After parting company with Amarés and setting aside that broad tour of various localities of the west and centre of the Empire of the Aryans, I'd not yet decided what I'd do next. At the time, I'd imagined that I'd take only a short break from that activity and then likely continue to engage in more of the same, but perhaps in a different location. Whatever the source of it, I expected that inspiration would present readily enough.

Almost immediately upon the return to Olympus, I had learned that old Theia had died of an age related illness. Given that she had been among the oldest of the unchanged Titannians, well over five thousand years old, it was not so terribly unexpected. However, Theia had been the mother of Helios.

Of course, I'd quickly contacted Helios to offer my sympathies. I learned that he had recently returned to Olympus, as her illness had steadily grown worse. Although in a grim state, he had been fully prepared for the inevitable outcome. Even the longevity of a Titannian was not without limit.

Unlike many of her peers of that era, Theia had never embraced the notion of becoming Changed. Although there were many changes that she accepted in the state of things, that was not something that she had ever wanted for herself.

I had suspected that issue might have been a point of contention between Hyperion and herself at some earlier time. It had been quite some time since they had gone their separate ways. It had then been some short period afterward that Hyperion had finally chosen to become Changed. He was actually quite aged by that time. However, although still looking somewhat older in appearance, he had regained some of his earlier vigour after becoming a Changed Titannian.

Helios had been a good friend of mine for most of my lifetime. I had known his mother, and all of his most immediate family. Accordingly, I had attended the gathering to commemorate the long lifetime of Theia.

Aside from Hyperion and Helios, both his older sisters Selené and Eos were present. As well as younger siblings and numerous members of the extended family. There also seemed no shortage other friends and many other persons of interest in attendance.

I had noted that Selené had looked well despite her loss. Selené had also finally elected to become Changed as she had approached her age of mid-life. I had known that some of her recent activities had involved work with the Populae Oratum. Otherwise, I had not really been in contact with her for some time.

Eos had not seemed quite so vital, even given the circumstances. I'd almost not even recognised her. Like her mother, Eos had not ever been inclined to follow the path of the Changed. Accordingly, she was beginning to truly show her advancing years.

The proceedings of that day seemed rather lengthy. Perhaps, in step with the long lifetime that Theia had enjoyed. The day had possibly seemed even longer to me, since I had been among the first to arrive, and among those last to leave. Standing by Helios for much of it.

At one point of distraction, I had become annoyed with myself. Despite the tone of the day, I had inappropriately noted to myself just how attractive Selené had remained after all those years. I had also observed that she was not in the company of another at that time. We had shared a youthful dalliance during my more formative years. Nevertheless, it was something best left in the past, and certainly not something for recollection upon such an occasion.

Helios had remained remarkably outwardly stoic throughout. I seemed to recall that I had not been quite so perfectly poised at the time of the loss of my own mother.

By some measure of contrast, it appeared evident that Hyperion had not been quite as adept at concealing his sorrow. Although some period of time had passed since they had lived as husband and wife, the feelings that he had held for her were still perfectly obvious to anyone.

In due course, those commemorations of that day for Theia had come to an end, and I had returned home.

Since Helios had remained within Olympus for the time being, I'd made a point of visiting him upon a number of occasions over the following days. Not especially because of his recent loss, but more so because he was actually nearby, and otherwise unencumbered. It been quite some time since I had the opportunity to share his company and recount the days of old, without one of us needing to rush off to other duties.

One evening, we had visited the tavern district by the upper reservoir. Outside of one of the taverns, we had met up with Vulcané and Triton. Neither of which I had seen for some length of time. All four of us had gone into tavern together to catch up with recent activities.

Before long, we soon shared our various stories. The other three had proceeded to consume copious amounts of selected strong beverages from Aesgard. From what I had gathered, those brews were each notably potent. In volume, apparently enough to challenge even the constitution of those of our kind.

Aside from a casual taste, I'd refrained from participating in the enthusiastic guzzling that had taken place. I held no partiality for alcoholic beverages. Nevertheless, I was with them in spirit, if not direct participation.

