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Book Six: Falcon Blue

March 24, 2018

the first reincarnation

Falcon Blue is LIVE!

Find it worldwide at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo: it’s also in stock at Indigo and Angus & Robertson. The paperback is now live as well! Paperback version can be purchased at Amazon, The Book Depository, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble, and anywhere else that carries real books.

I know… it’s a little unusual, making the first awakening of my triad after Crete, number SIX in the series. But early in life I was inspired and influenced by C.S. Lewis, who did something similar with his Narnia Chronicles. Did you know that originally, The Magician’s Nephew was Book Six of that series? For those who haven’t read them, The Magician’s Nephew was a prequel to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.200x308 FB wordpress

So here I go, emulating a great writer in my own little way. And yes, all of the above is a load of doo-doo.

Truth is, I didn’t intend to make Falcon Blue part of my series. I was going to go along in linear fashion, 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7. But as I kept on writing, developing the story and the goal, I realized it had to be included. Interested readers had to see the beginning–the beginning after the beginning, I should say.

So, TA-DA, Falcon Blue was germinated, watered, nurtured, and has now been birthed.

 

 

IF YOU HAVE READ THE FIRST THREE BOOKS IN THE SERIES, YOU CAN READ FALCON BLUE WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT!

The first three books are: The Year-god’s Daughter, The Thinara King, and In the Moon of Asterion.

Aodhàn Mackinnon told the story of Eamhair, Cailean, and Taranis in The Sixth Labyrinth.

He lied.

Here is the truth.

 

 

Seeking escape from the brutality of war, Cailean journeys to the wilderness at land’s end, but instead of peace and solitude he finds conspiracy, evil, and a love that makes any sacrifice worthwhile.

When Eamhair was young, her sibylline mother predicted a king would rise out of the sea and take her away from her father and brothers. She walks the cliffs, dreaming of a new life and the lord of the seolhs.

Taranis succumbs to the relentless lure of a vision, chasing it all the way to his destiny at the outer boundaries of the earth.

 

Cape Wrath, Scotland. The first reincarnation.

 

Mist shrouds our eyes and stoppers our tongues, a grey, damp silence broken only by the softest sigh, like a dawn breeze. We know not how many centuries pass: we feel not the flow of time, until She turns her far-seeing gaze to us.

When we gasp and draw our first breath, we are newborns who never fought great wars, or loved deeply, or brought harm upon one another.

So the journey begins.

we are become Athene’s wanderers…

 

Every Book in the series 99 cents (Unless it’s free)

November 20, 2016

Hey everyone, here’s wishing you all, wherever you may live in the world, a happy and peaceful winter season.

Recently I discounted the first book of my series, The Year-god’s Daughter, to a hard-to-beat ZERO. I figured everyone across the globe who wanted it probably had it already, but I was wrong, and surprised at the response. Without any advertising or social media mentions, hundreds of copies have been downloaded, along with hundreds of The Thinara King, book 2 in the series, which is running at 99 cents.

It’s been so much fun seeing new readers pick up copies of the first two books, and an impressive number of the subsequent seriesbooks as well. I even received a new 5 star review already! My thanks to all who decided to take the leap, though the series is not yet fully published.

The Powers that Be thought it might be nice to expand this sale and make it very easy for readers to collect all the books available thus far.

So, beginning the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, (Friday, November 25), Erinyes Press will discount every book in the series to 99 cents, except for The Year-god’s Daughter, which will continue at its current price of FREE.

We don’t run sales like this very often, so take advantage! First and foremost, I hope you ENJOY!

Hopefully, reading the first five books will whet your appetite for the next: Falcon Blue.

And let me know if you shed a tear here and there, for as we all know, there is no light without the dark.

 

Child of the Erinyes Series is Everywhere Again!

December 18, 2014

Greetings and Happy New Year!

MycenaeLionHuntRing

Mycenae Lion Hunt Seal Ring: Attribution below

I wanted to let everyone know that my exclusive enrollment period with Amazon has run its course, and my books are available everywhere again…Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, iTunes, Scribd, Inktera, and of course they’re still at Amazon.

