao was a very militaristic society. This was partly a result of bordering the enormous Chinese empire and the fear of invasion, as well as being bordered to the west by the Tibetans who, at that time, had a powerful expansionist state of their own. The Nanchao Army was based on formidable armoured cavalry and was supplemented by a militia that demanded all men, and any women, who wished would provide military service as capable archers, horsemen and soldiers. To support the military effort, comparatively high levels of technology were achieved and a stable economy was created with a basis of agriculture in the plains areas and trade with a variety of neighbours, much of which was in the horses that flourished around the capital of Dali. Horses were always of considerable importance to China who needed them to counter the threats of mounted nomads who bordered the empire all around the western and northern edges and who were able to raid Chinese lands at will if not met by cavalry.

The official religion was a form of Buddhism but, given the syncretic nature of Buddhism (which permits the worship of various other gods and spirits) and the wide variety of peoples of Nanchao, many of whom continue to this day with animistic beliefs (that is, worshipping the spirits of nature), many forms of religious belief were pursued. As a tolerent, advanced and militarily powerful state, Nanchao appeared to be exactly what Parmenio was looking for. However, from the tenth century, a series of defeats by Chinese armies persuaded successive Nanchao rulers to adopt a much more peaceful stance and retained its existing borders. As a result, Nanchao expansion north, west and east was blocked. The only option was to expand south and this Nanchao did throughout the 10th and 11th centuries. Nanchao expanded into the Chaophyra Delta forming a series of kingdoms that were satellites of the main Nanchao group further north. The most important of these southern groups was Sukothai.

Parmenio appears to have arrived in Nanchao in around 880, just as this push south was starting. How he managed to work his way into the confidence of the Nanchao kings is unclear but the tolerance and military efficiency that distinguised Nanchao would have provided a good environment for the recognition of his talents. He appears to have partnered with a series of Nanchao generals, masterminding the push south. One of these Prince-Generals had a young daughter who Parmenio realized also had the gift of extended life. Her name was Princess Suriyothai. She became Parmenio's protege and most avid student, soaking up Parmenio's expertise as a general and a strategist. In time, she was to become almost his equal, the key difference being that her extreme patriotism and devotion to her people contrasted sharply with the cold, mercenary Parmenio.

The Kingdom of Nanchao lasted until the advent of the Mongols who, in a series of powerful campaigns, conquered the whole of China, then destroyed the Nanchao Kingdom, burning the cities, killing the rulers and replacing them with foreigners and causing mass migrations of people southwards. Those people fled into the southern subsidiary kingdoms from around 1220 onwards. By this time, Parmenio had already returned to Constantinople.

The motives for Parmenio's long stay in the Far East have been much discussed. After all, Nanchao in the 9th Century appeared to be just what he was looking for so why did he not bring the rest of the group out to join him. Asked on this issue he simply replied "time flies when we're having fun." However, this question masks a more important one, why did he decide to return when he did? There must be a suspicion that when he left Constantinople in 862, he never intended to return. In is probable that he was bored with the machinations of politics in the area and the frustrations resulting from the internal strife within the extended-life community had soured him ore deeply than he had let on. It is possible that he had been following the situation in the Middle East and realized that the Byzantine Empire was doomed. In that case, Constantinople would fall and all within it stood a very good possibility of being killed. Possibly, also, he realized that as a European in an Asian community, he would always stand out and his long-term stay there was impossible. For whatever reason, he decided to return to Constantinople. The Mongol Empire made travel much faster and safer than it had been three hundred years earlier and, by 1200, he had rejoined the group in Constantinople.

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. It goes without saying that one of these mercantile families was the group of extended lifers (now numbering several dozen) lead by Nefertiti. The group formed an early alliance with the powerful Medici family and it was Parmenio's strategic gifts that resulted in the rise and extended power of that group. Parmenio kept the alliance largely secret and was able to orchestrate a series of rescue missions when Medici power was threatened.

In 1377, An English Mercenary Captain, Sir John Hawkwood was hired by the anti-papal league and married Donnina Visconti, the illegitimate daughter of Bernabò Visconti, the Duke of Milan. This alliance was soon ended by a quarrel with Bernardo and Hawkwood was up for hire. Parmenio decided to meet and hire him for Florence, more to prevent him working for anybody else than for operational reasons. However, he soon realized that Sir John also shared the extended life gift and the two established a tenuous relationship. Somewhat to Parmenio's surprise, Hawkwood showed little interest in joining the established group instead electing to go his own way. Hawkwood instead signed an agreement with Florence that committed him to the city's defense. In the 1390s Hawkwood became a commander-in-chief of the army of Florence in the war against the expansion of Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan. With the strategic moves planned by Parmenio, Hawkwood's army invaded Lombardy and was within ten miles of Milan before he had to retreat over Adige river. Later in the year, forces under his command defended Florence and later defeated the Milanese force of Jacopo dal Verme. Eventually Visconti sued for peace. Contemporary opinion in Florence regarded Hawkwood as a savior of Florence's independence against Milanese expansion although those in the corridors of power were well aware it was Parmenio's strategic gifts that had brought about Visconti's defeat.