As the evening progressed, the other three had grown far more rowdy. Although perfectly sober, I had become just as loud in response. At the peak of our noisy gathering, the tavern host had asked us to settle down or move along. Since there seemed little chance of quietening the tone of things, I had persuaded the others to come outside.

Outside, further boisterous tirade continued for about another period, before we had noted just how late the evening had grown. Still in high spirits, we parted and each made our way to our respective homes.

A few days later, during a visit with Helios, I had been reflecting upon some of my recent travels through foreign lands, hoping to persuade him of the value of joining me upon some new journey.

Helios had been informing me of the recent research activities that he had participated in during his most recent time upon the Orbital Station. I had to concede that some of what he had told me had certainly raised my interest. Somehow, before I had even realised it, he had convinced me to join him when he returned to the station.

Upon departing Olympus for the Orbital Station with Helios, I had to admit that I had really held no idea of what it was that I might be doing when I arrived there. As it passed, it was of no immediate concern.

The first order of business involved settling into my new quarters. Of course, I had also made the effort to meet with my father at the earliest opportunity. There were also several others of familiarity aboard the station at that time. I was actually surprised to learn that Artemis was up there for a defensive training refresher course. I had thought that she was still in the Iberian lands at that particular time.

I'd also found opportunity to meet with those that headed each of the various research activities at that time. Not that I had yet to consider which project might interest me or even which one I might find myself readily accepted for participation.

After the passage of just a few days, Helios sought me out in an excitable manner. He had apparently found a new project of interest. More than that, he had also arranged for me to join him. Provided that I agreed, of course, and also provided that the research head accepted me.

When it was first explained to me, I was not so terribly excited. However, once the full scope of the project was further explained, I became rather more interested.

Effectively, it was an astronomical survey project. Naturally, most of the local bodies of our own system were already well accounted for in varied measure. Although, there was certainly room for more direct examination of those bodies or even seeking to identify some other smaller or more elusive objects. However, we would actually be looking far further afield.

Even then, the nature and relative positions of the other nearby stars in the general vicinity were also well mapped and documented. However, it was not exactly those stars that were the focus of that project, but the objects about them.

There had recently been some specific modifications to the passive deep-space monitoring array. Of course, it was already perfectly suited to the detection of Thelemistic signals and directed radiowave transmissions or the like. The new modifications were made to provide more for its use as an effective broad-spectrum radio-telescope. In due course, further modifications were planned to refine that function.

The detail that the Master Oracle had acquired from the probes that had originally surveyed the area was rather scant. It had not included much beyond the type and location of the stars of our region. Of course, we also understood that our world was the only one of its general kind for a radius of twelve-point-one light-years. Still, it was more that we understood that there were no other suitable worlds within that radius, for the purpose of what took place upon our own world.

Speculation led to the consideration that there might well be some similar worlds that were considered unsuitable for one specific reason or another. That kind of information had not been included with the detail possessed by the Master Oracle.

Thus far, only a few extraordinarily large and obvious gas giant worlds had been identified about a few of the nearer stars. Further effort and refinement of the array would be needed to achieve a greater level of progress.

Although the goal seemed interesting enough, some of the work needed to pursue that objective had proved rather tedious. Once the first run of new adjustments had been made to the array, we had attempted to make detailed re-examinations of the twenty-nine nearest stars within just over twelve of our light-years. It had proved laborious. There were ongoing examinations of the specific movement and perturbation of each star. Also monitoring of the detectable radiance for the passage of passing objects. For the most part, it involved the set up of automated monitoring procedures, and periodic checking.

Still, whenever a new object was actually detected, or even vaguely indicated, the excitement took hold of all involved. We'd actually found a few dim cooler stars that had eluded previous examination, increasing the overall number within the specified radius.

Although we had progressively managed to fill in many of the gaps as the survey proceeded, no one held to the illusion that we might have gained a completed model. It was just as likely that many smaller objects had eluded detection thus far. We were made even more aware of that upon a number of occasions.

The largest objects had proved relatively easy to find. Some of the larger gas giants were difficult to miss once we concentrated our efforts. In fact, we found that many of those stars had something of that kind in orbit at various distances.