Here are all the links. (They’re listed at my website as well.) iTunes is taking its time approving a couple of them, but they’ll be live soon.

Thank you to everyone who has gone to the trouble and cost to acquire one of my books, and taken the time to read it, and put forth the effort to review! During my recent Amazon Select promo, nearly 21000 copies of The Year-god’s Daughter and The Moon Casts a Spell were downloaded all over the world.

The Year-god’s Daughter (Book One):

Amazon Multi-link  ♦ Barnes & NobleScribdiTunes

The Thinara King (Book Two):

Amazon Multi-linkBarnes & NobleScribdiTunes

In the Moon of Asterion (Book Three):

Amazon Multi-linkBarnes & NobleScribdiTunes

The Moon Casts a Spell (Book 3.5 A Novella):

Amazon Multi-linkBarnes & NobleScribdiTunesKobo

Child of the Erinyes Collection, A Boxed Set of the first three novels:

Amazon Multi-linkBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo

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Image: Bead found in Grave Circle A, Grave III, Mycenae, Second half of the 16th century BCE https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mycenaean_ring2.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Mycenaean_ring2.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Free_Documentation_License
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:GNU_Free_Documentation_License,_version_1.2
Unknown authorUnknown author, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons: Rounded off corners of image

Indie BRAG interview

April 22, 2014

THE-YEAR-GOD'S-DAUGHTERThe Year-god’s Daughter was recently awarded the IndieB.R.A.G. Medallion. If you aren’t familiar with Indie BRAG, check it out HERE. It’s not easy to win the coveted Medallion, so I was thrilled beyond description when it happened.

Today I’m being interviewed by Stephanie Hopkins, blogger extraordinaire for Indie BRAG. Please pop over and join us for questions, answers, thoughts, conjecture, and maybe some cake. Who knows?

Stephanie: “Hello, Rebecca! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion. Please tell me a little about your book, The Year-God’s Daughter.”

Lochlann: “Gladly, Stephanie, and let me thank you for this opportunity. I was over the moon to be awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion. What an honor! The Year-god’s Daughter kicks off my Child of the Erinyes series, a story that begins in the Bronze Age, on Crete and the Greek mainland, and ends in the near future. It follows the lives of the three main protagonists, along with their supporting characters, through time, as they experience history—not70 as queens, kings, and other VIPs, but common people like most of us, doing their best to survive and thrive with history happening around them.

In book one, the reader is introduced to Aridela, a younger princess on Crete, living a life of luxury in the great Knossos palace. We also meet two men from Mycenae who are seeking a way to overthrow this wealthy culture. All three think they know how their lives will unfold. They think they can manipulate the future to their own ends. They are very wrong.”

Click HERE for the entire interview. Thank you Indie BRAG! Thank you Stephanie! And thank you to generous readers!

Lion hunting Mycenae: see below for attribution

Lion hunting Mycenae: see below for attribution

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: “Hunting Mycenaean Dagger” by Unknown – Athens, Historical Museum. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hunting_Mycenaean_Dagger.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Hunting_Mycenaean_Dagger.jpg

The Year-god’s Daughter as required reading

The Priest King: Shutterstock

An author, once she or he publishes that debut novel, imagines, expects, and hopes for many things.  I am no different. Something I never anticipated, however, was becoming a college assignment.

A professor at the university in question happened upon The Year-god’s Daughter. She read it and contacted me to let me know she was assigning it to her spring 2013 semester class. They’ll be writing  up essays on the culture and ideologies covered in the book.

She asked me to provide a statement about my research, which I was happy to do and which was fun to write, though it taxed my memory. Eight pages later, I felt like I was back in class myself!

To those students in the class who dislike historical fantasy, love stories, and/or class assignments, I’m sorry you’re being dragged through this, (and I do remember some of my own university assignments…. some better loved than others….)

