en English
en Englishid Indonesian

Mediterranean Hegemon of Ancient Greece – Chapter 376: Library Bahasa Indonesia

Isocrates anxiously awaits the final decision of the Senate of Theonia in the spacious waiting area in the Senate Hall.

Soon after, the guards came and asked him to return to the conference hall.

After entering, he saw that the archon of Theonia, Davos, stood in the centre of the conference hall.

Davos then smiled at him and asked him to sit. Then he said. “Esteemed envoy of Athens, I am glad you bought the friendship of Athens, the great city-state of the Mediterranean, to the Theonia Union. This has finally allowed us, who are in a remote corner of the Greek world, to stop mourning and complaining at the new play called 《The Theonians》 by the Athenian playwright – Aristophanes, treating as Theonians as barbarians for the amusement of the Athenian populace…”

As soon as he heard this, Isocrates murmured to himself, “It’s over.”

And sure enough, he heard someone shouting angrily behind him, “You Athenians has no right to humiliate us Lucanians!”

“They did not only humiliate the Lucanians but all Theonian citizens!” Another shouted angrily.

“If the Athenians treat us with this attitude, then you Athenians are not welcome here!”

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Angry voices after another struck Isocrates, making him feel like a volcano was about to erupt behind him, causing his expression to change slightly.

Davos looked at the embarrassed Isocrates and continued, “Isocrates, you claimed that Athens and Theonia have a deep friendship, but just talking about it is not enough as you need to also look at the action. Now, according to our understanding of the actual situation in Athens, we can’t see the friendship of the Athenians towards Theonia. On the contrary, we see that the people of the whole city of Athens ruthlessly ridicule and mock some of the characteristics of the newly emerging city-state union that are different from other Greek city-states. For several months, we have become the topic of conversation during drinking in the pubs and restaurants in Athens. This is not what we expect in a city-state with a long history and tradition that once claimed to have the ‘best education in all of Greece’ should behave! Nor the behaviour of a city-state claiming to have a deep affection for Theonia and wants to ally with it!

That is why we, the citizens of Theonia, are not comfortable trusting over our backs to a city-state that discriminates against us while facing a powerful enemy. Therefore, we think it is still too early for us to talk about concluding a military alliance.”

‘Damn you, Aristophanes! Damn you!!’ Isocrates cursed countless times in his mind. However, it could not change the reality. Frustrated, he tried to stand up in a last-ditch effort.

However, Davos quickly stop him with a wave of his hand, motioning him not to interrupt. Then he continued, “Although the present Thurii is no longer the former Thurii, and the Theonia Union has no connection with Athens, we Theonians are by no means an ungrateful people, as we have a clear distinction between kindness and grievance. We return the grievance that others gave us tenfolds, and we repay the kindness that others shown us by tenfold!”

“The archon is right! When we were in our time of trouble, Taranto had allied with us, so we had sent a large army and saved their city-state! In the beginning, Thurii had once given his lord’s mercenary a foothold, so we had not yielded at the Crotonian army’s threat. Instead, we avenged the dead Thurians with a great victory! Theonia regards commitment as life and friendship as treasure, so we could not promise our friendship lightly!” Old man Scamras held his head high. He then glanced at Isocrates and put on a proud expression of “Theonia’s friendship is extremely precious.”

Davos smiled and continued, “Since the centre of the Theonia Union is Thurii, we naturally inherited some of the feelings of the former Thurians, that is why we are willing to have friendly exchanged with Athens and to strengthen our exchanges to eliminate misunderstanding between us…”

Hearing this, Isocrates understood the meaning of Davos and the other statesmen: Besides military alliance, Theonia is willing to be friendly with Athens. Even though strengthening trade and cultural exchange does not seem to be different from the core meaning of his speech, Isocrates understood the obvious difference. Isocrates had initially talked about cooperation as the elder brother. However, now the Theonians had trampled on his elegance and nobility and told him that Theonia’s friendship is extremely precious, so they could only give a little to Athens depending on their performance…

‘Sure enough, this young man is not simple as he was able to sit in the position of the archon and single-handedly create the present Theonia!’ Isocrates looked at Davos in front of him and felt the pressure…

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

While Isocrates gave a speech at the Senate of Theonia, Ansitanos took Lysias to the north side of the Nike Square, where a newly built building that looks like a temple with bronze statues of nine Muses lining up at the bottom of the steps.