However, the relatively smaller objects had proved rather more difficult to identify. It was reasonable to presume that even those bodies were likely to have some satellites of some sort in many cases. Except of course for those that were far too close to the parent star. In any event, the ambient radio-wave interference commonly made it almost impossible for direct detection.

More than once, there had been an eventual detection of a body that been previously obscured behind a much larger body for the earlier period of observation.

There was some great excitement when some smaller rocky worlds of the kind we'd been watching for had been identified about three of the stars being monitored. However, in each of those cases, the objects identified had not turned out to be quite so similar to our own planet. Spectrographic analysis indicated that objects about two of them might be like the caustic world nearer to our own star. Some of them possibly tidally locked to the parent star, given the proximity. The detection about the third star appeared to be something more like the red planet near our asteroid belt, only somewhat larger.

Among those other larger gaseous bodies, there were also a few very large rocky objects detected that were clearly far too cool or too large to be anything like our own living world.

Even examination of the very nearest stars provided inconclusive detail. The closest system was actually one with three stars. Two stars in binary orbit. One slightly larger than our sun and the other slightly smaller. The third was a cooler dwarf star circling the other two at a far greater orbit. Though some objects had been confirmed about both the inner stars and the outer one, nothing like our own world had been detected. That didn't conclusively mean that there was nothing of that kind to be found. Only that we'd not been able to make proper determination as such.

Of course, without actually sending probes to make much closer examination of nearby star systems, only so much could be reasonably determined from a greater distance. There could well have been some potentially habitable planetoids or moons orbiting some of the stars within that radius, but they remained beyond immediate detection.

Of course, extending the radius of examination to around twenty light-years would include almost a hundred star systems, with an even broader range of possibilities to be expected. However, the further out that we peered, the more difficult it became to achieve trustworthy detail. Though the research was certainly viewed as worthy pursuit, it was not qualified as urgent priority.

If evidence of an outward broadcasting technological civilisation had been detected, that would have shifted priorities notably. If another world in our general vicinity had been acting in a manner likely to attract the attention of far-roaming Omegaen scout vessels, that might have raised some pressing measure of concern. However, that had not yet proven to be the case.

I had taken a break from that activity after about three years. Although only for the period of about half a moon. It would have been in 358BCE, when Aesgard was hosting celebrations to mark the passage of four hundred years since the founding of the city.

Both Thorr and Loché had applied some measure of pressure in recent communications, casually insisting that I should come join them in Aesgard at that time. They were not the only ones. Every time that Wodin had visited Zeus upon the station, he had also pointedly reminded me of the upcoming event.

In fact, it seemed that a great many would be converging upon Aesgard at that time. I did not travel there alone. I travelled there together with Zeus, Helios and Seriv. Unlike some others, with both Thorr and Loché currently living in that city, we had no trouble with finding accommodations for the duration of the festivities.

Of course the celebrations in Aesgard had passed in much the same boisterous manner as those of a hundred years earlier. I would have reasonably presumed that the celebrations of fifty years gone were likely no less excitable. However, I had not attended upon that particular occasion.

Aside from immediate family, of which, several were in attendance, I had managed to meet up with numerous friends and acquaintances during that time. It also seemed well met to catch up with the like of Balder and Heimdall again. It had been so rare that I had opportunity to do so.

Overall, it was an enjoyable break from the laborious activity that had dominated my recent days. Still, I was glad that it only occurred once or twice a century. By my reckoning, a festival of Aesgard had sometimes seemed equal measure of relaxation and effort.

In due course, I left Aesgard behind, returning to the Orbital Station and the main task at hand for that moment. It would not be a short termed commitment. It was the kind of activity that would continue for a number of years to come. Even long after I had lost interest and moved on, others would continue that work.

Eventually, the survey of the nearest stars within that initial radius had been reasonably completed. Not that there was any true completion to the task. More that the full extent of the current level of examination had been reached. At least, to the ability of the equipment that we were able to utilise.