First and foremost, I sincerely hope the tale is enjoyed!

Reviews: The Thinara King

From Chanticleer Book Reviews:

There’s only sorrow for Aridela, the heiress to the throne of Kapthor when she learns her heart is not hers to give freely and every decision she makes concerning her love life brings about dire consequences for her people in Rebecca Lochlann’s The Thinara King, Book 2 of The Child of the Erinyes series.

When Aridela meets Chrysaleon, a Greek “barbarian” by the standards of her people, she falls in love. Chrysaleon, young, bold and brash, is as smitten with Aridela as she is with him, but he has been promised in marriage to her sister Iphiboë, who is bland and boring by comparison.

The marriage is all important, though, as it will consolidate his father’s power, linking his lineage with that of Aridela’s culture, a culture that reveres the power and station of women. Kapthor is ruled by Aridela’s mother Queen Helice and guided by the powerful female oracle Themiste.

Eyjafjallajokull

Photo by Peter Vancoillie: http://skyscapes.info/ Used by permission

Aridela and Chrysaleon cannot help but consummate their forbidden love, yet as they do, a volcano erupts, devastating the island and killing many of Aridela’s relatives and friends. The volcano, seen as goddess Athene’s handiwork, is blamed on Chrysaleon, who has been identified by Themiste as the “lion” or the Thinara King, foretold in an ancient prophecy linking him to Aridela and a mysterious, unidentified bull figure. The prophecy states that this triad has the power to restore or destroy the world.

Rebecca Lochlann skillfully immerses the reader in a semi-fictional world of ancient rites and conflicts where characters live, die, and are reborn throughout her series The Child of the Erinyes.

The product of many years of study and fascination with the era and the mythology, The Thinara King establishes Lochlann’s connection with the novel’s setting and genre by smoothly combining many convincing elements: the handsome hero determined to win the strong-minded fair lady, the dark anti-hero plotting on the sidelines, the wise demi-goddess who keeps her own counsel and manipulates outcomes behind the scenes, the grisly battles fought at close range, and the spectacular festivals marking the passing of the years.

Lochlann’s over-arching narrative, switching from character to character, is deftly composed, making for many surprises without deviating from the backdrop with its elaborate history-rich trappings.

A tale of ancient kingdoms, of love promised and lost, heralded victory and hopeless defeat is the second novel in her much-acclaimed series, The Child of the Erinyes – another masterfully written historical fiction novel of Ancient Greece from Rebecca Lochlann.

From Booksquawk Book Reviews:

This is the second book in The Child of the Erinyes series, the first of which, The Year God’s Daughter, I reviewed here – and you can see by my enthusiasm I was eagerly awaiting the sequel.

We take up where the first novel left off (and it would be a major spoiler for the first book if I told you exactly where that was), but the brief idyll in princess Aridela’s young life is to be short-lived. With the violent suddenness only a mega-burp in the earth’s crust can dish up, her lush and peaceful home island of Crete is assaulted by a deadly pyroclastic blast from the volcanic island of Callisti, seventy miles away. Aridela and the newly crowned bull-king Chrysaleon barely survive, and to make matters worse, she believes she is the one who caused the devastation by angering the goddess Athene.

Author Lochlann does a fine job describing the destruction: inescapable waves of blistering heat and choking ash; the endless series of earthquakes and resulting tsunamis. The survivors are soon subjected to even more horror at the hands of a vengeful and opportunistic conqueror from the mainland, whose soldiers overrun the embattled island and pillage what little is left of the once proud and mighty civilization.

These are dark days for Aridela – sometimes graphically so; what she endures is not euphemistically portrayed – but deep inside she clings to the hope that she can withstand the abuse and prevail in order to appease Athene and restore freedom to her remaining people. Chrysaleon, too, endures much. On the verge of death, he has visions of an out-of-body journey to the heavenly land of the gods that enlightens him to his new status as The Thinara King – the one man with the power to change the destiny of everyone in the mortal world. But will he choose the right path?