“Is this the Temple of Apollo?” Lysias looked at Ansitanos with uncertainty.

Ansitanos still wore a mischievous smile while not uttering a single word.

With growing curiosity, Lysias walked up the steps and finally saw several huge letters “Library” on the lintel of the temple’s entrance.

“Is this?” Lysias can now guess the function of this building, ‘Such a large building is only used for books? Do they have so many books?’

He once more looked at Ansitanos with doubt, hoping that he could give an explanation.

“This is the library that our archon, lord Davos, took the lead in donating money to build!” Ansitanos then proudly pointed to the words and said, “He once said. ‘Books are the gems of human wisdom, whether it’s Persia, Egypt, Carthage, or even the earlier Sumerians, Hittite, Assyrian…the history and civilisation they created have finally converged in words and books, which is humanity’s shared wealth and the ladder for us to break away from ignorance and move towards a more brilliant civilisation. Thus we should make every effort to collect them! Protect them! If wars and disasters destroyed these treasures, it would be the most painful loss to humanity! However, besides collecting books, we should also share and read them to more people so that the people of Theonia can use this knowledge to improve themselves and creating wealth and a more brilliant culture. This is the reason for the creation of the library!’”

After hearing this, Lysias became fascinated. He then murmured, “Someone who can speak such great words must be a great person!”

Ansitanos then smiled to himself.

“Show me inside!” Lysias couldn’t wait to get inside but was stopped by the guards at the entrance.

“This is my friend. He had come with me as he wants to go in and visit.” Ansitanos hurried forward to explain.

“Understood, lord Ansitanos.” The guards saluted respectfully.

“There is still a military in a place where knowledge is stored!” Lysias unhappily said as he walked in.

“After all, books are precious and fragile. A fire can destroy them all, so naturally, someone needs to protect them to prevent accidents.” Explained Ansitanos.

Lysias then expressed his understanding. And after calming his anger, he said, “It seems that not just anyone can enter here.”

“Only Theonian citizens and preparatory citizens can enter.”

“So this gives another motivation for the freemen of Theonia to become citizens.” Lysias had gotten to know just how wide the gap was between the rights enjoyed by Theonian citizens, preparatory citizens, and freemen after only staying here for nearly two days. And this gap cannot be bridged, unlike Athens, where you can cross the gap between Athenians and foreigners as long as you work hard.

“I’m afraid that there are about 40,000 – 50,000 Theonian citizens in Thurii. If they all crowd into this library, could the library still be able to accommodate all of them?” Lysias asked doubtfully.

“We have already taken those problems into account. First of all, the quality of Theonia citizens has not yet reached the level that everyone can read and write. Secondly, it is impossible for them to appear simultaneously, and even if there are too many citizens who want to enter the library, we have placed a limit on how many can enter. However, I am afraid that it will be years till such a situation occurs. By then, there might be a second, third or even fourth library in Theonia…” Ansitanos’ words were filled with confidence in the union.

Lysias could only remain silent, but soon after, he was captivated by the sight before him: Rows of tall wooden cabinets neatly placed in the hall, splitting the large space into a walkway for only three or four people to pass side by side. Each wooden cabinet is open, separated by a strip of wood into a small rectangular space, containing volumes of books or materials assembled from papyrus or parchment. In front of these bookcases is an area with many wooden tables, with only a few people sitting there quietly reading books.

The book-loving Lysias was unable to refrain from saying, “There are so many books!”

“In fact, there are not many, as most of the bookcases in the back are empty. After all, it has only been less than 20 days since the library was completed.” Ansitanos then continued emotionally, “Lord Davos had called on the citizens of Theonia to take out their own collection of books from their home, allowing the library to copy and store it here. Afterwards, we also engraved the names of the citizens who had donated their books on the stone tablet. At that time, many citizens responded to his call, causing the scribes of the library to be too busy…”

Looking at the direction of Ansitanos’ finger, Lysias saw several stone tablets erected on the left side of the library’s entrance. Previously, he had just looked ahead and overlooked them.

The stone tablet was densely engraved with people’s names.

Lysias then noticed that only the first name was written, followed by the title of the book, “This…this…this is-” He touched the title in disbelief.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Chapter List