Though not specifically the initial intent, a number of small objects beyond the outer orbit of the gaseous giants of own star system had been added to the catalogue. Several had already been previously identified. Some had been relatively easy to spot, including a pair of binary planetoids with an eccentric orbit that commonly swung in nearer to the larger planets. Another four or five were also relatively easy to spot. Given how many had been observed, there were likely hundreds of frozen planetoids or large asteroids out in that expanse beyond the dust clouds immediately surrounding our star system. Of course, none of them represented living worlds.

From that point of completing the first phase of that detailed survey, the scope of what followed was extended out to a radius of eighteen of our light-years for the next leg. Of course, that would expand the number of target objects by a significant measure.

As that work proceeded, it seemed that I had quickly lost all sense of the passage of time. Even though I had not at all intended to do so, I had remained there for the better part of twenty years.

During that period, I had made only the briefest of return visits to Olympus. Typically, just for a few days at a time. Nothing more than short breaks from the ongoing work at hand.

I had paid only passing attention to the developments of the various lands that had more firmly held my interest during earlier times. At times, perusing the major postings upon the Populae Oratum. At other times, ignoring it all completely for lengthy periods. I would suppose that was how I had completely missed the emergence of certain circumstances in the Helladic lands.

With the state of relatively peaceful disunity that had previously emerged, I had thought that such a thing would probably endure for some period of time. Particularly so, since the emergent disunity would tend to imply that no particular regional alliance would hold the strength to engage their neighbours. However, that had not remained the case.

It had been about twelve years since I had begun my research work upon the station when I had firstly become aware of it all. I had found it to be rather unlikely at the time to learn that the Macedonians had embarked upon a campaign of conquest and empire building.

At that time, an army of Macedonians had marched upon Thessaly in the near north. Led by a general under the direction of the new Macedonian King, the centres of Alos and lesser Iolkos were effectively sacked and destroyed.

Looking more closely, I had learned that the series of developments had begun some time earlier. During the time that Amarés and I had been in the Persian lands, the previous ruler of the Macedonian region, Perdikkas, had been killed in a minor skirmish. At first, his bother Philippos had ruled as regent for the young son of Perdikkas. Shortly afterward, the younger boy was killed in suspicious circumstances. Reportedly, Philippos was likely responsible. Nevertheless, from that time onward, Philippos had ruled as Basileus of Makedon. Later known to broader historical record as Philip II of Macedon.

Before long, Macedonia had embarked upon a campaign of expansion into neighbouring lands. By then, most of the northern lands had become claimed by the Macedonians. For the past seven or eight years, the ruler of that land had been engaged in the activity of building great armies and mounting campaigns to spread the reach of his rule.

Before having gained that foothold upon northern Thessaly, the Macedonians had already secured a vast region. The region of Chaldiké to the near east had been conquered. That included the city of Amphipolis, previously held by Athens. Macedonia had also claimed most of the region of Thracia, with the exception of those eastern-most cities near the Bosporus. Philippos had additionally gained the loyalty of the Kingdom of Epirus, to the south-west of Macedonia, through marriage to the Princess Olympias. By that time, she had provided him with a son, named Alexandros.

Reportedly, the Macedonian King had recently announced his intent to forcibly unite all of the Helladic lands under his rule. Prior to that time, I would have thought that to be one of the lands least likely to embark on such a campaign. At first glance, I would have predicted that he had bitten off far more that he could chew upon. I doubted that he would find the Spartans to be an easy target for conquest. Also, before reaching that far, the other lands would prove most difficult, once united against a common foe. Nevertheless, I elected to try to keep a watchful eye for further developments, as time permitted.

Over the following eight years that I had remained mostly upon the Orbital Station, the Macedonian campaigns had proceeded in fits and bursts. In the wake of the conquest of the region of Thessaly, a peace treaty was negotiated between Athens and King Philippos of Macedonia. Effectively, Macedonia held all the eastern territories from Thermopylae northward.

Shortly afterward, setting aside immediate ambitions to press further southward, Philippos had turned toward other borders. Within two years, the Macedonian forces had conquered the region of Illyria. The land to the north-west of Macedonia, extending all the way to the western coastline.