I don’t want to give too much away. Let me just say in closing that this series is my new addiction. Lochlann is a meticulous writer, and I predict that the outpouring of accolades she is already receiving from her readers will eventually give her a well-deserved boost onto the best-seller lists.

From Elisabeth Storrs, author of The Wedding Shroud, and other novels of the ancient world:

A captivating and brutal time brilliantly depicted

The palace of Knossos remains to this day as a masterpiece of ancient architecture. A set of enormous bull’s horns stands at the entrance, a potent reminder of the Minoan society’s belief in power and fertility and the yearly sacrifice of the bull king. In The Thinara King, the second book of The Child of Erinyes series, Lochlann once again plunges the reader into the sights and sounds and smells of Cretan culture. There is little respite from drama in this book. The first scenes rocket you into the cataclysms of earthquake and tsunami as the Immortals rain down their wrath upon the people, destroying cities and crops and visiting death over Princess Aridela’s country.
The wilful, capricious child of The Year God’s Daughter matures in this novel as she grows into a woman faced with tragedy and the responsibility for reconstructing the hopes and fortunes of Kaphtor. Lochlann continues to build the tension in the love triangle of Aridela and the Mycenaen half-brothers who both love her – the flamboyant Chrysaleon and the brooding Menoetius; the lion and the bull who haunt her dreams and fantasies. There is some frustration for the reader, though, in this tug of war for Aridela’s affections. I wanted to know by the end of the book who would fully claim her heart. Luckily there is a third book coming that will, hopefully, resolve this.

The author is to be admired for her commitment to revealing both a captivating and brutal time. She does not spare the reader the realities of life in the ancient world. At times it is gruelling to read about the violence, rapine and cruelty. Yet without such an approach, history becomes sanitised and the tenor of the period diluted. There is skill, too, in her development of the characters whose fates are intertwined and whose lives are constantly threatened by enemies and gods.
Lochlann also helps us travel to a matriarchal society which is menaced by the encroaching assault of a warrior culture from the Greek mainland. And the vision of Themiste, the prophetess, who foresees a world where males subjugate women, is especially poignant given that the reader knows its truth.
The Thinara King is a gripping read from an author whose obvious love for Cretan and Greek history shines through but never dominates the narrative. I was sad to leave ancient Kaphthor and look forward to returning to it In the Moon of Asterion.

Reviews at Amazon: read them all

A Few Reviews: The Year-god’s Daughter

Judith Starkston, author of Hand of Fire and Priestess of Ishana:

Lochlann takes her reader into the mythic, mystical world of Minoan Crete with vibrancy and power. On the island of Crete, known as Kaphtor, a long line of women rule. Their male consorts “rule” for only a year as the Year-god and then are sacrificed to bring fertility to the land. On the mainland, the Mycenaean kingdoms fight among themselves and look with envy at Crete’s greater power and civilization. Rival kings yearn to overthrow the Cretan queen and win for themselves Crete’s preeminent position in trade and wealth. They also worship a male god and hold in distain the goddess who has guarded Crete for generations beyond memory. Thus Lochlann sets the central conflict in her opening novel of her Child of the Erinyes series, which in its eight books spans 4000 years from the Bronze Age to modern times as it follows the lives of two men and a woman who are reborn seven times through history.

The Year-god’s daughter of the title is Aridela, the youngest daughter of Crete’s queen. She has been sheltered and pampered, and her rebellious streak has been allowed to flourish. Lochlann gives her coming of age story rich depth as Aridela confronts threats and challenges both from within her royal world and from the princes of the mainland who circle around her and her family as they try to deceive, seduce and attack their way into supremacy. Sometimes they become entangled in their own snares as Aridela seduces in return. Aridela has goddess-sent dreams and speaks prophecies that reveal the fate of herself and her culture, but they are hard to interpret and even harder to obey. Two half-brothers from the mainland will influence the course of her life and force her to make lethal choices. As each choice presents unintended consequences, Aridela must grow and adapt to them. Family members both on Crete and the mainland, love each other, but when fate does not dole out the talents and gifts in equal measure, and siblings must watch the least suited child take the place they covet, then deep and impossible jealousies and conflicts wrench apart these families. This mythic world is an ideal place to watch such dramatic family tensions play out.