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 noved 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. For Parmenio, the stay in Avebury was something of a holiday, he had very little to do other than his, far-from onerous duties as Lord of the Manor and spent his time being waited on by everybody else. By this time, he and Lillith were partners. Lillith fitted easily into her role as the Lady of the Manor and the group seemed set for a long, quiet and comfortable stay.

Unfortunately, that was not to be. 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. 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. She bought a major stickholding in the South Seas Trading Company and started to spread word of teh company's glowing prospects. The directors of the Company insisted profits were just around the corner, and even outbid the Bank of England for an additional £31,000,000 of government debt in 1719. At that point, Lillith and Parmenio sold out all their interests and essentially cashed out of the market. The result of their selling their South Sea Trading Company stock was delayed but when it hit it hit hard. In September 1720, 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. He "let blood the on the following morning, but with slight relief." It was eighteenth-century England, and everyone knew that a good healthy bleeding was a sovereign cure for many ailments. However, the fatal result was not anticipated except by his physician. Knowing too much can be a fatal affliction when Naamah 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. Parmenio decided 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.

This lead to an amicable split in the group. It had turned out that the period 1500 - 1750 had produced an unusually large number (in relative terms) of people in England who had the gift of extended life. Some of these, most notably Nell Gwynne and William Shakespeare decided to remain with the main group and make the transition to the new properties and life in Jamestown, Virginia. Many of the rest, though, decided that they wished to stay in the U.K., trusting to their political power and position to protect them from the South Sea Bubble fall-out. In time, this splinter group became the Piccadilly Circus. By 1755, the main group had left, leaving Avebury in the hands of the stay-behind faction.

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. Parmenio did, however, give some tactical and strategic advice to the Colonial army and rendered other aid as necessary. 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, Parmenio lived quietly as 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. He and Grant quickly became firm friends and the alliance of a cold-blooded, ruthless strategist and equally ruthless fighting general proved deadly to the Confederate forces along the Mississippi. At some point in the campaign, Grant discovered the secret of Parmenio's extended life, how is not known. With the Western forces of the Confederacy destroyed, Grant and Parmenio were moved east where they repeated the process on the Army of Northern Virginia. It was Parmenio's insistance that priority be given to destroying the Confederate Armies rather than simply seizing territory that ensured the Civil War ended in 1865 with a clean break. Had those armies not been destroyed, guerilla fighting might have gone on for decades.

With the coming of peace, Parmenio returned to his role as a trader and industrialist. He was, however, a profoundly worried man. His experiences in the Civil War had convinced him that technology was advancing too fast to be properly controlled by humans. After all, the technology with which he had fought his first battles was not really very different from that with which he had fought 1,500 years later. The difference between the technology of 1815 and 1860 had been profound and the rate of change was accelerating. His fears were confirmed by the First World War and he could see how things were going to go. A personal tragedy may have confirmed his opinions on this point. In the 1919 Great Influenza, he and many of the extended-lifers contracted the illness. Most recovered but 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. At the same time other members of the group started to get jobs in government departments, using their long experience to establish themselves in influential positions. 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.

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. It was the perfect job for Parmenio which is fortunate; he would hold it for 600 years.

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 way it worked was that the departments etc were headed, and their policy formulated, by elected officials but their routine administration was the responsibility of the companies contracted to run them. Those companies recruited and trained staff and made sure that the department in question ran smoothly. Of course, if anybody ever managed to track their way through the maze of Lillith's book-keeping, they would have found all those companies were owned by members of Parmenio's group. The elected officials running those departments quickly learned that the effects of their mistakes was usually mitigated and rarely seemed to have serious consequences while their correct decisions turned out to be spectacularly and publicly successful. It was Parmenio's abiding rule; the extended lifers were not there to rule, direct or even influence, just to make sure that the damage caused by mistakes was limited to a minimum while the benefits conferred by successes were exploited to the full.

Under this system, the U.S. Government operated more smoothly and productively and with relatively fewer employees than at any time in its history.


Welcome-Bio Index

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License