The following year, Philippos had invaded the Kingdom of Epirus, situated south of Illyria, extending south-west of Macedonia. In due course, the King of that land was overthrown, and Philip had installed his own brother-in-law as a puppet ruler.

That same year, at the invitation of Philip, Aristotle had relocated to the Macedonian capital of Pella to serve as tutor to his son. Aristotle had been among the most noted of Plato's students at the Academy of Athens. At the time, I might not have thought so much of that circumstance. However, later events would come to bear out the significance of that particular development.

During the year that followed, King Philippos of Macedonia had returned to the region of Thessaly to consolidate and reorganise the administration of those lands. Although the treaty with Athens had remained tenuously in place, other Kingdoms south of Thermopylae had reason to grow nervous of the strengthening of Macedonian interests in that region.

By 340BCE, some of the tension had eased somewhat as Philippos had turned his attention to more far-flung lands. Philippos had personally led campaigns in the region of eastern Thrakia, near the straits of the Bosporus. In that area, there were two cities that had managed to hold out against the Macedonian expansion. Those of Perinthius and Byzantium.

Despite great effort, both of those cities had continued to hold in the face of aggressive siege. For the time being, the Macedonians would remain unsuccessful in attempts to fully conquer those lands.

Before long, the consolidation in Thessaly had taken form and Philippos returned to the ambition of southward expansion. Beginning in the summer of 339BCE, campaigns were mounted that focussed upon the lands of Phokis and Lokris, to the immediate south of Thermopylae.

Much of what soon followed was the result of the way in which those campaigns were conducted. Philippos held good knowledge of the strengths of those warriors of the south. As such, there was also a great understanding of their potential weaknesses. Accordingly, the soldiers of the King's army of Macedonia employed new methodologies. There would be no lumbering wagons carrying supplies. Each soldier carried their own armour and weapons. Each was responsible for securing their own requirements for food and water. Living off the land as they marched onward.

Furthermore, Philippos held no distinction between summer and winter. His armies were driven to fight all the year round. There would be no summer campaigns, with measured periods of respite. There would be no rest for their opponents to regroup and recover. In many ways, it was a radically different style of warfare to what had become the accepted form of that region.

As those forces surged steadily southward through the lands of Phokis and Lokris, those more powerful lands further south grew more weary. Voices within the Athenian assembly had finally convinced more cautious members of the immediate threat of Macedonian conquest.

Nearer to the advancing front of Macedonian conflict, the Thebans also came to clearly recognise the threat that lay ahead of them.

Those two lands had soon joined forces to offer a clear resistance to the coming forces of Macedonia. A few other allies had offered their own support. However, the bulk of that defensive force comprised of Athenians and Thebans.

It was shortly before the time of that inevitable clash, that I had finally retired from my period of research service upon the Orbital Station. I had returned to Olympus with the intention of taking a period of rest. However, the developments of the nearby lands had soon drawn my attention. I had begun by reviewing the recent events leading up to that time. After a fairly lengthy examination, I had drawn my own general conclusions of what would be likely to pass in the coming days.

In my estimation, Athens and Thebes had been far too conservative in their forward planning. They had been slow to gather their resources. More than that, they would clearly need to persuade far greater levels of support from their allies, if they hoped to successfully defend themselves in warfare. Although I was loath to concede it, they should have sought the assistance of the Spartans. Even if only in the manner of temporary alliance.

Alternatively, they could have looked toward seeking negotiation with Philippos. Perhaps trying to establish some sort of state of independent alliance. Even if it meant, accepting a position of tenuous subservience. If Athens and Thebes had rallied enough neighbouring lands to stand together in negotiation, except of course the Spartans, they might have stood a good chance of arriving at a favourable outcome. One that didn't require losing in warfare.

Before long, I had gradually found myself falling back into the habit of serving as an historian. Albeit, a somewhat casual one at that stage. In due course, I would soon find myself again fully surrendering to that calling, also contributing to the official record.