Lochlann’s rich language draws her reader into the story from the first sentences, invoking all of the senses: “The bull was so much bigger than she expected. His pitiless eyes sucked her breath away. The musky stench of his body obliterated the stands, the screaming audience, even the crushing hammer of heat.”

Lochlann uses precise details in abundance to bring to life long ago Knossos. She puts us inside the palace in a variety of ways, such as revealing what decorated the walls, “Frescoes of flitting swallows, high marsh grasses, monkeys, ibex, lilies, and of course, grazing bulls, surrounded them on all sides. Here were hazy mountains with plumes of smoke at their summits, bees rising from carcasses, and peasants holding offerings. They passed painted seas and leaping fish. Even the ceiling of this fantastic place was part of the nature scene, the colors as fresh and bright as if created that morning.” We see and hear the women of the royal court, “Disks sewn into the women’s skirts chimed as they walked, a soothing sound mostly lost beneath giggling and gossip. . . . The women fluttering around her were curled, oiled, and gilded. Their tight bodices made their breasts protrude like proud trophies.”

The Year-God’s Daughter succeeds in bringing to life a very distant world and capturing a heady blend of archaeology, legend, myth and fantasy.

 

At Booksquawk:

The Year God’s Daughter is the first in author Rebecca Lochlann’s Child of the Erinyes series. Even without reading the bio on her website, it’s obvious from the first few pages that this is an author who did her research. She spent fifteen years acquainting herself with ancient Greece, and it shows. Authenticity is steeped into each chapter.brag seal TYGD

If you are not a fan of historical fiction, don’t let that stop you from reading this excellent book. The finely-honed characterization is such that even with a host of unfamiliar names, you will never lose track of who’s who. The narrative never gets boring – the author has produced a fine balance between description and action.

The story opens with the child Aridela, beloved princess on the island of Crete, recklessly attempting to fulfill her dream of becoming a bull dancer – she believes the goddess Athene has made it her destiny to accomplish the daring and difficult feat. Menoetius is a young foreigner, bastard son of the High King of Mycenae, tasked with finding any weakness in Crete’s defenses. They meet under dire circumstances, and thus begins “Glory, passion, treachery and conspiracy on the grandest scale.”

Divine destiny is a deep-seated theme throughout. Constant regional earthquakes are interpreted by the ruling priestesses as omens, and most everything is imbued with celestial meaning. The reader is immersed in a vivid culture of devoted spirituality. Athene must be appeased with violent sacrifice and every year that sacrifice is the queen’s latest consort – a man who bested all other competitors for the honor of living large for a year and then allowing his blood to consecrate Crete’s soil. Crete is a matrilineal society, but male-dominated kingdoms surround them, and contempt for Athene is spreading on the mainland. If the encroaching changes reach as far as Aridela’s peaceful, prosperous island, a long-prophesied catastrophe will befall them all. From the start, we know this story is headed for a spectacular, world-changing ending. I can’t wait for the rest of the series to see how it all plays out…

Rebecca Lochlann has produced a book of uncommon quality. Highly recommended.

 

At Historical Novel Review:

Set amongst the mystery of the Minoan Labyrinth and the heart-pounding thrill of the bull-dancing ring, The Year-God’s Daughter is the first volume of The Child of the Erinyes, a sweeping epic of a series spanning time from the Bronze Age to the near future.

In Rebecca Lochlann’s first novel, we are introduced to Aridela, a young priestess and princess – and to the mysteries of Athene, the inscrutable goddess whose hand guides Aridela’s fate. Aridela is the youngest daughter of the queen of Kaphtor (Crete). She was born under portentous circumstances and has grown up revered and pampered in her mother’s palace. She is headstrong and strangely wise for her age, seemingly born to rule – yet her meek elder sister Iphiboë is the heir to Kaphtor, and Aridela is pledged to a life of celibacy and service to the goddess Athene.

This novel, being the first in a long series, is largely set-up for events to come; yet The Year-God’s Daughter is packed with plenty of action.  As the groundwork is being laid for the rest of the series, the reader follows Aridela through her coming-of-age – and follows, too, the lives of the people she touches, whose fates are altered by contact with this young woman chosen by Athene: Iphiboë, Themiste the high priestess, Selene the foreign warrior-woman, Lycus the bull-dancer, and more fascinating characters are subtly moved like pawns on a game board by Aridela’s unknowing influence.

Most notable on the list of characters entwined with Aridela are Menoetius and Chrysaleon, half-brothers and sons of the king of Mycenae.  They are sent on a mission by their power-hungry father to discern Kaphtor’s weaknesses so that Mycenae might take control of the rich island nation.  But both brothers soon find themselves in love with Aridela…and at one another’s throats.

The depth of historical information in this novel will delight fans of the genre.  A surprising amount of history and archaeology has been slipped unobtrusively into the narrative.  Lochlann has clearly done an astounding amount of research into her historical setting and culture, yet she never overwhelms the reader with specifics, nor does she lecture.  The conveyance of historical facts and archaeological tidbits feels very natural, woven deftly into the dialogs and thoughts of her intriguing cast of characters.

The primary strength of this book is the writing itself, which I can only describe as sumptuous.  Lochlann has a great flair for sensory detail and fills her novel with such a wealth of sights, sounds, smells, and flavors that the reader feels absolutely immersed in the world of ancient Crete from the first page.  Reading The Year-God’s Daughter is a delicious experience – seldom have I read a historical novel with such a well-drawn setting, and the fact that this book is independently published makes the feat all the more remarkable.  The rare grammatical gaffe occasionally pulled me out of the tale, but never for more than a moment – and while I often found myself wishing I understood some characters’ motives better, I have to assume that, since this is the first in a series with extreme scope, more will be made clear as the series progresses.  In any case, the luscious sensory prose was more than enough to keep me reading,  and has left me eagerly awaiting the next installment.

Cover copy: Crete: A place of magic, of mystery, where violence and sacrifice meet courage and hope.

Aridela: Wrapped in legend, beloved of the people. An extraordinary woman who dances with bulls.

The north wind brings a swift ship and two brothers who plot Crete’s overthrow. Desire for this woman will propel their long rivalry into hatred so murderous it hurtles all three into an unimaginable future, and sparks the immortal rage of the Erinyes.

A woman of keen instinct and unshakeable loyalty. A proud warrior prince and his wounded half-brother. Glory, passion, treachery and conspiracy on the grandest scale.

What seems the end is only the beginning.

Reviews At Amazon: read them all

 

She of Many Names

“There was a tendency in Minoan Crete to combine the goddesses into one deity.” Rodney Castleden, The Knossos Labyrinth

Athene is mentioned again and again on the tablets and records from Crete. Her name was spelled “a-ta-na,” and most agree this was an early form of Athene. On at least one

tablet, the name “a-ta-na” is combined with “po-ti-ni-ja,” which is thought to be Potnia. Thus in my book, you’ll see the declaration “Potnia Athene,” used several times. It simply meant “Lady,” or “Mistress.”

P1010629_crop

Photo: “P1010629 crop” by Aeleftherios – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P1010629_crop.png#mediaviewer/File:P1010629_crop.pnghttps://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

It’s important to remember when reading The Year-god’s Daughter (and the connecting books, The Thinara King and In the Moon of Asterion,) that what we know about these ancient, pre-Hellenic deities is sparse and fragmented. That Athene existed on Crete and was very important is pretty clear. That there were other goddesses is not so clear; the various names might well have been titles used for different aspects or roles of the same goddess. My story takes place before the familiar pantheon we all know from Classical Greece. Most experts agree that Athene existed long before they did, and that she came from somewhere else, not Greece. So I chose to use Athene almost exclusively, incorporating the various names as alternate names for her. Athene was The Great Goddess, basically, and all these other images or personalities were simply variations of her. Robert Graves also influenced my decision to use Athene this way. In The Greek Myths, he talks again and again about Athene being a pre-Hellenic goddess of vast importance, to whom the sacred kings were sacrificed, and he shares with his readers many of her Names and Titles.