During those days, Linus had come to visit me. Of course, I was delighted to see him. At the same time, I had felt some measure of guilt that I had not often kept in touch with him since the most recent falling out with his mother. Nevertheless, that did not at all reflect poorly upon the relationship between myself and my most favoured son.

As we shared the tales of our recent activities, I had soon learned that Linus had met the son of King Philippos quite recently. He had been in Pella only four years earlier. Posing as the son of Macedonian nobleman from the outer lands, Linus had attended the same gymnasium under the tutelage of Aristotle. With his generally youthful appearance, Linus had little trouble passing for a youth, with only minor cosmetic alteration to his appearance.

Linus had spoken well of Aristotle. He had thought that the man held much greater substance than his own mentor, Plato. However, I was somewhat more interested in Linus' impressions of the young Alexandros.

From what Linus had gathered, he had thought that the young Prince might make for an interesting leader one day. He had thought that much of that might well grow from the influence of Aristotle. Linus had noted that upon the surface, Alexandros had seemed much of a youthful idealist. Apparently, the greatest source of his inspiration had been drawn from the Homeric tales of Mycenaean glory times. Those romanticised stories of that era, when all of the nearby lands were united against Troy and the lands of Walusa. A time of heroes and great legend, when men of destiny could seemingly forge the shape of the future.

As Linus understood it, Alexandros' mother had instilled many fanciful notions in his mind since his earliest childhood. She had alternatively told him that he was directly descended from Achillés, and at other times, that his true father was actually Zeus; their fabled King of their gods, as opposed to my own father. He might well have been a distant descendant of Achillés, but otherwise, he was no more than the son of a mortal man. Even if that man was the ruler of an ever-expanding empire.

Although Alexandros had seemed something of a dreamer, Linus had also recognised that the youth was highly intelligent and possessed of grounded deep thought. Just how that might manifest as he became a man remained to be seen. Particular so, given the specific nature of his father. Philippos was far less possessed of deep of thought, except in matters of political and military strategy. Linus had only been in the presence of Alexandros' father upon a few very brief occasions. Linus had thought him to be a one-eyed brute of a man. More so in way of behaviour and demeanour, than appearance. Although the ruler of those lands, he seemed far more the warrior than a King. Linus had pondered how that might affect young Alexandros in times to come.

Soon enough, those times had actually come. By the age of sixteen, Alexander had already come to serve a prominent role in the King's army. As the Macedonians surged through Phokis and Lokris, Alexander had led the elite horsemen of those forces.

By the summer of 338BCE, the inevitable conflict that loomed had finally come about upon the plain near the town of Chaeronea, in northern Boeotia. It was there that the Macedonian forces clashed with those gathered by Athens and Thebes.

At first glance, it might have seemed that the numbers were nearly evenly matched by each side. The southern allies had assembled nearly thirty thousand to form their mighty ranks of phalanx. The Macedonians numbered about the same, with the addition of almost two thousand horsemen holding back to the rear. However, that battle would not be decided by numbers alone.

For a start, the Athenians and Thebans were accustomed to the conventions of their own notions of battle. Also fully confident of their tried and true strategies.

The Macedonian phalanx had been drilled and outfitted in a different manner. Only those at the foremost and rear of the ranks were fully armoured. Relieving those inside of the weight and expense of heavy plated armour.

Also, that phalanx was equipped with much longer spears protruding from behind their shields. The infantry carried pikes of more than three metres in length with metal spikes almost a metre upon the end. The reach of the Macedonian phalanx had seemed an advantage from the onset.

However, more of the outcome of the battle would depend upon other strategies. As those two forces clashed at the front, the Macedonian advantage seemed less conclusive. The battle raged much like any clash of two such forces. The turn in fortune came from a ploy that seemed evident only to the external observer. The Macedonians had purposefully allowed the right flank of their formation to seemingly fall back under the surging pressure of the opposing phalanx. Once the gap had fully opened, Alexander had led the mounted warriors into the centre and then proceeded to shatter the opposing infantry. In the resultant carnage, the combined Theban and Athenian forces were broken. In one afternoon, decisive victory was claimed by the Macedonians.