Many mythologists call The Goddess “She of Many Names.” Here are a few titles and names I used in The Child of the Erinyes.

POTNIA: “Mistress,” or “Lady.”

“The Great Goddess or Mother Goddess held sway until the very end of the Minoan civilization and was even for a time in a dominant position in the Mycenean pantheon, until her position was supplanted by Zeus. The Great Goddess seems to have been called Potnia, at least in the final decades of the Labyrinth’s history. The name recurs in place after place, not just on Crete but throughout the Mycenean world. Meaning no more than ‘The Lady’ or ‘The Mistress’, it nevertheless carried powerful connotations and resonances: it was clearly the proper name of an important goddess.” Rodney Castleden, The Knossos Labyrinth

“Potnia had a domestic aspect as a guardian of households and cities. She was the wife and mother, the dependable figure of order and reason. In a sense she represented the conscious mind. Hers, probably, was the double-axe symbol that we find at so many Minoan sanctuaries on Crete, but possibly the pillar and the snake were her symbols too.” Rodney Castleden, The Knossos Labyrinth

BRITOMARTIS: “Lady of the Wild Things.”

“There were wild goddesses too, associated with untamed landscape and consorting with wild beasts. . . . A chaste and free wild goddess, who was a huntress and tamer of wild beasts, is now often referred to as the Mistress of Wild Animals or Queen of Wild Beasts. It seems that the Cretans called her Britomartis, said to mean ‘sweet virgin’, and she became the Artemis or Diana of the classical period.” Rodney Castleden, The Knossos Labyrinth

Eleuthia: Goddess of mothers and childbirth

“She was named in the temple records at Knossos and her nearest sanctuary, the Cave of Eileithyia as it is known today, is at Amnisos. The Cave of Eleuthia was an important centre of worship from neolithic times right through the bronze and iron ages, into the Roman period. It is even mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, Book 19. Inside the Eleuthia Cave is a natural stalagmite protected by an artificial stone wall, the focus of the cave cult and probably regarded as the manifestation or dwelling of the goddess Eleuthia.

Dictynna: Goddess of fishermen, or “of the net.”

It appears that Dictynna, too, was later merged with Artemis. Imagine how important fishermen were on an island like Crete. It’s not surprising they would have their own special goddess, “She who cast the nets.”

Gorgopis:

“grim faced.” A title of Athene’s, according to Robert Graves. The fearsome aspect, the face of Athene at the moment of death.

Areia:

Meaning unknown, but this was one of Athene’s titles and/or names. If one types “definition of Areia” into Google search, what comes up are several sites describing Athene.

Laphria: “the goat goddess.”

Graves says that this was Athene’s title representing her as a “goat goddess.” He says that the word Laphria suggests that “the goddess was the pursuer, not the pursued.”

The cabal

These days, the definition of “cabal” is:

1. The artifices and intrigues of a group of persons secretly united in a plot (as to overturn a government); also, a group engaged in such artifices and intrigues.

Merriam Webster gives these examples:

1. a cabal plotting to overthrow the government.

2. a conspiracy theory about the existence of an international cabal devoted to world domination.

I thought it would be interesting to have “cabal” in the Bronze Age Mediterranean mean something else, very different yet somehow linked to its modern-day definition.

In The Greek Myths, Robert Graves has these things to say. He uses the word tanist the same way I use “cabal.”

“Once the relevance of coition to child-bearing had been officially admitted,  man’s religious status gradually improved, and winds or rivers were no longer given credit for impregnating women. The tribal Nymph, it seems, chose an annual lover from her entourage of young men, a king to be sacrificed when the year ended; making him a symbol of fertility, rather than the object of her erotic pleasure. His sprinkled blood served to fructify trees, crops and flocks, and his flesh was torn and eaten raw by the Queen’s fellow-nymphs – priestesses wearing the masks of bitches, mares, or sows. Next, in amendment to this practice, the king died as soon as the power of the sun, with which he was identified, began to decline in the summer; and another young man, his twin, or supposed twin – a convenient ancient Irish term is ‘tanist’ – then became the Queen’s lover, to be duly sacrificed at midwinter and, as a reward, reincarnated in an oracular serpent.

When the shortness of the king’s reign proved irksome, it was agreed to prolong the thirteen month year to a Great Year of one hundred lunations, in the last of which occurs a near-coincidence of solar and lunar time. But since the fields and crops still needed to be fructified, the king agreed to suffer an annual mock death and yield his sovereignty for one day – the intercalated one, lying outside the sacred sidereal year – to the surrogate boy-king, or interrex, who died at its close, and whose blood was used for the sprinkling ceremony. Now the sacred king either reigned for the entire period of a Great Year, with a tanist as his lieutenant; or the two reigned for alternate years; or the Queen let them divide the queendom into halves and reign concurrently.

The title Hecate (one hundred) apparently refers to the hundred lunar months of the king’s reign, and to the hundredfold harvest. The king’s death by a thunderbolt, or by the teeth of horses, or at the hands of his tanist, was his common fate in primitive Greece.

The twins’ mutual murder recalls the eternal rivalry for the love of the White Goddess between the sacred king and his tanist, who alternately meet death at each other’s hands.

The column, on which the Death-in-Life Goddess perches, marks the height of summer when the sacred king’s reign ends and the tanist’s begins. (At the heliacal rising of two-headed Sirius.)

This combat is mythologically recorded in the story that the Olympic Games began with a wrestling match between Zeus and Cronus for the possession of Elis, namely the midsummer combat between the king and his tanist; and the result was a foregone conclusion – the tanist came armed with a spear.

The historical setting of the Scylla myth is apparently a dispute between the Athenians and their Cretan overlords not long before the sack of Cnossus in 1400 BC. The myth itself, almost exactly repeated in the Taphian story of Pterelaus and Comaetho, recalls those of Samson and Delilah in Philistia; Curoi, Blathnat, and Cuchulain in Ireland; Llew Llaw, Blodeuwedd, and Gronw in Wales: all variations on a single pattern. It concerns the rivalry between the sacred king and his tanist for the favor of the Moon-goddess who, at midsummer, cuts off the king’s hair and betrays him. The king’s strength resides in his hair, because he represents the Sun; and his long yellow locks are compared to its rays.

In The Year-god’s Daughter, The Thinara King, and In the Moon of Asterion, the sacred king has a tanist, but I didn’t want to use that term. In my timeline, the word is “cabal.” At Mycenae, it simply means “brother,” but on Crete, the word “cabal” has twin meanings: brother and killer. The cabal is the king’s “tanist,” or symbolic “brother,” who also kills him, thus turning him into a god.

In the course of the series, the word “cabal” gradually and eventually transforms into its modern definition, which plays a part in the story.

The sacred cave

 

In The Year-god’s Daughter, Aridela, Selene and Iphiboë sneak out of the palace to meet their fates. They travel by cart to Skotino Cave, which even these days attracts large numbers of tourists. It lies some distance to the east of Knossos.

Of course, in the Bronze Age, this cave would have had another name. I chose for my story The Cave of Velchanos.

Within the walls of Skotino, Aridela’s life forever changed.

Cave_of_Eilithia

Another sacred cave on Crete, Eileithyia [File:Cave of Eilithia.jpg|thumb|Cave of Eilithia]] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cave_of_Eilithia.jpg

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