Following the complete defeat of the combined defences of Athens and Thebes, the Macedonians marched onward in triumph. In short order, the complete surrender of both of those lands was soon secured. After the defeat of those lands, Philippos of Macedonia had soon laid claim to all of the mainland Helladic lands, but those under claim of Sparta.

Although Thebes had suffered harshly in the wake of Macedonian conquest, Athens had fared far better. It seemed evident that Philippos held Athens in far higher regard. He was far more motivated to have the willing allegiance of Athenians, than a broken vassal state. Those other lands that had willingly surrendered to Macedonian rule without resistance has also fared quite well in the scheme of things, much as I'd earlier predicted.

By late in the year, King Philippos had called for representatives of all the Helladic lands under his dominion to a meeting at Korinthos. It was there that he'd set up a permanent organisation to oversee the management of those lands. It became known as the League of Korinthos. A treaty of common peace was negotiated, along with the constitutions of that new entity. At the climax of that summit, Philippos had arranged for the declaration of war upon the Persians. That was not something that I would've readily predicted at all, nor considered wise.

At that time, I had paused to reflect upon those developments. It seemed that the Helladic lands had finally entered a period of internal peace. However, that fresh unity had only come about out of conflict and conquest. What is more, that unified league of lands assembled for the purpose of further warfare against a much larger foe.

Further obvious comparisons came to mind. Those lands united under Macedonian rule had come to somewhat reflect that of the Persian Empire. Several Kingdoms, Oligarchies and Provinces united under a singular 'King of Kings'.

From the outside perspective, it could be easily surmised that Philippos had established an empire of his own, for the express purpose of conquering the empire that had oft been the enemy of all the Helladic lands.

Even so, I hardly thought it a wise move at all. Previously, it had required a rare combination of uncommon luck, strategy and tenacity to expel Persian invasion. Given that Philippos had chosen not to engage the Spartans after defiance of an ultimatum, I could not readily see how he'd expected to be successful in any campaign waged against the much larger Persian Empire. To my mind, it seemed to represent folly.

During that time, something of a similar state of affairs had emerged across the sea to the west. After Roma had waged war upon the Samnite tribes of the hill not far from Roman lands, finally defeating them, a fresh conflict had developed with certain members of the Latin League. Before long, that had escalated into a state of open warfare.

After a series of decisive campaigns, the Romans had overpowered those lands and dissolved the Latin League. Each of those lands had been subsequently forced to agree to individual treaties and had become part of an expanded Roman Republic.

I was interested to note that rather than treating those defeated lands harshly, each of them were welcomed into the larger Republic. Perhaps not as perfectly equal to those citizens of Roma, but certainly as members of the Roman Republic. Rather than being viewed as weakness, that Roman spirit of leniency in victory had effectively served to earn the respect and loyalty of those lands.

Still, it would remain difficult to predict exactly what lay ahead for that region. There were still many Helladic colonies along the south-eastern coastal region of that peninsular. Although none of them could individually resist Roman expansion, it was doubtful that they would willingly surrender their lands. Even together, those colonial ports would be hard pressed to present strong resistance. However, even though they were more actively facing eastward at that time, there was still the possibility that the Macedonians might become interested, if another rising force represented a perceived challenge to their fresh claim upon Hellas.

I had also considered the Carthaginians. Their hold upon the eastern half of large island off the end of that peninsular could play a part as Roma sought to expand its territories. The Carthaginians would not take kindly to any rising challenge to their well-established trade interests in that region. Nevertheless, Carthage was commonly far more interested in trade than conflict and warfare. Provided that Roma did not openly provoke Carthage, it could cultivate a relationship along the lines that the Etruscans had enjoyed during earlier times.

Still, it could be some time yet before such concerns arose. According to Heraklés, and the reports of many others that had recently frequented Roma, the pace of Roman expansion would be likely to remain rather measured. Although it seemed clear enough that the Roman Republic had designs upon claiming all of that peninsular, it also appeared clear that an orderly and methodical progression would be likely employed. It would surely be some time before that would lead further afield. At least, that's how it seemed. Time would tell.